Infant Seat without a base? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 19 Old 12-27-2011, 08:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am having our 3rd child in about 5 weeks.  Our graco that we used for DD and DS expired this month, so we need a new infant seat.  Because of the set up with our two kids in our current vehicle, I am wondering about using an infant seat without a base.  From what I've read it is perfectly safe as long as it is installed correctly every time, however I have never done this and am looking for advice.  Which infant seats are good without a base?  Are there any that are specifically made to be used without a base?  Advice?  Suggestions for what I should be looking for?  I'm guessing I will have to go to Babies R Us and try them in the vehicle first to make sure they are at the proper incline without a base since I'm guessing I won't be able to adjust it....

 

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#2 of 19 Old 12-27-2011, 09:22 AM
 
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Almost every seat on the market can be used exclusively without the base.  There may be one or two Evenflo seats around that need the base (but I wouldn't recommend those anyway), and one seat requires the base after the child reaches a certain weight, but it's not one of the more common ones.

 

That being said, the primary problem with going baseless (and yes, the install itself is perfectly safe), is that you increase your odds of making a mistake if you have to reinstall the seat every time you use it, and I wouldn't recommend that. 

 

There may be a better solution.  What car do you drive, what are the sizes of kids you have in it, which direction do they face, and what seats are they riding in?


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#3 of 19 Old 12-27-2011, 09:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks.  I've been reading a little more about them and it seems like most people who use them like this are installing the carseat once and putting the baby in and out under the belt each time, which is pretty much the opposite of what I would need to do.  I need to be able to install the seat with the baby in it every time. 

 

I drive a Ford Explorer with two captains seats in the second row and two seats in the 3rd row.  The second row has latch, the 3rd row does not, only the top/back tether.  Right now I have my almost 6 year old DD FF in a 5pt in the 2nd row passenger seat.  She needs to stay in that seat location due to kindergarten pickup, they put the kids in their seat at pickup time.  However, she will be moving to a high back booster before the baby comes.  I have a 3.5 y/o DS in a FF 5pt as well, right now he is behind me in the 2nd row.  I am thinking the best situation is me moving him to the 3rd row drivers side, and putting the baby directly behind me.  However, because I will need to help him in getting him buckled and unbuckled I need to be able to fold that 2nd row seat forward every time we get in the car, which I wouldn't be able to do with a infant base there.  So I'm thinking I want to put the baby in her seat, then strap her into the car after I've buckled him in every time.  So I either need to learn how to install a baseless infant seat, or figure out a different configuration for the kids.

 

A new car is not an option at the moment.  However we will probably buy something that we can fit the 3 across in the second row within the next 6-12 months (probably closer to 6) so this is hopefully a temporary problem.

 

Any more advice??  If I could figure out a better configuration I would rather use a base, I just cant figure it out!  My DD's seat will be easy to move around but I don't think I can move her to the 3rd row due the the kindergarten pickup situation...otherwise I don't think she would mind having to climb over a seat to get there (although even then it would have to be DS because she couldn't get past the installed bucket seat).


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#4 of 19 Old 12-27-2011, 09:53 AM
 
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If your daughter can be taught to buckle herself into her booster correctly (which frankly, I'd trust more than random teachers doing it), can  you just put her in the back row and have her get herself back there?  Typically developing 6 year olds don't generally need to be 'put into' their seats.  


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#5 of 19 Old 12-27-2011, 10:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
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She's never used a booster before, and I don't have any children older than her so to be honest I wasn't sure if she would be able to buckle herself correctly 100% of the time.  I assume she will be able to be taught to buckle herself, she has no problem buckling herself into her 5pt.  When I say they put her in the car at kindergarten pickup, what I mean is they open the door and make sure she sits in her seat before I drive away.  Right now that probably takes less than 10 seconds, and keeps the line moving.  They ask that the kindergartener be seated in that particular seat.  I pull up to a "buckle up" zone, she buckles up, and we drive away.  I realize that if you have multiple kids at the school this would be an issue, since obviously not every kid could sit nearest to the passenger door, but I just assumed keeping her in that seat would be easiest for everyone.  Plus if she's having a hard time buckling I can just lean back in my seat and help her instead of getting out of the car and climbing into the 2nd row and then leaning over the console to buckle her....  I guess really what I need to do is buy her booster, borrow an infant seat and try all the scenarios myself in the next couple of weeks to figure out what's going to work best.  I just thought maybe someone here had been in a situation where they needed to use a baseless infant seat and had some suggestions...  Thanks though :)


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#6 of 19 Old 12-27-2011, 12:09 PM
 
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Well, I wouldn't suggest a baseless infant seat.   It's really not the safest option.    There's absolutely no reason you can't get three-across installed in that particular vehicle though.  However, if you intend to do that, it will actually be easier to leave your oldest child in her five point harness, presuming she fits.  Buckling a booster in a three-across is a recipe for disaster.   

 

What are the sizes of your children and what other seats are they currently in?  (Brand and model names.)


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#7 of 19 Old 12-27-2011, 12:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It's actually not possible to get three across in our vehicle, trust me I wish it was!!  Like I said before, our 2nd row has two captains seats with a console in the middle, it is not a bench seat with three belts.  I have even looked into whether it was an option to buy a bench seat and have it installed (because Ford did make the Explorer with a bench seat also), but apparently it's not only unsafe but illegal to make aftermarket changes like that because we would have to drill, the tracks for the two types of seats are not the same.  I actually just talked to my SIL and she suggested putting DS behind DD1, since she'll be in a booster and that can easily be removed to get him in his seat.  Not ideal, because that would put him in the very rear passenger seat (at least for awhile while I heal from my C-Section and cannot climb across the back seat).  I'd rather not have any of the kids in the very rear but hey, there's only 2 seats in the middle row and 3 kids!  BTW the two are both in AOE's, which in my opinion make fine 5pts but not good boosters...


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#8 of 19 Old 12-27-2011, 01:52 PM
 
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Oh, der...I got my wires crossed there (that happens when you try to help two different people at the same time).   

 

What size are your kids?   Are the AOEs 40 pounds AOEs or 50 pound AOES?


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#9 of 19 Old 12-27-2011, 05:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My DD is 47 lbs and in the 50 lb AOE, DS is 35 lbs and in the 40 lb AOE.  So when I move her to a booster I'll switch him to the other AOE, which was actually his to begin with, it's the newer seat.  I'm thinking I'll put her in a booster (researching those now) and I guess put DS behind her because I'll be able to move her booster pretty easily to buckle him in.  Although maybe I'll just stick both kiddos in the very back because they're going to want to sit by each other anyway, LOL.  I've decided to just order her booster on Amazon and this weekend play with the car seat configuration with the kids and see what's easiest for us.  Thanks! :)


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#10 of 19 Old 12-27-2011, 05:57 PM
 
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Sounds like a good plan.  It sounds like you probably all ready know that, but remember that the top head rest position in the 40 lb AOE is not reinforced for harness use!


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#11 of 19 Old 12-28-2011, 08:02 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Maedze View Post

Well, I wouldn't suggest a baseless infant seat.   It's really not the safest option.    There's absolutely no reason you can't get three-across installed in that particular vehicle though.  However, if you intend to do that, it will actually be easier to leave your oldest child in her five point harness, presuming she fits.  Buckling a booster in a three-across is a recipe for disaster.   

 

What are the sizes of your children and what other seats are they currently in?  (Brand and model names.)



What if you intend to keep it in the car all the time? As in, if you arent taking it out and reinstalling it all the time. I have a spare infant seat that doesnt have a base that Im thinking about installing into DH's vehicle (which would only be used once or twice a week) but we wouldnt be using it as a carrier, just as a carseat.

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#12 of 19 Old 12-29-2011, 03:46 AM
 
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That would be fine.   (Although from experience I can tell you squeezing anything but a tiny baby into a correctly installed baseless I/O seat can be a giant pain in the neck! )
 

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Originally Posted by Adaline'sMama View Post


What if you intend to keep it in the car all the time? As in, if you arent taking it out and reinstalling it all the time. I have a spare infant seat that doesnt have a base that Im thinking about installing into DH's vehicle (which would only be used once or twice a week) but we wouldnt be using it as a carrier, just as a carseat.


 


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#13 of 19 Old 12-29-2011, 04:50 AM
 
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I would do daughter and baby in the front.   3.5 yo boy in the back, passenger side.  Surely you should be able to get to the back and buckle him up without folding down a front seat. We don't have that vehicle, but in our minivan, the far back seat on the passenger side is accessible from the door, while the driver's side back isn't.  

 

The only reason I say that, is because in my experience, I like having the oldest child next to the baby to hand the baby toys, give them a paci, etc.   But if that doesn't work, put older dd in the back seat, passenger side and teach her to buckle herself).

 

I would not use an infant seat without a base. Installing and reinstalling it seems way, way more trouble than just walking around to the other side or getting out of the car and leaning over to help older kids with their seat belts/buckles, etc.


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#14 of 19 Old 12-29-2011, 04:57 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Adaline'sMama View Post


What if you intend to keep it in the car all the time? As in, if you arent taking it out and reinstalling it all the time. I have a spare infant seat that doesnt have a base that Im thinking about installing into DH's vehicle (which would only be used once or twice a week) but we wouldnt be using it as a carrier, just as a carseat.

We had a baseless infant seat (Snugride 35) in our car for quite a while and it was fine. Not difficult to use and easy to buckle in and install correctly.

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#15 of 19 Old 12-29-2011, 09:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I would do daughter and baby in the front.   3.5 yo boy in the back, passenger side.  Surely you should be able to get to the back and buckle him up without folding down a front seat. We don't have that vehicle, but in our minivan, the far back seat on the passenger side is accessible from the door, while the driver's side back isn't.  

 

The only reason I say that, is because in my experience, I like having the oldest child next to the baby to hand the baby toys, give them a paci, etc.   But if that doesn't work, put older dd in the back seat, passenger side and teach her to buckle herself).

 

I would not use an infant seat without a base. Installing and reinstalling it seems way, way more trouble than just walking around to the other side or getting out of the car and leaning over to help older kids with their seat belts/buckles, etc.


 

This is actually what I am thinking right now...although I'm not thrilled with having him on the passenger side only because I know statistically the drivers side is safer.  However, it is not all that easy to get to the third row without folding down a second row seat.  I need to climb into the car past my daughter, and lean over the middle console to buckle and unbuckle him, and he will need to climb over the console every time as well.  It's not an empty space like in a minivan.  He falls asleep frequently on afternoon drives, sometimes just while picking DD up from kindergarten, so while I'm used to carrying him inside that won't be possible at all.  Also, I'm having a c-section so climbing into the can and leaning back to buckle him in is certainly not going to be easy at first.  And, life goes on, kids still need to go to school!  LOL 

 

I ordered the booster and it should be here tomorrow.  I'm wondering if it would be easy for me to take the booster out every time and fold down the passenger 2nd row seat for my son every time, then the infant seat won't be an issue.  So we shall see.  I ordered the Britax Parkway SGL, it latches in, but looks fairly easy....so we shall see.  Thanks for all the suggestions!

 


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#16 of 19 Old 12-29-2011, 09:44 AM
 
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There is no statistically significant difference between driver's and passenger's side.  The driver's side is not safer.   :-)   Also, technically, if you worried about who should go in the 'safest' position, that would be the least protected child (the boostered one).  Of everyone in the car, the newborn will be the safest, because he's rear facing. 


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#17 of 19 Old 12-29-2011, 09:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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There is no statistically significant difference between driver's and passenger's side.  The driver's side is not safer.   :-)   Also, technically, if you worried about who should go in the 'safest' position, that would be the least protected child (the boostered one).  Of everyone in the car, the newborn will be the safest, because he's rear facing. 



 

 

Wow, I could swear that I had read the middle was "safest", then drivers side, then passenger side.  Anyhow, putting DD on drivers side is still not an option due to kindergarten pickup, there's no way she could climb over the baby into her seat, that would be pretty silly.  :) 


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#18 of 19 Old 12-29-2011, 12:28 PM
 
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Kkrpata--My older kids are similar in age to yours, and both of them buckle and unbuckle themselves. I make sure that the straps are adjusted appropriate and check their buckles in the rearview every time we get in. They even have learned how to tighten their harnesses if I say they are too loose!  I have not had to buckle/unbuckle DD2 for nearly a year (she is almost 4)!  Can you work with your DS to get him buckling and unbuckling himself? And scrambling over the console would be a blip on the radar for DD2 who is quite the monkey.

 

Another thought: can you plunk the infant seat in from the hatch? I have read on other sites that sometimes installing the base in the 3rd row and then lifting up and over the back seat is an easier situation than putting the bigger kids in the 3rd row.

 

I have been brainstorming seating arrangements as well since we just got a new van and there are too few LATCH positions for our seats.


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#19 of 19 Old 12-29-2011, 01:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Kkrpata--My older kids are similar in age to yours, and both of them buckle and unbuckle themselves. I make sure that the straps are adjusted appropriate and check their buckles in the rearview every time we get in. They even have learned how to tighten their harnesses if I say they are too loose!  I have not had to buckle/unbuckle DD2 for nearly a year (she is almost 4)!  Can you work with your DS to get him buckling and unbuckling himself? And scrambling over the console would be a blip on the radar for DD2 who is quite the monkey.

 

Another thought: can you plunk the infant seat in from the hatch? I have read on other sites that sometimes installing the base in the 3rd row and then lifting up and over the back seat is an easier situation than putting the bigger kids in the 3rd row.

 

I have been brainstorming seating arrangements as well since we just got a new van and there are too few LATCH positions for our seats.


 

Yeah, my DD can buckle herself too in her 5 pt (we'll find out about the booster) and has been able to for quite awhile.  DS can buckle his top, but not the bottom.  We've been working on it but to be honest he is distracted easily (like most little boys, LOL).  Neither have the thumb/finger strength to unbuckle the bottom, fortunately.  I don't know if that's specific to our seats, but you have to press in hard, which I thought was the idea so the don't unbuckle themselves while I am driving.  My son would probably do that if he could.  He's a monkey as well.  And I also worry about him having to climb over the console, he will get distracted I'm sure and end up in the trunk or something, LOL. 

 

As far as sticking the baby in through the hatch, I'm pretty sure that's not possible.  I haven't measured or tried but I'm pretty sure there is not enough clearance to get her over the seat in her carseat.  Otherwise, not a bad idea.  Also I am only 5'0", so we're pretty much talking lifting her to my head height or even higher and then over the back seat, which I'm pretty sure I may not have the upper body strength for! 

 

Fortunately all of this is only a temporary situation.  I am sure we will be getting a new vehicle in the next 6 months or so.  My DH is starting his own business and between that and Christmas and birthdays and everyday expenses, we're financially strapped.  However I know once his business get's started we'll be fine.  So we'll be able to buy again then, and trust me car seat scenarios have been at the top of my list in looking at new cars!!!  We knew we were going to have another one when we bought the Explorer (which I love), I just apparently didn't think it all the way through or we would have bought one with a bench seat!!

 

Thanks for the ideas!!!

 


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