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  1. #1
    CPS Fanatic vonfirmath's Avatar
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    Fitting 3 kids in a Pontiac Grand Am

    It appears that in March my husband will be keeping two of my sister's kids while she takes the third to the doctor.

    If we can't get car problems fixed, the car he will have is the 2002 Pontiac Grand Am (which has 3 seats across the back, but the middle is seat belt only)

    We have a 16-month old (now) who will be 19 months old and (we think, at current growth rates) at most 25 pounds. He sits rear-facing in a Marathon.

    My sister's kids are 7 and 9. My sister does not have either in a car seat at all. I suspect the 9 year old would pass the 5-step test. She's tall and she's mature, can sit still, etc.

    Do we install the Marathon in the middle of the back seat and if so, is there room for the two kids on either side?

    Or do we keep the Marathon installed on one side, put the 9-year old on the other side and purchase (Would a High back booster work or would we need a forward-facing harnessed seat?) a seat for the 7-year old to sit in the passenger front row seat?

    If we need to purchase a seat, I'll have to get stats on him so we can look. Is there anything other the Nautilus that is affordable to look at?

    --Sarah & D.J. (3-20-04)
    DS (08/07) ~ 8 ~ 52 pound ~ Graco Highback Turbobooster -- 3rd Grade!
    DD (08/11) ~ 4 yr ~ 32 lb ~ Britax Roundabout 50, Maestro -- Pre-K!

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  3. #2
    CPS Technician Pixels's Avatar
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    Re: Fitting 3 kids in a Pontiac Grand Am

    I think about all you can do is check the 3-across thread, and if you don't find your answer there, go to a store and try out seats to see if you can fit a booster in the back.

    One option you didn't mention would be to have MA, seatbelt 9-yo, boostered 7-yo. That way the least-protected child (seatbelt only) would be in the most protected position (center). Edit: DON'T DO THIS. See posts below. I was not thinking clearly.

    Personally I'd be fine with 7-yo in a lbb. It's certainly a step up from nothing at all in Mom's car.

    The rule for putting a child in the front seat is (1) only when absolutely necessary, and (2) the oldest FFing harnessed child is the one who goes up there, with the seat pushed as far back as possible. Harnessing is important because it pretty much guarantees that the child will not be out of position. Does your front seatbelt lock? I'm not sure how I'd feel about a boostered child with a locked seatbelt being in the front. Maybe a tech can chime in.
    Last edited by Pixels; 12-17-2008 at 10:52 AM. Reason: Changed my recommendation

  4. #3
    CPS Technician ctbcleveland's Avatar
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    Re: Fitting 3 kids in a Pontiac Grand Am

    The three across thread references a 1998 Grand Am accomodating three car seats, and I don't believe that subsequent model years were any smaller.

    I think you'll need to put your DC in the middle because it is a lap-belt only position.

    I too would be comfortable with the 7 year old in some sort of booster in the back rather than a harnessed seat in the front.

  5. #4
    CPS Technician strollerfreak's Avatar
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    Re: Fitting 3 kids in a Pontiac Grand Am

    Also, IIRC from my GrandAm many moons (and pre-kids) ago the center seating position has a definite "hump" to it...the MA might be the only thing that installs well there because of the design of the base?
    ~Mel, Ex-CPST, Triathlete & Mom of 5ReiKids + 1E!!!

  6. #5
    CPS Fanatic vonfirmath's Avatar
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    Re: Fitting 3 kids in a Pontiac Grand Am

    Yes, the Marathon would have to go in the middle. My sister might be fine with putting her kids in a lapbelt only position (7 yr old boy regularly rides in the middle of the third seat of their van in a lap belt only position -- i guess so he cna see the DVD player better). But I'm not.

    I don't know if I can get him into a booster or not. My sister and I have had the conversation about safest way to travel in cars and it didn't go well. (actually, it wasn't even that. I saw 7 year old boy in what I thought was the seatbelt with the shoulder portion behind his back and pointed it out to mom, thinking that I was doing a favor because maybe she couldn't see from up there and *I'd* certainly want to know! And she came back at me about different parental choices, and her and her husband had made their choice together that was best for their family. -- we get along fine as long as we stay away from car seat issues and she has agreed to transport my kids in her car, when necessary, the way I want them transported. And we left it at that) I think I could get him in a harnessed seat if he had to go in the front seat -because- he's in the front seat -- without an argument with my sister.

    I want my sister to be willing to follow my wishes with my kids in her car, so I need to take her wishes into account in my car. And just refusing to keep them really isn't an option either. We ARE going to attempt to not go anywhere while he has the kids because that's the easiest way to avoid the argument entirely. But I want to be ready in case it is necessary.

    --Sarah & D.J. (3-20-04)
    DS (08/07) ~ 8 ~ 52 pound ~ Graco Highback Turbobooster -- 3rd Grade!
    DD (08/11) ~ 4 yr ~ 32 lb ~ Britax Roundabout 50, Maestro -- Pre-K!

  7. #6
    CPS Technician Pixels's Avatar
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    Re: Fitting 3 kids in a Pontiac Grand Am

    I forgot about the center being lap-only. How??? My DH's is a 99 Grand Am, I should know better. Definitely don't put a boostered kid in the center.

    Center hump (if any) is so little that I don't even know if there is one there or not. I have DD's seat there. In my car (02 Civic) I can't install center because of the hump, I can't get a tight install.

  8. #7
    Moderator - CPS Technician safeinthecar's Avatar
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    Re: Fitting 3 kids in a Pontiac Grand Am

    If you can track down an Evenflo Rightfit, NBB, they puzzle great with a rfing MA in Grandpa's two door Grand AM. A cosco High Rise would probably fit also, but would be difficult to buckle unless it's a 4 door where you can scoot the boosters over a bit to buckle.
    Kimberly
    Proud mommy of Becky 18! Danny 15 Hope 12~Auntie to William-14, David-10, and Logan 2~

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