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Car seating arrangement help!

Started by Mirage , author of *Every~Precious~Joy* 4/27/2010 1:57:40 AM
I have a seating arrangement dilemma in my new car with the new baby on the way... My car is a crossover. It seats 7. Driver, Front passenger, 3 across middle bench seat, and 2 across rear bench. Each bench is split in 2 halves and folds- the middle bench seats fold back down and then bottom up so they are against the back of the front seats, and the rear ones fold completely into the floor. Here's where it gets difficult though; my oldest is in a high-backed booster with 5-point harness. She can't buckle herself or lean much or move much at all when buckled in to help. Her assistance is limited to the reach of her little baby arms. My son is only 20 months and is in a forward facing reclining 5-point carseat- no help. My baby due in September will be in an infant bucket carseat. SOMEONE is gonna have to sit way back in the back because the 3 person middle bench is only about 2 1/2 carseats wide. On top of that, the middle bench is positioned such that to get into the back seat you have to fold the seat down. Which won't work if there's a carseat buckled into it. See what I'm getting at? Should I put both my toddlers in the very back and hope they don't need anything important in the middle of a drive, or just the older one and then completely remove the infant seat every time we get in and out, or should I fold one of the 2 rearmost seats into the floor and have her climb into the remaining half of the back bench through the hatchback? And once she's in there, how do I grow my arms out to twice their length to be able to reach that far over so many carseats and car seats to buckle her in? :D (We've been trying to teach her how to buckle herself but frankly they made the buckle on that thing so that Hercules is the only one who can open it. I nearly break my fingers every time I try to operate the thing.)

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Reply by Kate

author of Katie J's Journal 4/28/2010 8:08:31 AM
I have 5 children under 3 years and have to buckle them all up because even the 3 year old needs assistance sometimes. We drive a Chevy Astro with 3 seats in the middle and 3 in the back. One of your ideas was to put both toddlers in the back seat- that's what I would do. We don't have a choice- we have 2 2-year olds and a one year old in the back. The 3-year old sits in the middle with the 5-month old b/c she bothers the others. I have to lean over the middle seat to buckle all 3 in the back and it works fine- no fun when you're pregnant, but not a big deal when you're not. Mine never need anything "important" when we're driving b/c it's not an issue. And we have to drive 30  minutes to the doctor, to run errands, to see Daddy at work, etc. Let me know what you decide, but I think they'd be fine. They'll want to be "big" with the new baby coming, anyway. :)


Reply by Lora Lynn

author of Vitafamiliae 4/28/2010 8:42:05 AM
I've got 5 kids now 6 and under.  At some point, I had 4 kids 2 and under, so I've been where you're at.  I agree, I would put the two older ones in the backseat and just prepare yourself for reaching into the back every time you go anywhere.  Pretty soon your oldest may want some independence with the seat belt and I would encourage it.  If you feel you just CAN'T put them that far away, another option that is pricier is to buy Radian Sunshine carseats for your older two.  They're very narrow and hold up to 100 pounds.  We use them in our backseat so we can get two Radians and a Britax back there.  You'd have to do the math, but you might be able to fit two Radians and an infant seat across your middle bench.  Good luck!!


Reply by Tracey

author of Make Room For... 4/28/2010 9:47:23 AM
We are facing the same problem--only we don't have a third row in our '98 wagon.  We might have to get a new car if we have another baby.  I am going to look into the Radian seats Lora Lynn suggested.


Reply by Kalani

4/28/2010 3:26:51 PM

We also faced the same problem when we had our third. Like others have suggested, we put our 2 older boys (4.5y and just 2y, at the time) in the back and put the baby in the middle seat, middle row. We waited until right before I was due to make the switch so I wouldn't have to climb back too much. It ended up working out very well. We've now added our fourth and we have our two middle boys (nearly 4y and 21mo; with one seat inbetween because they are oil and water ;)) in the back, and our oldest and youngest boys (6y and 6mo) in the middle row right next to each other. It can feel tight at times but it is doable!

I would suggest looking into the Graco Nautilus. Both my 6 and 3 year olds have them, both are still using them as a 5pt harness, the 6y can completely undo his on his own and has been able to for 1 year+ and the 3, nearly 4, year can undo the top on his own. It's very similar to the Radians in that it is a slim seat, can 5pt harness up to 65lb, it can be used as a booster up to 100lb should you choose and best of all, it's much cheaper! We LOVE ours!

Good luck!!

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