Tell me about the logistics getting 3+ small children into your car! - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 24 Old 01-18-2013, 05:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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What works best? If you do 3 across, who's in the middle? Where's the youngest? What are the ages?

 

If you have a minivan or suv, who's in the back? Is it a pain for them to get back there? Do they resent being the only one? Where is the baby?

 

We have a Pilot, and I can't imagine my eldest being happy by himself in the back (age 5). I can't imagine my 2 year old back there, either. Obviously, new baby won't go back there...But, with 3 across, I think they might kill each other. Eldest in the middle next to baby because 2 year old might hit baby while 5 year old can mostly be trusted? Oh, I get stuck on these simple logistics! Would it be easier in a minivan, or the same issues arise? On top of it, only the 5 year old can climb up into the very high vehicle by himself (another reason for eldest to be in the middle), so I will have to lift in the baby and the 2 year old for some time. Can only imagine bucket seat on the end. But why did I buy an 8-seater if we are going to scrunch into 2 rows anyway?


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#2 of 24 Old 01-18-2013, 07:11 PM
 
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I have a minivan.  My kids are 8, 5 and 2.   The 8 year old (DS) is in the back.  He is in school and in the car less.  ODD is 5 and goes to school 3 days a week for 2.5 hrs.  She is on the passenger side.  I pick and drop her off the 3 days a week she goes.   YDD is on the drivers side.  I put her there b/c it's most easiest to hand her stuff when she is behind me, vs her being on the passenger side.   Especially when she was an infant and in the throw things so mama can pick it up phase.  ;)  

 

Sometimes the older 2 like to switch.  DS says he gets lonely.   I don't like it b/c sometimes ODD needs help with her belts.  It's much easier to adjust or untwist them when she's right next to the door.   It is a bit of a PITA having to climb to the back of the van. 

 

 

We have a Town & Country, so we have bucket seats in the middle row.  Bench in the back.   So I didn't have the option for 3 across. 

 

I had a Pathfinder for a while, but I only had 2 kids.  Soon after ODD was born I did get a Chevy Venture.  I did the same set up.   At the time ydd was born, DS was *almost* 6, and ODD was newly 2.   He had no problems being in the back or getting in.   He loved not having anyone by him and the whole seat to himself.    It's just recently that he's grown "lonely" in the back.  And it's not an all the time thing. 

 

My BFF has an Explorer and 3 kids.   So she does 3 across.  Her kids are 7, 5 and 1.   Oldest is on the outside passenger and middle is the 5 yr old.   Baby on the drivers.  She said that she'd like to put the oldest in the center so she could help with the baby if need be.   But she said she was squished in the middle.  lol 


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#3 of 24 Old 01-19-2013, 06:41 PM
 
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We have a 3rd row Toyota Highlander BUT I don't to use the 3rd row for passengers because then I can't fold it down and fit my double stroller which I need for my 2 and 4 yr olds!  I have a Britax Frontier85, then a Radian RXT, and another Radian RXT.  Both Radians are rearfacing for my 2.5yr old and soon to be newbie and the FR85 is of course forwardfacing for my 4yr old.


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#4 of 24 Old 01-19-2013, 08:36 PM
 
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When we had 3, I did two in the 3rd row (on opposite ends) and baby in the 2nd row. Mostly because then the two girls wouldn't complain they were alone back there but then they also couldn't be next to each other or else someone would be bleeding by the end of the ride. Eventually we went to two in the middle row and 1 in the very back until we added in #4! I still keep them all separated by keeping the middle seat empty. It's for my own sanity. And for the safety of the youngest sibling in the row. 


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#5 of 24 Old 01-20-2013, 09:43 AM
 
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We have minivan and an "SUT".  Mostly we ride in the van.  When #3 was a baby, I had him on the second row, tumbled the other seat and put my girls in the back row.  Everyone was RFing.  When he was ready to move to a convertible, I was finally ready to FF my oldest - she moved to the second row and the two RFing convertibles stayed on the back row.  I don't find it too bad to climb in past the seat and buckle everyone.  In fact, I like that I can put everyone in the car and close the door behind me if needed...  When we rode in the truck, I put the most vulnerable child in the middle - so when the baby was in the bucket and everyone was RFing, that was the baby.  Now that my oldest is FFing, she's the most vulnerable.

When #4 comes, the plan is to untumble the seat and put baby on the second row in the bucket.  When he/she is ready to move up, it'll likely be time to FF my second and she and the baby will switch places.  The only big consideration is that you need to be able to get around the front seats to buckle your kids in the back row.  Some people with twins buckle them in the buckets and lift them over the back row, but that sounds terrible to me!


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#6 of 24 Old 01-20-2013, 07:05 PM
 
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We have a 2001 Suburban.  I have DS in the middle seat (open seat beside him and then the one behind the passenger folded down).  My girls are in the back row.  When we were driving it consistently they could buckle/unbuckle themselves so it was easy peasy.  However, since we have been driving DH's Accord since Spring (all 3 in Radian's) and only just now switched back, they've "forgotten" how to unbuckle the bottom buckle of their Recaro's, so that part is a pain the rear sometimes...mostly just having to go to both sides (I can easily reach DD2's seat behind DS, but I have to go to the other side for DD1).  Actually it won't be as bad when #4 comes though since I'll have to access both sides anyway, but DD1 *may* be in a booster by then.  I would just put their Radian's in the 3rd row since they can unbuckle them easily, but unbeknownst to me upon purchase, Radian's aren't compatible with the 3rd row seat of 01 (and earlier) Suburbans (because of the seatbelt placement).  That one totally miffed me since that was why we purchased them in the first place.

 

Both DH's and my family have SUV's (Sequoia, Expedition, and a Navigator) and I've found it to be a pretty similar setup with each one unless we just put them all across in the middle row.


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#7 of 24 Old 01-20-2013, 07:55 PM
 
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i have a minivan - my kids are currently 6,4, and 2 - when they were 4, 2 and newborn I had the 2 yr old and the newborn in the middle bucket seats and the 4 yr old in the back, she could buckle and unbuckle herself - she didn't mind being in the back 'alone' - the then 2 yr old would climb in and i'd load the baby and then buckle him.. at some point in the past year my 3/4 yr old wanted to be back there with the 6 yr old... so we moved him, and until very recently my oldest had to buckle him - he still can't unbuckle himself, but i can easily reach back there to do that on the rare occasion my 6 yr old isn't there to do it.. my kids currently all climb into the van and into their own seats i only have to buckle the 2 yr old, and in a pinch (ie. super cold weather/rain/snow) my 6 yr old can buckle her and i can reach back to check the tightness of the belts..  we're going to be adding a newborn soon, that will get interesting because i'll have 2 rear facing seats in the bucket seats..
 


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#8 of 24 Old 01-21-2013, 08:21 AM
 
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I am expecting twins and have a 3-year-old. We traded in our Acura MDX for a minivan as there just wasn't enough front to back space in the second row nor ease of getting in and out of the third row for my liking, plus all the other nice things about minivans (slide open doors, seats that pop in and out easily, latch/tether at every position, etc.) With the MDX, I was considering putting DD in the 3rd row and having her enter from the rear liftgate as that seemed easiest!

My current plan is all three in the second row at first: 3.5 DD (she will be 3.5 when they arrive) will be in her convertible seat FF on the passenger side with infant seats in the middle and driver side. Since I can lift the infant seats out, it isn't really a problem to have them three across. They do fit, already tested, but if there are any DD messing with baby issues, then someone(s) will have to go in the back, probably 3.5 DD, but maybe not. All the second row seats are individually removable, so I can take out one seat in front with two kids in the front and one in the back, or take out two seats in front for more ease of adults getting back there to strap kids in and have one kid in front and two in the back. I know once they are all in convertibles, I will likely not do all three across as it is going to be too hard to strap in the middle kid and get them in and out. Once DD is in a booster, then 3 across will work well again I think except for potential fighting smile.gif I do want to make three across work as much as possible as it is so nice to have the back of the van for stuff when I need it as the seats of course fold down flat.

Carseat logistics are so much fun! I do think a minivan is making it a heck of a lot easier.

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#9 of 24 Old 01-21-2013, 08:49 AM
 
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I'll have to deal with this very soon, too. We plan to get a minivan, though are unsure on which one. DS1 will be in the 3rd row in his booster with DS2 and the baby in the 2nd row in the captain's chairs. DS2 could also be in the 3rd row if he chooses.


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#10 of 24 Old 01-21-2013, 09:03 AM
 
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We will have 3 soon! We have a minivan and we're thinking we will put the 4 yo in the middle of the back seat in his Britax Frontier 85, 2 yo behind the passenger in his Graco Myride 65 and baby behind driver in his Graco Snugride 35.


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#11 of 24 Old 01-21-2013, 11:03 PM
 
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We had the tiniest honda fit, and we fit three kids in a booster, carseat, and infant carseat.  It was tight, but we were fostering so we knew it wouldn't be long longterm. 

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#12 of 24 Old 01-25-2013, 10:06 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, everyone, this is very helpful! It really is amazing how complicated this stuff can get, though I guess we just do what we have to do!

 

DS1 has since said he would be happy to be in the third row by himself. Maybe I will try baby in the middle (safest) seat in the second row, DS2 age 2 next to baby on driver's side, and DS1 age 5 in the third row with the passenger side second row seat tumbled so DS1 can get in and out more easily. Then, if I run into trouble with DS2 bothering baby, I will untumble the seat and just have the 5 year old climb over the second row (somehow this doesn't sound like a good idea especially with muddy shoes, but apart from having him enter through the back which DH suggested, I can't think of any other alternative).

 

lbabysmom, wow, I can see how you would be pissed about the Radian! It seems to fit everywhere and anywhere so I am surprised!

 

Quinalla, so you are convinced minivan makes it easier? Certainly sounds like moving seats around sure is easy, which would indeed help. Does that mean you have a really new model or is that pretty standard? Lately I have been contemplating whether we made the right move not getting a minivan. I was pretty against it, but I can see how the auto/sliding doors and being a little closer to the ground would be really nice.


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#13 of 24 Old 01-25-2013, 06:25 PM
 
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I have a pilot and will have three kids soon too. My plan right now is to do 7 year old in the passenger side 3rd row, the seat in front down. Baby in the middle, 2 year old next to baby behind the driver. If the 2 year old bothers the baby we'll do him in the back (more of a pain for me to buckle but less stressful than worrying about injury to the baby) and my 7 year old behind the driver. We also got the Pilot instead of the minivan!! It's a lease so we might be more seriously considering the van next time around. 


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#14 of 24 Old 01-26-2013, 04:35 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I have a pilot and will have three kids soon too. My plan right now is to do 7 year old in the passenger side 3rd row, the seat in front down. Baby in the middle, 2 year old next to baby behind the driver. If the 2 year old bothers the baby we'll do him in the back (more of a pain for me to buckle but less stressful than worrying about injury to the baby) and my 7 year old behind the driver. We also got the Pilot instead of the minivan!! It's a lease so we might be more seriously considering the van next time around. 

That sounds like a similar plan. How will you buckle 2 year old in back? Just climb in? I guess leaving the 2nd row passenger seat tumbled would make it not impossible to reach if 2 year old on passenger side 3rd row. But harder to hand stuff to them!

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#15 of 24 Old 01-27-2013, 10:14 AM
 
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That sounds like a similar plan. How will you buckle 2 year old in back? Just climb in? I guess leaving the 2nd row passenger seat tumbled would make it not impossible to reach if 2 year old on passenger side 3rd row. But harder to hand stuff to them!

 

That was my idea. I'd throw him in, snap the baby in then sit on the seat to buckle him. I'm not sure if my oldest could reach him but we have the option of sliding that middle row back a bit. That also leaves space for a friend or me on long car rides and then I could reach everyone still. Not so worried about getting to him on short trips. 


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#16 of 24 Old 02-01-2013, 05:31 AM
 
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If you're doing 3 in a row, I would definitely make sure the oldest is the one to be able to reach the baby-both for the safety of the baby, and later because the oldest will likely have more tolerance for baby tossing toys or touching them.  We have had the oldest in the middle so far because of this (and because when she is not here, there is space between dd and ds to prevent fighting). 

 

If I had a minivan and 3 kids in there all the time, I would consider putting the baby in the middle seat and flipping the other one down (if captains chairs) and then putting the older 2 in the back.  In my case, dsd isn't with us all the time, so I would probably have the 2 youngers in the middle seats and dsd in the back as needed (though I imagine dd would beg to join her at times :)


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#17 of 24 Old 02-01-2013, 08:46 AM
 
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Quinalla, so you are convinced minivan makes it easier? Certainly sounds like moving seats around sure is easy, which would indeed help. Does that mean you have a really new model or is that pretty standard? Lately I have been contemplating whether we made the right move not getting a minivan. I was pretty against it, but I can see how the auto/sliding doors and being a little closer to the ground would be really nice.
Sorry for my late reply, it is a newer model (2012 Honda Odyssey) and I think on most of the newer models it is pretty standard for seats to be easy to take in and out. But yeah, the 2nd row you can take any of the seats out individually so that makes it very flexible, I didn't realize until I started looking, but it seems most minivans have switched to that instead of the 2 captain's chairs or 40/60 bench for the 2nd row. The back row you can fold down the right seat and then fold down the left & middle seat together, not sure if you can take them out as I haven't checked or wanted to since they fold down into the cargo area so everything is flat when they are down. It is definitely easier just with the sliding doors and having more front-to-back space with DD alone. I installed all three seats in the MDX and it just was so crowded and I didn't see how I would get two rear facing convertible seats in the 2nd row without moving seats up and DH and I are both tall so that isn't really feasible (we put DD in the middle when she was rear facing so the seat stuck through in between the front seats a bit). There is also a bit more room sideways too, not much, but side-to-side I didn't have an issue fitting the seats. One other really nice thing I really like is the rear HVAC controls are out of kid reach, they were not in the MDX which was annoying when DD would kick them all the time. There are so many little things like that in the minivan that make it so much more kid friendly.

I was always very anti-minivan until I started getting a kid in and out of a car without sliding doors. Seriously, sliding doors are awesome! I keep wishing my driver's door could slide open too lol.gif I don't care too much about being closer to the ground as I am tall, but it does make it easier for DD to climb in herself which has been nice while pregnant and will be nice when I am wrangling two babies and DD. Also, minivans are so nice now, they are not the minivans I rode around in as a kid that were terrible and ugly.

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#18 of 24 Old 02-01-2013, 04:26 PM
 
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I love my van...  But I will say that unless you're very careful about keeping the wells where the seats attach to the floor SUPER clean (hard to do with messy little children eating in their seats), it can get to where it's impossible to get the seat out.  I have something jammed in there (probably a cheerio or something!) and I cannot remove my captain's chair.  I just keep it tumbled all the time instead.  It was annoying at first, but I got used to it.  And, well, soon enough, it'll have to be untumbled and I'll have to climb around the seats and through the middle to buckle in those back-seat passengers anyway... lol.gif  But, I seriously don't know how I'd live without the automatic sliding doors and the flexibility of the van.  Oh and having it so low to the ground.  It's wonderful that by age 2 at the latest, they can independently climb into the van and then into their seats.  Wonderful. :)


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#19 of 24 Old 02-04-2013, 11:35 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I love my van...  But I will say that unless you're very careful about keeping the wells where the seats attach to the floor SUPER clean (hard to do with messy little children eating in their seats), it can get to where it's impossible to get the seat out.  I have something jammed in there (probably a cheerio or something!) and I cannot remove my captain's chair.  I just keep it tumbled all the time instead.  It was annoying at first, but I got used to it.  And, well, soon enough, it'll have to be untumbled and I'll have to climb around the seats and through the middle to buckle in those back-seat passengers

 


Hmm, good point on keeping it clean! That is a tall order!

 

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I was always very anti-minivan until I started getting a kid in and out of a car without sliding doors. Seriously, sliding doors are awesome! I keep wishing my driver's door could slide open too lol.gif I don't care too much about being closer to the ground as I am tall, but it does make it easier for DD to climb in herself which has been nice while pregnant and will be nice when I am wrangling two babies and DD. Also, minivans are so nice now, they are not the minivans I rode around in as a kid that were terrible and ugly.

 

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anyway... lol.gif  But, I seriously don't know how I'd live without the automatic sliding doors and the flexibility of the van.  Oh and having it so low to the ground.  It's wonderful that by age 2 at the latest, they can independently climb into the van and then into their seats.  Wonderful. :)

 

And yes, now that I am negotiating an oversized vehicle (pilot) in parking lots with other oversized vehicles (minivans and all others at preschool), I am truly understanding why 1. having sliding doors where you don't worry about them slamming into another car and/or not being able to get out of the car at all is important and 2. having a 2 year old be able to climb up by himself would be a godsend. We got a good deal on our Pilot, but not sure if we'd be able to sell it easily to buy an Odyssey (and trade in is always kindof a ripoff).


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#20 of 24 Old 02-05-2013, 08:34 AM
 
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I love my van...  But I will say that unless you're very careful about keeping the wells where the seats attach to the floor SUPER clean (hard to do with messy little children eating in their seats), it can get to where it's impossible to get the seat out.  I have something jammed in there (probably a cheerio or something!) and I cannot remove my captain's chair.  I just keep it tumbled all the time instead.  It was annoying at first, but I got used to it.  And, well, soon enough, it'll have to be untumbled and I'll have to climb around the seats and through the middle to buckle in those back-seat passengers anyway...
Good to know! I'll try to keep an eye out for stray fishies and cheerios getting into the wells.

And yeah porcelina, I attract other cars like a magnet, no matter where I park, I come out of the store and two cars (usually big ones) are parked next to me eyesroll.gif so yeah those sliding doors are super nice.

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#21 of 24 Old 02-06-2013, 09:06 AM
 
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We have an Odyssey. LOVE IT! (though shhh, only a year ago I swore I would never become a minivan mom). #3 is still baking, but the plan is: 3 1/2 year old in back front facing (still rear facing now) with the seat removed in front of her (passenger side captain seat out). 2yo rear facing middle driver's side. Infant middle of middle row. Then everyone is facing each other and they can have a party in the car.

 

Then I can throw baby into seat and ensure 3 yo is climbing up, run around put 2yo in and buckle her up. Back to the other side to buckle infant and 3yo. It rains her a lot on my island so I can also be physically in the vehicle while doing most everybody up and even put infant in babycarrier while still inside. 


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#22 of 24 Old 02-06-2013, 10:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Then I can throw baby into seat and ensure 3 yo is climbing up, run around put 2yo in and buckle her up. Back to the other side to buckle infant and 3yo. It rains her a lot on my island so I can also be physically in the vehicle while doing most everybody up and even put infant in babycarrier while still inside. 

Glad you love yours too! Sounds like all minivan owners agree on that! I actually really like the idea of doing all kinds of stuff while in the car -- it rains here too, though not a lot, but in the winter that sounds like it could be really, really nice!


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#23 of 24 Old 02-11-2013, 08:21 AM
 
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We just fit 3 across in the back of our 2001 Sienna. DH decided to try it out last night. It is a bit snug, but they all like it. Right now the youngest is in the middle, since her seat allows for a lapbelt installation. I may change it to the youngest closer to the easier door, the oldest in the middle with the back of his booster removed and the middle kiddo on the other side. That leaves us with 2 open seats in the middle, so plenty of room for new baby and if by some crazy chance there are twins, then they'll be room for 2 more. So, hooray! No need to upgrade vehicles. One drawback is less cargo space. We only had half the back seat up before, but oh well. The Sienna is the most dependable car we have owned until now. So, I'm glad we can hang onto it. 

 

And for car seats, we have an evenflo triumph(planning to set up the next step up in the evenflo before baby comes and give the newbie the triumph), then 2 evenflo big kid full back boosters that convert into regular boosters. 


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#24 of 24 Old 02-13-2013, 10:09 AM
 
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For a RF back seat, I would get into the trunk of my minivan to buckle the chlild. Now I have the FF in the back of the van, and the RF kids in the middle bench.

 

Also, I'd like to recommend car-seat.org as an amazing forum dedicated to car seats. I have learned so much there, and there are many car seat techs on board there.

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