Today was the day that Brady and I decided to install the baby’s car seat! I’ll be 38 weeks right away here and the plan is for induction around 39, so we figured we should make sure everyone is going to fit well, and that the kids had a chance to adjust to the new set up before baby makes his appearance. I’ve been researching like crazy, trying to see if there is a way to put three car seats across in our van, but the dang wheel wells made it a HUGE challenge! Everyone I asked said to replace our car seats with the Diono brand rather, because they’re some of the narrowest seats on the market. They are also some of the most expensive, and replacing all three convertible seats with Diono seats would have set us back around $1000. Also, after some easy research, we saw that our car seats are about 0.5″ wider than Diono, so for the sake of 1.5″, it was NOT worth the cost. Not even close.
We wanted to include the kids in the installation of the baby seat, so we brought them outside with us the first time. It was insane, to say the least. The all were in the van with us, Rowan was crying, Dekker and Laela were getting feisty, and we had all four car seats rolling around from place to place, taking up a ton of space. Our van is not that big, haha! It was absurd. We got some ideas, and came to terms with the fact that three convertible car seats was not going to fit across in the back. We decided to break for lunch and do some more research.
I started researching booster seats. Dekker would still be good in his convertible seat for another 25-ish pounds, but he does meet the qualifications for boosters, and it was suggested to me that booster seats are often slightly narrower than convertible seats. After extensive online research, it seemed like a booster might help, if not be our answer. So we decided to go for an afternoon shopping trip and see what we could find. Brady went back outside to reinstall the car seats and came back in with some extra info. He pointed out that the convertible seats are 18″ wide, but that the baby bucket was only 15″! That gave a LOT of hope. We got everyone ready fast, grabbed the bucket seat, and headed out!
At our first stop, we found what we felt could be the ideal booster seat for Dekker. Not only was it a nice affordable option, but it was a high back booster that had a seatbelt guide, came in a nice blue, and was available in store! Its actually kind of a shame that Laela is still so little and won’t need a booster for a while, because the pink one was cute too!
(Yup, we were the parents that put our kids on the top shelf to test out the seats. Don’t judge.)
We bought the one blue one available, and headed back to the van to, yes, install it in the parking lot. We figured that, if it didn’t work, we’d go back in and return it right away, and then head on to our next place. We were determined to figure this out TODAY.
So it was a bit of a clown car situation out there, haha! Once again, we were ALL in the van, and everyone was getting in each others space. However, Rowan was clipped into his seat, happy, so that helped a bit. We had the AC pumping and some music on. It also helped that Brady and I felt really hopeful that it would work. And sure enough, all three seats fit across in the back, with Dekker in his new booster!!!
We knew it wasn’t a perfect set up, but we also knew that it was possible, so we beetled out of there and got some cookies and iced coffees on the way home.
When we did make it home, I freed Laela from her seat, and Brady brought Rowan in. I then went to unbuckle Dekker and, let me tell you, the struggle was REAL. I couldn’t figure it out! Finally, I realized we actually had to remove the baby seat first before being able to reach the buckle that was somehow within the bucket seat base. Basically, it was an enormous hassle. While we likely would pull baby out first anyway, it wasn’t a great set up. Brady and I sent the kids inside and did a bit more brainstorming. When we had a different direction to go in, I went inside to wrangle the kids and left Brady to his own devices in the van. And sure enough, our new plan worked 🙂
How fantastic is that??? We have Dekker in his booster in the back, Laela still in her convertible in the back, baby #4 in his bucket in the back, Rowan still rear facing in his convertible in the captains chair, and we’ll be able to leave that last captains chair folded into the floor so we have space to haul someone with us!!! We’ll have that floor space to make it easier for Brady or I to buckle the kids in, or to put groceries, or suitcases, or whatever else we need. Yes, it is a tight squeeze, and we will obviously be on the market for an upgraded vehicle sooner than later, but for the time being, we can make things work, and relatively comfortably at that!! I’m VERY happy with how the whole thing has turned out!
But let me tell you. We are TIRED! SO much figuring went into this whole thing, haha! And if we have another tank kid like Dekker, he could outgrow his bucket in a matter of 4-5 months. That will leave us back at square one, with a convertible seat that doesn’t fit in the back row. But if that happens, we’ll just crack out the last captains chairs and roll with it. This is good for now 🙂 I’m really really happy we found a way to make it work without compromising on the rules. Feeling successful!