Question anyone with a 12 passenger van? infant seats

funwith4

New member
I have a ways to go but you know, if I decide early I can watch for sales lol.

I drive a ford e350 super duty 12 passenger van. My last 3 kids came home in our minivan, we didn't get this van until my youngest was 6 months so I've never used an infant seat in it. In addition, when my last was born they had only just come out with the 30 lb seats and there was lots of debate over whether they were even worth it then so we didn't get one. It looks like the majority are 30 lb seats now? So I feel so out of the loop, even though my "baby" is only 3.5 yrs old.

The seatbelts in my van are similar to the ones in my Ford minivan and since the Ford minivan had a movable middle bench that was large but only sat 2 I seemed to have plenty of room. So I'm imagining that fit will be similar to my minivan but worry because the bench seats aren't adjustable so I do have to worry about clearance with the front seats. We used a Britax Roundabout behind them though with an older infant OK (just not behind the driver as hubby complained about being too far forward).

I know that the Graco seats way back when were only installable to "acceptable" which wasn't "acceptable" to me after rock solid britax convertibles. They were also shallow so tended to bother my babys' reflux (all have had varying degrees so if this has it i wouldn't be surprised) and they weren't padded enough in the but and lumbar to comfortably handle long car rides. Our Combi seat with my last fit much better so I am considering that. I had considered the Chicco because it is so highly recommended but when I looked at it at the store it seemed shallower, like the Graco, not like the Combi and Britax. Britax didn't make my list because Ive had the harness fray in my last 4 convertibles where the buckles sit. But I am not totally against Britax if its my best option. I also noticed that some seats only go to 30" where others go to 32" and the combi seems to go to 33"?

My kids range from 8-9+ lbs at birth typically and grow quickly the first 6 months. 2 of my 6 have actually been 32"+ at their first bday. We live rural suburbia so frequently have to make 30 min drives. I also have a minivan and ride with my mom and sister regularly so a 2nd base availability and ability to secure without the base would be a plus to me. I would prefer under $200. I don't need an absolute recommendation but would love some recommendations on where to start because I don't want to have to drag every seat in the store out to my van to try.
 
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Kel

Well-known member
Hello! I drive a 2011 e350 Ford, and have 6 kids. What yr is yours?
I haven't tried to many infant seats in it. I do know that you'll wAnt to put an infant seat front bench center, otherwise the passenger seat has to be up to far.
If I get another infant seat with the next baby, I'm goin to try an Aton 2. Their a short front to back seat. I'd like to see if it can fit in other locations.

I think I'm skipping the bucket though with the next baby, and going strait to a convertible. I'm currently useing Coccoro RFing. A graco my ride 65 RFing. And I also have a Raidian, that I use both RF and FF.

I think the higher weight and height on the bucket seats is nice if you plan to use the buck for 1 yr plus. I never like carrying it around much with my 6.

How do you plan to arrange the kids?
 

funwith4

New member
I have a 2010 so should be the same as the 2011 as I believe the last time they did major changes was 2008.

That is definitely a good point, I rode with a rfing behind me in the passenger seat but it was pretty far up. I now have teenagers that ride there too and wouldn't want them that close to the airbag. though I was planning on the middle seat anyway because drivers side isn't an option and passenger side would make the other 2 seats pretty inaccessible, at least the middle leaves 1 open.

Currently I have a 3 yr old on drivers side and 5 yr old passenger side 2nd row in britax roundabout and marathon. These expire in March and May though (and baby is due in May) so I am shopping for new seats. I am leaning toward new seats but I may consider a high back bpb for the 5 yr old and then the 3 yr old would be in the 5 yr old's alpha elite from my minivan. I am not really concerned about seat size though as I've put my sisters 2 monster size trufits in the same row as a marathon and it all fit. I figure if that fits anything will lol

the 3rd and 4th row theyre allowed to sit wherever they want. The teenagers don't use seats and the 7 and 8 yr old use low back boosters that they can move themselves to where they want to sit.

Right now my thought was leaving the 3 yr old where she is and putting the baby next to her but moving the 5 yr old to the 3rd row. Reasoning is that the 3 yr old is calm and listens well. The 5 yr old is rambunctious, loud and doesn't necessarily keep her hands to herself. of course im not sure how that will work with carpool line. she can buckle herself in her 5 pt so I imagine if we go with a bpb she could learn quickly or a sibling could help. but I just am not sure about not being able to double check the fit and buckle, especially in a 5 pt. I think the 8 yr old is experienced enough she could check a bpb. but this really is a safety issue of her not being next to baby.
 

funwith4

New member
ive done with just a convertible the last 2 and the one before that we moved at 6 weeks but I like the infant carseat when we go out to eat for somewhere convenient to set the baby and figured with new high limits that might last more than 6 months I might be able to justify one. plus with the kids not having outgrown their seats before they expire, I figured the infant seat would buy me another year or so.

what do you like about the aton? im not seeing it anywhere local to me to look at
 

Keeanh

Well-known member
I have a Chevy Express. It may have more room than the E350 front-to-back, though, because I've had no problem with a Graco Snugride and a Keyfit anywhere in the 2nd row. I can also put the Keyfit in other rows if I use a baseless install. I don't think I've tried it with a base back there.

I think with all the room you have you should be able to just get any seat you like and should have no trouble with it in the middle of the 2nd row.

I'm mostly jumping in this thread to ask if your older kids have head support to the top of their ears? If not, your 7 & 8yos could probably still fit in high back boosters for now. But for the teenagers, the only solution is to retrofit headrests. This is my van: http://www.car-seat.org/showpost.php?p=2642431&postcount=2

Also, if your 5yo is that rambunctious, I think a 5-pt harness might be a good idea for a bit longer.
 

Kel

Well-known member
You can definitely fit any infant seat center of the first bench. I only mentioned the aton because I may want to put a baby behind my passenger seat. My 14 yr old is 6 ' and likes his seat back.
 

Kel

Well-known member
Oh, and my set up right now is this.....1st bench, drivers side is my 10 yr old. He irritates the others and talks a lot. This keeps him by me. Passenger side is my almost 7 yr old in a britax park way sg.
2nd bench, passenger side Is my 20 month old, RFing in a graco my ride 65. And my 12 or 14 yr old in seatbelt only.
3rd row bench, my 3.5 yr FFing in a RXT on the passenger side.

I love Radians RFing on the 2nd and 3rd benches. Also love the graco My Ride 65.
 

funwith4

New member
Yes, the idea of keeping the possibility of going behind the passenger seat open is nice. Not sure I'll ever do it but better to plan ahead.

I've done the straight to convertible twice and now those kids haven't outgrown their seats and they're expiring so I was thinking an infant seat would buy me another year in a high weight convertible (and I'd have a seat to use in restaurants).

I guess I'll see which seats go to 32" then and have deep comfortable, reflux friendly seats and go from there.

I'm not sure if my 7 and 8 yr olds heads are above the seat back. The fords seat backs are higher than the Chevys. They were not when I moved them to low back boosters but that's been a while so they might be now. Haven't really paid much attn since there's nothing I can do about the teens anyway (though we did explore several bucket seat options, none ended up feasible).
 

Kel

Well-known member
My seven yr old can sit in a low back booster, and her head is fine. My almost 10 yr DS is huge. Almost 5' and he 5 steps. He's still fine. My teens heads go over the top.

Alot of people here praise the chicco key fit, graco seats, aton, etc...lot of great infant seats out. Do you have a stroller you want it to snap into?
 

funwith4

New member
My 8 yr old is tiny (she turns 9 in a month), the 7 yr old is a tad above average and they're exactly the same size. But I also regularly transport an 8, 9, and two more teens and they smaller ones are a head or more taller than my kids (my nieces and nephews).

I hear raves of the Chico too but when I looked at it it seemed so much like the graco we don't like. Whereas the shape/curve of the Britax and combi were different. I can't seem to find somewhere local that has the Aton. Maybe bbb will
 

Kel

Well-known member
I would post a ? on the carseat chat section asking what new buckets are coming out. I think there's a couple new ones coming out.

are you getting a new stroller too? That may help you to decide on the seat you want...im leaning toward getting a new double strolker with the next baby. Or maybe even now.
 

Keeanh

Well-known member
... Haven't really paid much attn since there's nothing I can do about the teens anyway (though we did explore several bucket seat options, none ended up feasible).

Did you look at my link about adding headrests? It's really quite simple and inexpensive. I paid $75 per bench for mine.
 

funwith4

New member
Yes, but unless this was a dealer installed option my husband would never agree to that. No proof it's safe, resale value, sturdiness of the benches. He'd have a field day with it.

Oh and I forgot to even mention the 5 yr old. Yes, I want to keep her in a 5 pt, she can barely sit still in that. She cant unbuckle it though so wasn't sure if there were safety issues with her being out of my reach and unable to unbuckle herself in an accident? That's why I mentioned possibly a bpb. I also want a 5 pt that safely converts to a bpb. Right now the alpha elites don't have an acceptable fit as a bpb so they won't be able to eventually be used for that purpose. And also some sleeping head support as she sleeps once or more a week in her seat.

I will be posting separately about that in a second
 

Kel

Well-known member
Have you considered a Radian for the 5 yr old, then passing it down later? It fits nicely in the last bench. That's were my 3.5 yr old sits. Passenger side. My DH s 6'4" and like him there because he can just lean through the door and unbuckle him. I like that it's low enough that he can climb into. Plus it fits between those narrow belts in back. It's expensive though, and I'd only do that if he fit well, and was going to pass it down.

Or maybe a cheaper convertible, like the Sure Ride. It's top slot are 19". It always on sale somewhere for below 100. Then worry about a inexpensive High back booster later.
 
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funwith4

New member
I hate the radians. I wrestled with the thing forever in my minivan and couldn't get it secure enough (and after Britax seats I was really dissappointed in the cover and padding for that price) and ended up taking it back so it's out of the question. I've considered the secure ride and was looking at the baby trend but can't find anything about it even though it looks like exactly what I want
 

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