Toyota Matrix, Radian Seats, Tall Kids Questions! - Mothering Forums

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Old 01-18-2011, 12:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, we are looking at getting a mazda5 or minivan sometime in the future as I posted about previously, but it is looking like we have to save some more cash before that happens.  While we are saving, I am thinking about getting new car seats to open up some space in the back seat of my Toyota Matrix.  I keep reading that the Radian seats are the narrowest, but can't find a measurement-are they 14" across or 17" width?

 

We have dsd (9.5) in the center seat belt, dd (4 in April) in a Cosco Scenara FF driver's side, and ds (10 months) in a Britax Marathon RF passenger side.  Dd is somewhere around 42", 32 lbs (guessing since she was last measured almost a year ago) and ds is approx 30", 21 lb.  All the kids are shaping up to be tall and thin.

 

Would getting two radians free up enough space to let dsd sit comfortably in the backseat with them?  Could I put two Radians side-by-side in the Matrix?  I know that a RF seat would force the passenger seat pretty far forward, but that is okay with me.  Apparently the seats in the matrix are unevely sized, so the driver's side outboard seat is much larger than the passenger outboard seat, if that makes a difference.  Are the radians easy to install with a seatbelt if we use the center seat?

 

Are there any other seats that would make a difference?  At this point two new (even expensive) seats are far more within our price range than a new car (and new loan, eek!) so I am trying to explore this option to get us through the next few months. 

 

Thanks for any help, I know there are a million questions here, so I appreciate any answers you ladies can give :)


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Old 01-18-2011, 01:23 PM
 
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I have a 2005 matrix, a RF scenera and a RF radian. The radian definitely takes up a good bit of room rear facing on the passenger side, we look forward to not having it there, but I think it would probably help your third seat dillema. The scenera is pretty dang wide but the radian is narrower and also has a low profile so it gives good shoulder space when rear facing. I probably haven't answered any of your questions. The radian is the narrowest seat out there, so I think it's worth a try.  I haven't put one in with a seat belt.


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Old 01-18-2011, 04:01 PM
 
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Yes, you can probably fit two radians side-by-side (one RF, one FF) with no issues in a matrix. 

 

Actually, if you have a classic Britax, you can probably more than fit that and the radian side by side, both RF, FF, and one of each. 

 

If you put the RN in the center RF, you may be able to fit it between the two front seats. My SIL has a matrix if you'd like me to try it out for you (I have two Radians ;) ). 

 

Otherwise you can do RF MA / FF Radian / 9.5yo

 

 

It bears mentioning that if your 9.5yo does not pass the five step test, he still needs a backless booster ($13 or so). :)


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Old 01-19-2011, 06:50 AM
 
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It wouldn't be a long term solution, but we will have three across in the back of our Vibe Radian FFing, Coccoro RFing in the center. I know you said you have long narrow kids, and the Coccoro is very much a niche seat, but it left oodles of room next to it for DD's booster and didn't force the passenger seat way forward. The safety of the passenger is very important too, and if that seat is regularly occupied, having them (you?) kiss the dash to make room for a RFing seat is not a good option either. That said, it wont last for the long run. Best luck!


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Old 01-19-2011, 11:53 AM
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by greenemami View Post  I keep reading that the Radian seats are the narrowest, but can't find a measurement-are they 14" across or 17" width?


That confused me as well when we were looking into Radians for a long plane trip on a charter with tiny seats...the 17" is at their widest point, so up around the head/shoulders.  The 14" is the 'bum' width.

 

We have a Ford Focus wagon, which has a fairly small back seat.  We test-ran two FF Radians with a RF Marathon and got it to fit (thanks to a skilled friend who is also a certified car seat tech!).  I can't remember if the Marathon was in the middle or on the outside, though (not having the Radians side by side means that you can avoid having the 'shoulders' of the seats butting against each other, but I'm not 100% about how we finally configured it).

 

We almost bought a Matrix when we got our Focus because there was a poster in the showroom of 3 car seats across the back of it (this was before we had kids).  So it should be feasible...or maybe you could go after Toyota for false advertising  ;)

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Old 01-19-2011, 08:30 PM
 
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My grandma has a matrix, I can easily sit next to my kids with a FF radian outboard passenger side, FF marathon in the center. I would imagine you could do itwith the Marathon outboard and radian center, as well (usually both girls go outboard, so I havent tried every combo). If you can put the RF marathon in the middle, then that also frees up shoulder space for you oldest (That is the spot I was most cramped in). Also, I am not sure what year your matrix is, but remember your oldest at least needs a lap and shoulder belt. The middle seat of my grandmas has a lap belt only. And you should check the belt fit to see if he would be better off with a backless booster.


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Old 01-19-2011, 10:10 PM
 
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First and foremost I'd make sure your 9.5yo stepdaughter passes the 5 step test.  If not, she needs to be in a backless booster at minimum.  If she doesn't fit in a backless booster, she needs to be in a high back booster.

 

For your 3yoDD... if she's already forward facing, I wouldn't hesitate to get her a combination seat such as the Britax Frontier 85, Graco Nautilus, or Evenflo Maestro (which is the cheapest).  I think the Nautilus is wider than the Britax, so I'd probably get the Frontier if money allows.

 

For your 10 month old, I'd get a Radian.  It is highly encouraged to rear face kids until around 4 years old, as that is when bone ossification occurs and the risk of spinal injury when FFing is decreaced.  Size of the child has nothing to do with it, as the bones of a 25lb 4yo will be the same as the bones of a 45lb 4yo.  A 35lb 1yo doesn't have the same bone maturity as a 35lb 4yo.  Just examples ;)

 

I'd put the Radian rear facing center.  That way it will kind of go between the seats.  Also, you don't have to use the 45 degree newborn recline with an older baby or toddler- you can get the seat as upright as 30 degrees.  Now for the 9yo.  I'd put her on the OPPOSITE side of where the center seat's female buckle is.  The reason for this is because your 9yo will likely be buckling and unbuckling herself.  You really wouldn't want her to accidentally press the release button for the wrong seatbelt- accidentally unbuckling the car seat next to her.  I actually accidentally do this a lot.  I'd then put the 3yo's seat on the other side. :)


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Old 01-20-2011, 06:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks so much for all the replies!  Sounds like I might be okay just purchasing one radian and keeping the marathon, so we will be keeping that in mind as we continue car/car seat shopping!  Thanks!

 

Yes, I wish I had kept dd rear-facing longer, but wasn't as well-informed as I am this time around ;) Actually, I kept her RF until almost 2 I think and that was considered crazy by everyone I know!  Ds will stay RF until he outgrows the seat RF.  I will check again that dsd fits the 5 step test, but I am fairly certain she does.  She is very tall for her age and does a pretty good job of sitting appropriately. And yes, there is definitely a lap/shoulder belt in the middle :)  It's funny how everyone in real life thinks I am nuts for keeping the kids in their seats for so long and on this board I seem to be not very strict-I bet a lot of you get that too!

 

I was looking into a combo seat but it looked like they were all pretty wide.  Plus, I would think that dd could go right from a radian to a booster?  She is only 32 lb or so at almost 4 years old, so I'm sure she will outgrow the seat by height before weight-any idea how tall the average kid is when they outgrow a radian? She is tall, but most of her height is in her legs, not her torso, so that might give her more time. 

 

Oh, and thanks for clarifying the measurements!  That makes more sense! 


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Old 01-20-2011, 06:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WindyCityMom View Post

First and foremost I'd make sure your 9.5yo stepdaughter passes the 5 step test.  If not, she needs to be in a backless booster at minimum.  If she doesn't fit in a backless booster, she needs to be in a high back booster.

 

For your 3yoDD... if she's already forward facing, I wouldn't hesitate to get her a combination seat such as the Britax Frontier 85, Graco Nautilus, or Evenflo Maestro (which is the cheapest).  I think the Nautilus is wider than the Britax, so I'd probably get the Frontier if money allows.

 

For your 10 month old, I'd get a Radian.  It is highly encouraged to rear face kids until around 4 years old, as that is when bone ossification occurs and the risk of spinal injury when FFing is decreaced.  Size of the child has nothing to do with it, as the bones of a 25lb 4yo will be the same as the bones of a 45lb 4yo.  A 35lb 1yo doesn't have the same bone maturity as a 35lb 4yo.  Just examples ;)

 

I'd put the Radian rear facing center.  That way it will kind of go between the seats.  Also, you don't have to use the 45 degree newborn recline with an older baby or toddler- you can get the seat as upright as 30 degrees.  Now for the 9yo.  I'd put her on the OPPOSITE side of where the center seat's female buckle is.  The reason for this is because your 9yo will likely be buckling and unbuckling herself.  You really wouldn't want her to accidentally press the release button for the wrong seatbelt- accidentally unbuckling the car seat next to her.  I actually accidentally do this a lot.  I'd then put the 3yo's seat on the other side. :)



Wow, good point!  I could definitely see myself being annoyed at this happening after I struggled to do a seatbelt install! :) Thanks!


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Old 01-20-2011, 06:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunnymw View Post

Yes, you can probably fit two radians side-by-side (one RF, one FF) with no issues in a matrix. 

 

Actually, if you have a classic Britax, you can probably more than fit that and the radian side by side, both RF, FF, and one of each. 

 

If you put the RN in the center RF, you may be able to fit it between the two front seats. My SIL has a matrix if you'd like me to try it out for you (I have two Radians ;) ). 

 

Otherwise you can do RF MA / FF Radian / 9.5yo

 

 

It bears mentioning that if your 9.5yo does not pass the five step test, he still needs a backless booster ($13 or so). :)

 

Thanks! Looks like lots of people have been able to fit this combo, so I am just going to go for it if that is what we decide, thanks for offering to try it out for me :)


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Old 01-21-2011, 09:48 AM
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The combo seats are all wide. No way would I want one in a 3-across situation. Almost all kids will fit in the Radian until booster age.

I think the Safety 1st Complete Air is only about 1/2" wider than the Radian... it is a lot cheaper. It wouldn't puzzle as well with your MA though so the Radian might be worth it for that. The CA is sold at Babies R Us so you could go there and try it out in your car. I could imagine 2 CAs fitting well next to each other if one was RFing and one FFing but haven't tried it. The CA takes up a lot less room front to back than the Radian (I have one of each).

Like a couple others have mentioned, your stepdaughter might need a backless booster. The Evenflo Amp is 15.5" across. 

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Old 01-21-2011, 03:30 PM
 
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The Maestro is a narrow combo seat.  It's not as narrow as the Radian but it's better than most seats.  

 

I think *most* kids outgrow the Radian at 6-7+, unfortunately even my super tiny almost-4yo will outgrow it by height before I'm ready to booster her.  She's only 36" and 27lbs but FF'ing, she has about an inch of harness height. She's RF'ing now and will probably be RF'ing for another year+, and I fully expect her to go straight from RF'ing to booster, as I'm sure she will have outgrown the Radian FF by height at that point.


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