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New Car/Three Car Seats Dilemma

monkeyprincess

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 24, 2009
Messages
2,873
I'm hoping some of you on here will have some advice regarding the best vehicles for three kids. I have a two year old and am expecting twins this summer.

I currently drive a 2003 Corolla, which I've had for nearly 13 years, and even though it's in really good shape and hasn't needed a lot of work, it's inevitable that I'll be needing a new car in the near future anyway. DH drives a 2000 Lincoln Navigator, and while his car is certainly large enough for three kids, it has needed a ton of repairs the past couple years, so it's time to move on (although he's sentimentally attached). We kind of hate the idea of buying two news cars at the same time, but I don't know that we have much choice in the matter. We probably should've planned ahead and replaced my car a few years ago.

Anyway, here's my question. Would it be crazy for me to try to drive my Corolla a couple more years with three carseats? My two year old is rear-facing in Radian RXT, which is supposedly one of the more narrow carseats out there. We have one Chicco Key Fit and will be getting another one for the babies. I'm not even positive they'd all fit, but we'll have to test that out. I know a larger vehicle would be safer, but I've never had a large car (although I drive DH's Navigator from time to time, so I'm sure I'd get used to it). If I do get a bigger car, would it be dumb to get one that doesn't have a third row? I really prefer not to have a huge car, but I don't want to buy a smaller SUV only to realize in a couple years it was a mistake. I just don't think I can do a minivan, even though I know some people swear by them.

I probably should start surveying my IRL friends on this issue, but was hoping somebody might have some advice!
 

baby monster

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jul 2, 2007
Messages
3,631
You have to measure it out but I highly doubt corolla can fit 3 carseats in the back, especially the baby ones as the bases are pretty wide. Also, the baby seats are long so you'll have to push the front seats up. Not sure how far back you sit, but I used to have a corolla and couldn't fit the baby seat behind the driver so it was either in the middle or behind passenger seat which was pushed all the way front.

The smaller suvs are actually pretty narrow in the back too so might not be a solution for you. I'd go to a larger sedan, i.e. a camry or accord would likely fit 3 carseats or a minivan. Minivan is a really good option with 3 kids. My sister has 3 and loves it because her odyssey fits everyone comfortably and there's still room in the back for all kid gear. She can seat 5 people and still put kids' 3 bikes in the back. I also prefer smaller cars but I've driven her odyssey and it's surprisingly easy to handle even after a small car.
 

cara

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 21, 2006
Messages
2,202
MP, you could post a question on carseat.org about puzzling 3-across in your corolla, or just do a google search with carseat.org in the search to see what others have done before you. Carseat.org has all kinds of craziness related to carseats and fitting them in X, y, z.

But it is likely possible. You could try putting your current radian rearfacing in the middle and see if you can fit a infant seat in one of the outboard positions without having to offset the radian to one side. You may not be able to fit the keyfit base in there, but I bet that the bucket alone would fit. Unless your oldest is giant, that arrangement could last until the babes outgrow the infant buckets. My slightly bigger-than-average 4 year old is still rearfacing in a radian, and will likely make it to 5 before outgrowing it.

The biggest hassle might be fitting a double (or triple?!?) stroller in the corolla trunk. Or legroom for either passanger or driver with an infant seat behind it, depending on your size and needs.

I think it is fine to keep the corolla for a little while, but I would start shopping for both replacement cars now, so you have some idea what you want in case you need to buy quickly. When my husbands 13-yro car was dying, it was quite stressful to shop for its replacement under duress. Also there is some strategy to the family car planning. For our family of 4, we wanted a largish sedan that can fit two rearfacing car seats and tall parents with sufficient legroom and a non-giant 7-seater AWD SUV for when grandparents visit and for ski trips. However, I already see the brilliance of the 7-seater for hauling additional kiddos on occasion, and would recommend having at least one larger capacity car for a family of five.
 

amc80

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jun 18, 2010
Messages
5,765
We just went through this problem when I was pregnant with T. Our issue is DH is 6'7" and requires his seat to be all the way back. There aren't many vehicles where he can do that and have a rear facing seat behind him. We ended up getting a Ford F-150. Our other car is a Dodge Nitro and it is definitely too small. We will probably get a large suv (Escalade or something) in another year or so. It's hard with all the car seats, strollers, and other crap kids need.
 

JGator

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Nov 27, 2010
Messages
1,422
MP, we have a 2012 Camry and really like it for the leg room. It only has 2 latch systems though on the outsides so if you want to secure 3 with latch system, you could not in a Camry. You can use the seat belt on the middle seat though if you needed to. carseat.org seems to suggest you can fit 3 in a Corolla though - here is an older post I found - http://www.car-seat.org/showthread.php?t=209333
 

monkeyprincess

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 24, 2009
Messages
2,873
Thanks for your thoughts, everyone! Cara, you're right that I need to just try getting the Key Fit to fit on both sides of the Radian, without displacing it to see if it is even feasible. The obvious thing for us to do is pick out a car for me now and get one for DH soon too, but we recently moved into a new house, had a lot of medical expenses for fertility treatments, and will be paying more for daycare once the little ones arrive, so it's hard to think about buying two new cars (or taking out loans to do so). But, it's going to have to be done sooner or later. And maybe this is the kick in the pants we need to actually do it.
 

choro72

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Feb 11, 2008
Messages
1,867
Argh, the expense is painful! But to give you an idea, with my DH's Prius, we will have to put the convertible car seat and the infant car seat on each side because they won't fit with one in the middle. Good luck.
 

dani13

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 12, 2004
Messages
6,183
Hi MP,

I dont think there is any way 3 car seats are fitting in the back of your Corolla...sorry!! My Mom has a Honda Civic (similar size to Corolla), and the 2 carseats for the kids barely fit back there. I have a Diono and the Chicco Keyfit in our Hyundai Tuscon (smaller sized SUV), and there is barely any room in the middle...just to give you an idea.

Hate to say it girl, but with the 3...I would prob go with a minivan. My bil and sil have the Nissan Quest....I think thats a pretty nice looking one!!! I drive a Nissan Pathfinder..we just got it, and its ok with the 2 kids, but I would imagine it would get tight with 3, and its a large SUV. I just think you would really benefit from the extra room, automatic doors, etc. I also dont want to drive a minivan, but I think if we end up having a 3rd child, we will have to go there!
 

JGator

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Nov 27, 2010
Messages
1,422
MP, maybe consider a car that is a couple years old to save a few $- like a certified pre owned vehicle. You might think about a small station wagon. We have friends with a VW station wagon. The nice thing is the trunk space for all your baby gear. Volvo and Subaru have some nice station wagons as well. Also, you might be surprised how a mini van drives - I drove my sister's Toyota Sienna and it does feel like a car vs. something larger when you drive it.
 

amc80

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jun 18, 2010
Messages
5,765
JGator said:
MP, maybe consider a car that is a couple years old to save a few $- like a certified pre owned vehicle. You might think about a small station wagon. We have friends with a VW station wagon. The nice thing is the trunk space for all your baby gear. Volvo and Subaru have some nice station wagons as well. Also, you might be surprised how a mini van drives - I drove my sister's Toyota Sienna and it does feel like a car vs. something larger when you drive it.
We had a Sienna as a rental car and it was amazing. I was shocked by the amount of power it had. That was 3 years ago and DH and I still talk about it.
 

pavelover

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
May 6, 2007
Messages
731
MP I had the twins in the U.S. and we still had our acura mdx. So I had 2 infant gracos rf and had switched my 5 yo to a harnessed booster...I think we had them across one row(we did for sure), but my parents were with us for a while to help out, so that 3rd row, albeit not the most comfortable, was a necessity. And yet, with the third tow up, or half of the third row, there was little room for anything else. Yes your family could take another car, but that's a pain. We returned to Asia, so we just muddled through with the mdx, but really, if we remained in U.S. we would have had to go for a mini van...I never saw myself as a mini van person, but I think it will make your life easier. I've been told that the ones with stow and go setting are better cause then you don't have to drag out seats to fit other stuff. Here in Manila, we have a giant van, lol...and now I will add a 4th cr seat, lol!
Anyhow, sorry for the long reply. If you don't get a mini van, I still think a split 3rd row would be needed. Definitely carseat.org could help you find a sedan to fit three across but there aren't many options. What about strollers? My ave subject!
 

monkeyprincess

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 24, 2009
Messages
2,873
Pave, thanks for your thoughts. We still haven't done anything on the car front. We're nothing if we're not procrastinators :) We did make sure we could fit the infant seat in on each side of my son's carseat, and we were able to without disturbing it. Although it's a tight fit and would be a complete pain to deal with. But we're thinking there will be very few times I have all three kids by myself for the first several months anyway, and once the babies go to daycare, DH and I will probably split the kids up for drop-offs and pick-ups because it seems overwhelming carrying in two infant seats and wrangling a toddler, but we're definitely considering our options for cars with three rows. I just don't think I can do a minivan even though I know how much some people swear by them.

And yes, if you or anyone has stroller advice, I'm all ears! Early on, I think we're just doing a double snap n go for the babies, but we will definitely be in the market for a double stroller. I don't think we'll need a triple because Ev is 2.5, but curious what others have done!
 

aviastar

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Oct 5, 2010
Messages
1,190
pavelover|1430061048|3868044 said:
MP I had the twins in the U.S. and we still had our acura mdx. So I had 2 infant gracos rf and had switched my 5 yo to a harnessed booster...I think we had them across one row(we did for sure), but my parents were with us for a while to help out, so that 3rd row, albeit not the most comfortable, was a necessity. And yet, with the third tow up, or half of the third row, there was little room for anything else. Yes your family could take another car, but that's a pain. We returned to Asia, so we just muddled through with the mdx, but really, if we remained in U.S. we would have had to go for a mini van...I never saw myself as a mini van person, but I think it will make your life easier. I've been told that the ones with stow and go setting are better cause then you don't have to drag out seats to fit other stuff. Here in Manila, we have a giant van, lol...and now I will add a 4th cr seat, lol!
Anyhow, sorry for the long reply. If you don't get a mini van, I still think a split 3rd row would be needed. Definitely carseat.org could help you find a sedan to fit three across but there aren't many options. What about strollers? My ave subject!
Yay! Congrats!
 
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