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  1. #1
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    Question 3 across in 1994 Buick Century

    Hello,

    I have a 3 year old (32 lbs), 18 month old (26 lbs) and am pregnant with #3. I have a 2010 Subaru Forester and a 1994 Buick Century. We are trying to figure out how to get 3 across in either of these 2 cars. I have read quite a bit that indicates that 3 across in the back of the Forester is near impossible (if not completely impossible) although this would be my first choice. I am fairly certain that the backseat of the Century is bigger and also has the added bonus of totally flat seats (not buckets like the Forester) so I'm pretty confident this can be done. However, I'd love to hear feedback from anyone else out there with experience on either senario.

    We currently have:

    1 Radian 65SL
    1 Combi Cocorro
    1 Britax Boulevard
    1 Cosco Senera
    and 1 Graco Infant Snugride

    I am also more than willing to purchase the BabyTrend Flex-Loc which I've read is the narrowest of the infant seats. If anyone has any insight into our situation I'd really appreciate any and all advice on positioning and whether or not it will work. Thank you!

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  3. #2
    Car-Seat.Org Zealot skaterbabs's Avatar
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    Re: 3 across in 1994 Buick Century

    Your best bet is to just try different seats. If you need to purchase a seat, narrow isn't always the solution - you'll want seats that will fit together like a puzzle. Sometimes that means a wide seat that sits up high on a base next to an equally wide seat without a base.

    Both of your children are small enough to be RF (and your 18 month old absolutely should be RF for a while yet) but at three, you may choose to turn your eldest FF in order to a.) fit the infant seat, and b.) prevent the toddler from easily accessing the baby.

    Another thought is to use a RF convertible from birth. Infant seats are convenient, but there are convertibles that fit newborns very well.

    In any case, you may find that the 3 yo FF fits best in the center, with the two younger children in the outboard positions. If you prefer to keep the 3 yo RF (certainly a very reasonable thing to do) you may still want the 3 yo between the infant and the 18 mo old.
    Rebekah Branch, CPST from May 2005 until June 2011
    Mom to CJ (7/96, seatbelt), Gregory (4/98, seatbelt), & Joyjoy (10/03, misc. booster seats)
    "That which you create in beauty and goodness and truth lives on."
    - Denis Waitley

  4. #3
    Senior Community Member Dillipop's Avatar
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    Re: 3 across in 1994 Buick Century

    I have a 1999 Buick Century and if the backseat is the same, you will easily be able to fit the seats you have in it.

    Off the top of my head, I can't remember what I've gotten, but I know I've done a regent, rfing scenera, rfing radian. If I can get a regent (huge seat) into a 3 across, you shouldn't have a problem getting any of your seats in a 3 across.


    CCO 4/15

  5. #4
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    Re: 3 across in 1994 Buick Century

    OK so I think I may have made some progress tonight! I dragged my grumbling husband out into 30 degree weather to have him install this configuration in our Forester (from L to R): RF Graco snugride (without the base), FF Combi, FF Radian. And I'm 99% sure it works! The radian was already installed using Latch and my husband didn't want to uninstall it to gain the extra 1/4" but even without that 1/4" it worked pretty well. The Combi and Radian were bumping at the top by a TINY bit so I think that 1/4" will make the difference. If we can get it totally installed to our satisfaction in this arrangement then I'll have it checked.

    I would love to keep my 18 month RFing but it's good to know we have a solution. The Buick is my Grandmother's and although we use it the majority of the time, it's really her car and would be a pain to have to install and uninstall so often. Also, we will not need to get 3 across until mid-late April when my 18 month old will then be 2 years old (exactly) and I will feel a little better about turning him around to FF.

    *sigh* Relief! I will update when I know for sure if it will work. Please keep posting more helpful tips if you have any because if this doesn't work I fear I'll get pretty discouraged and would love to have more suggestions. Thanks again!!

  6. #5
    Car-Seat.Org Zealot skaterbabs's Avatar
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    Re: 3 across in 1994 Buick Century

    We would still recommend keeping your toddler RF until he's closer to three, two really is the minimum.

    Glad you found a solution!
    Rebekah Branch, CPST from May 2005 until June 2011
    Mom to CJ (7/96, seatbelt), Gregory (4/98, seatbelt), & Joyjoy (10/03, misc. booster seats)
    "That which you create in beauty and goodness and truth lives on."
    - Denis Waitley

  7. #6
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    Re: 3 across in 1994 Buick Century

    uh oh....

    I went out to check what seats would fit in the Buick today and discovered to my dismay that there is no seatbelt in the middle of the backseat!!! HOw is this possible? It never even occured to me that there might not be... especially since it's such a roomy backseat (well, compared to my forester...) Looks like we're back to either the configuration mentioned above or another one that any of you might have.

    Unfortunately we are in NO position to purchase a new car right now. Like at all. I stay home with the kids and my husband is in school full time. Meaning 0 income. We are living off of student loans at the moment so that my husband can get done with school as quickly as possible. He will graduate a year from now (when the baby is 8 months old) and at that point our circumstances might change... however, we HAVE to figure something out before then. I don't plan on taking the 3 kids out on my own very often, only ocassionally. And if my husband is with me we'd just take 2 cars. I know this is not an ideal situation AT ALL, but would it be ridiculous to try the following JUST for the 8 months (and rare occassions I'd have all 3 kids on my own during those 8 months) to have the following:

    DS (2 y/o at that point) RF in the combi outboard, new baby RF in the Graco snugride outboard, and DD (3.5 y/o at that point) in the Safe Rider Travel Vest in the middle seat. She currently weighs 33 lbs at 34 months so I anticipate her to be within the acceptable range for the vest when the time comes. I DO NOT feel great about this at all, but if it comes down to it would this be a possibility? I'm just not sure what else to do... I never anticipated the Forester having this many problems fitting 3 across since the dealer had told us it would fit no problem when we first purchased the car, long before we were even trying for #3.

    Any advice or reassurance is much appreciated. Thanks in advance!

  8. #7
    Admin - CPS Technician Emeritus Jeanum's Avatar
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    Re: 3 across in 1994 Buick Century

    The Century should have included a center seatbelt because it has a 3 passenger back seat. My relatives used to own a mid '80s model which had a center rear lap belt and I'm guessing a '95 model Century has a lap-only belt in the center, too, rather than a lap-shoulder belt. Is the seatbelt tucked into the bight of the vehicle seat where vehicle seat cushion and vehicle seatback meet? Or maybe it's tucked under or behind the seat somehow if the back seat has a fold down armrest or if the back seat folds down to expand the trunk's cargo capacity? Hopefully it's really there and just hiding a bit from you. If not, then a seatbelt replacement from a dealership or body shop is a Plan B, spendy probably, albeit a less spendy alternative to a replacement vehicle.
    Regards,
    Jean

    DD1 Age 16, 66" Driver's Ed
    DD2 Age 12, 64" 5 steps

    Click here if you wish to view the full size version of my avatar

  9. #8
    Car-Seat.Org Zealot skaterbabs's Avatar
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    Re: 3 across in 1994 Buick Century

    Like Jean said, it's probably tucked into the seatbight. You would be surprised just how common that is! If you'd rather not dig around in there yourself, you can see if your local dealer can help you.
    Rebekah Branch, CPST from May 2005 until June 2011
    Mom to CJ (7/96, seatbelt), Gregory (4/98, seatbelt), & Joyjoy (10/03, misc. booster seats)
    "That which you create in beauty and goodness and truth lives on."
    - Denis Waitley

  10. #9
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    Re: 3 across in 1994 Buick Century

    So... I think this is what we're doing: I ordered a SafeRider vest and it arrived today. I played around with it all evening and think I have a good fit on my daughter in the middle seat of the Forrester. She is 37" tall and 33ish lbs. It fits her well (as far as I can tell) and the shoulder strap fits fine across her top and the lap portion fits snugly on her legs (not up on her abdomen, totally on her thighs). She fits perfectly in the back seat between the Radian and Combi both either FF or RF. I believe the infant seat would also be a perfect fit. We decided to give this a try since it's so flexible and I really think it will be our best solution. It will last us several years in case it's that long before we can upgrade to a mini van. You have all been very helpful so far and I am hoping for one more round of advice... Do you think this is a safe solution? She would be in the center seat in the vest, DS (18 months would be RF in the Combi and the infant would be RF in the other outboard seat. Please let me know what you think about the safety of this arrangement. Also, I plan on getting it checked at the fire station as soon as I am comfortable that I'm doing it correctly. She will not be riding in it anywhere except around our neighborhood for practice until it is checked out by a technician. Thanks for the advice!!!

    Erica

  11. #10
    Car-Seat.Org Zealot skaterbabs's Avatar
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    Re: 3 across in 1994 Buick Century

    That sounds like it may work well for you. Don't forget to have the top tether installed (if you haven't already) since the vest requires it forlapbelt-only installations.
    Rebekah Branch, CPST from May 2005 until June 2011
    Mom to CJ (7/96, seatbelt), Gregory (4/98, seatbelt), & Joyjoy (10/03, misc. booster seats)
    "That which you create in beauty and goodness and truth lives on."
    - Denis Waitley

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