Kid-friendly car features

When it comes to driver distraction, chatting on cell phones and texting has gotten a lot of attention. Another big distraction any parent can tell you about: bickering children in the backseat. But in the case of your kids' backseat blues, the kind of car you drive can actually make a difference.

There are several features that can make a vehicle more kid-friendly. For example, if the window line is so high that children can't see out the window, they often get bored and start fighting with each other. When buying or renting a car, consider taking your children along to see how the window height measures up.

Uncomfortable safety belts can also cause a child to fidget. Safety-belt clips, which pull the chest strap away from the child's neck, can make belts much more comfortable.

Another kid-and-family-friendly feature is lots of backseat storage space. Pockets in the ceiling keep plenty of toys and books within easy reach. Cup holders in the backseat are another plus, especially ones that can accommodate a juice box.

More From Consumer Reports

For those kids with gadgets, having an ipod plug or USB connection in the backseat or a DVD player can keep them occupied. Separate climate controls are also nice in the 2nd or third row seats in an SUV or minivan.

Taking your child's backseat comfort into consideration can make car travel more pleasant for the whole family. When you're shopping for a family car, it's worth bringing your kids along if you can so they can check out the backseat before you commit. In addition, bring your car seats to make sure they fit well and remember to keep your kids in mind when renting a car for your next vacation.

Copyright © 2005-2014 Consumers Union of U.S., Inc. No reproduction, in whole or in part, without written permission. Consumer Reports has no relationship with any advertisers on this site.