Which car seat for toyota matrix - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 17 Old 07-06-2011, 07:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hey everyone,

I'm moving back to Canada in less than a month and my in-laws have helped us purchase a 2008 Toyota Matrix.
My DS is 13 months 22lbs. We won't have our car until 6 days into our trip but I'd like to buy a seat before we get to our car because we will have a rental car and therefore, we'll have a car rental seat. from what I hear, I don't really want him in a rental seat.

So, if you're still following me here, I'd love any recommendations for seats you'd suggest.

Thanks
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#2 of 17 Old 07-07-2011, 11:59 AM
 
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I have a 2007 Matrix-not sure what you are looking for, but I can tell you the seats I have used: I have a Britax Marathon which is super easy to install with LATCH or seatbelt, a Radian 65 which is pretty easy to install (have only used FF though), and a Cosco Scenara which was fairly easy to use but I wasn't thrilled with otherwise.  good luck, i love our matrix!


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#3 of 17 Old 07-07-2011, 10:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thank you greenemami. I've just read some seats just work better in different cars and since I can't just try out the seat in my actual car, I thought I'd ask. I'll check out the britax and the marathon. Thanks so much!

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#4 of 17 Old 07-08-2011, 05:17 AM
 
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Just so you know, the Marathon on the market today may very well not be the one the previous poster has in her vehicle, as the designs were changed significantly in the last year.   I personally would suggest avoiding the Britax convertibles because they've made them quite short-shelled and therefore not decent candidates for kids staying safely rear facing.  

 

Also, keep in mind (I know you didn't ask) that the Matrix does not have a center LATCH position, so if you intend to use a center install, you must install with the seatbelt.   

 

I would look into the Graco My Ride 65, the Evenflo Triumph 65, and the Safety First Complete Air 65. 


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#5 of 17 Old 07-08-2011, 04:00 PM
 
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I would also check out the True Fit. Be aware that the Complete Air must be installed on 45 degree angle no matter what the age of the child, so it takes up a lot of room front to back. It also has a 36" RF limit in Canada.

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#6 of 17 Old 07-19-2011, 07:21 PM
 
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Not sure where you'll be in Canada, but Sunshine Kids Radian is available in Canada through both Sears and TJ's Kids (Vancouver/Kelowna).  http://www.tjskids.com/seats-seats-c-39_8_261.html TJ's kids is having a sale right now and have free shipping for most seats.  The only disadvantage in a Matrix would be that you wouldn't be able to get a full 45 degree rear facing recline (without sliding front seat forward)...however, this is not necessarily needed for a toddler as they have good head control.

 

Bear in mind that usually kids outgrow the height limit well before the weight limit of seats.  In Canada, Sunshine Kids has the highest height limit...though I think there's a new Britax out here now too that goes pretty tall.  The Sunshine Kids Radian gives a full inch more height than the Britax Marathon.  One consideration is if you are going to have more children.  If so, I highly recommend the Sunshine Kids radian (all 3 models have the same height/weight limits).  It's narrower profile will allow me to fit dd forward facing in middle back seat plus an infant or convertible seat (or passenger) on either side.  Plus it is good for 8 years, whereas most other seats expire in 6 years.

 

Also, carseats used in Canada (except by tourists) must be CSA approved in Canada (I had looked into purchasing one in the US as we live near the border...but I wouldn't be allowed to use it here).  Not sure if you've looked into this.

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#7 of 17 Old 07-19-2011, 07:30 PM
 
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Just to add after reading PP's-if you are even vaguely considering having more kids or needing to fit others in the back seat of the Matrix, I would def. recommend the Radian, at least over the wider Britax.  I tried a couple of other combinations and the only way we can fit three back there at all is using at least the one Radian-and even that is a squeeze.  I wish I had thought about this way back before I spent hundreds on the Marathon, although I do think it is a great seat otherwise :)


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#8 of 17 Old 07-19-2011, 07:31 PM
 
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We have a Vibe, which is essentially the same car and we've had very easy installations with a Graco Nautilus and an old style Marathon (both FF only).  Do note that the back seat is not the roomiest in a Matrix, so you might have a difficult time rear facing some longer seats. 


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#9 of 17 Old 07-20-2011, 07:18 AM
 
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I have an 08 matrix.  I really love the car but I haven't found a great carseat option yet.  When ds #1 was little I used an evenflow triumph,  when dd #2 was born I used an infant seat (sorry forget what kind) and the triumph which left virtually no room for the third seat in the back.  It was mostly unuseable.  Then we decided that we needed to switch seats and when dd #2 grew out of the infant seat we moved her into the triumph rear facing and ds into a radian xtsl forward facing.  That made the third seat useable but still a tight squeeze.  We finally swapped the triumph for another radian xtsl.  Now there is a full third seat in the back in case we need to take an extra person somewhere with us.  

 

I really loved the triumph it installed REALLY easy and the kids looked more comfortable in it.  I really miss it and wish it was more narrow.  I haven't been entirely thrilled with the Radians.  They do not install easily although now that I'm more practiced it's not so hard anymore.  We have the one radian RF'ing in the middle seat.  It's VERY uncomfortable to have it RF'ing behind the passenger seat and I won't even attempt it behind the drivers seat.  I'm only 5'6" tall and have almost no leg room in the passenger seat even with the radian RF'ing in the middle of the car which gives a tiny bit more room. 

 

One thing you have to be careful about in Toyota's is that the carseats can't brace against the front seats or else it messes with the airbags in the car.  There really needs to be a carseat out there that is narrow like the radian but has a shorter shell. 

 

Now that I'm expecting #3 I'm not sure what we are going to do.  Another radian would be best width wise but I don't know how to get it to fit in the car so that it's at 45 degree install and is still safe for the front passengers. 

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#10 of 17 Old 07-20-2011, 07:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone for your thoughtful replies. I think I'm leaning towards the radian. It is important for me to be able to use the back seat for other passengers as well. I do want another baby, but it won't be for a while yet. (I'm going back to school to be a midwife!) We are going to try him rear facing and because he is the only one, we can put him in the middle for now. I know rear facing is the safest, but he has rarely ridden in a car seat (for 2 awful weeks at Christmas) and we are driving across Canada this summer. Sanity may dictate whether he is ff or rf.

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#11 of 17 Old 07-21-2011, 06:16 AM
 
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At thirteen months, the only option is rear facing. Kids tend to object to riding at that age. The important thing is to remember, 'this too shall pass'. And it does! By 20 months all three of my kids were happy rearfacers and stayed that way for months to years thereafter.

I would not be surprised in the least if he objects. You can mitigate it by riding in the back with him when possible, saving special toys and books for the car only, limiting car time, etc, but turning forward facing just should not be on the list of options for a bare minimum of another full year.



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Originally Posted by prone_to_wander View Post

Thanks everyone for your thoughtful replies. I think I'm leaning towards the radian. It is important for me to be able to use the back seat for other passengers as well. I do want another baby, but it won't be for a while yet. (I'm going back to school to be a midwife!) We are going to try him rear facing and because he is the only one, we can put him in the middle for now. I know rear facing is the safest, but he has rarely ridden in a car seat (for 2 awful weeks at Christmas) and we are driving across Canada this summer. Sanity may dictate whether he is ff or rf.


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#12 of 17 Old 07-21-2011, 10:51 AM
 
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Ditto the riding in back with him sometimes!  That's how I drove across the country with a 3 month old infant who DIDN't sleep in the car (we got 2-3 hours napping out of 8-10 hours driving if we were lucky).  My back was a mess though afterwards.  However, if sanity saving and no crying makes for a safer, less distracted driver, then it is "legal" to forward face in Canada at 12 months.  Either way, the middle back seat is the safest spot.

 

This is unrelated, and don't mean to scare...but please also have a cargo barrier to prevent objects in the back of the Matrix from flying into the passenger area.  I find it ironic how there is so much focus on choosing the right carseat (in case of an accident)....yet so little discussion exists on the topic of cargo and how the safest seat cannot prevent a head injury from a flying object (even a water bottle can seriously injure).   Even the safest of SUVs with the latest airbag technology can't stop a can of chick peas from becoming a deadly weapon in a rollover.

 

The Radian is 17" wide on the upper part (same width as an Alpha Omega) and gradually narrows down to the seat that's narrower (I think about 15"?) which makes it so much easier to fit/install and still be able to find the other seatbelts!(...if that's any help seeing how it might fit in the middle back seat rear facing).  Also, it sits lower to the seat (whereas Britax is on a tall base) which makes it easier for the driver to do shoulder checks, plus allows it to fit a little more easily rear facing than Britax in a small car (the back of radian seat would contact the passenger seat a bit lower down).   I have both seats now....I loved the Britax when dd was a toddler (being higher up rear facing so she could see made all the difference in her enjoyment of travelling)...but now I love the Radian now that she's forward facing and getting close to outgrowing the Britax MArathon's height limit. I love that I can keep her in 5 pt harness in the middle back seat of our 2006 Ford Focus wagon (similar sized back seat space to a Matrix) and still have room on either side for a carseat or passenger (expecting an infant this fall and will be getting a Chicco Keyfit seat so I can still ride comfortably in front passenger seat).

 

While I love the Britax, basically the Radian would be more versatile over the longterm...and an 8 yr expiry date (vs 6 years for Britax) would mean your second child could use it also for a long time.

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#13 of 17 Old 07-23-2011, 09:32 PM
 
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The Radian does NOT fit in a Matrix rearfacing. I tried & tried in my mom's car, but unless the seats are pushed up all the way, it doesn't work. And even then, it touches the back. I have a Radian, but I've only been able to use it FF in the Matrix. I was pretty upset about that, since the main reason I got it was the higher rear facing limits. I've been using an Alpha Omega in it and that works quite well, although the seats do need to be forward some. I can put it behind my mom, but she's pretty short.

 

Edit I see someone managed to get a Radian to fit rear facing, but it sounds like they have it touching the seat in front? According my mom's reading of the manual, car seats can't touch the front seat in a Matrix.


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#14 of 17 Old 07-24-2011, 03:05 AM
 
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Can someone explain the dangers of having the carseat touch the front seat when rf? I have had my radian installed like this in my matrix for almost a year - it is rf on the passenger side where usually no one sits except dh sometimes, mostly I am alone upfront. I just purchased my second radian because baby #3 is due in October and I am planning on three across - one radian on each side and baby seat in the middle. I was going to try to keep the one side rf (my dd is 24mo and about 25lbs) but will it be safer for everyone in the car to turn her seat around to ff? (I may have to turn her seat around to fit the infant seat in the middle anyway I guess).

Any input would be greatly appreciated!

(I am so sick of being told I need a "new" car:)
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#15 of 17 Old 07-24-2011, 06:02 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SustainablParentng View Post

Can someone explain the dangers of having the carseat touch the front seat when rf?


It's related to the advanced airbag sensors as far as I know. If your car is equipped with them (in my car there is a little cloth tag sticking out the side of each seat), then there will be information in the vehicle manual to tell you how you can/cannot install carseats with regards to their contact with the front seats. You need to refer to both the vehicle manual & the carseat manual -- some cars can't have the carseat touching, and some carseats can't touch.

 

I love that my manual says something to the effect of 'if your airbags are turning off, you should not store anything in the seat back map pockets' ... then why bother putting pockets on the back of the seats -- those are the factory seats with factory pockets!

 

In my vehicle, I raise the headrest slightly for the front passenger, and then the top edge of the Radian fits between the top of the seat & the bottom of the headrest & doesn't contact the front seat. It's worked this way in 3 Fords ... no idea if it would work in other vehicles. That also allows the front passenger seat to be far enough back for a real adult passenger to ride there.


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#16 of 17 Old 07-25-2011, 07:02 PM
 
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Thank you! I'll have to dig my car manual out and do some reading. My carseat is also just touching the headrest (the metal prongs of the headrest) - so I hope it's ok. Also my matrix is a bit older - it's an '05 and I don't think it's airbag system is considered "advanced" - but I guess I need to check:) Thanks again!
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#17 of 17 Old 08-02-2011, 04:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We decided to go with the True Fit. We tried it in a friend's comparable Matrix and it worked well even with the head rest attached. We did need to move the seat up a little bit, but both of us are short, so it isn't a big deal. DS is doing OK RF but one of us is always back there with him. Thank you everyone for your replies

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