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  1. #1
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    Help! Small Car. Big Toddler. Baby #2 on way! Recaro proride?

    So, I am feeling a bit frustrated and could use some help. I have a large torso kid. She is 26m old, 36in tall recumbant (how our pedi measured) and 32lbs. (Her torso is 14in; she wears 4t and 5t shirts.) I am also preggie with baby #2 due in Dec. We started with a Safety 1st infant car seat that came with the stroller. I hated the buckle and it max'd out at some ridiculously small weight my DD grew out of by 9mos. At this point, I did some research and tried to buy a carseat that would go RF a really long time but still fit in our 2005 Honda CRV. I ended up buying the Scenara RF hoping my DD would still fit in it at 3. I am not at all sure abt this now bc her torso is so long. It says it fits rear facing 40lbs or 40 in. But, her head is really getting close to the top of that sucker so I am doubtful I can keep her RF much longer. I really wanted to RF her as long as possible-- when do u give up? Anyway, I am also trying to plan for baby #2 and I really wanted infant in the middle--which necessarily puts DD FF in December regardless b/c there is no way that carseat is fitting RF behind either my DH or I. We do plan on getting a new car--but that is 2-3 years away so I am stuck right now. I really liked the Britax Frontier 85---but we tried it and next to the infant seat in the middle it was impossible. The door didnt shut. So, this leaves me looking for a much narrower but high torso seat. I bought a Recaro proride convertible-- but it looks like it only leaves my kid 3-4 in of torso growth. Sigh. It barely fits--- so, I don't know if I can do much wider at all FF. Still, everything I've read on here is pretty neg abt the carseat being too narrow for shoulders as they grow :-( Any advice? ( o, and one more wrinkle-- I am super short-- 4 foot 10! And my DH is very tall--6 foot but 36 in legs. And we both drive the CRV regularly bc his wk car is a stick and I cant drive it. Ugh!

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  3. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by catjb View Post
    So, I am feeling a bit frustrated and could use some help. I have a large torso kid. She is 26m old, 36in tall recumbant (how our pedi measured) and 32lbs. (Her torso is 14in; she wears 4t and 5t shirts.) I am also preggie with baby #2 due in Dec. We started with a Safety 1st infant car seat that came with the stroller. I hated the buckle and it max'd out at some ridiculously small weight my DD grew out of by 9mos. At this point, I did some research and tried to buy a carseat that would go RF a really long time but still fit in our 2005 Honda CRV. I ended up buying the Scenara RF hoping my DD would still fit in it at 3. I am not at all sure abt this now bc her torso is so long. It says it fits rear facing 40lbs or 40 in. But, her head is really getting close to the top of that sucker so I am doubtful I can keep her RF much longer. I really wanted to RF her as long as possible-- when do u give up? Anyway, I am also trying to plan for baby #2 and I really wanted infant in the middle--which necessarily puts DD FF in December regardless b/c there is no way that carseat is fitting RF behind either my DH or I. We do plan on getting a new car--but that is 2-3 years away so I am stuck right now. I really liked the Britax Frontier 85---but we tried it and next to the infant seat in the middle it was impossible. The door didnt shut. So, this leaves me looking for a much narrower but high torso seat. I bought a Recaro proride convertible-- but it looks like it only leaves my kid 3-4 in of torso growth. Sigh. It barely fits--- so, I don't know if I can do much wider at all FF. Still, everything I've read on here is pretty neg abt the carseat being too narrow for shoulders as they grow :-( Any advice? ( o, and one more wrinkle-- I am super short-- 4 foot 10! And my DH is very tall--6 foot but 36 in legs. And we both drive the CRV regularly bc his wk car is a stick and I cant drive it. Ugh!
    So. I'm going to answer my own question from the research I've done since no one answered. Feel free to input.

    #1- You can RF longer using a diff carseat and even fit it on the driver's side of my CRV. The Graco Size4Me will fit on the drivers side of a CRV. It is the best (maybe only in 2013) option for truly lg torso'd kids. The RF max sitting height of (giving an inch from the shell) the Size4Me is 26in. The much celebrated Radian is only 23.5in. RF shoulder harness height doesn't matter that much-- ur kid jst mst be taller than. So, total torso height inc head is the mst imp measure RF. My DD is 22-23in sitting at 26m. Lot of good that stupid Radian could do me RF.

    #2- If I decided to go FF the Recaro Proride is one of the best options out there for a large torso'd kid. The height some ppl dislike is actually safer and is more likely to allow my DD to actually benefit from the side curtain airbags. The proride and the Britax are also deeper which provides more safety a according to some experts anyway. She would FF harness'd longer bc the shoulder harness (which now matters bc it mst be above DD shoulders) goes as high as most combination carseats--as high as the Nautilus. Only the Frontier 85 goes higher! Plus, the proride is narrow so it puzzles well with other carseats (well, at least in my limited experience.) The main neg seems to be tightness at the shoulders bc of the narrowness. Bt, this is def not a safety issue.

    Did I get it right? Who knows.

  4. #3
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    Re: Help! Small Car. Big Toddler. Baby #2 on way! Recaro proride?

    I will post to bump this up. I am not familiar with your vehicle, so I cannot help you there. I will say that sometimes the measurements are not completely the best way to determine fit, as it changes slightly once the kid is actually sitting in it.

    At 26 months, I would try to RF longer if possible. My small 5 yr old has a 13 or 13.5 inch torso, and she rides RF in a Radian in one of our vehicles -and she still has a little growing room left. With the angle adjuster, it also makes the Radian more upright, which might be easier to then fit behind one of the front seats in the vehicle.

    I am not super familiar with he Size4Me, so hopefully someone else will chime in.
    J, 7 yrs, 41 lbs, Evenflo Big Kid, Recaro Prosport, Turbo SS
    A, 5 yrs, 31 lbs, RF TFP/Princess Radian, and FF SecureKid/Maestro
    M, >1yr, RF TFP/Radian

  5. #4
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    Re: Help! Small Car. Big Toddler. Baby #2 on way! Recaro proride?

    I am just seeing this so I will respond, as I drive an '05 CRV. My DS is very tall for his age with a long torso. He outgrew the Graco Myride rear-facing by height in my CRV. I think it has to do with how reclined the angle is. I replaced it with a Diono R100. He has A LOT of growing room left (but I did need the angle adjuster to get it more upright). (For reference he is 34 pounds and 38" at 30 months.) He is behind the driver's side and my DH (who is 6'2" with a REALLY long torso--he has a 30" inseam, for reference) has no problem fitting in the front seat to drive.

    The Size4Me is wide. So I think you need to ask yourself--will you ever need to transport anyone in the back seat with an infant seat and the Size4Me in there? You might not be able to.

    I'm sorry if I feel confused--are you planning to use the infant seat you currently have or purchase a new one? Would putting the baby in the Scenera rearfacing be an option, or do you prefer a carrier?
    Anne, driving a '13 Odyssey and an '05 CRV

    DD-Julia 9/04 (5 stepping now!)
    DS1-Luca 11/10 (Graco Wayz and Graco HB Turbobooster)
    DS2- Enzo 7/15 (Chicco NextFit and Diono R100)

  6. #5
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    I am wondering why, if the MySize70/Size4Me70/HeadWise70 would allow for RF longer, would you choose to go ahead and pick a seat that would immediately have to FF? 3 inches is a lot and could possibly get her RF for at least another year. As far as FF goes, the ProRide may have higher harness slots, but it has a 50in. Max height. If you are going to go ahead and FF, the Radian FF's to 57 inches, the Graco to 52 inches, and the Evenflo SureRide goes to 54 inches. Overall, the SureRide may be your best bet if you are going to go straight to FF. The top harness slots are at about 19 in. HTH.

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    My plan was to put the new baby in the infant carrier in the middle and then upgrade that baby to the Scenera RF when he/she is bigger... still in the middle seat.

    Calculations are really hard :-( But, I am pretty frustrated to be out of the Scenera at 26m--so, I don't want to assume height/weight limits actually work again and I don't know what else to go on. According to the meaurements on the info part of this site my Scenera has 23.5 sitting height--even tho it supposedly goes to 40in for kids height-wise. When I measured DD this am and realized she was 22-23in sitting (14 torso+ 8.5 head and neck) it made sense why her head was so close to the edge of that seat--like sometimes when I look backwards the top of her head looks even with the shell. When she sits in the proride it looks like she has abt 3in to grow to the top harness and that her head will be too high in abt 3in too (proride has a weird shell to ear max sitting measure.) That matches perfectly with the measurements too--26in max sitting height for proride. So, they do seem to be right for my kid. I don't have access to a Diono Radian acc to BabiesRUs instock--but I was hoping to try the size 4 me at BabiesRUs.

    Bummmed to hear the Size4Me is wide. I was thinking I could fit it nxt to the middle carseat.

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    The #1 option is predicated on the carseat fitting RF in my car with the headrest fully extended so I can actually take advantage of the only carseat on the market that would give my kid anymore RF time. My DH drives the car at least 50% of the time and has a 36in inseam. We r talking LONG LEGS ppl. I also don't like the idea of a newborn riding anywhere but it the middle--so that whole width thing may kill my one chance at RF too :-(

  9. #8
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    Re: Help! Small Car. Big Toddler. Baby #2 on way! Recaro proride?

    Quote Originally Posted by catjb View Post
    The #1 option is predicated on the carseat fitting RF in my car with the headrest fully extended so I can actually take advantage of the only carseat on the market that would give my kid anymore RF time. My DH drives the car at least 50% of the time and has a 36in inseam. We r talking LONG LEGS ppl. I also don't like the idea of a newborn riding anywhere but it the middle--so that whole width thing may kill my one chance at RF too :-(
    One piece of advice commonly given here is that the least protected child should ride in the middle if possible. Since RF is safer than FF, the FF child is less protected, so the FF child should go in the middle. If both kids are RF, then yes, the younger child should be in the middle. Sometimes in life, both kids need to be on the sides or some other thing prevents the ideal. But if you are going to FF your 2 year old DD, then ideally she should be in the middle instead of a newborn. Good luck car seat shopping!
    DD (9 years old) & DS (6.5 years old)

  10. #9
    CPS Fanatic mom2juliarose's Avatar
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    Re: Help! Small Car. Big Toddler. Baby #2 on way! Recaro proride?

    Quote Originally Posted by bree View Post
    One piece of advice commonly given here is that the least protected child should ride in the middle if possible. Since RF is safer than FF, the FF child is less protected, so the FF child should go in the middle. If both kids are RF, then yes, the younger child should be in the middle. Sometimes in life, both kids need to be on the sides or some other thing prevents the ideal. But if you are going to FF your 2 year old DD, then ideally she should be in the middle instead of a newborn. Good luck car seat shopping!
    Good point.

    When I had DS we had him in the center (because DD needed to be outboard for school drop-offs and we had an occasional rider in the back seat with the kids). Lifting an infant seat into the center I found to be a TOTAL pain in the butt. Could you put your DD rearfacing in the center (or if you opt for a FFing seat, then FFing) and then the new baby outboard behind the passenger side, therefore allowing the driver's seat to move to whatever position needed? (Sorry if I missed that the passenger side is unusable, if it is.)
    Anne, driving a '13 Odyssey and an '05 CRV

    DD-Julia 9/04 (5 stepping now!)
    DS1-Luca 11/10 (Graco Wayz and Graco HB Turbobooster)
    DS2- Enzo 7/15 (Chicco NextFit and Diono R100)

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    The passenger side is use-able I, I just thought driver's side was supposed to be safest. (That and it will burn me up if my DH will now have an excuse to always drive and make me shotgun :-p) He is an engineer and only drives the actual speed limit. Even on a freeway with nobody around! Ahh! It will drive me nuts. He also insisted on baby in the middle--but, maybe I can convince him with some studies r something.

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    Re: Help! Small Car. Big Toddler. Baby #2 on way! Recaro proride?

    As far as placement in the vehicle, why not put the RF convertible seat behind the passenger seat? Then if your tall husband is driving, then short you would be in front of the carseat. If you are driving, then I assume that most likely your husband is not in the vehicle so no one would be in front of the carseat. I know this may not be true, but this is how my husband and I do things. He gets terribly sick if he's not driving. As far as measurements being used to pick a carseat, the stated height limits are going to be fairly general. Children with long torsos are always going to be the exception, and can be difficult to buy for.

    The Size4Me is listed at 18.5 inches wide, so it is only one inch wider than the Scenera or Radian. I would suggest taking the infant carrier with you when you go to check out the Size4Me, and install them as you hope to. Only then can you gauge how much room is really available or if they will work side-by-side. It may turn out that you have to put one seat on each outboard because of installation issues.

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    Sooo excited! The Size4Me gives her at least 4in of room RF :-) Sucker is TALL. BRU let me try it in the CRV with the Scenera RF in the middle (figured its wider than the infant) and there was 0 chance of it fitting behind my crazy long legged man but it did fit--even fully extended-- behind the passenger side; there was seriously little room btw me and the dash but I am umm, uniquely fit for that challenge. So, my plan is to RF baby in middle and RF DD nxt to her.

    Only battle I have left is with DH. First thing he did when we came home was show me the steel backing in the pro-ride and how much higher quality it is. (He is a Berkley ME (1 of top 3 Mech Eng schools in country) so I have to say I know his assesment on structure is probably correct.) I told him RF til 4 is ideal bc of spinal development and 90% less spinal injuries with RF... He wants to know why we can't RF her past 37.5 in the proride when the structure is essentially identical. Ugh. Any pointers on spousal persuasion? Oh, and did I mention he picked out the pro-ride and bought it himself? :-p

    For anyone following this post with giant torso children... just for kicks and giggles I tried her in all the Britax models on display... Seriously only maybe 1-2in of growth left for my kiddo in any of those suckers. So, disregard completely those worthless height indicators--those are for kids with small-avg torsos! DD is 90% height/weight and has been all along... and her shirt size is always 1-2 size bigger than her pants. Do not mess around with Britax if ur kid has a big torso/neck/head combo. I would have loved to have tried a radian too... but apparently BRU--the only baby store within 100 miles of us will only special order them online. What a pain.

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    Here are pics of DD. One in Size4Me looking down--couldnt get her to put her head up straight for pic. Other pic is 1in book on DD head as she rode over to store in her Recaro RF.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Oops. Not Recaro RF, Scenera RF. Silly preggie brain.

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    Re: Help! Small Car. Big Toddler. Baby #2 on way! Recaro proride?

    Quote Originally Posted by catjb View Post
    The passenger side is use-able I, I just thought driver's side was supposed to be safest. (That and it will burn me up if my DH will now have an excuse to always drive and make me shotgun :-p) He is an engineer and only drives the actual speed limit. Even on a freeway with nobody around! Ahh! It will drive me nuts. He also insisted on baby in the middle--but, maybe I can convince him with some studies r something.
    We don't really have much data on which position is safest. We say the middle because it would be the furthest from any point of contact. The safest thing that you can do is to have your child rear-facing as long as possible. Hypothetically speaking, if we assume that the behind the driver is safer, but a child would have to be FF to fit, it would be safer to put them RF behind the passenger seat even though the position is less safe. This is also the reason that a "lower quality" seat may be safer if it can RF your DD for longer than the "higher quality" seat. All of the bells and whistles and claims of SIP are great, but in the end, all we really know is that RF is the best protection that we can give them in a vehicle. As far as why you can't go past the stated limits of the seat, my only answer is because that's what the manufacturer says. They are the ones who test the seat and set the limits.

    Glad you found a seat that can RF for longer!

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    Just wanted to add that if you're using the center position, remember you can't use LATCH for both seats at the same time, one or the other will have to be installed with the seatbelt.

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    Re: Help! Small Car. Big Toddler. Baby #2 on way! Recaro proride?

    So, just to add one more wrinkle. I was talking with an attorney friend I went to law school with about my car seat issues. She helped with a lawsuit against Graco after a side impact crash that left a child a vegetable. She refuses to buy any Graco products after her experience because she felt they were not responsible in crash testing claims. She said the research they did (which included looking at exactly what testing was done on different seats and the results from diff companies all over the world) led her to conclude side impact "wings" are a must have and they should be thick--like Britax. She said most crashes are side impact so unless your kid is in the middle seat this is very imp. She said carseats that form a shell without the wings do not test well in side impact tests (like those required in Europe.) She is a mom too-- and I know her to be a smart cookie, so her opinion did effect my decision. When I looked at weight and height limits I realized weight was going to kick my kid out of the Graco I had decided on right before her 3rd BDay and the Recaro Proride will kick her out of RF only 3m earlier. So, I'm changing course and sticking with the Berkeley Engineering persepective. My DH might actually have been right about the quality of the engineering after all. Tough Call. Wish Britax made a big kid RF carseat :-(

  19. #18
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    Lots of Graco seats DO have big side impact wings with EPS foam now. Most of them, actually. Look at the Headwise. There are no US side impact standards, so manufacturers can claim whatever they want. Recaro is not better designed or safer, and may be less safe because the lack of leg room forces people to FF their children earlier.

    I can't speak to the situation your attorney friend is talking about specifically, obviously, but there are many variables. Which seat was it, FF or RF, was it installed properly (90% of seats aren't), the make and model car, the type of impact, etc.

    What we do know with certainty is that RF in any seat is safer than FF in any seat. RF cradles the body and head into the seat, even in a side impact. Whereas FF in a side impact, which generally still involves some forward motion, the head may be thrown far forward of the deep SIP wings anyway.

    Either way, a 3 year old FF in a properly installed 5 point harness is still very safe.

  20. #19
    CPS Fanatic MommyShannon's Avatar
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    Have you looked at the Foonf or Radian RXT at all? I would without a doubt put both kids outboard if it kept them both rearfacing longer.
    ~Shannon
    DD (11.5) Seatbelt; DS (9) Incognito; DD2 (7) Britax Parkway; DD3 (4.5) Graco Nautilus

  21. #20
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    Re: Help! Small Car. Big Toddler. Baby #2 on way! Recaro proride?

    OP have you tried the proride rearfacing for your 2 year old? I found that mine installed very compactly behind the driver seat, allowing it to be all the way back. There isn't a ton of legroom for the rearfacing child in that seat but my ds rode that way until age 4 and never complained. Also check the recline angles allowed by your cr-v rear seats just in case you can gain more legroom for the rearfacer that way.

    This may or may not be useful to you, but I fit a babytrend flexloc next to the recaro in my honda fit. The flexloc is the narrowest infant seat but it is not long lasting or particularly easy to use. It worked great in this one instance though.

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