Baby on Board: The 6 Safest Cars for Babies

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Updated May 25th, 2022

Safest cars for babies: baby in a child safety seat inside a car

Whether you’re having your first, second, or tenth kid, welcoming a child into the world is an odd mixture of excitement and concern. And taking them along on errands and to the doctor is an inevitability. It can feel scary to load up your infant in the car for the first time, but with one of the safest cars for babies, you can ensure the well-being of your family and get some added peace of mind.

Of course, you’ll also want to include a high-quality, affordable car insurance policy to protect the people you love most by entering your ZIP code here:

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The 6 Safest Cars for Babies

Safest cars for babies: mother securing her baby in their child safety seat

Whether you’re in the market for an SUV, minivan, sedan, or coupe, you can certainly find at least one that ranks among the safest cars for babies. Combining safety and family-friendly features, here are a few cars to add to your list of options.

1. Hyundai Palisade

With a five-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a Top Safety Pick+ nod from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), seat belt reminders, and more, the Hyundai Palisade is one of the safest cars for babies. 

The addition of Hyundai’s proprietary ultrasonic Rear Occupant Alert technology is the true standout. This technology first reminds the driver to check the back seat of the car before they leave. Then, if it notices any movement in the rear seats after the driver exits the car, it honks the horn, flashes the lights, and sends a message to the owner’s phone. The intention is to prevent your child from becoming one of 900 annual deaths that occur from babies being left in the car in heat.

Of course, you’ll need to insure your Palisade. Liability insurance for a Palisade runs around $90 a month, while full coverage typically comes in at about $170 per month.

2. Honda Odyssey

The Honda Odyssey is the true family hauler in the Honda lineup, offering three rows of seats, plenty of legroom, and entertainment and comfort options for the perfect family road trip. But it’s also one of the safest cars on the road.

An IIHS Top Safety Pick+ ranking and five-star safety rating from the NHTSA demonstrate this minivan’s safety. Honda Sensing — a standard driver-assist feature on all Odyssey models — is the focal point of the minivan’s high safety ratings, as well as one of the easiest LATCH systems (lower anchors and tethers for children) in the industry. All of these come together to make the Odyssey perhaps the safest car for babies.

While the Odyssey is one of the safest cars on the road, getting the right car insurance coverage is a smart move. The average price for liability is $77 per month while full coverage is only a tad bit more at $129 per month.

Pro tip: If you want the reputable safety of a Honda without the bulk of a minivan, both the Honda Accord and the CR-V get five-star safety ratings from the NHTSA and Top Safety Pick+ nods from the IIHS.

3. Chrysler Pacifica

Consistently ranked as one of the top family cars on the market, the Chrysler Pacifica is another roomy minivan that’s available in both gas-powered and hybrid options. However, it doesn’t skimp on safety.

Like some of the other safest cars for babies, the Pacifica gets Top Safety Pick+ and five-star safety ratings courtesy of advanced driver-assist systems, such as blind spot monitoring and lane departure warning. One thing it does better than the others, however, is something you rarely think about in a car: the air you breathe.

Available on every trim of the Pacifica, a unique air filtration system filters out 85% of particulates, allowing you and your baby to breathe easier every time you go on a trip, errand, or adventure.

Even though the Pacifica packs in extra safety features, the proper car insurance policy is essential. Add liability insurance for about $81 a month or full coverage for $143 per month on average.

4. Mercedes-Benz GLE SUV

While the U.S. doesn’t have child- and adult-specific safety ratings, Australia and Europe do. And that’s what makes the Mercedes-Benz GLE SUV such an intriguing choice for parents. With child safety ratings above 90% across the pond and down under, both the Australasian New Car Assessment Program and independent European tests named this the safest car for babies and small children.

With nine air bags, available third-row seats that have intuitive design to limit injury during a crash, and a host of advanced safety systems, the GLE sits on the throne of the luxury SUV safety group.

Just because you have a taste for luxury and safety doesn’t mean you have spend a fortune on car insurance. Liability insurance for the GLE only costs an average of $92 per month, while full coverage is an affordable $187 per month.

5. Toyota Highlander

If you’re still holding out on a gargantuan SUV or a minivan, the Toyota Highlander meets you right in the middle. With comfortable seating for five and roomy second-row seats, as well as easily foldable third-row seats, it’s a mid-size crossover that’s also among the safest.

The key to its success as one of the safest cars for babies is the Toyota Safety Sense 2.5+ advanced safety system. Aimed at mitigating crashes before they happen, Toyota puts a premium on prevention to protect your bundle of joy with features such as:

  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Lane departure alert
  • Emergency steering assist

It also receives a five-star safety rating from the NHTSA, a Top Safety Pick+ award from the IIHS, and stellar reviews from critics, drivers, and parents alike.

With its penchant for safety, the Highlander is surprisingly affordable to insure, with liability averaging $75 a month and full coverage for just $137.

6. Kia Carnival

While the Kia Carnival boasts the best cargo space of any minivan at 145.1 cubic feet, it offers a remarkable amount of safety. Earning an IIHS Top Safety Pick ranking, the Carnival comes with Kia Drive Wise driver assist technology standard on all trims provides an edge in safety over several of the other minivans on the market through attributes such as:

  • Blind spot detection
  • Rear cross-traffic alert
  • Automatic emergency braking

Even with its high-end safety features, the Carnival is amazingly cheap to insure. Liability coverage for the Kia Sedona (a near-identical minivan that the Kia Carnival replaced) averages only $75 while full coverage is $135, which hints at what you might pay for this brand new minivan from Kia.

Common Safety Features Found in the Safest Cars for Babies

Happy baby in a child safety seat

Family cars share many of the same safety specs, but the models you’ll want to look at have more comprehensive offerings to protect your child. So whether you end up buying a used car, certified pre-owned, or a new car, familiarize yourself with some of these features:

  • LATCH (lower anchors and tethers for children), a harness system that makes car seats easier to install
  • Backup camera or surround-view camera
  • Rear and side impact air bags (front passenger air bags won’t pertain to babies)
  • Passenger monitoring systems, such as Hyundai’s Rear Occupant Alert
  • Driver assistance and crash mitigation systems, such as automatic emergency braking or adaptive cruise control
  • Child safety locks

Each of these safety systems provide added protection with your baby on board, so taking an extra minute to see if your potential car has them can make a world of difference in terms of protection and safety.

Are Safety Ratings Important?

Safest cars for babies: car in a crash test

Automakers design newer cars to have safety features that mitigate the incidence of accidents and provide additional assistance to drivers. But if you’re not really sure what they do, are they really that helpful?

A better way for you to determine what the safest cars for babies is by using safety ratings, like we did in our ranking above. In the U.S., two organizations — one a government agency and the other a nonprofit — provide accurate safety and crash test assessments that can narrow your search. With just a bit of research, you can find a safety-first option that provides all the features that you need for a family car.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Ratings

Over the years, the U.S. government has mandated many types of safety features in an effort to curb fatalities and other crash-related injuries. In 1970, the NHTSA was formed, providing crash test ratings based on a five-star system. Today, these ratings serve as a strong basis for finding the safety of a vehicle, whether you’re buying a used or new family car.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Ratings

In 1959, a number of car insurance companies started the IIHS to test vehicle safety. The idea is that the safer cars are, the less chance of a crash, which leads to fewer payouts by insurance companies.

Famous for its Top Safety Pick and Top Safety Pick+ awards, the IIHS offers an additional perspective into the safety of a vehicle.

Car Seat and Booster Seat Safety Ratings

In 2003, the NHTSA started a safety rating system for child seats and booster seats, making it the first of its kind. While these ratings don’t pertain directly to a vehicle, they’re vital for parents who want additional protection on top of the safest car for babies. So whether you need a rear-facing or front-facing car seat, the NHTSA has you covered.

Car Insurance: The Added Safety Net for Your Family

Parents securing their baby on a child safety seat

Even if you buy the safest car with stellar crash test ratings and modern safety features, you can’t always control the situation. But that’s just what car insurance aims to protect — your family and your vehicle.

While state minimum liability insurance covers your legal requirements, optional coverage can ensure that your family is safe from forces outside of your control. With comprehensive coverage and collision coverage, you protect your assets, while MedPay can offset the costs of medical bills for your baby and the rest of your family.

Explore today to find the best rates for the coverages you want and need. It’s fast and easy — two things you don’t often come across during parenthood.

Enter your ZIP code below to find the best car insurance rates, take one more thing off your mind, and make parenting just a little bit easier.

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