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Help with 3 children car seat solution

(20 Posts)
MaverickSnoopy Sun 23-Sep-18 08:08:04

DC3 due in 2 weeks. Several months ago we visited a specialist car seat company for advice on how to safely fit 3 children into our car in car seats. They gave us a selection of options, with a strong preference for one option, which they said was the safest. The option is that we have 2yo in ERF seat in the middle, then nearly 7yo in group 2/3 seat on one side and infant seat on the other. This apparently fits the best too (nb they tried out all other 3 in a row combinations and it doesn't work any other way). We have tried it out this week and putting 2yo into the middle has done DHs back in. DH is the one who predominantly puts them in and out. DH historically has back problems and has physio for it - the physiotherapist wants him to limit the things that make his back hurt (especially as he has a manual job), so we really can't use this current formation.

Other options from specialist company (although they didn't specify which option was the best). Option 1) Put nearly 7yo into backless booster (which is narrower) in the middle of the row - she is over the minimum weight and height limit for a backless booster. My reservation with this is lack of head support. Option 2) Put nearly 7yo into the boot in stage 2/3 seat, where we have another row of seats. Reservation with this is that if we had an accident she would not be able to open a window and climb out (although DH has questioned if we would actually want her to) and also don't think we could fit much else into the boot (which we do currently utilise quite extensively and so wouldn't be able to use this option for longer trips, e.g. when we have buggy and luggage).

My current thinking is that we get a backless booster and use both options depending on the scenario, but DH says it's a faff to keep moving seats in and out (it is and involves having to move the back row and take the ERF seat out each type - takes about 15/20 mins and isn't great for his back).

For context all children use the car 2-3 times a week. We probably average 2 short local journeys a week and 1 medium trip (20-30 mins each way) once a week, trips over an hour are once bi monthly and then over 3 hours once a year.

It would just be really useful to have other peoples thoughts on what they would do in this situation. We're really struggling to decide on the safest and most workable option for us.

TheBrilloPad Sun 23-Sep-18 10:39:31

What car do you have and what car seats do you currently have?

ambostraw Sun 23-Sep-18 10:41:13

Specialist car seat company?

I would just change car for something with 3 full back seats.

ambostraw Sun 23-Sep-18 10:41:59

Sorry wait, you have a 7 seater! Just put a kid in the back.

PotteringAlong Sun 23-Sep-18 10:42:42

Your other option is that the 7 year old goes in the front seat and the extra adult sits in the back?

I’ve got 3 and when they just need separating I’ve been know to have one in the front, one in the middle and one in the boot seats blush

SweetheartNeckline Sun 23-Sep-18 10:48:51

I thought you had to have high backed booster up to 12 or 135cm now? Regardless you clearly care about in car safety (ERF 2 year old!) so even if the law "allows" a backless booster I'm not sure you'll ever feel happy about it.

We had baby in the middle with one of those Isofix car seat bases, dead easy to clip in as we could take it out, buckle in baby and then put seat back easily. Then 4 year old in HBB one side and 2 year old on the other side.

BertieBotts Sun 23-Sep-18 11:25:20

No, high back booster needed up to 125cm or 25kg. This is 6-8 years depending on size of child. But you can use a HBB longer and it's safer to do so.

You could put 7yo in the middle with backless, because it's my understanding that the head support is mainly for side impacts and she'd be away from the doors so less likely to need.

BertieBotts Sun 23-Sep-18 11:26:02

The very back seats can be a disaster for rear shunts.

SweetheartNeckline Sun 23-Sep-18 11:38:37

Ah thanks Bertie! You're right - it's group 2 (<25kg) that can't be backless. I've never looked beyond the headlines as DD is only 20kg at 6 so we've a while yet!

I guess it's weighing up all the options for the family - like any other parenting decision. I'd personally definitely go with baby in the middle (furthest from doors) but HBB for as long as possible.

I'm sure rear seats aren't great in rear shunts (have seen the video with an HGV rear ending a car), although modern cars do have beams in the boot and side impact protection. We'll have to weigh our own options up again as expecting Dc4!

Hope you find a solution OP, you sound similar to us (only do 6000 miles a year) in that car use is rare but it's still natural to want it as safe as possible.

teaandbiscuitsforme Sun 23-Sep-18 12:57:24

I would put the 2yr old RF in the front seat (air bag disabled) and your 7yr old and infant in the back. If you need a second adult in, either the infant carrier or the adult moves into the middle seat.

ambostraw Sun 23-Sep-18 16:17:17

Do people really waste money buying 7 seaters then not use the back row even though it causes them inconvenience confused

Can't quite get my head around that one I'm afraid. You have the seats. Use them. It's an actual no brainier.

MaverickSnoopy Sun 23-Sep-18 16:53:43

It's a Zafira and we didn't buy it for 7 seats but because is was an amazing deal and had good boot space. It just happens that we have 2 seats in the boot that we can use - but if we did then we would struggle to fit in the bits we regularly use and we're not sure it's the safest option. We've used one boot seat on occasion when giving people a short lift but don't like to use it for longer journeys or really for putting children in, in case of back impact. Of course we could just use the back seat, which we are considering, we're just not convinced it's the safest option, but then is using a backless booster any safer.

The company we used is called In Car Safety Centre and they take the details of the car you have and then recommend the best car seats for that car. You see them by appointment only and when we saw them they spent nearly 2 hours trying out different solutions. Unfortunately we can't afford to replace it so just working with what we have. Currently using Britax Multi Tech 2 for our 2yo (it's ERF until around 6yo) - which is the seat the company sold us. We have the Cybex Aton for our newborn which has isofix and we do have the base for it, but unfortunately the base doesn't fit 3 in a row so it would be belted and used with isofix in conjunction. We also have the Britax Romer SL Sict for our nearly 7yo. The safety centre said that the only way we'd get 3 in a row in our car is with the toddler in the middle or with our eldest in a backless booster.

Safety is very important to us and our nearly 7yo was ERF until she was nearly 4yo so we do feel very apprehensive about a backless booster at the moment but then we feel apprehensive about using the seat in the boot too.

If we were travelling altogether as a family we couldn't do the adult in the back because it would be me in the back and I've tried it before and I do tilt the car seats out a bit which isn't great. I also have had sciatica for 7 years (so not going away anytime soon) and squeezing into spaces seems to make it worse.

I like the idea of 2yo in ERF in the front and will suggest it to DH. I have a feeling he'll not be too keen as it'll involve moving it when I need to get in the car and still doesn't solve the problem of when we travel together.

I know we have options, it's just working out what the best option is for our situation and DH were going round in circles. We thought we had it all sorted until we tested it out this week and DHs back went again.

Feels like everything is happening at once because DH has just tried putting the crib up and it's missing some bolts and I've been having awful cramps for the last few days so starting to panic that whilst we thought we were ready, we're suddenly not!!

teaandbiscuitsforme Sun 23-Sep-18 16:58:21

Don't panic!

Have you joined 'car seat advice uk'? You could post asking what HBB people have used with the max way and the Aton in a Zafira? Or search Zafira and see what other people with your car have suggested.

If the baby is going to be belted in, you could also put the baby in the front and leave the max way fitted in the back. It might be the easier one to move for now.

teaandbiscuitsforme Sun 23-Sep-18 17:00:00

Or could you go in the third row when you're all travelling?

littledinaco Sun 23-Sep-18 17:44:41

Can your two year old climb in themselves?
I have a RF in middle and mine climbs in. I then sit on the HBB to strap in so no leaning over. It’s actually easier on the back than strapping the one on the end in.

If this isn’t possible, I would put ERF in front with airbag off. Personally I wouldn’t use backless booster unless there was no other option.

Then either you sit in 3rd row when all travelling or swap seat (which I know is a pain).

littledinaco Sun 23-Sep-18 17:47:21

Oh yes, baby in the front and then it’s easier to move seats round.

SweepTheHalls Sun 23-Sep-18 17:51:26

I would erf 2 Yr old one one side, hbb in the middle and baby on the other side. This combination worked well for 7s an a Galaxy. There are some narrow hbb on the market.

GF01 Thu 27-Sep-18 14:08:34

Looking for solutions to a similar problem, but just wanted to ask those suggesting HBBs - what's your experience of doing up the seat belts?

I'm imagining that having to get the seat belt buckled up in between 2 car seats each journey could be a real faff...

littledinaco Fri 28-Sep-18 20:59:41

@GF01 fastening a HBB in the middle can be a bit hard to reach.
I have the HBB on the side though and it’s fine.

If it is hard to get your hand inbetween the seats to get to the seatbelt though, it would usually indicate a poor fit.

You need to be careful too not to unclip the wrong seatbelt.

MulderitsmeX Sun 25-Nov-18 17:30:46

I just came across a seat called the "multimac" it's ££££ (1500!!!!) But basically turns your back row into 4 car seats (adults can sit in them too)

My friend bought a range rover specifically to get 3 isofix in the back so compared to that 1500 is pretty good lol

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