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  1. #1
    Carseat Crazy
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    Cool Looking at Express/Savana ... Headrests or Shoulder belts ... which to prefer?

    So we are kind of in the market for a 12-passenger van ... I've been looking at the 2001 & newer GMC Savanas & Chevy Express' ... I keep noticing one thing and I'm not sure which to pick ...

    Either a van will have headrests on all the outboard seats, but lap-belts only in the center position OR it will have shoulder belts in all 3 positions, but NO headrests ... (or neither ... )

    SO ... which is more important? At this point, I still have 3 in harnessed seats, and could have 4 or 5 if I had a couple more Radians ... so they could use the center positions and the others could use their boosters in the outboard positions ... but what about in a few years when they're all in boosters//just belts??? Then I'm stuck with 3 center seats that are useless!!! But aren't headrests vitally important as well???

    Thoughts?? Ideas??

    THANKS!
    Kathleen
    Wife to Mr. Mike and Mom to:
    B - 16, C - 15, T - 15, A - 14, H - 12,
    L - 10, J - 8, A - 8, R - 20mo!!
    I am seat and cover shopping!! 😁

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  3. #2
    CPS Technician Ali's Avatar
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    Re: Looking at Express/Savana ... Headrests or Shoulder belts ... which to prefer?

    I would go for headrests since if you keep having more kiddos, the youngest ones would always be harnessed. Just keep the harnessed seats installed with the lap only belts.

    A lap/shoulder belt with no headrest would be less useful unless you used a highback booster with whomever sat there.
    DD Jan 2005
    RF to 3 1/2 years; Harnessed to 7 1/2 years; Now Boostered

  4. #3
    CPS Technician bobandjess99's Avatar
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    Re: Looking at Express/Savana ... Headrests or Shoulder belts ... which to prefer?

    its tough...how long would you keep the vehicle? At what point would the number of kids who need shoulder belts exceed the number of shoulder belts available?

    Alex, 8 Katie, 12 and Annabelle Jan 2017

  5. #4
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: Looking at Express/Savana ... Headrests or Shoulder belts ... which to prefer?

    These are all things I've pondered over and over and over and ... well, you know, lol

    We aren't "having" anymore kiddos ... but we are doing foster care (that's where my 2 extra came from 5,7) ... so theoretically I will eventually not have any harnessed kiddos (although someone is always around lol)

    I want the bigger vehicle for more "elbow-room", space, and "extras" ... there's always extra kiddos who need a ride to church, school, soccer, etc ... all booster age or older ... but not every one will always remain in a booster and then I have a van full of shoulder belts and no headrests.

    Erg. Why can't it have both??? (Maybe it's an option on new, but I am buying used and have to choose, it seems)

    The silly thing about the one with the shoulder belts/no headrests is that they were smart enough to set the shoulder belt up on the top of the seat back so that it's above most people's shoulders but no headrest to protect their necks
    Kathleen
    Wife to Mr. Mike and Mom to:
    B - 16, C - 15, T - 15, A - 14, H - 12,
    L - 10, J - 8, A - 8, R - 20mo!!
    I am seat and cover shopping!! 😁

  6. #5
    CPS Technician bobandjess99's Avatar
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    Re: Looking at Express/Savana ... Headrests or Shoulder belts ... which to prefer?

    You know, I think there have been some threads about getting headrests added to certain kinds of vans...I wonder if thats an option on any of the models you are looking at?
    I think you probably need to go with the shoulder belts, because once your harness seat days are over, those lap belt spots will be truly useless. Whereas in a spot with no headrest, I suppose you can always use a high highback booster for quite some time....but then again, if there are only 8 of you total, you can "afford" to have 3 unoccupied middle seats with lap belts, I suppose? Plus, with a 2 yo, ,you will have at least 1 harnessed seat for 4-5 more years, right?

    Alex, 8 Katie, 12 and Annabelle Jan 2017

  7. #6
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: Looking at Express/Savana ... Headrests or Shoulder belts ... which to prefer?

    I might have to look into the head-rest add on ...

    And we don't "need" the extra seats, I just want some available for extra passengers, which means those seats need to be functional (beyond lap-belt, lol) ... plus we have an 8-seater minivan right now (Montana) so we all fit, there's just not much extra room to move around at all and even just a trip to the store fills up the back space, even though its an extended one.

    I figure I could easily have 2-3 harnessed kids for at least the next 2-3 years, longer for the youngest ... IF I can convince dh to let me get another radian or two. Are there any other higher-harness slots than the radian, other than the really big Britax one?
    Kathleen
    Wife to Mr. Mike and Mom to:
    B - 16, C - 15, T - 15, A - 14, H - 12,
    L - 10, J - 8, A - 8, R - 20mo!!
    I am seat and cover shopping!! 😁

  8. #7
    CPS Technician bobandjess99's Avatar
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    Re: Looking at Express/Savana ... Headrests or Shoulder belts ... which to prefer?

    The frontier is not as big or annoying as the old regent, and has 20 inch tall top slots, plus a high booster..will accomodate most kids to 8-9 years harnessed, and 12+ in the booster...so it would really turn some of the lap belt slots into functional seats for kids up through the teens, to be honest.
    The nauti top slots are higher than the radian by about a half inch, which can be a half year or more at that age, about 6-7 that kids are outgrowing those seats.

    Alex, 8 Katie, 12 and Annabelle Jan 2017

  9. #8
    CPS Technician bobandjess99's Avatar
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    Re: Looking at Express/Savana ... Headrests or Shoulder belts ... which to prefer?

    so..now yougot me interested, lol.
    I'm looking at an 03 sprinter, and it seems to have shoulder belts AND headrests in every position. Woulkd you consider a sprinter?
    http://www.edmunds.com/flipper/do/Me.../photoId=22334

    Alex, 8 Katie, 12 and Annabelle Jan 2017

  10. #9
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: Looking at Express/Savana ... Headrests or Shoulder belts ... which to prefer?

    How would the Frontier make the lap belts functional into the teens?? Or did I mis-read that???

    Are we sure the nauti is taller than the radian? I thought that was still up for debate ... but that was a couple months ago last time I checked

    I guess I'd need to look into the width of the seats and see what will fit in 3-across since I would need that to happen sometimes ... or at least 2 seats and an adult.

    I have 2 Radians now and love them because they are so narrow. If I could convince dh to let me buy 3 more, I'd have all 5 of the youngest in those and the oldest in a booster, since it would fit then.
    Kathleen
    Wife to Mr. Mike and Mom to:
    B - 16, C - 15, T - 15, A - 14, H - 12,
    L - 10, J - 8, A - 8, R - 20mo!!
    I am seat and cover shopping!! 😁

  11. #10
    CPS Technician bobandjess99's Avatar
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    Re: Looking at Express/Savana ... Headrests or Shoulder belts ... which to prefer?

    A frontier would not make the lap belts finctional when used as a booster, sorry, mistyped. It would make lap belts useful asharnessed seats, and would make lap-shoulder belts with no headrests safe as seating positions when used as a high back booster. I'm only partially awake, lol.

    Alex, 8 Katie, 12 and Annabelle Jan 2017

  12. #11
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: Looking at Express/Savana ... Headrests or Shoulder belts ... which to prefer?

    I'd drive a Sprinter ... dh would proly walk first a minivan was a stretch for him ... a full-size van is really pushing his comfort zone, LOL

    I guess the other thing IS the seat width ... if I can't fit 2 boosters and a seat in a 3-across in any of those vans, then it's kinda pointless.

    Maybe I should just get a bus? Wait, no seatbelts, nevermind!
    Kathleen
    Wife to Mr. Mike and Mom to:
    B - 16, C - 15, T - 15, A - 14, H - 12,
    L - 10, J - 8, A - 8, R - 20mo!!
    I am seat and cover shopping!! 😁

  13. #12
    CPS Technician tl01's Avatar
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    Re: Looking at Express/Savana ... Headrests or Shoulder belts ... which to prefer?

    Quote Originally Posted by AutoShopMama View Post
    I'd drive a Sprinter ... dh would proly walk first a minivan was a stretch for him ... a full-size van is really pushing his comfort zone, LOL

    I guess the other thing IS the seat width ... if I can't fit 2 boosters and a seat in a 3-across in any of those vans, then it's kinda pointless.

    Maybe I should just get a bus? Wait, no seatbelts, nevermind!
    Get him to test drive a Sprinter. My guess is it drives better than an Express or a Savanna.
    DS 7.5 years 71 lbs FFing in:
    a Frontier90, PWSGL 2013
    DS2 3.5 years 35 lbs FFing in:
    Foonf, Frontier 85, SureRide

  14. #13
    Senior Community Member Jennifer mom to my 7's Avatar
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    Re: Looking at Express/Savana ... Headrests or Shoulder belts ... which to prefer?

    Quote Originally Posted by tl01 View Post
    Get him to test drive a Sprinter. My guess is it drives better than an Express or a Savanna.
    You are probably right, but we have a 9 passenger gmc conversion van. It drives like an ambulance, according to dh, so I go with it, since I wanted headrests and shoulder belts in all seating positions.
    Whatever Wendy said

    "No one else will ever know the strength of my love for you, after all, you're the only one who knows what my heart sounds like from the inside." -Unknown

  15. #14
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: Looking at Express/Savana ... Headrests or Shoulder belts ... which to prefer?

    Quote Originally Posted by tl01 View Post
    Get him to test drive a Sprinter. My guess is it drives better than an Express or a Savanna.
    He has ... we own a repair shop and he worked on one a while back and came home ranting about how ugly it was I think they look kinda neat, but I'm also a weirdo like that lol ...

    Off to find seat widths ...
    Kathleen
    Wife to Mr. Mike and Mom to:
    B - 16, C - 15, T - 15, A - 14, H - 12,
    L - 10, J - 8, A - 8, R - 20mo!!
    I am seat and cover shopping!! 😁

  16. #15
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: Looking at Express/Savana ... Headrests or Shoulder belts ... which to prefer?

    So I mentioned the Sprinter and/or Ford Transit Connect ....

    "I'd rather have a fleet of Yaris' and chain them together ..." says my husband

    Kathleen
    Wife to Mr. Mike and Mom to:
    B - 16, C - 15, T - 15, A - 14, H - 12,
    L - 10, J - 8, A - 8, R - 20mo!!
    I am seat and cover shopping!! 😁

  17. #16
    CPS Technician bobandjess99's Avatar
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    Re: Looking at Express/Savana ... Headrests or Shoulder belts ... which to prefer?

    Quote Originally Posted by AutoShopMama View Post
    So I mentioned the Sprinter and/or Ford Transit Connect ....

    "I'd rather have a fleet of Yaris' and chain them together ..." says my husband


    Alex, 8 Katie, 12 and Annabelle Jan 2017

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