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  1. #1
    Registered User
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    Dec 2015
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    6

    Getting by with 3 carseats in a row

    Due to a tragic fatal accident my sister had, I'm adding my nephew to my family soon. I'd love a van, but that is not in the budget for another year. I happen to have 3 radian car seats, so I'm in luck that I can fit 3 across nicely in my Kia Sorento. However, my 3 year old fights with anyone that is right next to her. Does anyone have tips for surviving car rides with 3 across?

    My 3 year old (will be 4 at the end of October) pokes, kicks, etc. anyone who's right next to her. She's 37 inches tall and 28 pounds. She's also rear facing so when she kicks it's right in the face of the forward facing child unfortunately. It doesn't matter if her brother or cousin is right next to her, she still picks on them.

    My 7 year old is forward facing in a 5 point harness at 44 inches tall and 42 pounds.

    My 4 year old nephew (will be 5 in October) was forward facing with his mom in a 5 point harness at 42 inches tall and 35 pounds, and I figured I'd continue the forward facing 5 point harness with him.

    Before the accident I planned on keeping my 3 year old rear facing until at least 5 as she is so tiny. However, now with having 3 in a row, I'm considering turning her to forward facing in a 5 point harness, and adding 2 dvd players that harness onto the headrests. This is the dvd player: https://www.onfair.com/autotain-edge...st-dvd-player/ I have active headrests so I can't just replace my headrests with dvd player headrests.
    We commute in our car, so we drive an hour each way 4 days a week, so there is quite a bit of car time.

    Does anyone strongly suggest that I don't turn her around to forward facing or add the dvd players? If you suggest that I don't turn her around or add dvd players, what are some alternatives to help make a more positive travel experience?

    Thank You,
    Roses

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  3. #2
    CPS Technician featherhead's Avatar
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    May 2008
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    Manitoba, Canada
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    Re: Getting by with 3 carseats in a row

    At almost four I would turn her no problem to keep peace in the vehicle.

    Heather ~ CRST ~ mom to...
    S ~ Harmony nbb, K ~ Parkway SG
    M ~ Radian XTSL, S ~ Fllo
    T ~ June 4, 2016 ~ Boulevard G4.1

  4. #3
    CPST and ketchup snob ketchupqueen's Avatar
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    Oct 2008
    Location
    L.A. area
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    Re: Getting by with 3 carseats in a row

    I concur that peace is important enough to turn at 3.

    I would not add the dvd players though.

    Special soft toys only for the car, letting the well behaved children choose the radio station or cd, and a positive reinforcement chart rewarding the children for good behavior in the car with a small treat earned for a given number of marks (or stickers or stars or whatever) can be good strategies for improving car behavior at that age.

    Remember that Radians are usually outgrown by seated height before standing height or weight limits are met and watch for that With the 7 year old.
    CPST and Mom to Emma, 15, Bridget, 13, Maggie, 11, Katie Sue, 6, Jimmy, born May 2019,
    and Becky, waiting for us as part of our eternal family.
    Our '02 Odyssey, car seats, and seatbelts saved our lives. Now riding in a '13 Odyssey!

  5. #4
    Carseat Crazy
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    386

    Re: Getting by with 3 carseats in a row

    I'm so sorry about your sister.

    I don't see any reason why you need to turn your daughter around unless you want to. It should still be easy to fit 3 across either way. As far as the fighting, she just needs consequences for her behavior. She will learn.
    Hang in there. It is wonderful that your nephew has you and your family.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  6. #5
    Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
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    21

    Re: Getting by with 3 carseats in a row

    I'm so very sorry for your loss.

    I have three children, and drove around with a tight three-across in a station wagon for two years before upgrading to a minivan.

    My children are very petite, and my middle daughter RF'd in a Radian until she reached its height limit of 44". Kicking in faces of FF children *was* a big problem that we had.

    I found that how my children were arranged made a big difference in day-to-day happiness. For us, keeping the baby in the middle solved all of our problems--she was RF in a Combi Coccoro, and my oldest (FF) loved being next to her and helping to care for her, and this setup kept my oldest and middle, who tend to fight, apart.

    If I were in your situation, I'd try RF-ing your nephew first to see how he does--keeping two RF children next to each other tended to work better than one RF and two FF children for me.

    I'd also experiment with a bunch of different ways of arranging the children, to see which setups work best. Once your oldest outgrows the Radian, you might be more limited in terms of what will fit where, but for now, you can put them all in the spots where they are least likely to fight, and most likely to feel comfortable.

    I'm very committed to ERF, and would be reluctant to turn one of my kids FF if they were still within the RF limits of their seat. But if this works much better for you in terms of comfort and convenience, it's what you should do. The driver distraction caused by constant fighting in the backseat can be really dangerous, too.

    I would not get the DVD players.

    I used to carry small candies--jelly beans, gummy bears, swedish fish--with me and reward my kids when we had a particularly harmonious ride. I was pretty irregular in terms of when I'd offer rewards, so they never came to expect a treat every trip, but they always knew that they *might* be getting a small sweet treat if there was no kicking or screaming. For my kids this seemed more effective than negative consequences.

    For longer trips, I would give my older kids something specific to do--Mad Libs, etch-a-sketch (and I'd provide a list of fun things to draw), a license plate game, a game of spotting letters or words out the windows of the car--and would also provide (sometimes) a small candy reward for completing their task or playing their game successfully.

    We also did not go when there was kicking or screaming. So I spent quite a lot of time sitting by the side of the road, waiting for kids to calm down. Sometimes we were late to events because of this.

    Three-across situations can be tough, but most of the problems can be solved with persistence and imagination. It *is* easier to have a larger vehicle, but it doesn't solve everything. And the skills that kids need to develop to travel in a three-across--skills like frustration tolerance, flexibility, conflict resolution--are really important ones.

  7. #6
    CPS Fanatic
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    Sep 2009
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    My younger nanny girl used to kick her ff sister in the face when she was rf. I did 3 things to help. First I took off the little ones shoes. However then I started using tie shoes and tied the shoe laces together. She knew I was not pleased about the kicking and never tried to untie them. I also think she might not have had the impulse control to stop herself from kicking her sister but she was able to control herself enough to leave her shoelaces alone. Especially because big sis would bother little sis on purpose and try to get her in trouble for kicking. Finally I put a large piece of cardboard between their seats. Little sis could kick the cardboard but not big sis's face. She also couldn't reach to pull the cardboard out while rf.

  8. #7
    Carseat Crazy
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
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    795

    Re: Getting by with 3 carseats in a row

    So sorry about your sister and i think you need to make life easy on yourself and the kids. Turn the 3 yr old - she is almost 4 and will be safe FF - to stop the kicking (but will she then hit/pinch/take toys instead?) and put her next to the 7 yr old. If she is going to fight with anyone, it might as well be her own brother instead of a 4 yr old who just lost his mother. It will also make it easier to load everyone from either side instead of having to crawl over/under the rear facing seat.

    Are DVD players unsafe? If it's a concern about head contact then don't use them, but if not, omg yes I would get them. Even if just for the next year when you will be in survival mode getting used to all the change!

  9. #8
    CPST and ketchup snob ketchupqueen's Avatar
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    Oct 2008
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    L.A. area
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    Re: Getting by with 3 carseats in a row

    My concerns with the dvd players are threefold.
    1. Projectile risk.
    2. Head impact risk (a bigger risk than the first imo)
    3. Possibility of interference with the active head restraint as well as possibly airbag sensors for the driver/front passenger (unknown quantity but enough to worry about.)
    CPST and Mom to Emma, 15, Bridget, 13, Maggie, 11, Katie Sue, 6, Jimmy, born May 2019,
    and Becky, waiting for us as part of our eternal family.
    Our '02 Odyssey, car seats, and seatbelts saved our lives. Now riding in a '13 Odyssey!

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