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Five things to make family cars more child friendly

By David Bonnici, 21 Sep 2016 Car Style

Children in backseat of car

Car makers need to think more about children’s needs when pitching their vehicles as family cars.

A lot of cars are considered family friendly by virtue of having more than four seats and a biggish boot. But it would be great if car makers considered the younger passengers more so their parents didn’t have to purchase a bunch of daggy aftermarket products that take up space. Here’s a simple wish-list of not too expensive or techy items to make cars even more child inclusive. 

CHANGES MUST BE MADE

Seven-seat cars are great for larger families, however having two extra seats in the back often means sacrificing rear cargo space. It also makes things difficult should you need to change a baby.

Instead of having to carry a change table or take baby seats out the car to lay the child flat we recommend an inbuilt table that folds out from the behind back seats of a seven seater. An alternative can be part of the boot floor folding out to create a table or seat. We’ve seen this in the Bentley Bentayga, but you shouldn’t have to spend $430,000 to get such a feature.

Bentley Bentayga boot

And why not bring back the fold down tailgate so you can use the rear door as a table without having to take anything out of back of the car.  

Each idea would also be handy for roadside picnics. 

THAT’S ENTERTAINMENT

A good family car should grow with your kids. DVD screens are great, but can’t often be seen properly from the third row of seven-seaters. Besides, once kids grow out of the Wiggles and SpongeBob, they’ll be more likely to be watching their favourite YouTubers or Snapchatting friends about how bored they are in the car. DVDs can also be a fight starter should you have children of varying ages.  

As airlines have learned individual entertainment is important so how about an adjustable holder for smart phones and tablets neatly built into the back of the seat in front should they want to watch a movie – it should come with at least one USB port.  Just don’t forget their headphones or you’ll go insane. 

Children in back seat of car

GIVING A BOOST

Booster seats are great, but they’re just another thing to purchase, carry and then get rid of once the child grows out of it. Or sometimes you may have to give a child a ride but not have a booster seat handy. How good would it be if the back seats had the ability to individually go up and down like the driver’s seat can? The back seats should also be able to recline a little so they can sleep. 

COOL STUFF

A lot of cars have extra storage and drink coolers but a lot of these are designed to a size suitable for drink cans, which don’t often contain appropriate beverages for little ones and are easy to spill. It’d be good to see something designed to hold little pop-top bottles and snacks. 

WONDERING FEET

As kids grow, their feet tend to wonder on long drives so you end up with scuff marks on your doors, the backs of seats and even windows. A foot rest at the back of the front seats would be handy should the youngster want to change seating positions

Is there anything you wish your car had to make it more kid friendly?