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Best way to manage 3 under 2'sin a 5-seat car and which car is recommended?(4 Posts)
My wife and I are expecting twins later this year (at which point our first child will be 2 years and 3 months old) and is currently using a harness back supported booster seat. I am currently looking for a car that has 5 seats as I would rather avoid purchasing a 7-seater.
My options are BMW 5 Series Estate, E class Estate, BMW X5 or a Mercedes ML (all 13 or 14 plates). Anyone know the best way to set this up..i.e two iso fixes with rear facing seats and one infant seat/OR adult in the middle? Or just two seat belted baby rear facing seats on either rear side?
Ideally you need a car which has 3 full size seats in the back. I don't think you can get 3 across the back of either of the BMWs because the middle seat is not full size and actually quite narrow but I don't know about the Mercedes.
This link is quite useful:
Also join the Facebook group 'car seat advice U.K.' and search for family cars. I think Mondeos and Skoda Superbs get a lot of recommendations.
A lot of people searching for a car to fit 3 car seats will be looking for one for 3 children (eg. aged 4, 2 and newborn) which makes things easier as high back boosters for age 4+ are narrower to fit in than a group 0/1 seat. It's harder to puzzle together 2 harnessed seats and an infant carrier without 3 full seats, but not impossible. Ideally you could take your car to a specialist independent car seat retailer and get them to try a range of different seats to fit but obviously you can't do that until you have a car!
I guess it's possibly not the kind of car that appeals but we love our Seat Alhambra. 5 isofix points (3 + 2 boot seats) means it's easy to fit 3 rear facing car seats in with plenty of room, plus the sliding doors make getting the kids in and out so much easier. Also the boot is huge so great for a double travel system. I'll admit they're not everybody's style but they are so practical and convenient that I actually love mine.
You need three equally sized seats across the back really. We had a Ford S-Max that was brilliant when ours were young. Big boot for pram and shopping and flexibility of 7 seats if wanted, or for changing the seating configuration. Good height too as a standard car is lower and that is more difficult when you need to put children and seats in and out of the car.
I currently have a Citreon C4 picasso and that also has three equally sized seats. It's a bit smaller, no seven seat option.
To get 3 in a row it can help a lot to have alternating directions e.g. forward facing toddler in middle seat, 2x baby carriers at sides. With twins isofix bases would probably be preferred for ease, but you will find you get more room to fit the toddler seat in if you belt the infant carriers. If your toddler's current seat will fit in the middle, try fitting it there and then measuring each side seat. Often the middle is slightly off-centre, so you'll have more room on one side than the other. If you already have one infant carrier from your toddler, you can then evaluate whether it will safely fit on either side, and how narrow a seat you'll need for the other side.
Another option might be to look into permanently installed rear facing seats for the twins such as the Joie Stages. You wouldn't be able to carry the babies around in their infant carriers, but there is less danger that you will accidentally unbuckle the toddler seat when trying to remove one of the babies' seats. You would probably need a slimmer seat for the toddler in this case.
If you do need to look into slimmer Group 1 seats for the toddler, look at:
First Class (Can also rear face up to 13kg only)
Maxi Cosi: Tobi or Axiss (you lose the turning function unfortunately, but you might get that use back again later!)
Joie: Tilt or Steadi (both can go rear facing to 18kg too )
Graco Slimfit (can also be rear facing to 18kg)
These are all seats with good safety records that are 45cm wide or less. The two Joie ones are the slimmest. However overall width is less important than the shape of the seat bases.
You could also consider getting your 2yo a larger (25kg) rear facing seat and turning him back around. Many children find this a great adventure, and it's much safer for them to travel that way. The advantage of these seats in this case is that they can be installed much further forwards on the car bench seat, allowing for more space for an infant seat base if that is an option that you want.
If you are going to get a seat which has the capability to rear face for your toddler, I would recommend buying that one at least ASAP and putting him back rear facing even if you have to turn him round when the twins are born.
As with many things though, it is often a case of trial and error! The best thing to do ideally would be to look for a car seat specialist local to you who can spend some time taking seats in and out of the car and seeing what will fit exactly. It's also important to check your vehicle manual and see if they even permit a child seat to be fitted in the centre, as some do not.
Car seat specialists: www.carseatadvice-uk.com/specialist-retailers.html
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