Help with car/car seats/five kids - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 15 Old 01-14-2013, 01:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello! I really, really hope one of you has a good idea for me, as I'm fresh out of any ideas at all!

 

Situation:

 

We are expecting #5 in early March. Currently we have two cars: an SUV that my husband drives, and a Toyota Sienna with captains' seats in the center row (so total seating for 7, not 8).

 

We live in an area where AWD or 4WD is a necessity; we would not consider a car without one or the other.

 

Our (tall and skinny) kids are as follows:

 

#1 - age 8.5y, 52" tall, 50#

#2 - age 7y, 50" tall, 43#

#3 (twin) - age 3y, not positive on height but 27#

#4 (twin) - age 3y, maybe 1" taller than his twin, 32#

#5 due 3/13/13

 

Twins ride in Britax Frontier 85s (not the SICTs, those were way too wide to fit anywhere) in my car, or Britax Marathons in the third row in DH's car. #1 rides in a booster - I prefer high-backed, but he can fit OK in a low-backed, esp around town vs on the interstate. #2 really still needs a HBB, as he is just so skinny that he slides "under" the seat belt without a high back keeping it all in place. We have a Chicco Key Fit 30 ready for the baby.

 

Long story short - I bought the two narrowest HBBs on the market - Harmony V6s - and we tried to install five car seats in ANY configuration in the van. We spent 2 hours on it yesterday, but never got anything to work. The closest to success was two low-backed boosters outbound in the third row with the infant bucket between them...except that I was physically UNABLE to get the infant bucket out of the base and into the house when empty. No way could I get it in or out with a baby in it. Gulp. Not to mention that I don't feel all that comfortable with my newborn baby in the third row when I am driving - call me neurotic, but there it is.

 

(Aside for those with husbands who aren't as "into" safety related topics like we are ... DH actually asked me when #1 could just ride in the front seat of the van...and offered that as an easy fix. Not so much. Then he wanted to know how soon #1 would be out of a booster; not soon. Then he wanted to know if the larger twin could ride in a LBB. Sigh.)

 

So ... we tried all five in DH's SUV, and the good news is that they do fit, comfortably, with a little room to spare. Whew. Panic averted; we can bring the baby home after all ;) ... Except that there is basically NO cargo room in DH's SUV - certainly not enough for more than a few grocery bags. No way would a jogging stroller fit ... not to mention a jogger + soccer gear + backpacks + cooler. Nor a trip to Costco (which becomes more frequent with each child we add). You get the picture.

 

DH's "solution" is to trade my minivan for (GULP) a Suburban or equivalent enormous SUV. This is my nightmare. I *love* my minivan! I am not a person who derives much personal identity from a car, but a big, gas-guzzling SUV really does not suit me or sit well. I have been depressed since he started talking about it. Not to mention the fact that I don't think we can fit two SUVs into our garage, nor maneuver a big SUV in our alley (we have an alley garage). So one of the two would most likely have to be parked out front.

 

Is there any other idea to try? Something simple that we didn't think to try? We tried these configurations without success in the van (second row // third row):

 

Frontier + infant // LBB + Frontier + HBB

Frontier + infant // LBB + Frontier + HBB

Frontier + Infant // HBB + Frontier + HBB

HBB + infant // Frontier + HBB + Frontier (this was my preferred configuration - what a joke! We needed 5" more inches!)

HBB + infant // Frontier + LBB + Frontier (second preference - again, no chance)

Frontier + Frontier // LBB + infant + LBB (the only one where we could actually buckle/LATCH all five seats into the car; but I could not get the infant seat out of the base)

Frontier + Frontier // HBB + infant + LBB (two big kids could not buckle their seats very well - could maybe be forced to work, but would have same problem as above, not able to remove infant seat from its base) 

 

Currently I am trying to convince him that HE can drive the van when he is in town and does not bike to work (in warmer weather, he bikes most days, so this is not all that frequent a problem) and I will drive his SUV for now. If I need to go to Costco, we can trade or troubleshoot somehow. He simply says I am delaying the inevitable, that the kids are only getting bigger/schlepping larger "stuff," and that solely for emergencies (safety) we need to be able to transport our entire brood in either car we have.

 

Help! Any ideas? Different car? Different car seats/different configuration? Different husband? OK kidding on the last one, but you get the idea!

 

Thanks for reading!!

 

Editied to correct about 100 typos, sheesh!

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#2 of 15 Old 01-14-2013, 01:55 PM
 
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I would get radians for the 3yos and use them in the third row with whatever booster will fit with them.  Then baby in the captains chair and one of the older two in the other (probably the one with the hbb).   At least in my sienna, the passenger side 3rd row spot is the widest, so I would put the booster there and radians in the middle and side if they will fit.

 

I did at one time get 3 across my back row with a rfign radian (passenger side), graco safeseat1 with base in the middle, and graco turboboster (high back) on the driver's side.  I had to have my oldest buckle his booster reaching through the base of the safeseat before I snapped the baby seat in.  Had to take out the baby seat for him to unbuckle.


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#3 of 15 Old 01-17-2013, 03:01 PM
 
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I would be happier with the oldest two (or any two really) next to baby, rather than baby easier to reach, since they can tend to all the minor fussing, pacifier fell out etc.

 

Radians are super narrow, great seats and would really open up your options. And probably far cheaper than replacing you seats.

 

I am trying to do three across and the key fit seems to be the narrowest infant bucket seat.


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#4 of 15 Old 01-17-2013, 03:07 PM
 
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Yes, new seats are going to be much cheaper than a new car.  Radians for the twins and a Harmony Cruz backless for the oldest should fit across the back (is there head support in the rear middle seat?).


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#5 of 15 Old 01-17-2013, 05:55 PM
 
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I can't speak much about trying any option like this, but just imagining it I would definitely get more narrow carseats. I strongly favor the Diono/ Radians. They are really great seats.

I like Dahlia's idea of putting the two narrow Dionos plus a booster in the far back row, booster and baby in captain's seats. That will definitely fit because the Dionos are super narrow.

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#6 of 15 Old 01-17-2013, 08:37 PM
 
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Originally Posted by marsupial-mom View Post

I can't speak much about trying any option like this, but just imagining it I would definitely get more narrow carseats. I strongly favor the Diono/ Radians. They are really great seats.

I like Dahlia's idea of putting the two narrow Dionos plus a booster in the far back row, booster and baby in captain's seats. That will definitely fit because the Dionos are super narrow.

This was going to be my suggestion as well-there is no way we could fit 3 across without using the radian.  Good luck!


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#7 of 15 Old 01-18-2013, 11:58 AM
 
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I'd go for the big, gas guzzling SUV. I love mini-vans for their convenience and overall layout but the back row is so unsafe, I'd never feel comfortable putting 3 kids in the back all the time. Suburbans have huge crumple zones and are very very safe (unless you're being hit by one). 

It was just in our local news this past new years where a little boy was in the back row of his parents' minivan and was rear-ended by a rented Hummer. The boy was unfortunately killed instantly while everyone else in the van was uninjured. 

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#8 of 15 Old 01-18-2013, 08:12 PM
 
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Many minivans are among the safest vehicles on the road, and many large SUVs are not.

http://www.informedforlife.org/viewartcl.php?index=74


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#9 of 15 Old 01-19-2013, 10:11 AM
 
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I guess it also depends on the type of crash. A friend's neighbor's little boy was just killed recently in a minivan rear end collision and you could tell by the pictures that anyone sitting in the back row didn't have a chance :(

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/story/2013/01/03/hummer-crash-jacoub-favila146.html

For them it was bad enough losing one child in the back, I guess I could never get it out of my head having 3 in the back constantly. 

I know all cars have to be relatively safe and it's 6 of one, half a dozen of the other, but if I had that many children and the choice of the minivan or SUV, I wouldn't mind the SUV.

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#10 of 15 Old 01-20-2013, 12:36 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Escaping View Post

I guess it also depends on the type of crash. A friend's neighbor's little boy was just killed recently in a minivan rear end collision and you could tell by the pictures that anyone sitting in the back row didn't have a chance :(

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/story/2013/01/03/hummer-crash-jacoub-favila146.html

For them it was bad enough losing one child in the back, I guess I could never get it out of my head having 3 in the back constantly. 

I know all cars have to be relatively safe and it's 6 of one, half a dozen of the other, but if I had that many children and the choice of the minivan or SUV, I wouldn't mind the SUV.

But there were three people sitting in the back of this van during the crash (there were 8 in the car).  Two others in the back survived.  It is a huge tragedy, certainly.  But I'm not sure it means that third row seating in minivans is always unsafe.  


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#11 of 15 Old 01-21-2013, 03:58 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Escaping View Post

I guess it also depends on the type of crash. A friend's neighbor's little boy was just killed recently in a minivan rear end collision and you could tell by the pictures that anyone sitting in the back row didn't have a chance :(

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/story/2013/01/03/hummer-crash-jacoub-favila146.html

For them it was bad enough losing one child in the back, I guess I could never get it out of my head having 3 in the back constantly. 

I know all cars have to be relatively safe and it's 6 of one, half a dozen of the other, but if I had that many children and the choice of the minivan or SUV, I wouldn't mind the SUV.

Getting rear ended by a hummer in a sedan probably would have yielded the same outcome.  It's a tragic accident, but it doesn't make every vehicle's rear seat unsafe.


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#12 of 15 Old 01-22-2013, 11:00 AM - Thread Starter
 
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You guys are my heroes!!! Two Radian R100s later, we can fit!! HOORAY! No new car for me after all. (Instead, I think it's new washing machine ... oh well!)

 

Thank you so so much!!

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#13 of 15 Old 01-22-2013, 11:23 AM
 
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Getting rear ended by a hummer in a sedan probably would have yielded the same outcome.  It's a tragic accident, but it doesn't make every vehicle's rear seat unsafe.

Yea, sedans aren't great either but it just makes me really uncomfortable how minivans' backseats are right up against the back glass like that... I'm probably just paranoid. 

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#14 of 15 Old 01-22-2013, 12:24 PM
 
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Yea, sedans aren't great either but it just makes me really uncomfortable how minivans' backseats are right up against the back glass like that... I'm probably just paranoid. 

 

I think that depends a lot on the minivan.  The row of back seats are much further from the back windown in my Honda Odyssey than my sister's Honda Pilot.


 

 

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#15 of 15 Old 01-22-2013, 11:08 PM
 
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I think that depends a lot on the minivan.  The row of back seats are much further from the back windown in my Honda Odyssey than my sister's Honda Pilot.

Ditto.  There is more room in my sienna then there was in the honda civic I drove in high school.  The only car I ever drove that had more was my outback.


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