Author Topic: What would you do? Baby #2. 2 car seats. Current Ford Focus squeeze!  (Read 13901 times)

jdginc

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Hi all,
Thanks in advance for your comments.  Turning to the community for advice and ideas.

Current scenario:
  • We are a 1 car family and have a 2003 Ford Focus ZX5 (hatchback) with about 101K miles and requires minimal maintenance.  It's a great little car.
  • We have a 2nd child, due in October.  And we've been driving around with the 2nd car seat installed to see what it's like.
  • 1st child is 3 - so we still have a number of years of car seats ahead of us.
  • With 2 car seats and a stroller in the trunk, there is very, very little room for anything else like groceries.

We are entertaining the idea of getting a new-to-us car.  I'd plan on selling the current car to maintain a 1 car family.  I don't want a BIG car - just one that has the right balance of some more space while being cost effective and easily maintainable.

I realize there are options like biking, or just making do with a tight squeeze... but I'd like to center the conversation around replacing our current car with another car.  I'm looking for facts & data when talking with my wife.

Happy to answer any questions to provide add'l clarity.
Thanks!
Jeremy

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« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2014, 06:06:32 AM »
dont take the kids grocery shopping - for space reasons.

also, dont take the kids grocery shopping for tantrum reasons.


UnleashHell

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Re: What would you do? Baby #2. 2 car seats. Current Ford Focus squeeze!
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2014, 06:07:41 AM »
do you need to go grocery shopping with the kids?
if you do then why not put most of the stuff on the floor by the back seats - the kids aren't using that space.

how many trips do you do that are over 30 minutes?

You can work around it....

we used to have a hatchback and fit a large stroller, a 6yo, baby and a 150lb German shepard in the car.
The dog and the shopping don't mix well btw....

its a minimal discomfort in my mind. but if you are looking for an excuse to get another car...... ;)

briandougherty

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Re: What would you do? Baby #2. 2 car seats. Current Ford Focus squeeze!
« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2014, 06:50:16 AM »
Besides the not taking kids angle, don't you have space under their legs? In the center seat in the back? Under the passenger's legs? All around the passenger seat if spouse is at home? Around the stroller in the back?

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: What would you do? Baby #2. 2 car seats. Current Ford Focus squeeze!
« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2014, 07:24:20 AM »
I drove around in a Honda Accord with two car seats and the entire truck consumed by a double stroller. I have two suggestions:

1. Ditch the stroller if possible. Carry little one in a front pouch and let big one walk. Or just toss in a small umbrella stroller. You certainly don't need a stroller for grocery shopping, where they have carts.

2. I always just put the groceries on the floor in the back seat and in the passenger seat. No reason for two adults to go shopping--if another adult is available, one of you should be home with the kids!

I'm not saying you CAN'T get a new car, it just doesn't seem really urgent to me if you like your Focus.

Neustache

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Re: What would you do? Baby #2. 2 car seats. Current Ford Focus squeeze!
« Reply #5 on: August 29, 2014, 07:38:56 AM »
This is a temporary problem.  I suggest not going to the grocery store with the kids, or, using an umbrella stroller instead of those monster strollers.  You wouldn't use a stroller at the store anyways, right?  Take it out if you don't want to downsize the stroller and put the groceries in, then load the stroller back in after the grocery shopping.  Done.

jda1984

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Re: What would you do? Baby #2. 2 car seats. Current Ford Focus squeeze!
« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2014, 07:59:36 AM »
We had a 2000 Focus sedan and it work reasonably well with 2 kids.  It was a little cramped on long trips, but it was workable.  We have the third on the way so we decided to take the plunge for a minivan.  If it's not a family errand (i.e. the kids don't need to come), we take the smaller car.  I have been biking to work which helps quite a bit on the fuel and insurance savings too.

MayDay

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Re: What would you do? Baby #2. 2 car seats. Current Ford Focus squeeze!
« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2014, 09:00:52 AM »
It's a temporary problem for the stroller, but not for the giant car seats.  By the time they are out of giant car seats, their legs are long enough that you can't put anything on the floor under them. 

And then they want their bikes in the back of the car, and things like that. 

Until this year we had two civics, so similar in size.  It was fine, if I went grocery or target shopping, I took out the stroller, put the older child in the cart, and the younger in a carrier.  By the time the younger was in the cart, the older was semi-reliable to walk around the store. 

We really started to run into problems with long car trips, as packing the stroller plus luggage was a huge hassle.  It was also a problem when our older kid wanted a bike, and we needed something else as well (either stroller or a second bike for the younger child).  Then when our older got a 20" bike it became impossible.  Wouldn't fit in the trunk no matter what.  And we could no longer camp, without getting a hitch and a little trailer, or something like that.  We weren't sure we wanted to put money into that, when we found ourselves needing more space constantly- it felt like we would be continuously taking the thing on and off, having to store it, generally being a massive pain.  I am not going to meds with hooking up a trailer when my kid wants to bring his bike to the park!

We were gifted a minivan, which solved the problem.  If we hadn't been, we were getting to the point that we would have wanted a Subaru or something.  Not huge, but a little bigger than the civic.  The thing about us, is we have no local family, so we do a lot of fairly long car trips, and we camp.  Plus, DH only drives about 5 miles round trip to work.  So basically the van doesn't get driven much for stupid around town stuff where it is a waste to drive a huge vehicle.   But when we really need the space on trips, we have it. 

Obviously we *could* deal fine with the civic.  But like I said, these annoyances of four people in a small car were not occasional, they were regular.  And since we have no debt other than our mortgage and a pretty good savings rate, we thought a larger car was a reasonable thing to spend money on, and would make us happier.  I do hate that we use more gas, but since we are usually loaded up with four people, on a per person basis we still do pretty well.

tweezers

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Re: What would you do? Baby #2. 2 car seats. Current Ford Focus squeeze!
« Reply #8 on: August 29, 2014, 09:11:00 AM »
We have a 2008 Honda Fit with two car seats.  We actually travel fairly frequently and often have a large suitcase, kids carry-on suitcases, our carry-on backpacks, and an umbrella stroller in the car.  Everything usually fits in the trunk, and whatever doesn't fits on the floor under their legs or between the seats.  We can fit both bikes in the back, and grocery shopping is fine provided we don't forget to take out the bikes.  When they're out of their car seats we'll probably need something bigger, but until that time we don't ride bikes and go to Costco in the same trip. :)

Jack

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Re: What would you do? Baby #2. 2 car seats. Current Ford Focus squeeze!
« Reply #9 on: August 29, 2014, 09:25:35 AM »
I don't have kids yet, but I might relatively soon. As I read this thread, I'm beginning to despair that my household's VW Beetle and regular-cab pickup aren't going to cut it (and that I might have to give up my plans to buy a Miata...).

k-vette

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Re: What would you do? Baby #2. 2 car seats. Current Ford Focus squeeze!
« Reply #10 on: August 29, 2014, 09:30:57 AM »
Same situation more or less.  We had a 2006 corolla.  With both car seats installed, I could not drive the car as the seat was too far forward.  My wife however could drive just fine.  Realistically, life is unplanned with kids.  Sometimes you just have to fit everyone and lots of stuff.  We bought a bigger car.  The toyota camry fit everyone with lots of room.  Gas milage is worse, and anything bigger than your focus will probably be worse too.  Thats really the only trade off in my mind.  Fitting everything in was a necessary change for us.

Rezdent

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Re: What would you do? Baby #2. 2 car seats. Current Ford Focus squeeze!
« Reply #11 on: August 29, 2014, 09:33:30 AM »
  I know it seems like a long time but those car seat years will fly by way too fast.
When my second was born, the car seat issue was annoying.
But since I planned to keep the car until it dropped, I just dealt with it.  It wasn't ideal but we made it work.
2 years ago my youngest took her driver's test in that car and I reflected how we had started out with her in a car seat and now she was the driver.

So - that's what I did because I had a long view on the car ownership and a short view on the car seats.
If you are planning to get another vehicle before they outgrow the seats it makes sense to just go ahead and do it earlier.  But even then I suggest getting the right size for the family based on after the seat stage (car seats will still be a pain for a few years).  That will allow you to have the right size car for the next 15-20 years.

jzb11

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Re: What would you do? Baby #2. 2 car seats. Current Ford Focus squeeze!
« Reply #12 on: August 29, 2014, 09:34:37 AM »
A used Mazda5 could be an affordable and larger option. It has a 2.3 litre 4 cylinder with good mileage for the size (20-29). It's basically as close to a car a minivan can get.

Ford Fusion sedan is also a great option. Same 4cyl engine (ford use to own a stake in Mazda) and it can be found in a manual.
« Last Edit: August 29, 2014, 05:28:13 PM by jzb11 »

MayDay

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Re: What would you do? Baby #2. 2 car seats. Current Ford Focus squeeze!
« Reply #13 on: August 29, 2014, 09:52:46 AM »
I can't really imagine driving our civic with two adults and two big teenagers, on a trip longer than an hour or two.  (Maybe it would be fine for short people?  When my siblings and I were teenagers we were 5'8", 5'9", and 6'5")


justajane

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Re: What would you do? Baby #2. 2 car seats. Current Ford Focus squeeze!
« Reply #14 on: August 29, 2014, 10:10:16 AM »
We have THREE kids in the back of a 2012 Ford Fusion. They are 6, 4, and 3 months. To make it work, we had to buy the relatively expensive but narrow Radian (Diono brand) seats for our two older boys. Once our youngest is out of the pumpkin, we will buy a third Radian to fit. Our friends thought we were crazy when we bought this vehicle used when I was 38 weeks pregnant with our third kid. But I think they're crazy driving around in a minivan that gets so little to the gallon and cost $10K-$15K more used than my car. So we're even :).

Definitely use an umbrella stroller when the babe is older or don't shop with them at all. I can't stand shopping with all my kids in tow. And as for road trips.....being packed in like sardines builds character, right?

Another solution - consider a Kia Rondo w/ an optional third row or a Mazda 5, but the MPG sucks on those cars. We have the larger Rondo and opt to use the Fusion if at all possible.

But all in all, I'm not understanding why you can't make the Focus work.   

zolotiyeruki

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Re: What would you do? Baby #2. 2 car seats. Current Ford Focus squeeze!
« Reply #15 on: August 29, 2014, 10:29:45 AM »
1. Ditch the stroller if possible. Carry little one in a front pouch and let big one walk. Or just toss in a small umbrella stroller. You certainly don't need a stroller for grocery shopping, where they have carts.
Bingo.  The 3-year-old can walk, and the baby can ride in the cart.  Voila, the back of the car is available for groceries.

gecko10x

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Re: What would you do? Baby #2. 2 car seats. Current Ford Focus squeeze!
« Reply #16 on: August 29, 2014, 10:31:15 AM »
The OP was very specific about NOT wanting to discuss what the majority of above posters are discussing. FAIL.

Anyway, I would start at edmunds.com, since it's the best car fact database I'm aware of, and start looking at interior dimensions of anything that meets your other criteria. I'd include all hatchbacks, SUVs, minivans, and larger sedans, and maybe sort the list by gas mileage- there are probably a LOT of models that meet your criteria. Make a spreadsheet with all the criteria you care about, including possibly True Cost to Own figures from Edmunds to get an idea of ongoing expenses and reliability of the model.

I think that would give you a more complete picture than just using random models suggested by people here.

Neustache

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Re: What would you do? Baby #2. 2 car seats. Current Ford Focus squeeze!
« Reply #17 on: August 29, 2014, 11:46:23 AM »
Hahaha....sorry OP - didn't even read that line as it was at the bottom and by that time I'd probably already started formulating a reply in my head.  Maybe put that towards the top so you don't keep getting OT replies to keep the car.  But I don't know that it's a fail for us to reply that you don't need another car, especially since getting a smaller stroller solves the grocery store issue.  ETA, oh, right, the original title says, "What would you do?" Which is why I replied what I would do!  So no fail, at all, for those who said don't sell the car.  It's what we would do!

But, if you are looking for a small car that would work, we took two kids, both in car seats, for a two-week road trip in a Nissan Versa 4-door sedan.  It was fine.  Ditched the stroller though, since our little one is 2 and walked all day, even at Disneyland. 
« Last Edit: August 29, 2014, 11:49:09 AM by Neustache »

Jack

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Re: What would you do? Baby #2. 2 car seats. Current Ford Focus squeeze!
« Reply #18 on: August 29, 2014, 11:47:54 AM »
A used Mazda5 could be an affordable and larger option.

To get back on topic (as gecko10x points out), I agree that the Mazda5 is the right answer. It's going to get better fuel economy than pretty much anything else I can think of with three rows of seats, it's available with a Mustachian manual transmission, and it's not expensive. (It's fun to drive, too! I'd prefer it to the Mazda3 or Mazda6.)

If fuel economy is a larger concern, you could maybe look into the Toyota Prius V, Ford C-Max, or VW Jetta Wagon TDI (MK4, 1999-2006 -- the newer ones have less interior space, I think). The former two are pretty new and expensive; the latter requires VW levels of maintenance.

justajane

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Re: What would you do? Baby #2. 2 car seats. Current Ford Focus squeeze!
« Reply #19 on: August 29, 2014, 12:00:46 PM »
In the city, the fuel economy of a Mazda 5 or a Kia Rondo is not much better than a minivan. The reason to buy the smaller options with a third row are #1 because you want a smaller car than an unwieldy minivan and #2 because they are cheaper.

Also, the Mazda 5 feels extremely small on the inside. That's why we bought the Rondo instead. Our Fusion feels much larger on the inside than the Mazda 5, which just felt claustrophobic. Plus in those smaller three row vehicles, your kids in the back are VERY close to a rear side impact. There's literally no room in the back - none for storage or in the case of an accident. On long road trips, it would make me nervous.

I don't agree that we failed the OP, since we were discussing the ways in which they could make the existing car work. Isn't that one of the principles of Mustachianism - to think outside the box and mainstream notions of what you "need"?

But if I'm going to play by arbitrary rules, I'd say that they should consider a larger sedan before they consider a crossover. Just my two cents .
« Last Edit: August 29, 2014, 12:06:49 PM by justajane »

catccc

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Re: What would you do? Baby #2. 2 car seats. Current Ford Focus squeeze!
« Reply #20 on: August 29, 2014, 12:06:42 PM »
We do just fine in our toyota matrix hatchback, I don't think it has much more room than the focus, if any.

Our kids are 5 & 2 now.

We fit 2 car seats, Diono Radians (which are great for more than just space reasons.)  Rear facing they do take space front to back, so you may want to check if the front seats can go back enough for the driver's comfort.

Ditch the stroller.  Get a baby carrier (a quality one like an ergo or wrap style, no snugli or baby bjorn "crotch danglers"), your 3 y/o can walk.  Or just get an umbrella stroller, they hardly take up any space.  We've packed us and all our stuff for a road trip vacation no problem in our compact car. 



teen persuasion

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Re: What would you do? Baby #2. 2 car seats. Current Ford Focus squeeze!
« Reply #21 on: August 29, 2014, 12:07:42 PM »
You mentioned that first child is 3.  Does that mean nearly ready to switch to a booster?  IME, boosters were much less problem than car seats.  Like other posters, I preferred an umbrella stroller to a big stroller, and it sounds like within a year baby will be in the stroller and older child should be good to walk alongside.

I just ditched our minivan for a Camry.  We are finally down from five kids to 2-3 at home now.  The one criteria we had while car shopping was space for transporting a cello + 5 people, one still in a booster.  We found that some trunks were very limited in space, others very roomy, so definitely explore each car/model.

What we needed to transport definitely changed over time as the kids grew, got into music and sports, and then moved off to college.  We definitely needed a minivan when we were transporting seven plus an upright bass to concerts.  We noticed the squeeze when DS2 changed from a half to a 3/4 sized bass, it just fit in along the slider door with all of us.  If it hadn't fit, we would have figured something else out, like take two trips on those few times a year the bass had to go to school vs buy a bigger van burning more gas year round. But I went shopping w/o the kids whenever possible - with kids takes longer, more distractions, more requests for things not on my list.

We just went tent camping, first time w/o minivan.  Considering in the past all seats would have been full of people, the cargo we fit in was similar.  We put a bike carrier on the back of the Camry for bikes.
« Last Edit: August 29, 2014, 12:09:39 PM by teen persuasion »

gecko10x

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Re: What would you do? Baby #2. 2 car seats. Current Ford Focus squeeze!
« Reply #22 on: August 29, 2014, 12:56:23 PM »
You mentioned that first child is 3.  Does that mean nearly ready to switch to a booster?

The answer to this should be a big, fat NO. The recommendation is for kids to stay in a 5-point harness as long as possible, only then removing the harness and using backed booster until they are 4'9" and fit the seat belt properly. This is typically around ages 8-12. Reference

PeachFuzzInVA

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Re: What would you do? Baby #2. 2 car seats. Current Ford Focus squeeze!
« Reply #23 on: August 29, 2014, 01:40:48 PM »
We have an '06 Focus sedan and 3 kids. We manage to make it work, although I will say that the 3rd is only with us every other weekend. We've been there, done that with the huge stroller in the trunk and carrier in the back seat. We still go grocery shopping as a family. It's not as bad as you might think.

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Re: What would you do? Baby #2. 2 car seats. Current Ford Focus squeeze!
« Reply #24 on: August 29, 2014, 01:51:46 PM »
My wife and I went through this discussion over a year ago.  Sadly both our cars were totaled and we had to buy new cars.  First car was rear ended by a rental car later reported stolen, second car hit a patch of ice went off the road.  Fortunately for us no one was injured.  Anyway we did some car shopping and basically in the family car department came to the conclusion that a Hyunda Sonata is a great vehicle it's what we purchased a 2003 to be exact.  The space in the back seat is good and the trunk is huge.  We are bigs to a little brother with the Big Brother Big Sister program and with baby #2 were concerned about having enough room for our 2 kids and for our little brother.  We joke with him that it's going to be a tight fit with 3 but we think it will work.  Our 2nd car of choice was the Ford Fusion.  Both get relatively decent gas mileage for their size and have adequate space.  For our 2nd vehicle I got a 2001 F150 with an extended cab.  4 doors.  The back doors are not full doors but they open once the front ones are open.  It also gives me the ability to haul everyone in the truck when necessary.  We try to use the Sonata more than the truck as it get's twice the gas mileage.  Happy hunting.

jdginc

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Re: What would you do? Baby #2. 2 car seats. Current Ford Focus squeeze!
« Reply #25 on: August 31, 2014, 09:17:21 PM »
Thanks everyone - it's all good! I appreciate all of the replies!  I'm more of the mindset to make do with what we have, while my wife is more of the mindset to expand a little.  Ultimately, I was hoping for feedback on both sides and good information to keep our conversation going... which is exactly what I got - so thank you!

Goldielocks

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« Reply #26 on: August 31, 2014, 09:45:54 PM »
dont take the kids grocery shopping - for space reasons.

also, dont take the kids grocery shopping for tantrum reasons.

Alternately you can leave spouse at home for tantrum reasons. 

FYI our Mazda 3 is about the same size as a modern, less than 10 yr civic and fits two teenagers me, spouse and lots and lots of groceries just fine.  We fold a seat and take 4 downhill skiing for a tight but capable fit.  Bikes are no go without roof rack.

I don't think I ever used a stroller shopping unless I walked there, the carts at the store are great, with a small kid seat or soft support.

Even so, like another poster we ended up with a cheap used minivan for camping, bicycles, very long car rides.  Mpg is terrible in town, but hwy OK.  We did not drive it much in town.  Put insurance on it only in summer, etc.

You can stay with small car, or go big and drive less around town.  Calculate how little the extra gas really costs once you are at 20 mpg.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2014, 10:01:26 PM by goldielocks »

theSchmett

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Re: What would you do? Baby #2. 2 car seats. Current Ford Focus squeeze!
« Reply #27 on: August 31, 2014, 10:50:13 PM »
Infant seat mounts to shopping cart. 3yo walks.

If there is a detail preventing this I missed it...

MayDay

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Re: What would you do? Baby #2. 2 car seats. Current Ford Focus squeeze!
« Reply #28 on: September 01, 2014, 07:54:44 AM »
Infant seat mounts to shopping cart. 3yo walks.

If there is a detail preventing this I missed it...

This worked great for my kids, but I know many a three year old who was a heathen unless strapped in.  Thus most suggest strapping in the unpredictable toddler/preschooler and wearing the baby, or you can also put the baby bucket in the main part of the cart if you aren't buying out the store.

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Re: What would you do? Baby #2. 2 car seats. Current Ford Focus squeeze!
« Reply #29 on: September 01, 2014, 07:57:23 AM »
I can't really imagine driving our civic with two adults and two big teenagers, on a trip longer than an hour or two.  (Maybe it would be fine for short people?  When my siblings and I were teenagers we were 5'8", 5'9", and 6'5")
Worked for us with two kids (5'10" and 6'3"). Teens are pretty adaptable.

teen persuasion

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Re: What would you do? Baby #2. 2 car seats. Current Ford Focus squeeze!
« Reply #30 on: September 01, 2014, 12:28:24 PM »
You mentioned that first child is 3.  Does that mean nearly ready to switch to a booster?

The answer to this should be a big, fat NO. The recommendation is for kids to stay in a 5-point harness as long as possible, only then removing the harness and using backed booster until they are 4'9" and fit the seat belt properly. This is typically around ages 8-12. Reference

Thanks for the info.  The rules have changed/evolved so many times since my oldest was born 24 years ago that my head spins.  I think she was no longer required to be in car seats (in our state) at 4 yo.  My current 9 yo is still in a booster, and has asked when he can stop using it.

ETA: It looks like per my state's DMV, children need to be in car seats under age 4 (unless they no longer fit) at which point they move to boosters thru age 7.  After they reach age 8, boosters are recommended until they reach 100 lbs and 4'9".  Kids under 16 can't ride in the front seats, due to airbag issues.
http://dmv.ny.gov/sites/default/files/legacy_files/broch/c-1.htm
« Last Edit: September 01, 2014, 12:42:32 PM by teen persuasion »

justajane

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Re: What would you do? Baby #2. 2 car seats. Current Ford Focus squeeze!
« Reply #31 on: September 02, 2014, 11:02:23 AM »
Quote
Infant seat mounts to shopping cart.

But is this really true? I see people do this all the time and it looks dangerously precarious to me. I don't think that is what infant car seats were intended to do. As far as I know, most infant car guidelines actually tell you the opposite, i.e. they will specifically say NEVER place a car seat in the front of a grocery cart. I don't mean to fearmonger here, but infants have actually died this way. If you hit something and the kid goes flying in the seat, that's a serious head injury waiting to happen. Yes, it is likely not to happen, but it could happen, since the seat is not actually strapped to the cart.

We place ours in the actual cart and just place our groceries around the sides.

theSchmett

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Re: What would you do? Baby #2. 2 car seats. Current Ford Focus squeeze!
« Reply #32 on: September 06, 2014, 08:32:55 PM »
Use the seat belts to strap the seat to the cart if it doesn't actually click on. Or yeah just put the seat IN the cart.

3yo walking is the key.


burly

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Re: What would you do? Baby #2. 2 car seats. Current Ford Focus squeeze!
« Reply #33 on: September 07, 2014, 05:58:54 AM »
Quote
Infant seat mounts to shopping cart.

But is this really true? I see people do this all the time and it looks dangerously precarious to me. I don't think that is what infant car seats were intended to do. As far as I know, most infant car guidelines actually tell you the opposite, i.e. they will specifically say NEVER place a car seat in the front of a grocery cart. I don't mean to fearmonger here, but infants have actually died this way. If you hit something and the kid goes flying in the seat, that's a serious head injury waiting to happen. Yes, it is likely not to happen, but it could happen, since the seat is not actually strapped to the cart.

We place ours in the actual cart and just place our groceries around the sides.


In general yes - I know for our car seat locks in perfectly at Lowes and Walmart... other stores not so much, it locks in on two places and is pretty solid.. I always test it. The newer plastic ones like Target never work.. However, most stores now have carts with an infant seat bolted on... You have to look but you can find them.

Jane

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Re: What would you do? Baby #2. 2 car seats. Current Ford Focus squeeze!
« Reply #34 on: September 07, 2014, 07:51:32 AM »
Quote
Infant seat mounts to shopping cart.

But is this really true? I see people do this all the time and it looks dangerously precarious to me. I don't think that is what infant car seats were intended to do. As far as I know, most infant car guidelines actually tell you the opposite, i.e. they will specifically say NEVER place a car seat in the front of a grocery cart. I don't mean to fearmonger here, but infants have actually died this way. If you hit something and the kid goes flying in the seat, that's a serious head injury waiting to happen. Yes, it is likely not to happen, but it could happen, since the seat is not actually strapped to the cart.

We place ours in the actual cart and just place our groceries around the sides.

I've read a lot of the same warnings and I agree. There are tons of stories of the car seats falling off or the whole cart tipping over. Yeah, I see people doing it all the time too, but if there's one thing this board is good at is realizing the masses are often wrong. Just be careful.

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: What would you do? Baby #2. 2 car seats. Current Ford Focus squeeze!
« Reply #35 on: September 07, 2014, 07:54:52 AM »
Quote
Infant seat mounts to shopping cart.

But is this really true? I see people do this all the time and it looks dangerously precarious to me. I don't think that is what infant car seats were intended to do. As far as I know, most infant car guidelines actually tell you the opposite, i.e. they will specifically say NEVER place a car seat in the front of a grocery cart. I don't mean to fearmonger here, but infants have actually died this way. If you hit something and the kid goes flying in the seat, that's a serious head injury waiting to happen. Yes, it is likely not to happen, but it could happen, since the seat is not actually strapped to the cart.

We place ours in the actual cart and just place our groceries around the sides.

I've read a lot of the same warnings and I agree. There are tons of stories of the car seats falling off or the whole cart tipping over. Yeah, I see people doing it all the time too, but if there's one thing this board is good at is realizing the masses are often wrong. Just be careful.

I tried this once and knocked over a whole display of Yankee candles. Baby fortunately uninjured. Better options: use the carts with a baby carrier pre-installed, or put baby in a front pouch for shopping (that's what I usually did).

mm1970

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Re: What would you do? Baby #2. 2 car seats. Current Ford Focus squeeze!
« Reply #36 on: September 07, 2014, 09:16:01 AM »
Haven't read all of the posts.  How big is the Focus?  Is it a 4 door?

I have a Toyota Matrix (hatchback) and two kids.  I have two years experience with 2 (to 4) carseats, stroller, and grocery shopping.

When the baby is a baby, during grocery shop, I either:
1. put the baby in an ergo/sling and use a cart
2. put the baby in the stroller (if I'm only buying a few things).

So now my baby is a toddler. 
We have always had the baby seat/ now toddler seat in the center, with the booster on the side.  It's a tight fit, I'm not going to lie.  When we had the 5 point seat, at least it was in using LATCH.  Now we use a booster (my older son is 8, but short, so he still needs the booster) and I frequently have to clip him in because of the tight fit.  Also, I pick up two neighbor kids from school, so I've got 3 in the back and one in the front.

How big is your stroller?  I have a smallish Jeep stroller ($50) that folds flat.  So I can stack groceries on top and around.  I put groceries on the floor in the back seat, on the floor in the passenger seat, and on the passenger seat.  Even a HUGE trip, I am able to fit everything around the stroller.

Trust me, you don't need a bigger car.  My friend just bought an SUV "because after the second kid, we figured the Matrix would be too small" (The Matrix is our big car, we have a Civic too).

I'm not gonna lie, I want a minivan like nobody's business.  I just can't justify it.

mm1970

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Re: What would you do? Baby #2. 2 car seats. Current Ford Focus squeeze!
« Reply #37 on: September 07, 2014, 09:19:16 AM »
It's a temporary problem for the stroller, but not for the giant car seats.  By the time they are out of giant car seats, their legs are long enough that you can't put anything on the floor under them. 

And then they want their bikes in the back of the car, and things like that. 

Until this year we had two civics, so similar in size.  It was fine, if I went grocery or target shopping, I took out the stroller, put the older child in the cart, and the younger in a carrier.  By the time the younger was in the cart, the older was semi-reliable to walk around the store. 

We really started to run into problems with long car trips, as packing the stroller plus luggage was a huge hassle.  It was also a problem when our older kid wanted a bike, and we needed something else as well (either stroller or a second bike for the younger child).  Then when our older got a 20" bike it became impossible.  Wouldn't fit in the trunk no matter what.  And we could no longer camp, without getting a hitch and a little trailer, or something like that.  We weren't sure we wanted to put money into that, when we found ourselves needing more space constantly- it felt like we would be continuously taking the thing on and off, having to store it, generally being a massive pain.  I am not going to meds with hooking up a trailer when my kid wants to bring his bike to the park!

We were gifted a minivan, which solved the problem.  If we hadn't been, we were getting to the point that we would have wanted a Subaru or something.  Not huge, but a little bigger than the civic.  The thing about us, is we have no local family, so we do a lot of fairly long car trips, and we camp.  Plus, DH only drives about 5 miles round trip to work.  So basically the van doesn't get driven much for stupid around town stuff where it is a waste to drive a huge vehicle.   But when we really need the space on trips, we have it. 

Obviously we *could* deal fine with the civic.  But like I said, these annoyances of four people in a small car were not occasional, they were regular.  And since we have no debt other than our mortgage and a pretty good savings rate, we thought a larger car was a reasonable thing to spend money on, and would make us happier.  I do hate that we use more gas, but since we are usually loaded up with four people, on a per person basis we still do pretty well.
Note, this is the reason why I'd love a minivan.

When we go camping, we have a Thule rack on the Matrix, and it's a squeeze.  My husband has the packing gene.  So it's all good.   Soon, in addition to the Thule rack, we'll probably be adding a bike rack to the back with bikes.

What really stops me is the Matrix works.  It's paid for. It's only 8 years old.  And we both drive 30 miles a day with work and kid dropoff/pick up, so I'd hate the extra gas.

mm1970

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Re: What would you do? Baby #2. 2 car seats. Current Ford Focus squeeze!
« Reply #38 on: September 07, 2014, 09:21:29 AM »
A used Mazda5 could be an affordable and larger option.

To get back on topic (as gecko10x points out), I agree that the Mazda5 is the right answer. It's going to get better fuel economy than pretty much anything else I can think of with three rows of seats, it's available with a Mustachian manual transmission, and it's not expensive. (It's fun to drive, too! I'd prefer it to the Mazda3 or Mazda6.)

If fuel economy is a larger concern, you could maybe look into the Toyota Prius V, Ford C-Max, or VW Jetta Wagon TDI (MK4, 1999-2006 -- the newer ones have less interior space, I think). The former two are pretty new and expensive; the latter requires VW levels of maintenance.

Remember I said I love minivans?  One day I was driving by Mazda dealer and I test drove the Mazda5.  It's essentially almost exactly like my Matrix, maybe a foot longer, with six seats.  I loved it.

MayDay

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Re: What would you do? Baby #2. 2 car seats. Current Ford Focus squeeze!
« Reply #39 on: September 07, 2014, 09:35:18 AM »
A used Mazda5 could be an affordable and larger option.

To get back on topic (as gecko10x points out), I agree that the Mazda5 is the right answer. It's going to get better fuel economy than pretty much anything else I can think of with three rows of seats, it's available with a Mustachian manual transmission, and it's not expensive. (It's fun to drive, too! I'd prefer it to the Mazda3 or Mazda6.)

If fuel economy is a larger concern, you could maybe look into the Toyota Prius V, Ford C-Max, or VW Jetta Wagon TDI (MK4, 1999-2006 -- the newer ones have less interior space, I think). The former two are pretty new and expensive; the latter requires VW levels of maintenance.

Remember I said I love minivans?  One day I was driving by Mazda dealer and I test drove the Mazda5.  It's essentially almost exactly like my Matrix, maybe a foot longer, with six seats.  I loved it.

Except the fuel economy is awful, so you might as well get the van and truly have enough room, with no roof and rear racks needed.

Of course the purchase price of the van is much higher.

SandyBoxx

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Re: What would you do? Baby #2. 2 car seats. Current Ford Focus squeeze!
« Reply #40 on: September 07, 2014, 10:56:37 AM »
We have a 2006 Mazda 3 Hatchback, 2 kids (currently 2 1/2 and almost 5) and 2 large dogs that fill the rear when we need to take the entire family somewhere.  The simple solution to your problem is a roof rack, and a Thule (or similar) box.  The stroller (Phil & Teds double) fit up there no problem - though we rarely took it with us - and there is more than enough space for groceries, luggage etc.  Your MPG will decrease - however for us, it was still much better value than replacing the vehicle. 

mm1970

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Re: What would you do? Baby #2. 2 car seats. Current Ford Focus squeeze!
« Reply #41 on: September 07, 2014, 01:17:29 PM »
A used Mazda5 could be an affordable and larger option.

To get back on topic (as gecko10x points out), I agree that the Mazda5 is the right answer. It's going to get better fuel economy than pretty much anything else I can think of with three rows of seats, it's available with a Mustachian manual transmission, and it's not expensive. (It's fun to drive, too! I'd prefer it to the Mazda3 or Mazda6.)

If fuel economy is a larger concern, you could maybe look into the Toyota Prius V, Ford C-Max, or VW Jetta Wagon TDI (MK4, 1999-2006 -- the newer ones have less interior space, I think). The former two are pretty new and expensive; the latter requires VW levels of maintenance.

Remember I said I love minivans?  One day I was driving by Mazda dealer and I test drove the Mazda5.  It's essentially almost exactly like my Matrix, maybe a foot longer, with six seats.  I loved it.

Except the fuel economy is awful, so you might as well get the van and truly have enough room, with no roof and rear racks needed.

Of course the purchase price of the van is much higher.
Yep, about $10k higher.

I might as well just keep the Matrix till it dies, when my eldest is about ready for college, then I won't "need" a minivan anymore.

CarDude

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Re: What would you do? Baby #2. 2 car seats. Current Ford Focus squeeze!
« Reply #42 on: September 07, 2014, 01:39:45 PM »
Hi all,
Thanks in advance for your comments.  Turning to the community for advice and ideas.

Current scenario:
  • We are a 1 car family and have a 2003 Ford Focus ZX5 (hatchback) with about 101K miles and requires minimal maintenance.  It's a great little car.
  • We have a 2nd child, due in October.  And we've been driving around with the 2nd car seat installed to see what it's like.
  • 1st child is 3 - so we still have a number of years of car seats ahead of us.
  • With 2 car seats and a stroller in the trunk, there is very, very little room for anything else like groceries.

We are entertaining the idea of getting a new-to-us car.  I'd plan on selling the current car to maintain a 1 car family.  I don't want a BIG car - just one that has the right balance of some more space while being cost effective and easily maintainable.

I realize there are options like biking, or just making do with a tight squeeze... but I'd like to center the conversation around replacing our current car with another car.  I'm looking for facts & data when talking with my wife.

Happy to answer any questions to provide add'l clarity.
Thanks!
Jeremy

I'd go with a minivan. It's possible to get more space with smaller vehicles, but it's a question of how much of a headache you want to deal with constantly.

Also, I know you're not thinking of this, but for other mustachians who might be, car seats aren't just an inconvenience; they're designed to keep your kids safe. Rear-face as long as you can, then harness as long as you can, and then booster until between 10 and 12.