If you've got three carseats in a row


#1

How much of a pain in the butt is it getting the middle child buckled? I’m part of the “I don’t want a minivan” camp but I pretty much resigning to needing one. DH thinks having three across is no big deal, but he isn’t the one who would be buckling in and out 6 times per trip. Also, since I will have two rear facing, the oldest will need to be on the outside so she doesn’t climb over a seat, and she’s the only one who can really help get herself buckled…:shrug:


#2

My kids love to climb, so I would put her in the center, anyway, and let her be a monkey by climbing over the other seat. :smiley: We may be doing the 3-across arrangement in July, and if we do, we definitely plan on putting the oldest child (her chronological age will be 4.5 years by then) in the middle seat, forward-facing.

I’ve heard it said that people should put the least protected child (forward facing) in the most protected position (center) for ultimate safety, too, which is one of the reasons I favor putting my oldest in the middle. Not to mention, of course, the help she can provide by retrieving toys, wiping spit up/runny noses, distributing snacks (when newborn gets older), entertaining both siblings, getting herself seated, etc.


#3

Will you soon be needing to buckle in a third child??


#4

One other consideration:

The middle position often does not have a headrest. If the child in the middle is in a backless booster seat (I don’t know how old your kids are), her head may be above the seat back and would not be safe unless there is also a headrest. The solution there is to use a high back booster instead.

If your car is small, you may not physically be able to fit 3 car seats back there. I have a Honda Accord and it was very tight when I had to put my nephew’s car seat back there with my two every now and then.


#5

Wouldn’t dirty feet get the other carseats dirty? I am thinking of our MN winters - snow, slush, mush, snirt…I know how dirty feet can be, especially this time of year, and just cringe at the thought of that in little car seats for infants.


#6

We live in the Phoenix area, so I never thought about snow or mud. But my kids don’t wear shoes in the car, either… So dirty shoes didn’t even occur to me. :o

Maybe a large towel could be draped over the carseats, that way whenever the oldest child climbs across, the dirty shoes make contact with the towel (or blanket or whatever) instead of the seat. Or shoes could be removed prior to climbing over.


#7

[quote="KCT, post:3, topic:186738"]
Will you soon be needing to buckle in a third child??

[/quote]

I was wondering the same thing. Steph?


#8

You will not be at peace until you submit to the minivan dogma.


#9

I found myself in the position of needing 3 car seats across the back of our car. I had a very hard time finding 3 seats that would fit properly in the space available. I needed the seats to be two rear facing and one forward facing. After buying and returning several seats I finally found the only combo that really worked AND provided the ultimate in safety. We bought one Sunshine Kids Radian 65 and two of the Radian 80.

sunshinekidsbaby.com/

Granted they are pricey. But they fit perfectly across the back of my Buick Century and they are steel reinforced opposed to molded plastic. They also will fit a child from birth to either 65 or 80 lbs. I know that is beyond the requirements according to the law but I have never felt those filmsy, backless booster seats were safe, at all. So for me it was worth the cost. Instead of buying an infant seat and then another when the child was too large for those and then another when they were too big for the larger seat...we bought one for the duration.

We've had them for 3 yrs. now and they look as good as the day we bought them. I purchased ours from Ebay and saved about $40 per seat, no shipping and handling.


#10

[quote="Truly_Beloved, post:2, topic:186738"]
My kids love to climb, so I would put her in the center, anyway, and let her be a monkey by climbing over the other seat. :D We may be doing the 3-across arrangement in July, and if we do, we definitely plan on putting the oldest child (her chronological age will be 4.5 years by then) in the middle seat, forward-facing.

I've heard it said that people should put the least protected child (forward facing) in the most protected position (center) for ultimate safety, too, which is one of the reasons I favor putting my oldest in the middle. Not to mention, of course, the help she can provide by retrieving toys, wiping spit up/runny noses, distributing snacks (when newborn gets older), entertaining both siblings, getting herself seated, etc.

[/quote]

I've heard the same thing about the least protected child, but I know she would get the climbed on seats totally filthy with her shoes.

[quote="KCT, post:3, topic:186738"]
Will you soon be needing to buckle in a third child??

[/quote]

Yep, In October. I'm only 5 weeks so I haven't announced it to the whole list on FB, just a select few. I have a higher than average chance of miscarriage - even though I've never had one to my knowledge - so I'm going to wait until about 12 weeks.

[quote="smswife, post:4, topic:186738"]
One other consideration:

The middle position often does not have a headrest. If the child in the middle is in a backless booster seat (I don't know how old your kids are), her head may be above the seat back and would not be safe unless there is also a headrest. The solution there is to use a high back booster instead.

If your car is small, you may not physically be able to fit 3 car seats back there. I have a Honda Accord and it was very tight when I had to put my nephew's car seat back there with my two every now and then.

[/quote]

Right now the oldest is still in a harnessed Graco Nautilus, and it will convert to a high back eventually. I don't think it needs to until 65 pounds. It's not a terribly wide seat, but not terribly narrow, and we probably won't be replacing it unless we decide to get something for both my and DH's vehicle. Then we would either get the same for her or a Britax Frontier, which is about an inch narrower. Right now we just have one car, his, so we are definitely getting something roomier for me. Either a wagon or minivan, most likely.

[quote="LemonPoppy, post:9, topic:186738"]
I found myself in the position of needing 3 car seats across the back of our car. I had a very hard time finding 3 seats that would fit properly in the space available. I needed the seats to be two rear facing and one forward facing. After buying and returning several seats I finally found the only combo that really worked AND provided the ultimate in safety. We bought one Sunshine Kids Radian 65 and two of the Radian 80.

sunshinekidsbaby.com/

Granted they are pricey. But they fit perfectly across the back of my Buick Century and they are steel reinforced opposed to molded plastic. They also will fit a child from birth to either 65 or 80 lbs. I know that is beyond the requirements according to the law but I have never felt those filmsy, backless booster seats were safe, at all. So for me it was worth the cost. Instead of buying an infant seat and then another when the child was too large for those and then another when they were too big for the larger seat...we bought one for the duration.

We've had them for 3 yrs. now and they look as good as the day we bought them. I purchased ours from Ebay and saved about $40 per seat, no shipping and handling.

[/quote]

I've been considering those, too. I have two concerns; first, they go up to 45 pounds rear facing, which is awesome and we would definitely do extended RF, but the seats are so tall I wonder how well they would fit in a car or wagon as opposed to a minivan or SUV. My other concern is the lack of side impact protection. I know they saw it's within the seat, but I would just like to see a little more something there.

Thanks for all your responses!!!!:thumbsup:


#11

Congrats on your pregnancy! I don’t have any advice but I’ll be watching this thread. DH and I definitely want more kids after this one and we have a very small car (plymouth neon) but probably will keep it as long as it’s still kicking so I was wondering if there was any way to get 3 carseats in there :stuck_out_tongue:


#12

Our third put us into minivan land. It’s was inevitable.

We had a fairly new Volvo 240, and the back seat was curved, so there was no way to fit three kids in the back. We had the oldest in the middle (with no booster seat, he was 6, 19 years ago…), but his younger sister (at 3 years old) wouldn’t stop hitting him! It just wasn’t working.

The thing about the minivan is that you can do the buckling and all inside, with the doors closed, if it’s cold or raining. And sound doesn’t travel too well around the inside, so it’s a little more quiet on long trips.


#13

Have you considered a full size American Car? You can get a used Lincoln or Caddy for the price of a new midsize import. We traded in our Corsica for a full size Olds because we were having trouble with just two car seats in the midsize. If you can afford it some of the new cross overs are a great option and the third row seating is well suited for young kids.


#14

[quote="tapiocapudding, post:11, topic:186738"]
DH and I definitely want more kids after this one and we have a very small car (plymouth neon) but probably will keep it as long as it's still kicking so I was wondering if there was any way to get 3 carseats in there :p

[/quote]

Check out this forum, they have a thread dedicated to people who have safely and properly fit 3 carseats across the backs of all sorts of different cars (small cars included). A lot depends on the kind of car you have, as well as the individual seats. So, for example, other people with a newer model Mazda3 (which is what we have) can fit 2 Radians and 1 Britax in the back, but can't fit 3 Radians, even though Radians are narrower. But the Radians and Britaxes "puzzle" well together (the Radians sit low and back, and the Britaxes sit high and forward), so that the Radian sits slightly below/behind the Britax, saving space.

You can do a search on their boards for "3 across neon" and get lots of good information. :D


#15

Good timing, Steph! Kateri just outgrew your seat we borrowed. :slight_smile:

DH and I went to the car show this wknd- there are 3rd row seat options other than a minivan, but honestly none of them can compete with the amt of space you still have left for cargo even with a giant suv like a suburban.

I think the oldest could climb over a forward facing convertible, but would be tough with 2 rear on each side. While the new baby is tiny, you could take advantage of the base and strap him/her in before installing, but who knows if that would be any better.


#16

[quote="MooCowSteph, post:1, topic:186738"]
How much of a pain in the butt is it getting the middle child buckled? I'm part of the "I don't want a minivan" camp but I pretty much resigning to needing one. DH thinks having three across is no big deal, but he isn't the one who would be buckling in and out 6 times per trip. Also, since I will have two rear facing, the oldest will need to be on the outside so she doesn't climb over a seat, and she's the only one who can really help get herself buckled...:shrug:

[/quote]

depends on the seat design and how the seat belt is installed in the middle seat, will she be safe in a carseat or booster, what does the mfg. recommend?


#17

If you can afford it, I would go for the mini-van. I had a crown victoria when I had my third, all three in car seats and it was a HUGE pain in the behind. Huge. Yes, they all fit, but getting them all in and out was more aggravation than I needed. We bought an Odyssey eventually and whoa, what a difference. Not onlyh was it easier to buckle the kids in, but it was much less strain on my back because I didn’t have to bend and lean in the car.

You also could consider the Chevy traverse crossover which has seats configured like a mini-van.


#18

I was also going to suggest a Crossover if you didn’t want a minivan.

There’s a couple different types out there now. They look more like an SUV than a minivan, but some can fit up to 8 people.

I refuse to drive a minivan when I have a family, so I would go with a Crossover :smiley:


#19

All I can say is, get a professional car seat inspection if you are going three in a row. Not all vehicles can take three car seats in a row.

In fact, we were in the “please, not a minivan” crowd until our youngest was born, and we could NOT get three car seats in the back of our SUV at the proper angles & seat belt tightness. We took it to a pro, and he couldn’t do it, either. So, that auto went back to the dealership and we traded for a minivan.

Car seats are always a safety issue. Even if you can get three across in your vehicle (which would have to be really, really wide), if it’s a pain to buckle the middle kid, the odds of buckling that child correctly are going to drop. It’s not worth it.

I still hate my mini-van but I like knowing all my kids are safely buckled.


#20

I think I forgot to say congrats. Exciting news, even if you are not ready to spread it far and wide.


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