Monday, November 26, 2007

Ignorance is Bliss

Okay, so while Lori was checking on infant car seats for our upcoming bundle of joy, she learned that the type of child car seats we're using for our kids are, well, less than optimal for safety. So we were checking on prices for the good ones - 5-point restraints and whatnot. First of all, ouch. Anybody want to chip in 400 bucks to keep my kids safe? But obviously child safety is a high prioroty, so while we mull that dilemma, on to the next problem...

We drive a Subaru wagon. If you add up the width of two acceptable child seats and one acceptable infant seat, they are wider than the back seat area of our car. Even with our existing seats, which are narrower, we still come out a couple inches short.

So suddenly we're looking at selling the Subaru - which has a busted tail light, a dented bumper, a scratched fender, and a driver's side mirror held on with Gorilla Glue and covered with residue from the duct tape that was previously holding it on. It's pretty filthy after years of kids and neglect and rural life. It's almost 10 years old and has 135,000 miles on it. And buying what? A minivan or an SUV? Gee, that sounds great. Now I can drive an even lower mileage vehicle 200 miles every Thursday. And pay for it with the pathetic resale value of our current vechicle, plus the zero dollars of spare budget capacity that we have available. The Subaru isn't perfect, but at least we know what's wrong with it, and as you can guess, aesthetic problems aren't a big deal to us. But they are to prospective buyers.

Sigh. All this from a stinking car seat. And to think I used to ride in the very back of my grandmother's station wagon, with no five point harnesses, no seatbelts, no airbags or crumple zones or crash helmets or fire suits.

I do wish I could think of a reasonable solution that didn't involve conjuring money from thin air while the economy swirls in the background.

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At 11/27/2007 10:53 AM, Blogger jewishfarmer said...

Edson, we can fit 3 carseats abreast in the back of a ford taurus - I think it may depend on the carseats, so consider replacing all three carseats and finding three that will fit. It is *VERY* tight, and once you have them in, you won't want to take them out, but I doubt a taurus is much wider than your suburu, and we've done it in my Mom's honda somethingorothernotverybig as well.

Also, they say never to use a used carseat, but I've gotten several free from people whose kids have outgrown them, and if they haven't been in an accident (you can ask), and they are up to current standards, you can use used. In fact, you should email me if you want it - my son Isaiah will be four on the 16th of December. I've got a used and somewhat grubby Britax that was up to snuff last we checked, never in an accident that you are more than welcome to - I'll mail it to you.

Also, am I remembering wrong that the older two are four now? I don't know if your daughter can handle one, but boosters are often narrower than carseats, and the backless ones are quite narrow - we got a couple of extra inches that way. Obviously, don't do something risky, but if your son will be four soon, your pede might give you permission to move him up earlier, particularly if he's over the height or weight limits. My kids never were over the weights, but the height was sufficient.

One other thing - how often do you have to go place all together, at least for a while? That is, could you put the purchase off for a bit if the other options don't work? We may be in a not dissimilar boat - our van broke down on the side of the highway coming home from Thanksgiving. It has more than 200K miles on it, and if it is dead, we may not replace it. My oldest son will be 8 in March, and can now ride in the front seat (he's crazy tall, so I'm not worried about it) sans booster, and there's a tiny middle space in our Taurus that I could cram myself into, quietly sitting there wishing for death ;-) for trips as short as synagogue. And then we might rent or take public transport for longer things. We're not sure how it will work, but the last thing I want to do is put more money on a vehicle.

My sympathies, and again, email if you want the Britax. 2 Britaxes and an infant carseat will (unless they've changed the dimensions) fit in the back of a Taurus, if not a Subaru.

At 11/27/2007 1:36 PM, Blogger e4 said...

Wow, thanks for the offer Sharon. Lori's in full research mode so we'll get back to you on that. I think the Britax we looked at last night was too wide, but they may have changed. Or maybe they have different models or something. Or maybe we just need to re-measure.

It looks like the trick is just going to be finding the right combination - particularly since Amelia needs a little extra restraining sometimes! :) We wouldn't be opposed to used, and I've got another avenue for that as well. They're just a little harder to find since the thrift stores won't touch them. And for whatever reason the infant seats seem easier to come by than the bigger ones.

We've also considered the possibility that we just can't all go somewhere at the same time unless we take two vehicles or something.

At any rate, I feel much more confident that we can work it out than I did in the wee hours of last night. Especially since Lori said she's heard there's a three-across carseat guide online somewhere that may be a big help.

We'll figure it out one way or another, and probably without upsizing our vehicle. Some days I just don't manage frustration very well.

At 11/27/2007 1:53 PM, Blogger barefoot gardener said...

Hey! You stole my Subaru!

I understand the carseat angst. It is not fair that something so important has to be so dad-blamed expensive! On top of it all you have to look for 3 AND make them fit in a sardine can.

I have no help to offer (sorry), but I CAN send sympathy and wishes for good luck in figuring out your dilemma.

At 11/27/2007 11:53 PM, Blogger Morgan said...

oh aint life grand!

At 11/28/2007 9:04 AM, Blogger Chile said...

All I can add is that it's a good thing you don't have to fit a goat in there with the kiddies. ;-)


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