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  1. #1
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    Town and Country-- and Ford F-350--Please help me figure this out!

    It's time for musical carseats!

    We have a 2005 Town and Country....4 kids (and one more I'll be looking after for my sister as soon as we can figure out logistics)

    What we have currently:
    7 and 8 yr old in 3rd row outboard positions in Big Kid/Amp High Back Boosters (Is there a difference between the Big Kid and the Amp? I'm always confused on this point).
    4 yr old in 2nd row passenger captains chair in a FF Britax convertible; 1 yr old 2nd row driver side captains chair in a keyfit 30.

    But....Baby is getting bigger....lugging him around in the keyfit is killing me. And, I'm going to be watching my 1 year old niece...so I need to figure out how to fit 5 seats back there.

    This is what I'm thinking....please tell me if you think this will work or not:

    3rd row: leave the 2 booster kids where they are. Buy an Evenflo SureRide and FF in the center position--move the 4-year old back there. (I've also seen Graco Transitions or Harmony Defender mentioned as possibilities for this position?)

    2nd row: flip the Britax RF in the passenger captain's chair where it is and put the baby there. Then I could stow the driver's side captains chair or use it for whatever seat my niece ends up using.
    (I could put a Radian RXT there instead of the Britax--We have a spare radian....but I've only been able to get a good install RF in a captain's chair....I CANNOT get a good radian install FF anywhere in the van or RF in the back.)


    On to the 1997 Ford F-350. This is my husband's truck with an extended cab. Currently in the extended cab: Passenger LBB (8 yr old), center FF Radian (4 yr old), driver FF Radian (7 yr old). The baby has been in the center front row between the driver and passenger seats in the keyfit. Our 7 year old is increasingly unhappy with still being harnessed in the truck So, we're thinking we'll get a HBB for her. The problem is: there are only 2 shoulder belts in the back seat...so we have to put the 2 booster riders in the outboard positions. If we RF the baby in the rear center position and FF the 4 year old in the front seat, I'm worried that the seat backs will be hitting each other/messing up the installations. (I've also considered putting myself in the front center (lap only) position and putting the 4 year old in the front passenger seat. This truck is old enough that there are no airbags). Anybody have any thoughts???

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  3. #2
    Admin - CPST Instructor wendytthomas's Avatar
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    Re: Town and Country-- and Ford F-350--Please help me figure this out!

    Please don't put yourself in the front middle. I'm sure your family wants you around, and adults should never ride in a spot with no headrest and no shoulder belt. You'd have your options of life altering spinal injuries. Not good.

    Have you seen about top tether retrofits for that truck? Can you turn your four year old rear facing in a Radian there? Then baby in the Keyfit or Radian rear facing, then older kids boostered? That'd be far preferred to untethered.

    Your plan for the Caravan sounds good. Make sure the four year old's seat is tethered. I'd probably go for a Tranzitions/Wayz or Defender to avoid overlap with the Big Kids (there are multiple versions of Big Kids, or rather have been over the years. The Big Kid Amp came out a while ago, and now they're nearly all Big Kid Amps. But there were also just the Big Kid, Big Kid Sport, I think Big Kid DLX or something).

    Wendy
    wendy, cpst-i mom to
    piper, 7/26/02, 61", 99#, seatbelt
    laine 9/16/09, 46", 54#, Diono Monterey, Chicco KidFit Zip Air
    in a 2015 BMW M235i, and my 2011 Mercedes E350 wagon


  4. #3
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    Re: Town and Country-- and Ford F-350--Please help me figure this out!

    Quote Originally Posted by wendytthomas View Post
    Have you seen about top tether retrofits for that truck? Can you turn your four year old rear facing in a Radian there? Then baby in the Keyfit or Radian rear facing, then older kids boostered? That'd be far preferred to untethered.
    Yeah....There are already tether anchors in the second row of the truck...we have 2 FF back there right now, both tethered. I think turning the 4 year old RF again will be a really tough sell....she was starting to get carsick when rear facing, which is why we turned her around. I'm just trying to figure out how to arrange things so my husband can see well when driving...If we RF a convertible in the middle front seat, I'm worried it will obstruct his view, which is also kinda unsafe (and the truck has a manual transmission, so I'm worried that his gear shifter won't have the clearance it needs, either). This seems to be a terrible conundrum. Is it possible to get after market shoulder belts installed in a truck like this?

  5. #4
    Admin - CPST Instructor wendytthomas's Avatar
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    Re: Town and Country-- and Ford F-350--Please help me figure this out!

    That's awesome you've already had the truck retrofitted for tethers, since it didn't come with them! What a wonderful surprise. She can forward face, then.

    You'd have to ask Ford about aftermarket belts. I don't know.

    Wendy
    wendy, cpst-i mom to
    piper, 7/26/02, 61", 99#, seatbelt
    laine 9/16/09, 46", 54#, Diono Monterey, Chicco KidFit Zip Air
    in a 2015 BMW M235i, and my 2011 Mercedes E350 wagon


  6. #5
    Carseat Crazy mom of six's Avatar
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    Re: Town and Country-- and Ford F-350--Please help me figure this out!

    In the truck you could try a 86Y universal harness

    https://www.especialneeds.com/shop/s...-vehicles.html

    or a Ride Safer Travel vest

    https://www.amazon.com/Safe-Traffic-...er+travel+vest

    Both are options when you have access to a tether but only a lap belt. I doubt you will be able to retorfit shoulder belts in the center. For a while they offered retorfit kits for outboard positions but that was like 30 years ago...(I got one for my birthday one year. It was for a 1982 Chevy Cavalier)
    Heather car seat geek since the early 80's & WAHM
    DD1, 17, adult SB, DD2, 15, adult SB, DD3, 13 Adult Seatbelt DD4,9, 5 steppingDS1, 9,5 stepping, DS2, 5, Harmony Defender in booster mode all in our 2009 Suburban!!!

  7. #6
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    Re: Town and Country-- and Ford F-350--Please help me figure this out!

    My Tranzitions seat came today.....AND....It does NOT work in the Town and Country center position of the back row with 2 big kid boosters back there. All 3 seats technically fit (as in I can squeeze all three onto the back seat), but I didn't try to install the Tranzitoins because I can't even access the buckles of the two outboard positions. Should I bother trying another kind of seat or am I going to run in to this with whatever seat I try? Maybe I should be shopping for a new van.
    Last edited by aaiya; 10-04-2017 at 04:44 PM.

  8. #7
    Admin - CPST Instructor wendytthomas's Avatar
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    Re: Town and Country-- and Ford F-350--Please help me figure this out!

    ID install it before you rule it out.

    Wendy
    wendy, cpst-i mom to
    piper, 7/26/02, 61", 99#, seatbelt
    laine 9/16/09, 46", 54#, Diono Monterey, Chicco KidFit Zip Air
    in a 2015 BMW M235i, and my 2011 Mercedes E350 wagon


  9. #8
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    Re: Town and Country-- and Ford F-350--Please help me figure this out!

    My other kids not being able to reach their buckles to buckle themselves AT ALL kinda does rule it out.

  10. #9
    Admin - CPST Instructor wendytthomas's Avatar
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    Re: Town and Country-- and Ford F-350--Please help me figure this out!

    You tried installing it? Installing changes a seat’s fit.

    Wendy
    wendy, cpst-i mom to
    piper, 7/26/02, 61", 99#, seatbelt
    laine 9/16/09, 46", 54#, Diono Monterey, Chicco KidFit Zip Air
    in a 2015 BMW M235i, and my 2011 Mercedes E350 wagon


  11. #10
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    Re: Town and Country-- and Ford F-350--Please help me figure this out!

    I *tried* installing it....but I couldn't even get my hand between the seats. They are that tight. The arm rests of the Tranzitions and the arm rests of the HBBs are positioned so you can't get down there to do anything. I even dragged my husband back outside tonight to make sure I wasn't missing something. I kinda wish you were my neighbor...I'd bribe you over here with dinner and have you help me.

  12. #11
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    Re: Town and Country-- and Ford F-350--Please help me figure this out!

    The Evenflo Sureride is easier to buckle next to than the Tranzitions. It's wider overall, but sits up high on a very narrow base. The only problem is that Evenflo (unpublished, not documented in the manual) doesn't allow that kind of overlap.

    I would try installing the Tranzitions. If you can get the Amps to buckle, great. If not, a Sureride will have them all restrained every time without a giant struggle.

  13. #12
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    Re: Town and Country-- and Ford F-350--Please help me figure this out!

    The Evenflo Sureride worked It is sandwiched nicely between the two Big Kid HBBs. I'm not in love with how the seatbelt is behaving on my oldest's HBB....I think it's a function of how high the belt guide is for his height and I'm not sure what to do about it.

    Next...anybody know the weight of a Radian RXT? I'm assuming I can still do a latch install for my 22 lb baby....just need to know when I need to switch to the seat belt (or maybe I'll just seat belt install now and save myself the trouble).

  14. #13
    Admin - CPST Instructor wendytthomas's Avatar
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    Re: Town and Country-- and Ford F-350--Please help me figure this out!

    The rear facing lower anchor weight limit is 35 pounds, forward is 40.

    Wensy
    wendy, cpst-i mom to
    piper, 7/26/02, 61", 99#, seatbelt
    laine 9/16/09, 46", 54#, Diono Monterey, Chicco KidFit Zip Air
    in a 2015 BMW M235i, and my 2011 Mercedes E350 wagon


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