Car seats needed for daycare kids and my kids

Jumanji

New member
I now know the ages of the kids I'll for my daycare have so I'm trying to figure out the configuration. I'm guessing for now on some of the weights and heights of the daycare kids (I'll get more info once the kids start in the next few weeks) but here goes:

Daycare Boy - 10 months 20 lbs 27"
My Daughter - 12 months 19 lbs 27" (currently in SnugRide)
Daycare Boy - 12 months 33 lbs 30"
My Son - 3.5 years 37 lbs 41" (currently in EB 3-in-1 and needs a new seat)
Daycare Girl - 3.7 years 35 lbs 40"

Seats I currently have:

2 Eddie Bauer 3-in-1's
1 Graco SnugRide

I drive a 2004 Grand Caravan with 2 captains chairs in the middle (both have LATCH/UAS) and a 3 seat bench in the rear (middle seat has tether anchor only). I was able to fit 2 Eddie Bauer 3-in-1's and 1 Eddie Bauer Booster in the back row but it was EXTREMELY tight and I wasn't comfortable with it being like that.

I don't want to spend a fortune as I'm just starting my daycare and I've had to buy lots of other stuff so money is limited. I've done lots of looking at seats based on what I've seen recommended here. I love the Britax Parkway booster and that's what I'll move my son into once he's big enough. I also like the Radians but haven't tried one in my van yet and I have read that they are difficult to install at times. I also like the Cargo's as they seem narrower than my 3-in-1's.

When figuring out the current weight of a child should I weigh them fully clothed with shoes and such since that's what they'll weight in the seat?
 
ADS

JaRylan

New member
I now know the ages of the kids I'll for my daycare have so I'm trying to figure out the configuration. I'm guessing for now on some of the weights and heights of the daycare kids (I'll get more info once the kids start in the next few weeks) but here goes:

Daycare Boy - 10 months 20 lbs 27"
My Daughter - 12 months 19 lbs 27" (currently in SnugRide)
Daycare Boy - 12 months 33 lbs 30"
My Son - 3.5 years 37 lbs 41" (currently in EB 3-in-1 and needs a new seat)
Daycare Girl - 3.7 years 35 lbs 40"

Seats I currently have:

2 Eddie Bauer 3-in-1's
1 Graco SnugRide

I drive a 2004 Grand Caravan with 2 captains chairs in the middle (both have LATCH/UAS) and a 3 seat bench in the rear (middle seat has tether anchor only). I was able to fit 2 Eddie Bauer 3-in-1's and 1 Eddie Bauer Booster in the back row but it was EXTREMELY tight and I wasn't comfortable with it being like that.

I don't want to spend a fortune as I'm just starting my daycare and I've had to buy lots of other stuff so money is limited. I've done lots of looking at seats based on what I've seen recommended here. I love the Britax Parkway booster and that's what I'll move my son into once he's big enough. I also like the Radians but haven't tried one in my van yet and I have read that they are difficult to install at times. I also like the Cargo's as they seem narrower than my 3-in-1's.

When figuring out the current weight of a child should I weigh them fully clothed with shoes and such since that's what they'll weight in the seat?

Yes, the weight of your child in the seat should be the "dressed weight" as that is the weight that would be impacting the harness in the event of an accident.
 

QuassEE

Moderator - CPST Instructor
Once kids are bigger, weights are so approximate anyways.. I think my son was RF in his Marathon until he was 33.999lbs because that's when we hit the health unit to weigh him. The RF limit on his seat is 33lbs (they switched to 30...)

When you run a daycare, are you honestly expected to supply the seats for the kids? Then again, even if you're not, I'd be scared to think what sort of seats parents would provide you around here...not to mention that the law states you don't even have to put daycare kids in carseats! So let's work with what you have..

Daycare Boy - 10 months 20 lbs 27"
My Daughter - 12 months 19 lbs 27" (currently in SnugRide)
Daycare Boy - 12 months 33 lbs 30"
My Son - 3.5 years 37 lbs 41" (currently in EB 3-in-1 and needs a new seat)
Daycare Girl - 3.7 years 35 lbs 40"

I would check the 12m old's weight! Holy! It looks like you'll have three harnessed FF children in the two captains chairs and the centre rear. You're going to want something narrow for the centre rear--the Radian would be ideal. It's difficult to install RF but should be fine FF in your van. Most likely it will be your son in that seat. Your daughter and one of the daycare babies will be able to use the 3-in-1s, your daughter will have to be rear outboard and the heavier daycare baby would be on a captains chair. The daycare girl will ideally be on the other captains chair harnessed (one of the harnessed/front adjusting cargos?) Then the lighter daycare baby will have to be rear-outboard...you may or may not be able to wrestle a Radian RF in there.. or you could also put him in the 3-in-1 and pick up a Marathon for your daughter (since she's in the car more often)...

You're going to end up buying three seats, keeping two of the three existing, and then putting the SnugRide aside...and because of tether anchors, you don't have any options as to who goes where! Definitely try the Radian out in your van and let me know how it fits.

-Nicole.
 

Jumanji

New member
If the weight is dressed than my son is 39 lbs.

The reason I am getting the seats myself is I know I am going to be very restricted with what will fit so I don't think I'll be able to use the parents seats in my van as they likely wouldn't fit.

The 12 month olds weight is accurate. He's huge. I'm not sure if it's exactly 33 lbs but his mom said 30-something.

Is it possible to have tether anchors installed in a van? That way I wouldn't be restricted to the forward facing positions as the smallest ones obviosly won't be rear facing forever.
 

QuassEE

Moderator - CPST Instructor
Often on late model vehicles what you get it what you get with regards to tether anchors, here. I don't have the manual that shows techs if there's an available retrofit, but you can call the dealership and ask. Hopefully by the time you need to turn one of the babies forward-facing, you will be able to move one of the older kids into a really supportive booster, freeing up that anchor.

Even if your son was 40lbs, I would still recommend buying him a larger harnessed seat. I know it's tempting to move him up considering how many kids you'll have, but really it's not worth compromising his safety when you have other options. Most three year olds aren't mature enough to be in a booster yet and with so many eggs in one basket you want to be sure there's nothing distracting you from the road.

-N.
 

scatterbunny

New member
Also, about moving him up at 40 pounds to a booster--it's really easier to have more harnesses to deal with in tight seating configurations, because buckling a booster next to another carseat is not easy at all.
 

Jumanji

New member
Hopefully by the time you need to turn one of the babies forward-facing, you will be able to move one of the older kids into a really supportive booster, freeing up that anchor.

That's a very good point, I didn't think of that.

I recall that when I bought the 3-in-1's they came with a tether anchor and a bolt that you could use to install in a vehicle. My car had LATCH/UAS so we didn't use it. Are those not recommended to use?
 

QuassEE

Moderator - CPST Instructor
Some manufacturers make a generic tether anchor/bolt available with their seats. They're intended for people who don't already have anchors installed to either a) install/have installed in a location where it is secured directly to the frame and is approved by the manufacturer or b) use in their pre-drill locations (many cars, especially SUVs, just have a bolt on the ground where it's already drilled out, and you can just unbolt and put the anchor in).. The kit is similar (only similar--see next paragraph for warning) to what the manufacturers retrofit. If you don't have an approved location to bolt to a section of the frame that is strong enough for crash forces, then the bolt Cosco provided you with your seat is of no use to you.

Since we're in Canada, getting anchors installed is free at 99% of dealerships as it has been required by law for quite some time now. We tend not to use the bolt provided with carseats as a result...there may also be a slight issue with Cosco providing an Imperial sized bolt when installing their anchor in a car with a metric pre-drill...although a minor size difference, there is still a difference. It's not an issue for your van, but I just wanted to point out this potential problem.

You definitely should call the dealership if they're open tomorrow and confirm one way or another if you can get two additional anchors installed. It would certainly be more convenient to have your own children in the centre row, because they're the ones with you the majority of the time.

-N.
 

tiggercat

New member
What is the RFing weight limit on your 3 in 1s? They used to be 35lbs then were reduced to 30lbs. If you have 1 that is RF to 35lbs I'd keep the three youngest RFing.


Driver Passenger

Daughter RF Son FF

RF boy FF girl RF boy

If the 3 in 1 only goes to 30lbs RF, then the bigger dc boy will have to go FF, so I'd do

Driver Passenger

FF boy Son FF

RF boy FF girl RF daughter

I would consider a higher weight limit seat for you son: Graco Cargo (48lbs with harness), Evenflo Generations (47lbs), Radian (48lbs), Marathon (48lbs). Same for the daycare girl, since she will probably exceed the heights on a convertible before 40lbs.

Put your daughter in one 3 in 1, get a Cosco Scenera ($99) for the smaller daycare boy, keep the bigger daycare boy RF in the 3 in 1 if weight limits allow.
 

QuassEE

Moderator - CPST Instructor
Good point about the old RF weight limit--it's why a lot of people bought Cosco!

I think she'll really have to put the baby on a scale before we know for sure.. I'd be surprised if he was too heavy to RF at only a year...but I helped out a mom whose son exceeded 48lbs when he was still well under 2.. so you never know. If he's that close, he's going to need one of the seating positions with an anchor before one of the older kids can safely move into a booster.

I'm really appreciating my Sienna right about now--anchors for every seating position (one is centered and shared, though).. 4 LATCH positions, 8 seats..

-N.
 

Jumanji

New member
I've been oogling the 8 passenger Sienna. I'd love to have an extra seat and anchors for more seats too. It's in my plan for a few years.

I'll check the weight limits on my 3-in-1's.
 

Jumanji

New member
One 3-in-1 goes to 30lbs rf and the other goes to 35 lbs rf. They were bought about 6 months apart so I guess I lucked out in getting one of the 35 lb ones before they changed it.

I installed my spare 3-in-1 rf for my daughter today as I need to wash the cover on her snugride. I wasn't able to get a good install with LATCH so I used the seat belt and it's nice and secure. I had to roll a blanket and put it under though as the seats in the van are quite slopped.

The two babies start in May and the 3 year old starts in mid-April. I'll confirm all the sizes once they start and I can go from there.
 

Jumanji

New member
I've done some testing and I can fit the two Eddie Bauers and a Radian on the rear bench. I stopped by the Chrysler dealership and inquired about having more tether anchors installed. They said they can install straps that anchor under the bench to a metal bracket for the seat belts and will allow me to top tether ff car seat. They called yesterday and I just have to go pick them up. They ordered them on warranty for me so they aren't costing me anything which is great.

Now I've just got to decide what seats to get for my kids. I'm going to put the three daycare kids on the rear bench rf 1 year old / ff 3 year old / rf 11 month old. My two kids will be on the captains chairs. My daughter will be rf passenger side and my son will be ff drivers side. That way I have access to the rear from the drivers side.

Thanks for everyones help. I'll post pictures once everything is installed but it'll probably be a few months as I can't go buy all the seats at once. I'm going to do it gradually and just limit trips in the beginning.
 

Jewels

Senior Community Member
I know Crysler covers tether equipment and installation in their warrenty because it is law in Canada that tether straps are used. This is what they told me when I called about having tether hooks installed in my in-laws vehicles that were made in the 1990's some time.
 

Jewels

Senior Community Member
Now I've just got to decide what seats to get for my kids. I'm going to put the three daycare kids on the rear bench rf 1 year old / ff 3 year old / rf 11 month old. My two kids will be on the captains chairs. My daughter will be rf passenger side and my son will be ff drivers side. That way I have access to the rear from the drivers side.

What seats are you thinking about? Do you have a budget for your kids seats?
 

CDNTech

Senior Community Member
I have a 2003 Grand Caravan. I have a Radian for my 5 year old that I love. It is installed with LATCH on the driver's side captains chair. I find it super easy to install with LATCH either FF or RF and with the seatbelt RF. I can not install it with the seatbelt FF in the captains chairs because they are way too contoured. This would not be an issue in your 2004 as the captains chairs are no where near contoured like mine;) I get an acceptable FF install in the 3rd row 50/50 split bench but it is definitely more difficult.

I have been told that Dodge is not allowed to add top tether anchors to their vans after 2002 model years. However, I had two outboard anchors added to my 3rd row when I bought the van... I don't really think they know what they are talking about or what the rules are.

Dodge originally stated that the reason they could not add tether anchors to my 3rd row was because it was a crumple zone and carseats could not go back there. Then when I questioned whether it was safe for an adult to sit back there, they changed their mind and stated that I was not allowed to put three seats across the back row because I could not hook two carseats up to the same LATCH anchor... I pointed out that there were no LATCH anchors in my 3rd row and the seatbelts that were installed back there already would work just fine for installing carseats.:p They ended up calling their corporate headquarters and I had the tether anchors installed the next day.:rolleyes:

I would get Radians for your son and daughter in the captains chairs. When installed with LATCH you can flip the captains chair forward to access the third row with the Radian (or any FF LATCH carseat) still installed. They will definitely last the longest. My 5 year old has a 16 inch torso and still has 1 - 1.5 inches left to go in his Radian. He has outgrown all other harnessed seats on the market... he is right even with the MA's top slots in some vehicles but is over them when the MA is installed in my van.
 

CDNTech

Senior Community Member
Here's a pic of my 5 year old in the Radian. He is 36lbs, 43in, 16in torso.
413192536_e6bcc9cb12.jpg


Here's a pic of my 23 month old RF in the Radian. He is 26lbs, 34in, 13in torso.
413178526_1ed79e024e.jpg


Both pics show the seat installed in my captains chairs.
 

Jumanji

New member
Jen, what position is the drivers seat in to allow for that much recline? Doesn't look like the driver would have much room at all.

I haven't determined my budget yet. I want to maximize on the $$ I do have to spend when I do though.
 

CDNTech

Senior Community Member
Jen, what position is the drivers seat in to allow for that much recline? Doesn't look like the driver would have much room at all.

I haven't determined my budget yet. I want to maximize on the $$ I do have to spend when I do though.

I'll go out and take a better pic when DH gets home tonight. I had the seat really forward so that I could take pics of the RF tether location as well.

I'm 5'6" (5'7" on a good day;) ), and DH is 6'3", so I'll install the seat RF and check leg room and driveability when he gets home for you.
 

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