Author Topic: Vehicle Advice for 3 carseats  (Read 1366 times)

stash-lite

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Vehicle Advice for 3 carseats
« on: July 03, 2019, 09:38:34 AM »
Hey all,

I currently have a 2013 chevy cruze at 60k miles, paid off, which carries my two four-year-olds in their carseats.  We are now expecting a baby in January (yay!) and I am not sure if I really want to try to get the super-skinny carseats to fit 3 carseats into the backseat of this. 

Does anyone have any recommendations for vehicles that are good for 3 carseats?  or experience fitting 3 carseats into a compact car?

Here is some other info or constraints I have:
-Our other vehicle is a minivan, so we already have one larger vehicle for towing our pop up camper and transporting stuff
-I am not a mechanic and do not want a vehicle that could be a 'project', so I like to have very reliable vehicles under 100k miles if at all possible.  I also dont want to risk breaking down in the next couple years on the side of the road with anything besides a flat tire while I could be carrying 3 kids with me.
-My driving is pretty minimal.  Work is 7 miles each direction so I only drive this vehicle about 7k miles per year or so.  I do have to take the kids to school many mornings so I can't bike to work everyday (but I do occasionally). 

thanks in advance!!! 

Stan



slappy

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Re: Vehicle Advice for 3 carseats
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2019, 01:14:18 PM »
What are your concerns on not getting the super skinny seats? I have three across in my Subaru outback and i like it. I rarely have all three kids at once, and if I do, it's not long distances.

erutio

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Re: Vehicle Advice for 3 carseats
« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2019, 01:39:38 PM »
First, congrats on your new baby!

Second, you're on MMM forums.  Do you think anyone is going to recommend a new car to fit 3 carseat across vs just buying the super skinny carseats?

Third, at 4 years, your kids will be close to using high back boosters. When the new baby comes in 5 months, I'd recommend graduating the 4.5 year olds to highbacks (convertable ones that convert to backless boosters). Then you can fit the infant car seat in the middle.

slappy

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Re: Vehicle Advice for 3 carseats
« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2019, 02:27:52 PM »
First, congrats on your new baby!

Second, you're on MMM forums.  Do you think anyone is going to recommend a new car to fit 3 carseat across vs just buying the super skinny carseats?

Third, at 4 years, your kids will be close to using high back boosters. When the new baby comes in 5 months, I'd recommend graduating the 4.5 year olds to highbacks (convertable ones that convert to backless boosters). Then you can fit the infant car seat in the middle.

Strictly from safety standpoint, I'm not sure this is the best advice. I think it is recommended that kids stay in a five point harness until 5 or 6. I'm not sure of the specifics. My son will be five next next week and is still in a five point harness. If her four years are closer to five now, it might work.

Spot on about being on the MMM forums. ;) This question comes up so often on here and I'm always surprised.

ysette9

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Re: Vehicle Advice for 3 carseats
« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2019, 03:02:28 PM »
Combi Coccoro are convertible car seats (my 5 year-old is just about out of hers and used it since she was a sub-4lb preemie) and you can fit three across in a Golf. Just buy new car seats, not a new car.

https://23ejf145mpkj40crs82u74e9-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/IMG_20131108_150302.jpg

Here is my own GTI with two of those car seats in the back. Three car fit though weíll put my oldestís booster seat in there instead and give her convertible to the baby once #3 arrives later this year.
https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/2-kids-what-car-to-get/

stash-lite

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Re: Vehicle Advice for 3 carseats
« Reply #5 on: July 04, 2019, 06:00:41 AM »
Thanks everyone for the feedback, glad to hear having 3 of the skinnier car seats isnt too big a hassle to get in and out.  I will check out those Combi Coccoros for sure!


mrigney

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Re: Vehicle Advice for 3 carseats
« Reply #6 on: July 04, 2019, 07:00:56 AM »
Yeah, we've been doing 3 across in a Prius for the last two years. Paid up for Diono RXT seats to fit instead of paying for a new car. Glad we decided to do that. Oldest is now I'm a booster, sometime in the next year, the middle kid will get his Diono converted to a booster, too. Hasn't been a huge problem at all. And if you're driving such small distances, don't really think it should be a problem...especially since you already have a minivan.

Beach_Stache

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Re: Vehicle Advice for 3 carseats
« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2019, 05:21:29 AM »
I have 3 in a 2003 Corolla.  Ages now are 10, 8, 5, but the 2 oldest are still in boosters and youngest in a 5 point harness.  I've had this car for 16 years, so before they were born.  Once the 3rd came around the older boys were almost 5 & 3, so we graduated the older one to a booster around then and put him in the middle w/the 5 point harnesses on the outsides, but only seldomly used the Corolla as we had a mini-van and didn't go around in my Corolla together.  To add a problem, my Corolla is manual and my wife never wanted to learn, so we can't just trade cars off.  Now I have the youngest in a 5 point harness on the side, the middle is a bumblebum and outside is a normal base booster.  It took them getting used to to move the seats around to buckle in, but just like anything else, they've learned what they need to do after some frustration and now we're good to go.  My 10  year old probably doesn't need the booster anymore and within a few years he'll be in the front seat, so we'll be okay.  If your oldest are twin 4 year olds and will be close to 5 when your new baby is born, that really doesn't leave a ton of time before they switch to boosters and then at that point it will probably be pretty easy.  So I would keep the same car if I were you, do the family driving in the other car, or if you have to divide and concur just get an extra bumblebum car seat and throw it on the floor so you can use it in a bind.

acepedro45

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Re: Vehicle Advice for 3 carseats
« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2019, 02:07:40 PM »
How often is it that you have to around haul all three kids around AND the minivan is unavailable?

Something to consider. We have 6 in our house but are managing with a van for family trips and one commuter car. Maybe you positively need two vehicles that can carry everyone, but definitely mull it over.

Ah, I see @Beach_Stache beat me to the thought. Funny, our commuter car is also a 9th gen Corolla from the mid 00's. 

chemistk

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Re: Vehicle Advice for 3 carseats
« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2019, 05:56:27 AM »
Food for thought, my oldest (4) LOATHED the skinny car seat when we tested one out one day. Absolutely refused to get back into it after trying it out. Had nothing to do with the aesthetics, but more so just how it felt when he sat in it. Most kids will probably be fine, but there will be those who don't find them comfortable.

That's not the reason we replaced my wife's car with a minivan, but it's definitely the reason why we won't be attempting to jam all 3 (when the baby comes later this year) into my Focus.

mm1970

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Re: Vehicle Advice for 3 carseats
« Reply #10 on: July 09, 2019, 03:59:48 PM »
First, congrats on your new baby!

Second, you're on MMM forums.  Do you think anyone is going to recommend a new car to fit 3 carseat across vs just buying the super skinny carseats?

Third, at 4 years, your kids will be close to using high back boosters. When the new baby comes in 5 months, I'd recommend graduating the 4.5 year olds to highbacks (convertable ones that convert to backless boosters). Then you can fit the infant car seat in the middle.

Strictly from safety standpoint, I'm not sure this is the best advice. I think it is recommended that kids stay in a five point harness until 5 or 6. I'm not sure of the specifics. My son will be five next next week and is still in a five point harness. If her four years are closer to five now, it might work.

Spot on about being on the MMM forums. ;) This question comes up so often on here and I'm always surprised.
+1
My 7 year old still in a 5 point in my car.  High back booster in the other.

slappy

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Re: Vehicle Advice for 3 carseats
« Reply #11 on: July 15, 2019, 05:46:44 AM »
Food for thought, my oldest (4) LOATHED the skinny car seat when we tested one out one day. Absolutely refused to get back into it after trying it out. Had nothing to do with the aesthetics, but more so just how it felt when he sat in it. Most kids will probably be fine, but there will be those who don't find them comfortable.

That's not the reason we replaced my wife's car with a minivan, but it's definitely the reason why we won't be attempting to jam all 3 (when the baby comes later this year) into my Focus.

There is more than one "skinny" car seat...


chemistk

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Re: Vehicle Advice for 3 carseats
« Reply #12 on: July 15, 2019, 01:33:55 PM »
Food for thought, my oldest (4) LOATHED the skinny car seat when we tested one out one day. Absolutely refused to get back into it after trying it out. Had nothing to do with the aesthetics, but more so just how it felt when he sat in it. Most kids will probably be fine, but there will be those who don't find them comfortable.

That's not the reason we replaced my wife's car with a minivan, but it's definitely the reason why we won't be attempting to jam all 3 (when the baby comes later this year) into my Focus.

There is more than one "skinny" car seat...

This is absolutely true. We went with a van, ultimately because we tend to take 10+ day trips at a time and a family of 5's week and a half of 'stuff' does not pack well into smaller cars. That, and the general usefulness of a van.

My point though was that a lot of people like to just assume that most kids will be fine with most things and in reality, that's not a 'one size fits all' approach.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2019, 04:58:36 AM by chemistk »

doingfine

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Re: Vehicle Advice for 3 carseats
« Reply #13 on: July 15, 2019, 01:42:50 PM »
The problem with going to narrow car seats is that in a relatively short time your four year olds will outgrow them, and you are likely to want to switch to more regular booster seats. Once you do this, you need access to the car's built-in seatbelts, and the vast majority of booster seats are wider than the specialized narrow car seats you are replacing AND your kids now need to be able to get their hands in-between the seats in order to buckle up. With 3 kids all near the same age, we have been through many iterations of this problem. 3 Diono Radian's across works in nearly any car so long as you are using the 5 point harness. Once you need access to the car's seatbelt, it no longer works.

In short, 2 boosters and a baby seat or 3 boosters is a much more difficult problem than 3 narrow car seats in my experience.

mm1970

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Re: Vehicle Advice for 3 carseats
« Reply #14 on: July 15, 2019, 03:11:38 PM »
The problem with going to narrow car seats is that in a relatively short time your four year olds will outgrow them, and you are likely to want to switch to more regular booster seats. Once you do this, you need access to the car's built-in seatbelts, and the vast majority of booster seats are wider than the specialized narrow car seats you are replacing AND your kids now need to be able to get their hands in-between the seats in order to buckle up. With 3 kids all near the same age, we have been through many iterations of this problem. 3 Diono Radian's across works in nearly any car so long as you are using the 5 point harness. Once you need access to the car's seatbelt, it no longer works.

In short, 2 boosters and a baby seat or 3 boosters is a much more difficult problem than 3 narrow car seats in my experience.
https://us.diono.com/product/radian-3-r/

Diono Radian 3R, from birth to 40 lbs rear facing and up to 100 pounds forward facing.  Most four year olds aren't going to grow out of that.  It's a 5 pt harness, and there's no reason not to stay in one.

My 7 yo isn't even 50 lb.  My teenager isn't even 100 lb!

doingfine

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Re: Vehicle Advice for 3 carseats
« Reply #15 on: July 15, 2019, 03:31:10 PM »
https://us.diono.com/product/radian-3-r/

Diono Radian 3R, from birth to 40 lbs rear facing and up to 100 pounds forward facing.  Most four year olds aren't going to grow out of that.  It's a 5 pt harness, and there's no reason not to stay in one.

My 7 yo isn't even 50 lb.  My teenager isn't even 100 lb!

Yes, at one point we owned ~9 Diono Radianís between our cars and grandparents vehicles.

In practice, we found the 5 point harness impractical at around 45lbs (kids complained endlessly as they found them very uncomfortable) and switched to regular boosters because you effectively cannot use the Radians in booster mode (using the carís lap belt) when placed 3 across in most cars. Additionally, while the Dionoís do 3 across in most cars, installation is a bear - so any time I wanted to remove them (say, to move something large in our wagon), it was a royal PITA.