2015 Acura MDX: Car Seat Check

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With a 2014 redesign under its belt, it's no surprise that the Acura MDX is unchanged for 2015. What has changed is the child-safety seats we use for our Car Seat Checks. We were able to fit three car seats across the MDX's second-row bench, but there wasn't enough room between the booster seat and rear-facing infant seat for easy buckling access. Because the second row's middle bottom seat cushion is shorter than the outboard seats, about 30 percent of the infant seat base was hanging off the front of the seat. It's recommended that at least 80 percent of a child-safety seat is touching the car's seat. Parents should keep an eye on proper fit when installing car seats in this middle seating position.

How many car seats fit in the second row? Two; three could fit if using narrow car seats

How many car seats fit in the third row? Two

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By Jennifer Newman | August 28, 2014 | Comments (0)

Five Things Families Should Look for in SUVs

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The family-hauler has shifted forms over the years, from old station wagons to today's apparent favorite, the SUV. And what's not to like? Today's SUVs can handle everything from child-safety seats to long-legged teens, not to mention family road trips and carpool duty.

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Whether families opt for a two- or three-row SUV, there are a few must-have features that make life easier for both parents and kids. Here are five things you should look for in an SUV:

By Jennifer Newman | August 27, 2014 | Comments (0)

How to Keep Your Family Safe When Car Trouble Strikes

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Plenty of us have been there, whether as an adult or a child: You're halfway through your family road trip when the car breaks down. I vividly remember several occasions as a child when our family car died, leaving us stranded for what felt like an eternity waiting for a tow-truck driver. When one finally arrived, my family had to cram into its cab, shoulder to shoulder with the driver (a stranger, no less), without enough seat belts for everyone and me perched precariously on my mom's lap.

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So what should you do when your car breaks down and your kids are in the backseat? Erin Stepp, AAA spokeswoman, has tips to keep you and your family safe and sane when the inevitable happens.

By Kristin Varela | August 20, 2014 | Comments (1)

2015 Honda Fit: Car Seat Check

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Families will find a lot to like in the five-seat subcompact hatchback's 2015 Honda Fit, as it improves on its predecessor's already-roomy cabin and boasts a generous 52.7 cubic feet of maximum cargo space with the rear fold-flat seats down. However, the new Fit still isn't a great fit when it comes to installing car seats; in fact, it's gotten even more unfit in some categories. The last time we performed a Car Seat Check on the Fit was the 2013 version (there was no new 2014 model), with which we had some trouble — particularly with the seat belts' floppy bases, front passenger legroom and driver visibility due to the middle-seat tether anchor's position.

How many car seats fit in the second row? Two

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By Matt Schmitz | August 14, 2014 | Comments (1)

Five Cars for Urban Families

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Urban families know a thing or two about squeezing the most out of small spaces — and those who own cars usually have the dings and dents to prove it. Being an urban mom, I'm intimately acquainted with three-quarter-car garages, compact parking spaces, skinny alleys and narrow side streets. Heck, even our grocery store parking lots are spatially challenged, making what you drive in the city a crucial decision. For city-dwellers who aren’t concerned about backseat space for child-safety seats, check out our Top 10 Urban Cars.

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Families in cities want something that's both compact and maneuverable, so that navigating city streets and parking lots isn't a chore, but also a vehicle large enough to comfortably accommodate family members and all their stuff. Sounds like a tall order, right? It is, but not an impossible one. Despite what you might think, small cars can work for a family, especially if you do your research.

Here are five good vehicles for urban families:

By Jennifer Geiger | August 13, 2014 | Comments (0)

Teen's Invention Aims to Prevent Kids Dying in Hot Cars

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If it were up to teenager Alissa Chavez there'd be no more children unintentionally left in hot cars. As of Aug. 4, 20 children have died this year after being left behind in a hot car, and just last week organizations turned to social media to raise awareness of the dangers of children being left behind in cars. Chavez hopes to end these tragedies with The Hot Seat, an alert system she created as an eighth-grader for her Albuquerque school's science fair in 2010.

Related: Never Leave Kids in Cars Unattended

Chavez is raising funds through Aug. 15 on crowd-funding website Indiegogo.com to make a prototype of The Hot Seat. She's already surpassed her initial goal of $5,000. "That will let me get a prototype, and once I have a prototype manufacturers will look at it and they'll be able to build it and after that I can get it on the market," the high school senior said on Canada's CBC Radio program "As It Happens."

By Sara Lacey | August 7, 2014 | Comments (2)

2014 Land Rover Range Rover Sport: Car Seat Check

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The 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Sport gained the Evoque's signature looks in its 2014 redesign. It also gained an optional third row — creating seating for seven — that some families might find useful for smaller kids. Our test car had only two rows with seating for five.

We managed to fit all three of our child-safety seats — booster, rear-facing infant seat and convertible — in the Range Rover Sport's backseat, but it failed to meet our criteria for an acceptable fit: A child's hand must be able to fit between the booster seat and the next car seat to buckle up. However, in the Range Rover Sport the car seats were jammed together so tightly that even the smallest of hands couldn't fit. However, a different configuration of car seats — two boosters and an infant seat, for example — might work. Parents of three who are interested in this car should bring their children's car seats along to a visit to the dealership.

How many car seats fit in the second row? Two

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By Jennifer Newman | August 7, 2014 | Comments (0)

Which Cars Fit Three Car Seats?

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UPDATE AUG. 5, 2014: Parents are often searching for the automotive holy grail: a car that's not a minivan and can fit three child-safety seats across the backseat. It's a short list.

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In the more than three years that Cars.com editors have been installing car seats into test vehicles, we've come across several vehicles that can hold three car seats across a backseat.

The 2014 Land Rover LR4 and 2014 Toyota 4Runner are the latest vehicles to land on our list. The 2014 LR4's appearance is no surprise; it's been a regular on our list since the 2011 model year.

As we come across more cars that fit three child-safety seats, we'll add to this list. For now, here are the cars from our Car Seat Checks that can fit three car seats in the second row:

By Jennifer Newman | August 6, 2014 | Comments (0)

Video: Don't Leave Kids in the Car

We're not kidding: Don’t ever leave your kids in the car. Dozens of children in the U.S. die each summer from being left in cars. In the video above, our own Joe Wiesenfelder talks with our friends at USA Today to offers some tips on the best ways to keep parents and their kids from experiencing a truly horrific and tragic situation: kids dying in overheated cars. 

By Patrick Olsen | August 1, 2014 | Comments (0)

2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport: Car Seat Check

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The 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport earned Cars.com's Family Car of the Year award for 2014, and it's easy to understand why after spending some time in it. With roomy backseat, sizable cargo area and family-friendly touches such as an optional panoramic sunroof and rear sunshades for the side windows, the Santa Fe Sport has a winning combination of features that appeal to families.

We found this two-row crossover easy to work with in terms of child-safety-seat installation. While we have some gripes with the seat belt bases, we seemed to have less trouble with our car seats' impact on front passenger legroom with this year's model as compared to the 2013. Read on to find out how the current model measured up.

How many car seats fit in the second row? Two

More Car Seat Checks

By Matt Schmitz | July 31, 2014 | Comments (0)

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