Carpooling with Car Seats - A Major PITA? - Mothering Forums
Family Safety > Carpooling with Car Seats - A Major PITA?
not_telling's Avatar not_telling 06:59 AM 02-15-2012

DS will be going to a new school in the fall.  He will be 4 yrs old.  We have a new baby who will be 1 yr in October and ready to move out of her Graco bucket seat.  The baby, of course, will be riding with us when we take DS to/from school.  We have friends in the neighborhood whose daughter will also be going to the same school and we've been talking about how great it would be to carpool - maybe they'd take DS in the AM and we'd take their DD home in the PM.  So, that would be a baby/very young toddler and two 4 yr olds in one back seat.


As it stands right now, we have DS in a Britax Boulevard.  (Britax behind driver seat, Snugride behind passenger seat)  The Britax plus the Graco Snugride equal no room for any additonal car seat in the back of my Mazda3 (I can barely squeeze my body between them and I'm relatively narrow).  DD will move into DS's Boulevard when she outgrows her Snugride in the fall and we'll get a new seat for DS.


I know Radians are supposed to be narrower seats.  Would we be able to fit a Boulevard plus 2 Radians in the back seat?


If we do that, I imagine DS would have to ride in the center position, right up against DD's seat, and the seat behind the driver would be where an additional Radian would sometimes go.  Would it be a PITA to install and uninstall every day?

ChitownTracy 07:21 AM 02-15-2012


chel's Avatar chel 11:47 AM 02-15-2012

Not up on the carseat configuration, but I would try to always keep the extra seat in your car.


Double check on when kids outgrow radians,  I thinking ages 5-6.  You might want to think of a getting a harness/booster seat for future carpooling use.


When does the boulevard expire?


Wanted to add, I really like doing a time specific carpool.  With a little one, it helps with nap times.  Currently I do morning  carpooling for my oldest.  Works great as the baby gets awake with the rest of the household and is often napping during the time for the afternoon pickup.

mama2soren's Avatar mama2soren 12:02 PM 02-15-2012

check here to see if there is a successful 3-across combo for your car.  You can search the thread for a mazda 3.


In a small car like that, my bet would be that you'll need at least one Radian, perhaps 2.  Radians are not typically grown by 5, unless a child is huge.  I know plenty of 6 year olds with room to grow.  Any FF-only combination seat (harness/booster) will be quite wide and not super 3-across friendly.


I think I remember that Boulevards can puzzle well with Radians if facing opposite directions (ie: FF Radian, RF Blvd).  You might have luck with that.  I would try having a RF Blvd for your baby in the center and the Radians on either side (you are planning to keep the baby RF after her birthday, right?).  Do you have a Buy Buy Baby nearby?  They usually have Radians in stock and let you try them in your car.  If you have a child-free hour or two, it'd be worth going there to play around with different configurations.  Then, order the seats online to save $$$ smile.gif


For a tricky 3-across situation, which you will have with a small back seat, I would be wary of having the seat re-installed every day.  It'd be worth the $200 to me to buy an extra Radian 65 to have permanently installed for my child in the other car.  For my peace of mind that it was installed properly and my sanity (all that re-configuring every day would drive me bonkers)!


Maedze's Avatar Maedze 12:10 PM 02-15-2012

I wouldn't buy a second Radian for carpool.   Get your DS a combination seat, and buy an RSTV to use on the carpool child when she rides with you, and to send with your son when he goes in the other car :-) 

alpenglow's Avatar alpenglow 02:59 AM 02-18-2012

We have a radian FF in the middle back seat of our Ford Focus (similar small car) with an infant bucket seat on one side, and room for a Britax marathon FF on the other side - but a tight fit.  Personally I find the Radian a PITA to install with a seatbelt (has much smaller belt path than Britax).  I'm not sure of the latch weight limit in the Mazda 3....but I believe the Ford Focus has a latch weight limit, so we just always use the seatbelt to install.  Bear in mind, the weight of the seat itself is a consideration for latch wt. limit too.  I find the Britax so much more user friendly for installation.


However, even though the Britax is easy to's still would be a PITA to do this every day.  However, switching weekly would be fine.  


Isn't there a new Britax out that has a narrower profile and high height/weight limit that converts to a booster?  If so, I might consider getting 1 radian plus that one (if cost were not an issue).  

Maedze's Avatar Maedze 05:50 AM 02-18-2012

No, there is no such seat.  You're thinking of a Radian.

alpenglow's Avatar alpenglow 08:56 PM 02-18-2012

This is the one I mean....but we're in Canada, so maybe this isn't available in the US? The shape and profile looks very much like our Radian.  

Maedze's Avatar Maedze 09:36 PM 02-18-2012

Originally Posted by dot1 View Post

This is the one I mean....but we're in Canada, so maybe this isn't available in the US? The shape and profile looks very much like our Radian.  

That is the Frontier. It's been around for about 4 years and is absolutely nothing like a Radian.   It's much, much, much bigger, and is a combination seat.  The Radian is much trimmer and narrower and is a convertible. 

alegna's Avatar alegna 10:50 PM 02-18-2012

And after wrestling the one my parents have tonight, no WAY I'd want to have to install and uninstall that monster frequently.