Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Three Car Seats?

It's Works for Me Wednesday over at Rocks in My Dryer. But today, I really need to know what works for YOU. Because, you see, I actually know very few people "in real life" with three kids four and under. But that's exactly the scenario we expect to find ourselves in come June.

So here's my dilemma...

I drive a GMC Envoy. That's a mid-sized SUV. And I love it. But I have some concerns...

  1. I only have one backseat... will a booster seat, a car seat, and an infant seat all fit?
  2. If not, do I go the minivan or cross-over route? Any suggestions?
Does anyone have experience fitting three such seats in one backseat? And, no, there is no chance that my child who will be three at the time will be big enough for a booster. She's almost 3 and 25 lb fully dressed. Help! Hubby's already looking at new car specs... I'm dragging my feet... I would much rather buy new seats than a new car. Far less expensive!

Any thoughts? What works for you?


5intow said...

Not sure your kids ages, but legally at 4, regardless of weight (at least in Illinois where I live) they can move into a booster. However, booster sometimes aren't much slimmer than carseats, and you have to be able to get at the buckle everytime, so in some ways a booster makes things more difficult.

Our oldest was four when our third child was born and they all squeezed into the backseat of our Ford Escort for quite a while. We did end up buying a mini van, but mostly because that car was reaching the end of its life and we planned to have more kids anyway.

I would encourage you to look at different car seats because they vary dramatically in width. We found some that did not work and some that fit easily. The ones with the over the head pull down bar always seemed bulkier. We found a simple, high rated car seat that worked for us, but that was quite a few years ago, so I don't know that you could find that specific one even if I gave you the info.

You could probably take a tape measure into the store and measure them compared to your back seat.

Congratulations, and best wishes with the carseat dilemma. Now just work on staying limber so you can perform all the physical maneuvering required to get them all buckled into those seats! :-)

(Sorry this was so long!)

Amy said...

My 5 year old weighs 35 pounds and is still in a 5 point harness. I don't care how old she is (as I've already had to tell her...). I've done the research and a booster is not as safe!

Maybe my fanatical ways with car seats are due in part to having a brother killed in a car accident, but my kids will be in 5 point harnesses way past the time when it's legal to switch them.

Financially... I have very little advice. Would you be able to sell your Envoy and get a good used minivan? We have the minivan... my husband swore he'd never drive one... ;-) but finances win over "SUV status" at our house!

We love the minivan for the space. One middle seat is usually removed so we can get to all three kids easily.

Praise God that you have such a delima. ;-) Amy

Carrie said...

I don't have an SUV--I'm in an Olds 88--just a car with one backseat, of course. Right now, I have my 5yo in a forward-facing Britax Wizard, my 22-mo in a rear-facing Britax Boulevard (please read up on the benefits of extended rear-facing and five-point harnesses for even older kids!). When we take a friend along or when I was babysitting, I can easily put another carseat in on the other side as well. I have my rear-facing toddler in the middle because that's the safest spot and she's the most vulnerable. I have my 5yo on the passsenger side because it's marginally safer than the driver's side. I like having the space behind the driver's seat empty for the diaper bag, etc. or so that I can recline my seat to deal with backseat issues in parking lots.

So, three car seats are no problem in my backseat. I also have a friend with a Camry with three carseats in the backseat. Hers are all forward-facing...6yo in the middle, 4yo on one side, 2yo on other side.


Amber R said...

I kept three car seats (two foward facing and one rear facing) in the backseat of our PT cruiser. We just made sure they were REALLY tight and the doors shut good. There is absolutely no need to change vehicles just because of car seats. Now storage space is a whole different issue lol

FishMama said...

With SIX KDS under 12, we've had all sorts of car seat combos over the years. Currently we have 4 in car seats (infant seat, 5pt convert., 5 pt booster, booster). We thought with baby six that we needed to get a new van since ours only fit 7. But, the thought of spending $18K freaked me out!

Then we found out that it could be converted to an 8 quite easily. We bought another "back seat" bench and installed that where the captain's chairs were in the middle. Now, ours is an 8 pass van.

I share that to say what we thought was impossible wasn't.

Do you have all those car seats in your possession now? If not, borrow one and try it out. Also, some baby stores will let you try the floor model out to see that it fits. I'm sure a clerk goes with you. I've found that the "footprint" of carseats can vary greatly. So try different modles. Also, you might have better luck if they were Euro since they're so much more economical w/ space across the pond.

Yeah, you might spend more for a carseat, but it's probably better than a brand new car. We spent $150 for our new bench as opposed to 18K. I think it was a deal!

Plus, Thor is growing so much, he'll probably hit the weight limit next week! ;)

Phedra said...

You need to look at the "skinny" seats. Sunshine Radian is the skinniest on the market with a width of only 16 oy 17". Do your center seat install first, make it rock solid. Then install the outboard seats next. I was able to fit two Radians and a Graco SafeSeat in my Hyundai SantaFe. There are other slim car seats on the market, but I'm pretty confident the radians are the skinniest, and you can keep you little one harnessed to 65lb!

Kelly said...

I had to upgrade to a minivan when my 3rd was born. My oldest was three. My car manual said only 2 seats in the back. I love the minivan though - if you can swing it financially it is the greatest! So much space and not worrying about my two older ones banging doors on cars parked next to us. Good luck!
By the way I put my oldest in the middle so he could reach both kids and be my big helper with pacifiers/toys/etc. It works really well!

Jenna said...

We had just purchased an '04 Ford Escape this past spring, when we found out were expecting Baby #3 (surprise!). We do not want to trade it in just because of the carseat issue, because we love everything else and don't want to lose money.

We will have one seat of each kind: a booster for our (almost) 6 year old, a front-facing seat for our 2 year old, and of course a rear-facing seat for our baby due in 5 weeks. The plan is to put the booster in the middle - I think our daughter will love that, anyways.

Krissi said...

I had three children 40 months and under we owned a Chevy Silverado extended cab truck. All three car seats fit in the back. The biggest kid gets the middle seat because they can get themselves in and out. Good luck. Mine are all getting big now. No more car seats. It was the best of times and the most exhausting.

Miriam said...

In my experience, boosters are not easier ... and they're not narrower. I'd agree with others here who said to leave them in five-point harnesses as long as possible. I had two forward-facing Britax and a rear-facing infant carrier in the middle row of my Suburban for quite some time. The hardest part was squeezing that carrier carseat into its spot.

I think a minivan would be easier, but I agree, it's better to find carseats that work than to buy a new car.

Congratulations and best wishes!