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MAZDA PROTEGE5 (Similar to Mazda 3) 2003

I am expecting twins in April (only 2.5 months away). I currently drive a smaller car, Mazda Protege5 2003 (similar to Mazda 3), and we were hoping we could fit three carseats in a row in the backseat. It is do-able, but it is a TIGHT squeeze. My current car comes with two latch systems on the left and right outboard positions. In order to fit three carseasts across the backseat, I would have to use seat belt installation instead of latch instillation. Seat Belt installation can be just a safe and latch instillation if done correctly and checked my a carseat technician.

Here are the carseats that would fit in my Mazda Protege5:

Configuration #1:
Chicco Keyfit (seatbelt installed, behind driver seat)
Sunshine Kid Radian (seatbelt, rear facing, middle seat)
Chicco Keyfit30 (Seatbelt installed, behind passanger seat)
Advantages: I can still rear face my son who will be 18 months and around 29lbs and fit the two infant carseats in the car.
Disadvantages: It is difficult to lift my son into the middle seat.

Configuration #2:
3 Sunshine Kid Radian (Seatbelt, forward facing, all three seats)
Advantages: I can fit three convertible carseats in my car. The Sunshine kids Radiant carseat can hold up to 80 lbs, which will make these carseats last a long time!
Disadvantages: I cannot rearface at all if I have 3 Radiants side by side. They have to forward face. Legally, you can turn your child forward when he reaches 20lbs and 1 year, so this is not truly a problem. However, I want to rear face my children for as long as the carseat will allow (40lbs with the Radiant). Here is a link that discusses the advantages to rear facing your child: http://www.car-safety.org/rearface.html

HONDA PILOT 2010

We are also considering buying a new car. We are interested in buying the Honda Pilot (SUV). I think we are learning toward to Pilot for a few reasons:
1. Three rows of seats (Can seat up to 8 people)
2. Middle row has 3 seats of latches and tethers to install 3 carseats
3. The back row has 1 latch system, but 3 tethers (so you could secure one carseat with the latch system, or 3 carseats with the tethers)
4. This SUV is higher off the ground, which will hopefully prevent side impact collisions from crushing my children (verses my current car which is much lower the ground)
5. Even though we only have 3 children, we may decide to have more in the future and this car can grow with us.
6. This SUV also has plenty more room to store strollers, pack n plays, and traveling gear for road trips than my current car.

Here are the carseat configurations we can do in the Pilot

Configuration #1:
Chicco Keyfit (seatbelt installed, behind driver seat)
Sunshine Kid Radiant (seatbelt, rear facing, middle seat)
Chicco Keyfit30 (Seatbelt installed, behind passanger seat)
Advantages: I can still rear face my son who will be 18 months and around 29lbs and fit the two infant carseats in the car.
Disadvantages: Still a little difficult to reach to my on the middle seat, but easier than in my Mazda.

Configuration #2:
Marathon Britax  (latch, rear facing, behind drivers seat)
Sunshine Kid Radian (latch and tether, forward facing or rearfacing, middle seat)
Marathon Britax  (latch, rear facing, behind passanger seat)
Advantages: I can keep my two current convertible carseats which are the Marathon Britax instead of having to buy two new Radian carseats. There is plenty of room to fit all three with latch instillation and rear face them if I want to longer than they hit 2o lbs!
Disadvantages: Again, it is difficult to reach the middle seat, but if the middle seat is forward facing, my son can walk to his seat and I can lift him into the seat easier. I could even bulk him in from my front seat. This makes getting my son into the middle seat much easier!

Configuration #3:
Marathon Britax  (tether & latch, forward facing, behind drivers seat)
Sunshine Kid Radian (latch and tether, forward facing, middle seat)
Marathon Britax  (tether & latch, forward facing facing, behind passenger seat)
Advantages: I can keep my two current convertible carseats which are the Marathon Britax. There is plenty of room to forward face all three seats.
Disadvantages: I see none!

My advise if you need to fit three carseats across a row

1. Try out your carseats in your vechicle or vechile you want to buy. Try them in very configuration imaginable (forward facing, rear facing, latch installed, seat belt installed, tether installed, etc.)
2. Bring your children and try lifting them and bulking them into the seats to see how comfortable and easy it for you.
3. Have a trained car seat technician check the seats to make sure they are properly installed. You can go to this website to find a technician or call your local fire or police department. https://ssl13.cyzap.net/dzapps/dbzap.bin/apps/assess/webmembers/tool?pToolCode=TAB9&pCategory1=TAB9_CERTSEARCH&Webid=SAFEKIDSCERTSQL

Links to Carseats mentioned:

Marathon Britax– great safety ratings and can be used up to 65 lbs.
Sunshine Kids Radian– this is a very slim carseat that is great for smaller cars! Also can use seat up to 80 lbs.
Chicco Key Fit– can be used up to 22lbs.
Chicco Key Fit30 – can be used up to 3olbs.

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