The nine months leading up to the birth of their first baby can be a very exciting time for new parents. In addition to choosing a name, painting the nursery and taking a tour of the hospital, many expectant parents take a hard look at their current vehicle and realize it’s time to get a new, more family-friendly car.

Car Shopping Tips for New and Expecting Parents

The following four tips are things that expectant and new parents should keep in mind when they head out to shop for a new or pre-owned vehicle:

Bring the car seat along

If you haven’t purchased your car seat yet, do so before going out to look at cars. As Vroom Girls notes, when it comes to car seats and vehicles, not all are a match made in heaven. Once you are at the dealership or car lot, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and install the car seat in the vehicles you are considering. If it doesn’t fit correctly or is too hard to install, cross that car off your list.

Bring the stroller along too

If you already have a stroller, especially if it’s a large one, bring it along when shopping and make sure it will fit into the cargo area of the vehicle with enough room to spare. Remember, you’ll probably be carrying a lot more in the vehicle than just the stroller — groceries and giant boxes of diapers, for starters. If the stroller just barely fits or is hard to get in and out of the trunk, you might want to consider a different vehicle.

Be flexible about financing

As experienced parents know quite well, babies are incredibly adorable but also amazingly expensive little beings. Having a new tot will probably throw a wrench into the monthly budget, so be willing and able to discuss financing options for your new car. As notes, leasing a vehicle instead of purchasing it outright can be a great option because there’s no long-term commitment to buy, which means parents who find they have taken on more vehicle than they can afford can return the leased car for something more financially friendly.

Safety ratings and features

When thinking about which car to purchase, expectant parents definitely want to consider safety. As Auto Trader notes, new parents can research crash-test information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) to come up with a list of safe vehicles they may want to test drive.

Parents-to-be should also ask about side air bags; as Parents notes, children who are seated close to side air bags may be seriously hurt by them when they go off. Since little ones ride in the back seat until they are 12 years old, new parents should not buy a car with activated rear side air bags unless the manufacturer has stated they are safe for children. Check with the dealer or the owner’s manual to make sure this is the case.