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  1. #1
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    Question 7 car seats in 12-pass Chevy Express Van

    Anyone familiar w/Chevy Express van? Need some help deciding on a seat configuration! We are soon to have seven children (adding 2 in next 2 months) - ages 9 1/2 (67#), nearly 7yo (58#), 4 1/2yo (39#), 3 1/2yo (28#), and 16 months (28#). We are adding a new baby in 2 weeks, and a 3yo (25-30#) in December. We are stumped as to the best seat configuration. I know we need to buy at least 2, possible 3 or more new seats - just can't figure out which ones. I have used Britax exclusively for years and years, and just now thinking maybe I need to branch out. As we will still be growing our family, money isn't too much of a concern - can always pass down seats! Just looking for the safest, and what will fit the best w/our van seats. We have 3 rows of benches - seating 3, 3, and 4 in the back. Just recently have been reading where you aren't supposed to put car seats in back row (just boosters)? Up to this point w/the seats we have I can't fit more than 2 in the 3 seaters....so not sure how to make this work.
    I would love to keep my 3yo's RF if possible!
    Thank you in advance for any help!! Need to get out tonight to take a look at seats - my tubby 16 month old needs a new one pronto!!!
    Stephanie

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  3. #2
    CPS Technician Pixels's Avatar
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    Re: 7 car seats in 12-pass Chevy Express Van

    Where do you have lap/shoulder belts, do you have any lap-only positions, do you have adjustable head restraints (and where)? Any special needs we should be aware of?

    What seats do you currently have? Are any of them close to expiring?

    I believe the boosters-only rule was in reference to the Ford 15 passenger vehicles, not Chevy. Does your vehicle manual say anything about this? ETA: I don't know what year your Express is, but the manual for the 2011 expressly forbids placing three restraints in any row. It does expressly allow child restraints, including harnessed seats, in the fourth row (but still only two per row).
    Melissa, CPST and Mom to three

  4. #3
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    Re: 7 car seats in 12-pass Chevy Express Van

    Ooh ooh, pick me, pick me! Check my siggy, LOL.
    And to make things even more strange, we took out one of our 3-pass benches so we do indeed have 7 children in a 12 passenger.

    What year is your van? I have to run ATM, but wanted to say I'm here and will come back!

    Quote Originally Posted by widgetwick View Post
    Anyone familiar w/Chevy Express van? Need some help deciding on a seat configuration! We are soon to have seven children (adding 2 in next 2 months) - ages 9 1/2 (67#), nearly 7yo (58#), 4 1/2yo (39#), 3 1/2yo (28#), and 16 months (28#). We are adding a new baby in 2 weeks, and a 3yo (25-30#) in December. We are stumped as to the best seat configuration. I know we need to buy at least 2, possible 3 or more new seats - just can't figure out which ones. I have used Britax exclusively for years and years, and just now thinking maybe I need to branch out. As we will still be growing our family, money isn't too much of a concern - can always pass down seats! Just looking for the safest, and what will fit the best w/our van seats. We have 3 rows of benches - seating 3, 3, and 4 in the back. Just recently have been reading where you aren't supposed to put car seats in back row (just boosters)? Up to this point w/the seats we have I can't fit more than 2 in the 3 seaters....so not sure how to make this work.
    Thank you in advance for any help!! Need to get out tonight to take a look at seats - my tubby 16 month old needs a new one pronto!!!
    Stephanie
    17yrs, 15yrs, 13yrs, 11yrs , 9yrs (58", 75lbs, Incognito), 7yrs (46", 50lbs, Dreamtime), 5yrs (41", 35lbs, RN), 3yrs (30lbs, RF Marathon), NB (Peg 4-35)
    '14 Mazda5, '06 Chevy Express, '08 Toyota Tundra

  5. #4
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    Re: 7 car seats in 12-pass Chevy Express Van

    it would be helpful to know what seats the children are currently using, how they fit the seat & when they expire.

    i don't believe the chevy van has headrests? that will become a problem with your older children growing up. everyone should have headrests & anyone in an adult seatbelt or booster needs the shoulder/lap belt combo positions. do all positions have shoulder belts?
    Ginny
    Mom to 4!
    DS1 16yo, DS2 15yo, DD 11yo & DS3 9yo

  6. #5
    CPS Fanatic Keeanh's Avatar
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    Re: 7 car seats in 12-pass Chevy Express Van

    Ok, got a few more minutes here. I'm seeing:
    2-4 RF-ers
    1-3 FF-ers
    2 boosters

    I have 3 in the 4 bench, 2 in each 3 bench.

    I would put 2 RF in the back bench, 2 RF in the front bench. You load the 2 rear bench through the trunk. The front bench pass side through the regular door, and the front driver's side through the HUGE space between the front seats.

    Put the FF in the second bench passenger side so you can help buckle, but the FF seat will allow a booster child to get past. Put the oldest there. Put second oldest in the rear bench passenger side in case they need help or at least a look-see to make sure the belt is okay. Switch the booster riders if your oldest one needs the legroom.

    You should have a tether in that FF position. If you have an older vehicle that doesn't have a tether there, let me know where you do have tethers.

    What seats do you have now? Do you have other vehicles that these seats need to go in?

    Okay, now I really gotta run!
    Last edited by Keeanh; 10-22-2010 at 01:20 PM. Reason: Counted wrong
    17yrs, 15yrs, 13yrs, 11yrs , 9yrs (58", 75lbs, Incognito), 7yrs (46", 50lbs, Dreamtime), 5yrs (41", 35lbs, RN), 3yrs (30lbs, RF Marathon), NB (Peg 4-35)
    '14 Mazda5, '06 Chevy Express, '08 Toyota Tundra

  7. #6
    CPS Fanatic Keeanh's Avatar
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    Re: 7 car seats in 12-pass Chevy Express Van

    Quote Originally Posted by Pixels View Post
    Where do you have lap/shoulder belts, do you have any lap-only positions, do you have adjustable head restraints (and where)? Any special needs we should be aware of?

    What seats do you currently have? Are any of them close to expiring?

    I believe the boosters-only rule was in reference to the Ford 15 passenger vehicles, not Chevy. Does your vehicle manual say anything about this? ETA: I don't know what year your Express is, but the manual for the 2011 expressly forbids placing three restraints in any row. It does expressly allow child restraints, including harnessed seats, in the fourth row (but still only two per row).
    I referenced the back-bench misunderstanding in another post. All it really says is "there are no tethers back there so don't put a FF tethered seat there". Um, duh!
    17yrs, 15yrs, 13yrs, 11yrs , 9yrs (58", 75lbs, Incognito), 7yrs (46", 50lbs, Dreamtime), 5yrs (41", 35lbs, RN), 3yrs (30lbs, RF Marathon), NB (Peg 4-35)
    '14 Mazda5, '06 Chevy Express, '08 Toyota Tundra

  8. #7
    CPS Fanatic Keeanh's Avatar
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    Re: 7 car seats in 12-pass Chevy Express Van

    Quote Originally Posted by ginny4 View Post
    it would be helpful to know what seats the children are currently using, how they fit the seat & when they expire.

    i don't believe the chevy van has headrests? that will become a problem with your older children growing up. everyone should have headrests & anyone in an adult seatbelt or booster needs the shoulder/lap belt combo positions. do all positions have shoulder belts?
    None of the big vans have headrests. I'm hoping that when they do come out with headrests, the new benches will be compatible with the old vans and just swap out a bench.
    17yrs, 15yrs, 13yrs, 11yrs , 9yrs (58", 75lbs, Incognito), 7yrs (46", 50lbs, Dreamtime), 5yrs (41", 35lbs, RN), 3yrs (30lbs, RF Marathon), NB (Peg 4-35)
    '14 Mazda5, '06 Chevy Express, '08 Toyota Tundra

  9. #8
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    Re: 7 car seats in 12-pass Chevy Express Van

    WOW - you guys rock!!!
    All of the seats have lap/shoulder belts, no headrests. No special needs. Currently the 9yo (Frontier) in the back (4 seater) bench, the 6yo (Regent), the 16 mon.(snugride 30) in the middle bench. The 4yo (Regent), and the 3yo (Decathalon) in the front bench. I own an Advocate as well (its only year old, briefly used before the Regent was passed down to the 4yo. Don't know offhand the expirations - have to check later. The oldest seats are the Regents, and those are close to 3 years old.
    I am good to buy as many new seats as needed. Especially in light of the Transport Canada testing...that has me a bit concerned. Always thought that Britax was THE BEST! I would love to RF my 3yo's (and of course the babies!), but we haven't gotten a good install w/the Decathalon. I would LOVE to have the two 3yos and the 16 month old RF in the middle row - is that possible?

    Have to check the manual regarding how many restraints per seat. Our model is a 2008 Chevy Express.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pixels View Post
    Where do you have lap/shoulder belts, do you have any lap-only positions, do you have adjustable head restraints (and where)? Any special needs we should be aware of?

    What seats do you currently have? Are any of them close to expiring?

    I believe the boosters-only rule was in reference to the Ford 15 passenger vehicles, not Chevy. Does your vehicle manual say anything about this? ETA: I don't know what year your Express is, but the manual for the 2011 expressly forbids placing three restraints in any row. It does expressly allow child restraints, including harnessed seats, in the fourth row (but still only two per row).

  10. #9
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    Re: 7 car seats in 12-pass Chevy Express Van

    Did you replace a 3-pass w/ a 4? Would love to hear more! Thanks!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Keeanh View Post
    Ooh ooh, pick me, pick me! Check my siggy, LOL.
    And to make things even more strange, we took out one of our 3-pass benches so we do indeed have 7 children in a 12 passenger.

    What year is your van? I have to run ATM, but wanted to say I'm here and will come back!

  11. #10
    CPS Technician Pixels's Avatar
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    Re: 7 car seats in 12-pass Chevy Express Van

    The 2008 model has the same restriction re: only two restraints per bench.
    Melissa, CPST and Mom to three

  12. #11
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    Re: 7 car seats in 12-pass Chevy Express Van

    Thanks for being so specific...that is super helpful!
    So if I am reading correctly, you are saying to put 2 RF in the back w/a booster, 2 RF in the front, and 2 FF in the middle? I think best scenerio w/the kiddos would be my 9yo, 3yo, and 16 month in the back bench. The 4 and 6 FF in the middle, and the new baby and new 3yo in the front?
    I need a new seat for the 16 month old and our new 3yo minimum. I really can't stand the Advocate - none of my kids have liked the headwings when RF'ing. What can I go w/that is really safe, and will get a solid install? I wouldn't mind replacing the Decathalon w/something (to get the 3yo RF), or the Regent for my 6yo. The Radian XTSL looks great, however concerned if it will fit RF.
    I'm sure I made this all super confusing! Thanks so much for taking the time to wade through, and help me make these decisions!
    Stephanie


    Quote Originally Posted by Keeanh View Post
    Ok, got a few more minutes here. I'm seeing:
    3-4 RF-ers
    1-3 FF-ers
    2 boosters

    I have 3 in the 4 bench, 2 in each 3 bench.

    I would put 2 RF in the back bench, 2 RF in the front bench. You load the 2 rear bench through the trunk. The front bench pass side through the regular door, and the front driver's side through the HUGE space between the front seats.

    Put the FF in the second bench passenger side so you can help buckle, but the FF seat will allow a booster child to get past. Put the oldest there. Put second oldest in the rear bench passenger side in case they need help or at least a look-see to make sure the belt is okay. Switch the booster riders if your oldest one needs the legroom.

    You should have a tether in that FF position. If you have an older vehicle that doesn't have a tether there, let me know where you do have tethers.

    What seats do you have now? Do you have other vehicles that these seats need to go in?

    Okay, now I really gotta run!

  13. #12
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    Re: 7 car seats in 12-pass Chevy Express Van

    Quote Originally Posted by Pixels View Post
    Any special needs we should be aware of?

    Didn't even occur to me when I just responded to mention my little 3yo (that is in the Decathalon)- she has a prosthetic leg. Its been a while since I tried her RF'ing, but would need a seat that would be comfortable RF for her.
    Thanks!!!

  14. #13
    CPS Fanatic Keeanh's Avatar
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    Re: 7 car seats in 12-pass Chevy Express Van

    Quote Originally Posted by widgetwick View Post
    Did you replace a 3-pass w/ a 4? Would love to hear more! Thanks!!!
    No, I just meant we're kinda twins since my 15-passenger is at the moment a 12-passenger. We took out the second-to-last row to give the people in the back row more leg room.
    17yrs, 15yrs, 13yrs, 11yrs , 9yrs (58", 75lbs, Incognito), 7yrs (46", 50lbs, Dreamtime), 5yrs (41", 35lbs, RN), 3yrs (30lbs, RF Marathon), NB (Peg 4-35)
    '14 Mazda5, '06 Chevy Express, '08 Toyota Tundra

  15. #14
    CPS Fanatic Keeanh's Avatar
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    Re: 7 car seats in 12-pass Chevy Express Van

    If your tethers are the same as mine, you can't do my original idea. I was assuming your 6yo was boostered. I'm in the middle of homeschooling, but I will definitely get back to you this evening if I don't before then. And if you try a Radian in the van PLEASE tell me!! I really want to know how they work with that vehicle!!
    17yrs, 15yrs, 13yrs, 11yrs , 9yrs (58", 75lbs, Incognito), 7yrs (46", 50lbs, Dreamtime), 5yrs (41", 35lbs, RN), 3yrs (30lbs, RF Marathon), NB (Peg 4-35)
    '14 Mazda5, '06 Chevy Express, '08 Toyota Tundra

  16. #15
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    Re: 7 car seats in 12-pass Chevy Express Van

    What a great idea! We will need to upgrade to the 15 pass soon - as 2 of my kiddos will need wheelchairs. Between that and the strollers there will be zero room! Those are the big downfalls for us - no cargo space or leg room!


    Quote Originally Posted by Keeanh View Post
    No, I just meant we're kinda twins since my 15-passenger is at the moment a 12-passenger. We took out the second-to-last row to give the people in the back row more leg room.

  17. #16
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    Re: 7 car seats in 12-pass Chevy Express Van

    I could put my 58#, nearly 7 yo in a booster. At times he rides in his brother's frontier, and does just fine.
    Thanks for taking the time to respond!
    We are homeschoolers too. Congrats on your newest addition!
    Stephanie

    Quote Originally Posted by Keeanh View Post
    If your tethers are the same as mine, you can't do my original idea. I was assuming your 6yo was boostered. I'm in the middle of homeschooling, but I will definitely get back to you this evening if I don't before then. And if you try a Radian in the van PLEASE tell me!! I really want to know how they work with that vehicle!!

  18. #17
    CPS Fanatic Keeanh's Avatar
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    Re: 7 car seats in 12-pass Chevy Express Van

    Quote Originally Posted by Keeanh View Post
    If your tethers are the same as mine, you can't do my original idea. I was assuming your 6yo was boostered. I'm in the middle of homeschooling, but I will definitely get back to you this evening if I don't before then. And if you try a Radian in the van PLEASE tell me!! I really want to know how they work with that vehicle!!
    I looked at your manual. You have more tethers than I do, so you could have the 2 regents in the same row.
    17yrs, 15yrs, 13yrs, 11yrs , 9yrs (58", 75lbs, Incognito), 7yrs (46", 50lbs, Dreamtime), 5yrs (41", 35lbs, RN), 3yrs (30lbs, RF Marathon), NB (Peg 4-35)
    '14 Mazda5, '06 Chevy Express, '08 Toyota Tundra

  19. #18
    CPS Fanatic Keeanh's Avatar
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    Re: 7 car seats in 12-pass Chevy Express Van

    Quote Originally Posted by widgetwick View Post
    WOW - you guys rock!!!
    Always thought that Britax was THE BEST! I would love to RF my 3yo's (and of course the babies!), but we haven't gotten a good install w/the Decathalon. I would LOVE to have the two 3yos and the 16 month old RF in the middle row - is that possible?

    Have to check the manual regarding how many restraints per seat. Our model is a 2008 Chevy Express.
    Don't get hung up on Britax. There are a lot of other seats that might work a lot better for you and are just as safe. What is most important besides safety? Comfort? The ability to put 2 seats side-by-side? High RF limit? Tall harness?

    What is a comfortable position for your daughter's leg? That might help someone suggest a seat. The Radian would let her hang her leg off to the side. The TrueFit is like a big wide lazy-boy if she would do well cross-legged with lots of support. That one only goes to 35lbs, but could be passed down. The Evenflo Triumph 65 is like that too I think, and RF's to 40lbs, but is a bit higher to climb into.

    I'm trying to picture the 3 RF in the middle row. It seems to me like that is the most difficult place to access. What is your reason?

    Personally, if I ever need 3 across, I will phone GM and ask what the reason is for that rule. It seems ridiculous to me. It could just be that they think we're dumb enough to put 3 restraints on 2 tethers. I personally wouldn't have a problem choosing to do 3 RF on a bench unless GM can give a good reason not to.

    I've gotten great RF installs with my True Fit & My Ride.

    You could leave your seats the way they are now and just add the 2 new RF seats to the back row.
    17yrs, 15yrs, 13yrs, 11yrs , 9yrs (58", 75lbs, Incognito), 7yrs (46", 50lbs, Dreamtime), 5yrs (41", 35lbs, RN), 3yrs (30lbs, RF Marathon), NB (Peg 4-35)
    '14 Mazda5, '06 Chevy Express, '08 Toyota Tundra

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