Getting a new vehicle

J

Jenna

Guest
I am pregnant and due in September. This is what is prompting us to get a new vehicle. But, it is about time because we currently only have a Chevy Cavalier but six of us in the family (full time. Eight on vacations and during the summer)! We haven't gone out together in a looooong time! :) Anyways, with the new vehicle we want to get new seats. I was talking to a woman at church the other day and learned ours aren't quite up to par. Oh, and just so you don't freak out I want to tell you that we won't use the car again until the kids get new seats!!!!!

My husband and I are looking at the Dodge Sprinter. The only thing we can't seem to find is the number of top tethers. Does anyone know how many they are and where?

But, now the part where I don't want you guys to freak out. Deep breaths everyone I know it is bad now, but they WILL NOT ride like this ever again.

Okay, my kids are 7, 5, 3, and 2 (plus baby on the way). Up until now my seven year old was in a booster made by Gerry called the "Belt Right" in 1996. My five year old was in a shield booster called the Evenflo "Side Kick" from 1996. Delaney, three, was also in a shield booster (Fisher-Price T-shield Booster made in 1995) and my two year old was in a t-shield seat (Evenflo Champion made in 1998)! My children from a previous marriage are 10 and 12. They are not in any seats. Do they need to be? I don't know how but I managed to get the worst seats I possibly could, huh?

There, I said it! After all I have learned I am disgusted with myself. And now I need your help. What seats should we buy? Where in the new Sprinter should they go? Should I put the two year old back rearfacing? What seat should the baby go into. I was going to use the seat my 10 year old had, but I guess that is too old, huh?

Thanks and thank you to those who helped Mark with picking out a vehicle.
 
ADS
U

Unregistered

Guest
How much do each of them weigh? That will help in reccomending new seats.
 

wendytthomas

Admin - CPST Instructor
Staff member
*sucking in and out in a paper bag*

Ok, well, you've taken the first, most important step, admitting there's a problem. hehe

Before we can tell you much of anything, though, what are their weights? If the two year old will be sitting in a seat that has a higher rearfacing weight limit than what he weighs, then yes it's recommended you turn him back around.

As for the 10 and 12 year olds, if they pass the <a href="http://www.thecarseatlady.com/booster_seats/booster_seats.html">five step test</a> then they don't need to. If they do need something, a backless booster (a new one! LOL) would probably do them a world of good.

The 7 year old could probably also do with a backless or highback booster, depending on weight. The five and three year old are hard to judge simply based on age. They could both need convertible seats, or they may want combo seats, or at least the five year old could go in a booster, depending on temperment and weight.

Congrats on your new addition. We can help with infant seat choices as well, when the time comes closer.

Wendy
 

cantech

New member
Jenna & Mark, Congratulations! and WOW...that's quite the family. It's obvious from your posts you've learned the power of humor! I don't have any seat recommendations being from a country with limited choices (Canada) but had to let you know how much I've enjoyed reading your posts.

Belinda
CRST
 

Jeanum

Admin - CPS Technician Emeritus
Staff member
Whoa, taking a few deep breaths here. ;) You've come to a great place for help with carseats. :)

The weight and height for each child would be super helpful, and if you could also post their torso heights, even better (seated height from the floor to the tops of their shoulders). Many kids outgrow carseats by height before they reach the carseat's weight limit. Some kids are longer torsoed and would be too tall for a particular seat, while a leggier child would fit in the same carseat longer before outgrowing it by height. So knowing their overall and torso heights would be very helpful.

Sorry I don't know about the top tethers in the Sprinter (I was the "unregistered" reply to your husband's post about vehicles in the Car Safety forum - forgot I wasn't logged in when I posted, oops).

Congratulations on the new member of your family and glad you're aware of the need for new seats for your family.
 

Longhorn Lady

New member
Yes, if you can give us their weights and torso heights, we'll get you all set up here!

And no worries. You and your husband are the kind of people that we adore because you come WANTING to learn and get new seats :)
 
J

Jenna

Guest
He he he...

Glad the post was enjoyable. ;-) We've found humor is what keeps us sane. And in our house we REALLY need sanity!

Now, to answer your questions (and sorry... I didn't even think to say anything about their sizes... DOH!) about their sizes... (all of them are pretty much tall and thin)

Ryan (7) is 56 pounds and 50 inches. His torso is 15.5"
Abigail (5) is 42 pounds, 43 inches. Torso is 14"
Delaney (3) is 30 pounds, 38 inches. Torso of 14"
Sophie (2) weighs 27 pounds and is 35 inches. Her torso is 13"
Eli (10) is 70 pounds, 54 inches. Torso is 16"
Matthew (12) is the size of a 9 yr old. 64 pounds, 53 inches. Torso is 15"
Killian (appearance in 2 months) will either be small like his brother (4 lbs) or big like his sisters (>8 lbs).

It's crazy how they are so differently sized but similar torsos... 5" of difference on Abigail and Delaney but the same torso?!?!?!

Back to the subject though... I want these kids ASAP (As Safe As Possible!) and money is not a problem at all. I doubt my oldest sons will pass that test, so I want easy to remove seats for them (as well as safe!) since they don't live with us year round. And being boys at that age I can imagine they may need them today but tomorrow wake up big enough to not need one!

Oh, and Wendy, sorry for causing you to hyperventilate. That post should have come with a warning sign "Not for delicate car seat enthusiasts!"
 

Simplysomething

New member
I don't have any suggestions right now (I'm just here for free advice. lol)...but I have to say, don't feel bad about what you didn't know. I think most of us sort of fell into the information---and thought...Holy Cow!

Because, apart from knowing that little babies need to be in seats, the rest of it, many don't know. (Seriously, it's not that intuitive!)... So, don't be disgusted with yourself, be delighted that you learned they were in the wrong seats and you didn't go..."oh well". :)


I bet ya they will suggest lots of good seats though, though I bet a question about budget will be coming. lol

(I like ASAP, I think it should be adopted here! lol)



Good luck.
 

wendytthomas

Admin - CPST Instructor
Staff member
hehehe You have a great attitude, Jenna. :)

Ok, recommendations.

Ryan (7) is 56 pounds and 50 inches. His torso is 15.5"

Here you have some options. You can get a higher weight convertible seat (such as the Britax Marathon/Decathalon/Boulevard, the Britax Regent, Sunshine Kids Radian, Safety 1st Apex 65. They all go to 65 pounds with the exception of the Regent, which goes to 80. The Apex is a combination seat, meaning it harnesses to 65 pounds and then turns into a booster). Or you can go to a dedicated booster. If you feel he's mature enough to sit with a three point harness for the entire ride, then all you probably need is a high back booster (they all seem to be legs, so I would recommend a high back booster to help position the belt).

Abigail (5) is 42 pounds, 43 inches. Torso is 14"

I would definitely recommend a higher weight convertible seat here, or the Apex 65. If you're going to fill up a 10 passenger van you may not want more than one Regent (they're a bit big), so you may want to puzzle the seats, see what fits where with who and what everyone likes. The Regent is one of the wider seats available, the Radian the narrowest convertible. At five years old and just squeaking in over the recommended minimum weight of 40 pounds for a booster, I would say she should go in a convertible seat.

Delaney (3) is 30 pounds, 38 inches. Torso of 14"

Delaney should definitely go in a convertible. In fact, on most of the Britax seats (since money is no option for you guys) she can rearface for three more pounds, and it's safer for her. Again, any of the Britaxes I mentioned above, with the exception of the Regent which is a forward facing only seat. The Apex 65 is forward facing only, and the Radian has a funky rearfacing install that may leave a three year old too reclined, so I'm hesitant to mention it for an older child rearfacing. I have one and my nearly four year old rides in it forward facing when we use it (it's our travel seat). I wouldn't put her in it rearfacing, even though she's well under the limit because of the foot it uses to recline the seat.

Sophie (2) weighs 27 pounds and is 35 inches. Her torso is 13"

I would definitely put Sophie in a rearfacing convertible. Again, the same list of Britaxes above. They generally rearface to 33 pounds and forward face to 65, so they're a good bang for the buck, even if they are pricey at the get go. They're also very comfortable for the child, and generally very easy for the parents to use (we're not sponsored by Britax here, just if you can swing them they generally are worth the money).

Eli (10) is 70 pounds, 54 inches. Torso is 16"
Matthew (12) is the size of a 9 yr old. 64 pounds, 53 inches. Torso is 15"

These two could both fit in Regents, and they're just shy of the 4'9" recommendation for sitting with the adult seatbelt (but as you've noted, they're all length in the legs, not torso, so they may take longer to fit well into an adult belt). For them, since they're so much older I would talk with them and see what you can all work out, and what fits best in your van. Regents would be great, they'd have the safety of a five point harness, but there may be a couple of other regents in your van already, so you may not have space for them. Oh, plus the regents MUST be tethered after 50 pounds, so depending on how many tether anchors the Sprinter has you may or may not be able to swing a ton of Regents (the other seats should be tethered, but if you can get a good install with the seatbelt it's *ok* if you don't. You may want to talk to Dodge about getting tether anchors put in at every seating point, if they can). If you guys decide Regents aren't a good fit for the car or your needs, they would do fine probably in backless boosters. And even though money is no option, two Regents will run you between $400-$500 and two backless boosters will run you about $30.

Killian (appearance in 2 months) will either be small like his brother (4 lbs) or big like his sisters (>8 lbs).

In that case I would recommend you find an infant seat that says "from birth to X pounds" rather than many of the seats that say "from 5-X pounds." The Graco Snugride is a decent seat for the teeny tinies, the Graco Safeseat 1 is a great seat for the bigger ones. You may want to wait until Killian makes his appearance and then send your husband out to buy one depending on his size. If he's too small you may want to rent a car bed, which has a five point harness but lays flat and tends to fit the really small kids better. But otherwise a snugride will probably be a good choice for your new one. Then in eight months or so when it's time for a rearfacing convertible seat, you can see if you need to buy another one, or if one of the older kids is ready to move up and hand their seat down.

HTH That's quite a houseful you have there. :)

Wendy
 

Longhorn Lady

New member
I think Wendy has you covered, but I'll chime in anyway :)

For Ryan, I'd go with a Regent because even if he only uses it for awhile, when the baby-to-be grows out of their infant seat, then everyone will need to move up a seat and the Regent could be passed onto Abigail. At that point you could get Ryan a booster.

For Abigail, the Apex is a good option, but I should say that many people (myself included) have found Apex's in stores with closer to 19" top slots, whereas some people are getting Apex's from online that have 17" top slots. So if you have an option to find one in a store, I'd go that route. Getting the Apex would also be good because you'd have a booster if you need it at any point (carpooling?) since the Apex doubles as a booster.

For Delaney, I'm with Wendy about getting a Britax 65lb. convertible. You can't go wrong with a Boulevard, Marathon, or Decathlon. They're all wonderful.

For Sophie, I'd definitely turn her around RF in a Britax convertible seat. They are comfy and she can RF for awhile.

And for the older two, I'd go with two boosters, just because they aren't with you all the time, and boosters are easier to use when they are with other people. I have a Turbobooster and its a fine booster for my needs, but I wish I had a Parkway because it doesn't have armrests and it puzzles well when next to other seats.

I do think that with all the seats that you have and the number of extra people you occasionally have, that buying a Radian for someone might be a good idea because of how narrow it is. It does have some install issues FF with the seatbelt in some vehicles, and I have no idea how it'd fit in your car, but it might be nice to have a narrow seat.

Can't wait to hear what you end up getting! And congrats on the baby :D
 
J

Jenna

Guest
I REALLY need to figure out how many tethers there are...

Ryan needs either that Regent or a (new!) booster preferably one with a back.
Abigail should stay in a harness in either the Regent or Apex.
Delaney gets one of those Britax seats and goes rear facing again.
Sophie same as Delaney.
Eli and Matthew get boosters.

Did I get all that right? Gosh, this is so hard. I actually couldn't fall asleep last night because I was trying to sort through all of this information! How do you guys get to sleep?!?!?!

So, if that is right, which of the Britax seats should the girls get? I think my oldest boys will fight me on the seats, so boosters without the back will be best for us to compromise with ("Boys, you have to sit in a booster." "No, Mom! We won't!" "Not an option." "We won't" "Fine... how about backless ones." "Yay, we won the fight!" ::That was the plan all along...::) Which do you recommend for that?

I think those are all my questions for now... keywords there are "for now!"
 

rachel3612

Senior Community Member
Here is what I would do, a bit different than the others. As you can tell Britax is my favorite brand. LOL

Ryan (7) is 56 pounds and 50 inches. His torso is 15.5"
Britax Parkway, I think getting a 7 year old back in a harness seat is a little extreme.
Abigail (5) is 42 pounds, 43 inches. Torso is 14"
Depending on her personality I would suggest either a Britax Parkway or Britax Regent, if she won't sit correctly every time and at all times in the booster then go with the Regent.
Delaney (3) is 30 pounds, 38 inches. Torso of 14"
Either a Britax Decathlon (slightly higher slots than the Marathon, or if there isn't much shoulder room go with a Regent.
Sophie (2) weighs 27 pounds and is 35 inches. Her torso is 13"
Britax Decathlon, rear facing then forward when she outgrows it rear facing.
Eli (10) is 70 pounds, 54 inches. Torso is 16"
Well since Britax doesn't make a no back booster. LOL I will say a Graco Turbo with no back, or with a back that way you can use it as a spare for your younger ones later and the back comes off for the older ones.
Matthew (12) is the size of a 9 yr old. 64 pounds, 53 inches. Torso is 15"
Same as above
Killian (appearance in 2 months)
The Britax Companion is my favorite infant seat, I really like the anti rebound bar, my other suggestion is a Graco Safe Seat it will last you the longest time.

Ok so as you can probably tell I am not huge on extended harnessing but I am big on extended rear facing. LOL

If you go with Britax you can get all of them in the same pattern and they would all match. Well except the Turbos but I think there is a grey/black one that would match the black Britax seats. Or you can let each kid pick their own cover since they all come in different covers. Makes it harder to pass on if you get a girly print though. LOL

Rachel
 
B

bucket2

Guest
"At five years old and just squeaking in over the recommended minimum weight of 40 pounds for a booster, I would say she should go in a convertible seat."


Just a clarification here:

Convertible seats move between rear and forward facing. If you go with the higher end seats, a convertible could be used with a harness up to 65 lbs. However, the huge majority of convertible seats in use top out at 40 pounds (at least here in NE - where us techs are thrilled to just get 'em in buckled a booster at 40 lbs. - since the law requires CR only to age 6).

Combination seats have a harness (usually up to 40) and then can be used as a high back booster.
 

Splash

New member
Okay, I'll likely say the same things everyone else said... but this is just too much fun. I get to shop for carseats without leaving my home, spending my money, or sleeping in the driveway!!

Ryan- I would give him the choice of a Regent or a high back booster. He'll likely pick the booster. Go with a TurboBooster, Parkway, Recaro, or Jane. My bet is he picks the Turbo, which is fine.

Abigail-Regent definitely

Delaney- Boulevard or Decathlon rear facing

Sophie- Same as Delaney, or maybe a Roundabout since you can pass it down to the next baby. On sale at Target right now!

Eli- Backless TurboBooster

Matthew- Backless TurboBooster

Killian- Graco SafeSeat1
 
U

Unregistered

Guest
I love Britax, (have 3 of them) but thought I would throw Recaro into the discussion here and it may save you some money in the long run. For Sophie an Delaney you might like the Recaro Young Sport which has a 5 point to 40 lbs and then turns into a fantastic booster. I wish it had a 65lb harness, but it's worth looking into.
Also, Baby Universe has a lot of Britax (Regent, infant seat...) on sale.
Good Luck,
Gwen
 

cantech

New member
Jenna said:
How do you guys get to sleep?!?!?!

Finally a question I can answer! We get to sleep because we know we've helped parents keep their children safer longer! We may dream of carseat installations and confrontations but we sleep!
 

SusanMae

Senior Community Member
Headrests

Since no one else mentioned it, I will.

To use the Apex you HAVE to have a high seat back or a head rest behind it. The highback of the Apex is too flimsy on it's own.

The highback Turbobooster would not need a headrest, but a backless turbo would.

All passangers should have something behind their head to support their neck to prevent whiplash.

Also a GREAT site to visit to read and learn more about all this car seat safety stuff that we're nuts about is:
www.cpsafety.com

Welcome to the world of car seat fanatics!!!

Susan
 

Lara

New member
No advice I think everyone has covered it but about the no sleep thing...
I post on babycenter more than here and if I am on within an hour before I go to bed I am up and trying to think configurations, and advice. Ive started limiting myself on how long Im on at night so I can get some sleep. Yours definatly had me thinking LOL.
 

wendytthomas

Admin - CPST Instructor
Staff member
SusanMae said:
To use the Apex you HAVE to have a high seat back or a head rest behind it. The highback of the Apex is too flimsy on it's own.

You know, I had an Apex in my hands during class last week and I specifically asked one of the instructors about the headrest. (The Cosco Apex and Safety 1st Apex are one in the same Apex, correct?). He looked at me like I was crazy and said it was a highback booster, you don't need anything behind it. I was 95% sure I was right, but the way he looked at me when he said it (like explaining that two plus two equal four) made me doubt myself.

Wendy
 

SusanMae

Senior Community Member
You're right about that headrest Wendy---we know you had some wierd instructors!! Did it have its instruction manual on it? Then you could have whipped it out and said--booo ya I'm right---you're wrong!

I know you were dying to do that all last week!

Susan
 

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