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Getting Rear-Facing Car Seats to Fit in Midsize Cars!? by SonataInFSharp
Started on: 08-23-2011 11:05 AM
Replies: 12
Last post by: SonataInFSharp on 08-24-2011 10:51 AM
SonataInFSharp
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Report this Post08-23-2011 11:05 AM Click Here to See the Profile for SonataInFSharpSend a Private Message to SonataInFSharpDirect Link to This Post
When I had one kid, my child's car seat was in the middle of the back seat, so this was never an issue. We have had two kids now for six months, and I have been stumped about this for all six months.

I am talking about getting a rear-facing child seat to fit in a car, while leaving enough room for the front-passenger to be comfortable. I am not talking about a huge car seat, either: I am talking about your typical, run-of-the-mill Graco brand rear-facing infant seat (carry baby in it; put into base which stays in the car).

I see hundreds of families with these car seats in all sizes of cars. When we went shopping for my wife's car last winter, the ONLY non-huge car that we could fit the car seat in and still fit in the front was the Saturn AURA. When we went car shopping for me, the only cars (instead of getting another AURA) I could fit it in were the DeVille/Crown Vic type of full-size cars.

Well, now we are car shopping yet again, and dealing with this all over again. My wife isn't that tall, or maybe she is (5'7"), but we can't find any cars other than her Saturn where we can put the infant seat behind her, yet leaving her enough room up front to be comfortable. We have tried these cars, NONE of which work:

Vibe; Camry; Impala; Grand Caravan (2008); G6; Taurus (2008); Focus; Sonata; Grand Prix; Bonneville; xB; Maxima; Malibu Maxx; Forester; Outback; Mazda5; Mazda 6; Volvo-something; and a bunch others I can't think of off the top of my head. I have a spreadsheet of 26+ cars we have tried over the past year, all with notes saying things like "car seat doesn't fit w/ room for front passenger."

Yet, at the same time, I see people with the above cars using rear-facing car seats with front passengers all the time. So, why does it work for them, but the same cars and same car seats don't work for us? AM I CRAZY???

The only thing I can think of is that people have the car seats installed incorrectly (e.g. not leveled); or maybe people of my wife's size are okay with being totally cramped? I must also admit that in some cars I feel fine being in front of the car seat as a passenger while my wife feels cramped; maybe she just needs a ton more space to be happy? She's 5'7" and "average" for size.

So, what am I doing wrong here? Not to sound too picky, but my wife won't drive a minivan (after testing them for 9 days), and an SUV feels tighter than a car, honestly (except the huge ones, which are out). I was thinking of just getting a smaller infant car seat, but once it's leveled correctly, they don't seem to take up any less space.

So, what do people with families with a 6'4" dad and 5'7" mom do? All of my friends with kids are rather short...my sister and my friend each have two kids and each have a 2002 Cavalier and they are fine, but they are tiny people! My neighbors have their daughter in a Mountaineer, but when they drive down the street the passenger looks absolutely miserable. My co-worker has his kid in a Grand Prix, but again, he is barely 5'5" and his 3yo is tiny, too. My friend's husband is 6'4" like I am and he has a G6, but they just don't put car seats in his car--they use their VUE, and the wife is only 5'3". After this, I realize that I don't know many tall people with kids!

Any thoughts, insights, or help setting me straight with this? We need another car (not a minivan, SUV, luxo-yacht, or matching AURA), and want to spend $15000 or less on a 2008 or newer vehicle. I usually get asked for car-buying advice--I usually never ask for car-buying advice myself--so this is tough for me, so be nice.

[This message has been edited by SonataInFSharp (edited 08-23-2011).]

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Report this Post08-23-2011 11:30 AM Click Here to See the Profile for Blue By USend a Private Message to Blue By UDirect Link to This Post
You can try looking at a mini cooper clubman, i know they appear really small, but the rear seat is located farther back, so gives a little more room. My brother-in-law has one and I borrowed it with our rear facing car seat. I was totally suprised at how much room is in them. Now mind you we have a grand cherokee and extended cab silverado as our daily vehicles so I felt really low, but not anymore lower than my fiero.
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Report this Post08-23-2011 11:48 AM Click Here to See the Profile for jaskispyderSend a Private Message to jaskispyderDirect Link to This Post
Just a thought... how about an Aztek or Buick Rendezvous? They are not as new, but the rear space maybe enough, and they are not mini-vans. Gas mileage is about the same as a car, maybe a little less.

Some vehicles like the Malibu (not current version) had a rear seat that moved backwards.
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skuzzbomer
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Report this Post08-23-2011 01:29 PM Click Here to See the Profile for skuzzbomerSend a Private Message to skuzzbomerDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by jaskispyder:

Just a thought... how about an Aztek or Buick Rendezvous? They are not as new, but the rear space maybe enough, and they are not mini-vans. Gas mileage is about the same as a car, maybe a little less.

Some vehicles like the Malibu (not current version) had a rear seat that moved backwards.


Aztek and Rendezvous are on the same FWD/AWD van frame... the Buick has plenty of room in the back. I've crammed a trio of fat people in the back seat and didn't hear much complaining. Fuel economy doesn't totally suck with the 3400SFI - probably better with the 3.6, though.

Not great cars in a wreck, though.
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Report this Post08-23-2011 01:43 PM Click Here to See the Profile for hnthompsClick Here to Email hnthompsSend a Private Message to hnthompsDirect Link to This Post
I am 6' 3" and my wife is 5' 7". When we had infants, we used a rear facing car seat without any problems but our vehicles ranged from a mid 70's Cutlass coupe to the large Buicks, Oldsmobiles, and Lincolns. In today's market, I know that the larger SUVs and likely the mid sized ones would also work. I currently have a couple of Expeditions and there are no issues at all with car seats of any type.

I also know that infant seats fit on the rear seats of a large truck and mid sized SUV because some of our younger friends have a two month old right now. If you are interested I can get the specific models and post them or PM them to you. The guy is 6' 4" and the wife is 5'6".

Nelson

[This message has been edited by hnthomps (edited 08-23-2011).]

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Report this Post08-23-2011 02:55 PM Click Here to See the Profile for rogergarrisonClick Here to Email rogergarrisonSend a Private Message to rogergarrisonDirect Link to This Post
Buy my limo. You can put them in full size cribs if you want. It already has front and rear facing sofas. Cheaper than a late model used car and still gets over 22 mpg.
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Report this Post08-23-2011 03:01 PM Click Here to See the Profile for RainmanSend a Private Message to RainmanDirect Link to This Post
We have no problem with carseat placement in our Pilot or my "beater-supreme" Park Ave. There's two ways to approach this (vehicle, or carseat, or combo of both). Different models of car seats require different amounts of room, with the infant rear facing seats requiring the most due to leveling requirements because infants cannot hold their head up. We are progressing today from an infant rear facing to a "convertible" rear facing. I know some of this stuff now because I *just* read up on it last week while researching for our newest car seat, which I got today. Our infant seat which we are outgrowing is the Chicco Keyfit 30 (one of the smallest footprints for infant seats from what I understand) and the new convertible seat I just bought and will be trying out tonight is a Britax Boulevard. No idea how it will compare in footprint to the Chicco, but I'll know more tonight when I get home.

Cybex is new to the states, you might want to check them out. Friend of mine has one for their newborn. Slick looking and not huge either.

[This message has been edited by Rainman (edited 08-23-2011).]

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jaskispyder
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Report this Post08-23-2011 03:06 PM Click Here to See the Profile for jaskispyderSend a Private Message to jaskispyderDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by rogergarrison:

Buy my limo. You can put them in full size cribs if you want. It already has front and rear facing sofas. Cheaper than a late model used car and still gets over 22 mpg.


And were to park it?
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Report this Post08-23-2011 04:20 PM Click Here to See the Profile for twofatguysClick Here to Email twofatguysSend a Private Message to twofatguysDirect Link to This Post
eared the
 
quote
Originally posted by skuzzbomer:


Aztek and Rendezvous are on the same FWD/AWD van frame... the Buick has plenty of room in the back. I've crammed a trio of fat people in the back seat and didn't hear much complaining. Fuel economy doesn't totally suck with the 3400SFI - probably better with the 3.6, though.

Not great cars in a wreck, though.


My father-in-law took a Rendezvous on a drunken trip ending up embedded in the front of a Dodge Charger. The impact was so great he sheared the battery in half. The Charger and the Rendezvous were destroyed, but all four doors of the Rendezvous still opened (one front one squeaked really bad), all the glass was intact, and aside from a crushed front end and bent up door, there was no visible body damage. I'd feel good having my wife and kid in one.

The charger neither front door opened without force, and the windshield was shattered.

I really wish I had got pictures of it. I did get the rear view mirror since it has all kinds of goodies built into it, and the back floormat since it fits in the Mazda and protects the carpet.

Brad

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Report this Post08-23-2011 05:59 PM Click Here to See the Profile for RainmanSend a Private Message to RainmanDirect Link to This Post
Update:

The Boulevard appears to take less space than the Keyfit. Pictures comparing tonight if you want.

[This message has been edited by Rainman (edited 08-23-2011).]

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Report this Post08-23-2011 06:03 PM Click Here to See the Profile for RallasterSend a Private Message to RallasterDirect Link to This Post
I drive a '98 Malibu and really have no problems with rear facing seats fitting as long as they're not behind me... LOL
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Report this Post08-23-2011 10:22 PM Click Here to See the Profile for iced_theaterClick Here to Email iced_theaterSend a Private Message to iced_theaterDirect Link to This Post
I have a rear facing convertible car seat and it sits behind the passenger seat. I even have a decent sized back seat in my Chrysler 300, but because of how I adjust my seat it doesn't leave much room for a car seat. Will probably be fine once she's in it forward facing though. It's on the passenger side in my wife's Altima as well and even though it is somewhat cramped up front for me, I can deal with it since I wont be doing anything important such as driving.
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Report this Post08-24-2011 10:51 AM Click Here to See the Profile for SonataInFSharpSend a Private Message to SonataInFSharpDirect Link to This Post
Thanks for the responses, guys. It seems I am not too crazy after all. I do have a convertible car seat which seems to have a 2-inch smaller footprint than the carry-around one, so we are going to try the Vibe, G6, and Malibu again and see if two inches is all that we need.

Regarding the result of vehicles after a crash...it's all about the condition of the occupants after the crash, not the condition of the vehicle, eh? But that is a different thread, I think.
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