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CAR SEATS - General Child Safety Seat Questions, Help and Advice>3 across, questions about keyfit and radian.
maven11 12:26 PM 04-05-2011
First, this website has been SO helpful in coming up with a solution. Lots of research and a trip to several baby stores with our car have left me with a few questions.

Here is our situation:
KIds: Child #1 is 4.75 yrs, 46#, 45", currently in a safeguard go and a evenflo 65lb all-in-one seat (harnessed); Child #2 19m, 33#, RF in a roundabout 50 and a decathlon (expires this summer). Child 3# due when kids turn 5 and 2.

Cars: are a g6 2006 (has latch) and a 1998 grand cherokee with no latch and only a center ff tether. Finances won't allow for a new car.

Several possibilities worked at the baby stores today.
1) graco turbobooster-chicco keyfit-radian FF
2) TB-radian RF/FF-keyfit
3) radian-KF-radian
4) radian-radian-KF
5) TB-KF-RB 50 (FF only)

Parkway did not fit. Roundabout did not fit center RF or FF. Radian only RF in center slot.

Questions
1) Booster was VERY hard to reach to be buckled, but seemed to fit otherwise nicely. Oldest kiddo seems ready for a booster but is content being harnessed, so could do either. What is an easier battle when loading in 3 kids--reaching a booster buckle or harnessing a 3rd child? She can do her chest clip herself, FWIW
2)Can the booster be left buckled and she crawls under the straps and then we tighten?
3) Logistically, where is it best to have the bucket for ease-of-use? We were planning center because of front-to-back legroom issues for the front seat, but the keyfit is compact enough we can put it anywhere. Seems hard to reach the bucket across the other seats.
4) And ultimately, better to do 2 radians + keyfit or radian + booster + keyfit? Keep in mind I can only anchor one of the seats bc chrysler insists only 1 tether anchor can be placed.
5) any other solutions I am missing? I like the idea of two radians +keyfit bc when baby grows out of the keyfit, it can move RF in a radian in the center position (tested this today, fits well in our car), and Child #1 could be in a booster at that point. Alternatively we could do radian + booster + KF and move baby to a coccoro or radian when we hit the kf limit. We definitely NEED the infant carrier, can't escape that.

If it matters, kids will be home with DH fulltime, although kiddo #1 will be in full-day kindergarten, so most solo parent trips will be baby + toddler, since school is in walking distance.

Thanks, especially if you are still reading!!!
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wendytthomas 12:36 PM 04-05-2011
1 and 5 are not options. At 19 months rear facing is the safest way for your child to travel, and should never ride forward facing.

Your oldest is a bit young, but if they can sit in a booster, then that's ok. However, in a three across boosters are very difficult to deal with. So I'd do a harnessed seat. You could do a Radian for now, a Radian for the 19 month old rear facing, then the baby in the Keyfit. Then when the Keyfit is outgrown do two rear facing Radians and a booster. So that'd definitely be fine. You can leave the seatbelt buckled, but we've found that that's difficult for Piper and her friends to do. It takes less time for me to buckle them (even at eight years old I was crawling around buckling in kids in a three across).

As for the one tether anchor in the van, that's fine. You have one forward facing harnessed child now and two rear facers. In a year or two when you have another forward facer you'll have one boostered child. You won't have two forward facing harnessed kids for ideally three or more years, in which case your middle may be ready for a booster.

Wendy
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maven11 12:41 PM 04-05-2011
Thanks... Definitely kiddo#2 will be RF until baby is born, which will be at his 2nd birthday or so. Also, the radian will NOT fit rearfacing anywhere but center, which absorbs our one FF tether anchor slot, unless I can anchor an outboard seat to a center tether? There is no way we could RF two radians, maybe a radian + a smaller convertible could work.
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wendytthomas 01:00 PM 04-05-2011
Are you looking for only the Cherokee (I had seen Grand Cherokee and read Grand Caravan)? Or will you be switching seat between the cars?

I'd look then at the Safety 1st Complete Air as it has the same top slots as the Radian, is still narrow, and installs rear facing much more upright than the Radian.

Wendy
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maven11 01:06 PM 04-05-2011
I think we are going to focus on the grand cherokee for now. None of the britax seats would fit 3-across rearfacing and the safety 1st infant seat and convertibles did not work either.

There are several viable options on the 3-across thread for the pontiac and the latch and and tether options are better so I'm not as worried about that situation, plus it will only be used as a back up car.
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wendytthomas 01:16 PM 04-05-2011
Did you sit the seats so that they weren't reclined to the "line is level" angle? That's a newborn angle, not needed for an older child. I don't doubt the Britaxes wouldn't fit three across. You have a narrow backseat.

Wendy
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maven11 01:24 PM 04-05-2011
So we played around with the radian RF quite a bit and it really would only fit in the center position, which concerns me b/c it "steals" our only ff anchor. We had a tech help us at a local baby gear shop, fwiw. The keyfit fits behind the passenger seat nicely. My husband is 6"5 so I don't think having an infant carrier or RF seat behind him will work at all, so in my mind a booster is behind him or a FF seat that is either not tethered or tethered to the center (is this allowed?). I do think a tiny convertible would fit RF behind the passenger seat, but it would need to be both narrow and short front-to-back. This is why the coccorro came to mind. The other one I did not try, based on its width on the shelf was the true fit premier with the removable head rest bit, which could potentially fit behind the passenger. I guess a scenera would be the other option? We have a couple of those laying around for travel/ lending out purposes but my kids are so heavy that I hadn't considered it for a long term solution.

Thanks so much for talking me through this-- a compromise of safety/finance/function is very difficult.
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wendytthomas 02:20 PM 04-05-2011
You can't borrow the middle anchor. The part number for retrofitting the outboard seats is 04728952AB. Have the dealership reference bulletin number 23-029-08 to have them done free.

Was this person a Safe Kids certified technician? Did they try to put something like the Complete Air as upright as 30 degrees behind the passenger seat? Or the Radian more upright behind the passenger (it's allowed to brace on your passenger seat).

I agree, a forward facing seat behind your husband, then either the 19 month old rear facing in the center, or the baby, depending on which seat fits best where.

The Scenera is narrow and fits newborns, so it's definitely an option. It has a rear facing weight limit of 35 pounds and is taller than the Coccoro, so while not a long term option, it is an option. The True Fit Premier is very wide, though I was able to do a True Fit Premier, Radian, and adult three across in my Nissan Xterra. It took two of us to get the Radian and TFP in there next to one another, though.

Wendy
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mama2girls 04:05 PM 04-05-2011
How long are you planning to RF your middle child? Because FF Radian/RF Radian/Keyfit sounds like it will fit for you now. If baby will fit in the keyfit until 12 mths or beyond than you'll be looking at a 6 yr old, 3 yr old and and a 1 yr old, with your oldest probably being in school, etc, so your needs will be a different and you might have more options.
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maven11 04:30 PM 04-05-2011
RF'ing, our goal is either 2 years or the RF limits of our seat, though probably not beyond age 2.5 or 3. Although, honestly, if he has a seat that fits him well and still allows the other kids to be in a safe option, then we'll leave him RF for a while. I just assumed when we went to a full-on convertible RF for #3 that we would lose our option to RF two kids in 3 across setting. If that makes sense? Also, if we can get our chrysler dealer to do the rest of the tether anchors, all of a sudden I've got more options and would keep kid#1 harnessed rather than booster, both for safety and ease-of-use.


I didn't specifically ask the type of tech this person was, seemed knowledgeable. The radian just literally would NOT fit RF behind one of the seats, although it was an 80XT, not sure if the 65 would have fit better. I am tall as well and couldn't ride passenger front bc of knees-to-dash room with the radian installed even upright and braced tightly.
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maven11 06:06 PM 04-05-2011
Oh, and wanted to add, I found pictures from the user "KAC" (can't figure out how to PM her, says my account won't allow?) that shows on onboardair 35, RF radian, and outboard RF CA. If anyone can help me either bump that older thread (in "carseat chat") or PM her, then perhaps she can help me understand how the CA fit.

http://www.car-seat.org/showthread.php?t=164736

Also, I found several threads saying the same thing my dealership did, that only tether anchor allowed is in center spot? How do I know which is right?

http://www.car-seat.org/showthread.php?t=56668
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wendytthomas 02:01 AM 04-06-2011
The 65, 80, and XT are the same exact shell and fit in the same exact way.

Your account is still in moderation, which is probably why you can't PM. You've confirmed your email, so I'm not sure what's next. I'll PM Kac for you and ask her to come to this thread.

The thread about the tethers you linked me to was from 2008. I checked the 2011 LATCH manual, and that's where I got the information from on the part number and bulletin. In 2008 they would have been going off of a 2007 manual (they come out every two years). I don't have access to one, but I bet this is a change that's been made since then. Give the dealership a call and see what they say when you plug the numbers I gave you in. Now I'm curious as well.

Wendy
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maven11 07:35 AM 04-06-2011
Ok, I will try. The last time we messed with the anchor business was when we turned kiddo#1 FF a couple years ago and it felt like it took an act of God & nature just to get one anchor installed. Hopefully the new info helps. I think if I had more FF options, I would do the two convertibles and a keyfit, then move the kindergartner to a booster whenever baby out grows the keyfit

How long do people keep kids in the keyfit 30? My older two we put in RF convertibles around 4-6 months because thats when I could no longer lift the carrier, however my husband will be the one home with kids this time around and he thinks he will use the carrier until baby outgrows.

And, is it easiest use-wise to have the bucket center or outboard?
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Kac 07:55 AM 04-06-2011
I have a CA and a Radian 80SL in a 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Feel free to ask me any questions and I'm more than willing to help!
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maven11 08:45 AM 04-06-2011
Kac- thanks!!! It was such a relief for me to see actual pictures of our identical vehicle with 3 seats across. I'm only 22 wks with #3 right now but have been scouring for a 3 across solution.

My big questions-- What seats have you been able to RF behind the passenger seat with 3 across? Currently with 2 kids in the back we have a RA50 behind the passenger seat, but this leaves the front passenger seat absolutely unusable (adults are quite tall in my house!).

And, can you RF a radian behind the passenger seat with the front seat being usable? It looks like you had great FF installs and a RF center install, which parallels my experience while out shopping yesterday. I was unable to get a usable RF solution with a radian in the outboard position.

And, do you like the onboard AIR35 seat? We were leaning more towards the keyfit bc it seems that we could gain an inch or two front-to-back and have baby outboard passenger side.

And last, given all the details in my initial post, what would you do? Expecting my middle child to be 35# or more and 2 yrs old by the time little sib is born.

and wendythomas, seems like my chrysler dealer may be able to do the fix, although not sure if it will be free. They seem to think you can only have one free anchor, which we did 2 yrs ago in the center position. I was just glad they were willing to do the outboard anchors and the parts are currently on order. Thanks!
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wendytthomas 11:39 AM 04-06-2011
Originally Posted by maven11:
and wendythomas, seems like my chrysler dealer may be able to do the fix, although not sure if it will be free. They seem to think you can only have one free anchor, which we did 2 yrs ago in the center position. I was just glad they were willing to do the outboard anchors and the parts are currently on order. Thanks!
Awesome!!!!!

Wendy
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Kac 10:59 PM 04-06-2011
My big questions-- What seats have you been able to RF behind the passenger seat with 3 across? Currently with 2 kids in the back we have a RA50 behind the passenger seat, but this leaves the front passenger seat absolutely unusable (adults are quite tall in my house!).

I typically don't have a RFer behind the passenger, so tomorrow I'll go out and play with installs and see what I can do.

And, can you RF a radian behind the passenger seat with the front seat being usable? It looks like you had great FF installs and a RF center install, which parallels my experience while out shopping yesterday. I was unable to get a usable RF solution with a radian in the outboard position.
I am able to put the Radian RFing behind the driver. I'm only 5 foot 4, so
I sit very close. I can try it behind the passenger and see how usuable it would be. As long as the Radian is for an older infant and head slump is not an issue, it can be more upright. I can get mine to 19 degrees. That helps a lot.


And, do you like the onboard AIR35 seat? We were leaning more towards the keyfit bc it seems that we could gain an inch or two front-to-back and have baby outboard passenger side.

I only played with the OnBoard Air 35, and I think I prefer the Chicco Keyfit over it. But I've never had a lot of experience with infant seats. The OnBoard is a BIG seat though.

And last, given all the details in my initial post, what would you do? Expecting my middle child to be 35# or more and 2 yrs old by the time little sib the born.
I would probably do a RFing Radian behind the driver if you can get it to fit, and FFing Radian in the middle, and a Keyfit.

Your oldest is a little too young for a booster in my opinion, so the Radian could keep him/her harnessed a little longer. It really makes a huge difference. Then when the baby is out of the infant seat, you could do two RFing Radians and a booster.



I'm sorry for taking so long to reply. This is my busy week. I'll try and play around with the installs tomorrow. I'm sorry if ive left anything out. I'm exhausted. Please keep asking questions if you have them.
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Chely7425 12:11 AM 04-07-2011
I didn't read all the replies so if this has been mentioned already ignore me i believe that you can brace the radians in your cherOkee... Radian allows it and you don't have advanced air bags. I have 3 RF seats in my jeep liberty so it's definitely possible! Anywho... Bracing the radian on the front seat gave us a lot more room in the front
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maven11 07:11 PM 04-08-2011
So, we made a decision.
Got a chicco keyfit30 (bright red!) for baby. Will likely be outboard passenger, doesn't fit behind my husband driving.

2 radian 65SL (on sale with albee). We'll plan to FF big sis outboard and RF middle kid center unless it is too hard to get our middle kid harnessed. If not, he'll be 2+yrs by then and we will FF both big kids. I guess we'll plan to booster the oldest in a year or so when baby grows out of the chicco.


Any other tricks/tidbits to dealing with 3 in a row? Who do you load first? Who is hardest to buckle?
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Kac 09:22 AM 04-09-2011
That's a great plan! What color Radians?


I get an amazing middle RFing install with my 80SL so you shouldn't have to much trouble. I can get mine to 19 degrees and it doesn't interfere with the front seats at all.

Are your seats cloth or leather? Mine are cloth. To get it upright, I put all my weight in it while tightening and pull really hard like you'd do for any other seat. It's easier to put your weight in it because the sides are low.

I usually install the middle first. With three acrosses, the most important thing is to make sure each seat is tightly installed and that it doesn't just seem tight because it's leaning on another seat.

I would love to see pics! I apologize for not looking at my seats in time. The last few days I have only been home to sleep!
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