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  1. #1
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    Travelling--best car seats to bring for "mystery install"

    We will be flying to visit family up north in a few weeks. I have two kids, one 5yo FF (42"/16" shoulder/38 lbs), the other 2.5 yo RF (?"/34 lbs). We have two seats for the 5yo in two different cars: a Radian (forget what model) and a Peg Perego Primo Viaggio. We have a Britax Boulevard for the 2.5 yo.

    Upon arrival, we will install seats either in my folks' 2009 (or 2010?) Toyota Corolla, or in a rental (hence the mystery install). All I know about rentals is that there are no minivans available for rent there. Of the three seats, which are likeliest to be easy to install? Not to mention, schlep through two airports?

    I'm particularly worried about the RF install, although I figure that if the Britax fits in our Hyundai Accent (barely) we should be OK. I think the Radian would be easiest to travel with, and the best fit FF next to the Boulevard if it won't fit behind a passenger, but it's such a bear to install in the Accent that I'm worried about installing it anywhere that isn't install friendly (ie the Toyota Sienna).

    My stubborn 5yo has not gained an ounce in months, so there's no hope of getting him in a booster for the trip. I weighed him today to see if he might be past 40 lbs, only to find he'd lost 1.5 lbs with his last flu bug. I'd much rather have him in a harness, but it would be nice not to have to install two seats on the plane. Not that I want to check a car seat.

    The ideal would be to leave the seats at home, use CARES for the youngest, and borrow seats while away, but we don't know anybody with spare seats up there. Buying them while there would be a last resort; would much rather have the hassle of bringing my own.

    Speaking of hassle, we have a one backpack carrying bag for a car seat, and have yet to figure out how we'll transport the other. Heck, we haven't even figured out whether to bring a stroller (or two... or the Phil and Teds which we probably can't gate-check... decisions decisions)

    Update: looks like we will be installing the seats in the Corolla, while my folks rent a smaller car.
    Last edited by anne-girl; 05-01-2015 at 02:51 PM.

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  3. #2
    Moderator - CPST Instructor Pixelated's Avatar
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    Re: Travelling--best car seats to bring for "mystery install"

    I would use the Radian FF and then the Boulevard RF. Both work nicely on the plane, and you can nestle them together on a rolling luggage cart. This is two Radians but I've done it with a Radian and a Britax, just make sure to try first to know what bungee cords you need. I've never traveled with a stroller, always this and babywearing.

    Jen ~ Canadian CPST-IT with CPSAC

  4. #3
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    Re: Travelling--best car seats to bring for "mystery install"

    Looks like we will definitely be installing the car seats in the Corolla, while my folks rent something smaller. I should google car seat interior pics... the Radian install on the Accent is such a drag that I'm dreading it anywhere else.

    Where did you get the hand cart? I need to call AC to find out if they allow those... can't remember where I read that they're getting tough on such things.

    This the first trip I've debated leaving the stroller behind. I've always thought BWing the better solution, but DH can't wear, and has always insisted on the stroller. Partly because we've always wanted to use the stroller at our destination, and partly because DH is all about the what-ifs (ie my shoulder goes and I can't wear the LO etc). At their age, the only reason I'd bring the stroller is for my folks' convenience, since they will be taking the kids places without us. Still might be easier to borrow a stroller, or just bring the umbrella stroller and bungee the seats to that.

  5. #4
    CPS Fanatic aept's Avatar
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    We had an '03 Corolla and I think it has barely changed since then to the '09-'10.
    A radian should install fine either RF or FF in it. The Corolla seats aren't too tricky. Of course RF the radian will take up some of the ability for the front seat to be "way back" unless you also have an angle adjuster.
    Same thing the the britax, should be fine either RF or FF and might be a little tight RF but not as bad a a radian without the AA.
    Can both car seats go outboard or do you need to fit an adult in the back too?
    Ann, mom to 3 big brothers and a baby girl:
    DS1 - Aug 2006, 80 lb, 56", incognitos
    DS2 - May 2008, 77 lb, 51.5", Vivo or NBB
    DS3 - June 2011, 46 lb, 43", FF in FR85 or booster training
    DD - May 2015, 19 lb, 29", ) Snugride 30

  6. #5
    Moderator - CPST Instructor Pixelated's Avatar
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    Re: Travelling--best car seats to bring for "mystery install"

    Quote Originally Posted by anne-girl View Post
    Where did you get the hand cart? I need to call AC to find out if they allow those... can't remember where I read that they're getting tough on such things.
    I got it years ago at Walmart. They're readily available everywhere though, and they fold and fit in the overhead. I've taken them on all sorts of airlines including AC with no issue. You could consider TWO carts and if they're sufficiently sturdy put a child in the car seat and use it like a stroller.

    What is the issue you have with the Accent and the Radian? Maybe there's something we could suggest?
    Jen ~ Canadian CPST-IT with CPSAC

  7. #6
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    Re: Travelling--best car seats to bring for "mystery install"

    We do have the angle adjuster for the Radian, although we're not using it anymore. I think we'd only use the Radian RF if we brought the Peg for the FF kid. My 5yo has outgrown RF in height, at least with the seats we have, and I think he's outgrown the Britax FF. Heck, he's only an inch away from outgrowing the Peg or the Radian... thank goodness I won't be hauling a FF-only seat on the airplane! I'd also have to deal with jealousy issues if the youngest gets to use the older kid's seat. LOL

    We don't have to fit a third passenger in the back, but I'm worried that the Britax would touch the passenger seat if we don't have it in the middle. If it'll fit, I'd prefer not to have them next to each other. Less fights if they can't touch.

  8. #7
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    Re: Travelling--best car seats to bring for "mystery install"

    Quote Originally Posted by Pixelated View Post
    What is the issue you have with the Accent and the Radian? Maybe there's something we could suggest?
    It's the curve of the back seat--the head rest curves forward, so the whole shape just fits it all wrong. Also, the latches on the car are deep, narrow set, and hard to latch into. I could never get the latch install to tighten properly, because the latches were rubbing against the seat. I finally went with a seatbelt install, but it was a real pain to tighten enough (partly because it's a tight car and I'm not that skinny LOL). I should probably be going with seatbelt installs anyway, but honestly, the latch weight limit thing is so confusing that I can't figure out when to switch. It's almost as hard to get it out of the Accent--something about the tether is hard to release.

    Maybe it's just that I like dead easy and super-fast installs, which the Britax and Peg are. Even in the minivan, the Radian isn't as easy to get shake-the-car tight, but at least I have room enough to get around it to tighten it.

  9. #8
    Moderator - CPST Instructor Pixelated's Avatar
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    Re: Travelling--best car seats to bring for "mystery install"

    Are you pulling the seat belt (you should be doing seat belt installs now at your son's weight) through the slit in the fabric by the child's lower torso? Fist or knee in the seat pan, forward-facing recline on or off as needed, and tighten through that slit. If it tends to come forward (tight side to side but can kick forward) let it, compress down further, and tighten some more.
    Jen ~ Canadian CPST-IT with CPSAC

  10. #9
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    Re: Travelling--best car seats to bring for "mystery install"

    We just graduated our daughter from a Boulevard, and we drive an Echo. It worked RF behind the passenger seat (until she was 32mo), and we used it tethered down, so it took up two more notches on the sliding rails for the passenger seat compared with the tether back. If we tethered back, the seat could accommodate a passenger 6' tall without much trouble. I'm 5'5.5" and had more than enough room with her in the seat with the down tether, I could easily put my purse in the foot/leg compartment. I gladly rode this way for 20mo. And in a pinch, my 5'11" husband could sit in the passenger seat, for short drives.

    We tested a Radian RF and it **did not** fit rear facing unless the front seat was full forward, and the back of the seat was unusably-angled forward. And that was in the full upright position on the Radian. When we mentioned it to our local CST, she said there was no way we could have made the front passenger seat usable and have the seat safely installed RF.

    Reason I mention those was that the simple make-it-fit Tetris in our Echo was the same as the in-laws' Corolla with the note that there was 1" additional space in the rear compartment. If you are planning on RF, the Boulevard is the best option in my experience.
    Last edited by macpuffins; 05-02-2015 at 06:51 PM. Reason: Clarity and spacing
    Pauline MacD
    Moncton, NB, Canada
    Mom to MissB: 02/09, ~18.5kg/1,05m
    5-pt harness in a Britax Frontier CT until she is 1,16m

  11. #10
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    Re: Travelling--best car seats to bring for "mystery install"

    Definitely RFing with the Boulevard. The Radian is for my FFing son--his alternate is the Peg, which I think will be too cumbersome.

    Turns out it's a 2006 Corolla. Not sure if that makes much difference. Having googled the rear seat I think we'll only have problems with the Radian if the headrests are not removable, but it looks like they are.

    Now I just have to convince DH that the fancy Britax ruling cart is overkill, but he's convinced we need somewhere to strap in the 2.5 yo in airports. Not sure I'd trust a cheap luggage cart to carry a seat and a child, but I'd rather manage with wearing him, or with a harness. Maybe I should bring the umbrella stroller after all.
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