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Is it feasible to do a long car journey with an adult sitting in the back with 2 kids? Any advice or experience?

(17 Posts)
mrsbabookaloo Fri 27-May-11 12:45:54

Am going to the Dordogne in August with my parents and children but DH not coming, so we are 3 adults and 2 kids. Have looked into flying and train, but have almost decided to drive it. Problem is that of course one poor adult, probably me, will have to travel in the back with the kids for 10 hours of driving.

Have done this once with dd2 in car seat (she's 2) and dd1 who is 5 in a high back booster, and I could barely get my bum between their seats. It was a 40 min journey and really uncomfy. We are thinking of maybe just using a booster cushion for dd1, and putting the children together, so I would not be sitting in between them, but are we mad to even try this in an average sized car?

We will break the journey overnight, and of course we can swap so it isn't always me in the back, but has anybody done this, or does anybody have a better idea?


mrsbabookaloo Fri 27-May-11 12:54:19

Of course, we should do trial run, but I am in London and parents up north, it's their car, and they usually come down on train. They said they might borrow neighbours children to try it out!

mrsbabookaloo Fri 27-May-11 17:06:03


BooBooGlass Fri 27-May-11 17:07:59

I've done a six hour car journey wedged between 2 car seats. At the time I had a tiny arse so it was just about bearable. Mine were similar ages and tbh both dropped off for a significant portion of the journey. I'd just make sure there were plenty of rest stops to get out and stretch your legs

cat64 Fri 27-May-11 17:12:32

Message withdrawn

BooBooGlass Fri 27-May-11 17:22:39

Ca's right. I have terrible travel sickness and sitting in the back makes it much better. And I can really recommend the terribly named 'Joyride' travel sicknes pills.

fedupwithdeployment Fri 27-May-11 17:28:10

I have done a bit of this...we used to have a 306, and took my Dad on holiday with me. It wasn't much fun. With DSs aged about 2 and 4, I was wedged. I couldn't have driven all the way from Calais to Dordogne. My Dad came down on the train, so it was only local trips.

We now have a Touran, and life is a lot simpler!

cat64 Fri 27-May-11 17:59:19

Message withdrawn

mrsbabookaloo Fri 27-May-11 19:46:25

Yes, I realised I might have to disclose the size of my bum...I'm a 14, so sort of average ish but not petite by any stretch of the imagination. I should also say what sort of car it is, but I'm a nonce when it comes to's a honda I think, quite a flashy sort of sporty one. Bigger than my mum's Jazz.

mrsbabookaloo Tue 31-May-11 20:21:56

hi again, just bumping this to see if I can get any more input.....anybody on here this eve who has an opinion about safety of booster cushion versus high back booster, and whether its feasible to put two car seats next to each other so adult in the back doesn't have to sit in middle?
A friend also suggested putting one of the kids in the car seat in the front, and 2 adults in back...any opinions?


letsgetloud Tue 31-May-11 20:37:53

Sorry not much advice about booster cushion as opposed to high back.

Only thing about a child in front is what type of personality the child has.

I couldn't cope with my dd1 in the front with me driving especially in an unfamiliar country/roads etc. She would talk to me incessantly, expect answers to unanswerable questions etc.

Whereas I could quite happily sit with my dd2 in front as she lives in her own wee world most of the time so isn't quite as draining on my brain, as I tried to concentrate etc.

I think you said your oldest is 4, think I would prefer her/him in back as 4 yr olds I feel, are still too small for the front of the car.

Anyhow, hope you enjoy your holiday. I am sure the journey will be fine if you are breaking it up overnight and have plenty dvd's, ds's etc.

SparkleandShine Tue 31-May-11 20:41:30

in this situation my 5year lod is in the front - with child seat centre back and two adults either side. But, i would go with letsgetloud, my DS1 is a joy to sit next to when I'm driving as he's very quiet. Not sure about a chatterbox!!

SparkleandShine Tue 31-May-11 20:41:54


mrsbabookaloo Tue 31-May-11 22:40:06

Interesting....hadn't thought of this. DD1 can be a big asker of unanswerable questions (in the last two days "is that where Jesus died?" and "Can you sometimes make another baby by accident?") but also would sit quite quietly and listen to story tapes/music. It won't be me driving as much as my dad and mum probably. But of course, she wouldn't be able to help navigate etc (though, having said that, neither would I probably!)

We don't have DVDs or DSs, as dds only 5 and 2, and also because I'm a bit of a puritan who believes that children should be bored on long journeys because I was...but I know I might regret this. I have a CD of the Jungle Book, which goes down a storm.

mathanxiety Thu 02-Jun-11 03:31:41

I have done this several times in the US, with a three yo in a booster type seat and baby in the rear facing carseat, both in the middle row and in the back row of a vehicle that seated 8, and in the backseat of a Chevy Caprice (but with just one DD in carseat in the Chevy). I would recommend Honda back seats if that's the make you'll be travelling in. The Chevy gave me a horrendous case of numb butt after half an hour, with another 7.5 hours to go on the first day of a long, long trip. Legroom is important, and the width from front to back of the seat.

I really, really recommend throwing your principles out the window and getting a dvd player and some dvds. With DD1 in the Chevy such things were only a gleam in someone's desperate eye. You will get the chance to turn your brain off for a little while when you turn on the dvd player. CDs are lovely too, especially if you can all sing along. Be prepared for a lot of mind-numbing conversation, songs, book-reading -- I highly recommend buying some cheap slates as well as splurging on a dvd player of some sort. You will feel tired out mentally when you arrive.

If you're going to drive, make sure whoever is sitting in the back with the DDs has child friendly skills. I recommend you drive the first leg of the trip so your DDs don't get used to you sitting beside them and entertaining them -- it can be hard for small children to understand that Mum the driver can't continue to entertain them, answer detailed questions about the origin of the universe, feed snacks, etc.

I don't know about children in the front seat as this is illegal in the US for children under 12. But using the booster seat with no back worked well as the model I had involved using the car seatbelt instead of straps over the child's shoulder so she wasn't as confined as she would have been with the seat with a back section. If the child in the booster falls asleep though, she will rest her little sweaty head on you most likely.

mrsbabookaloo Thu 02-Jun-11 20:40:55

Thanks for this, mathanxiety (part of my job is to help people with math anxiety, but I shouldn't launch into that on this thread!). Lots to think about. You mean that you were in the middle row with the booster and the babyseat?

My parents are pretty used to entertaining the dds, and the children will be just as happy to harangue them as me, so no worries on that score!

mathanxiety Fri 03-Jun-11 15:56:39

In the Chevy (sedan) I was in the back seat with DD1 in her front-facing full carseat -- she was in the middle of the seat and I was beside her. On her other side was my handy bag of supplies/entertainment options. In the Honda (the 8 seater), the youngest DCs and I were in the third row, with the others in the middle row. The 3 yo could see the 'in-flight movie' from the back. I think I sat between them when there were two of them in the row with me, but I still found the Honda seat comfortable.

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