Ok, this is hypothetical since I'm not pregnant yet but DH and I are trying to figure out if we need to plan buying a different car into having a 3rd child. We currently have 2006 Corolla S and I would love to keep using it if we can. We are hoping to have a third child next year. That would mean DD1 would be 5 (or nearly 5) and DD2 would be 3 (or nearly 3). We currently have a MyRide 65 and an Alpha Omega Elite but there is no way another seat could fit between them. Any suggestions?
Help with 3 across in a corolla S (2006)?
You can do it with the right car seats. I would worry about exactly which car seats when you're about halfway through your next pregnancy because at that point you'll have a better idea of things like your kids' sizes, whether you are going to continue rear-facing that middle child past age three, and whether the oldest one is big enough and mature enough for a belt positioning booster or not. A year in advance it's hard to predict those things.
I will note that the My Ride and the Radian tend to nestle really well together when both are facing the same direction. So a couple of options might include:
Baby RF My Ride
Middle child RF Radian
Oldest child Booster
Baby RF Infant seat
Oldest Child FF Radian
Middle Child FF My Ride
Three new car seats, even if they're high-end car seats, are almost always cheaper than a new car.
I have a 2006 Volvo V50 with 3 across. The 4.5 year old is behind me FF, 3.5 year old is RF behind the passenger seat and baby is RF in the middle. We now have 3 radians but for the first year I had the older 2 in radians and the baby in a graco infant seat (the 30 pounder I think???). Anyway, a couple of things to consider besides just the question of "can I fit 3 across?". For me baby in the middle makes the most sense because of all of the touching and fighting that goes on between the 3 and 4 year olds. Now that the baby is 15 months she is just as likely to be bugging and bugged as the other 2, sigh. But that meant nearly a year of lifting the infant seat over the FF Radian to get her in, and now I still have to heave her over one of the outboard seats (she crawls out to me pretty well now though) and lean in to buckle and unbuckle her. We also have an issue with school car pools because the kids (3 and 4 years olds, 2 different schools) are supposed to be on the passenger side or at least have access to get in and out that side but with 2 rear facing Radians there is no way for the 4 year old to get in/out that side. Also, the height of the Radians makes my passenger seat pretty much unusable (which is really not a huge issue for me b/c I am single). I just purchased the new "anglers" they make for the radians and it did help a little bit but because the Vovlo is the only car with rear facing tethers and I like to use them, it didn't help all that much. The center seat being RFing also only works for me because I am 5'2" and like to sit relatively close to the steering wheel. In other words, if I were taller, had longer legs or a partner over 5 feet that needed to sit in the passenger seat this would not work for us. Lastly, as I mentioned before is the touching and the fighting. Honestly, if there were a way for me to get a bigger car right now and not have 3 across I would do it in a heart beat. The kids being on top of each other like that is horrible, there is just no way to sugar coat it. They cannot have any kind of food or drink because the baby might grab it (it has happened before, not pretty), no toys because if they fight over them it gets really ugly and again, the baby is in the middle of it. They are each allowed to have their "car silky" and that is it - no toys, books etc. There just isn't room for anything!
I don't mean to discourage you and I certainly understand the thought that keeping your current car would be a financial thumbs up, but there is a lot more to consider!
If you can financially swing it, I'd get something new. I have my three crammed in the back of my 2001 Honda Accord. They barely fit as it is, but we made it work. The issues that the PP talks about (no food or drinks b/c baby grabs them, touching, toy fighting, lifting baby over, car line, etc.) have been such a hassle for me. I'm constantly leaning over to buckle or unbuckle someone, meaning that one kid is either getting smushed by me (if they are in their seat) or I lean on their fingers and smash them or they have to stand just outside the door and wait, which means they may run (especially if my 21 month old is the one waiting). My car is nasty from all the spilled stuff (either baby grabs it and throws or one of the older one spills b/c there is no room for a seat with a cup holder). It is just awful. We're getting a van next spring and I can hardly wait!
Thank you all for the info and input! As much as I love my car I am starting to think that it just be too awkward. Like you both mentioned, the fighting and just being squished sounds...unpleasant. I was also thinking that if the baby needs to be in the middle that would be VERY hard for me to get them out (reaching across and pressure on my belly after a c-section sounds awful). We also make an annual trip to see family that is an 18 hour drive. I think we'd be hard pressed to fit all of us and our stuff.
I chuckled last week when I hung my head in shame and told DH that I was thinking it might just be best to get a minivan. He woefully agreed that he had been thinking the same thing. Haha. We've always been pretty anti-minivan but it just seems so freaking practical at this point.
we have 3 across in my toyota matrix (High back booster drivers side, seatbelt middle, RF radian passenger side)
It is tough for all the reasons described above :) We only have my dsd 40% of the time or so, but when she is there (in the middle) it is really stressful. She feels really squished and ds wants her attention the whole time (and doesn't always use positive ways to get it!) plus ds hardly ever falls asleep when there is someone sitting right next to him. If we could afford it (can't!) I would definitely get something with 3 rows. Even now I am thinking that when my car is paid off in a few months I might just bite the bullet and trade it in for an older minivan with more miles if I can get an even trade. Will probably be worth it in the long run even though I love my car otherwise and have never had a problem with it. It is perfect for 2 kids, not so much for 3.