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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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How can you know if your baby is getting the right about of sleep? Are they getting too much or too little? According to Kim West in her book Good Night, Sleep Tight “children need to get the right amount of sleep and they need to get the right kind of sleep. Quality counts along with quantity. Good Sleep should be largely uninterrupted. If your child is getting up a lot, she isn’t getting all the sound sleep she needs.”

Signs that you baby is not getting enough sleep:

  • Baby falls asleep in the carseat all the time– A well rested child will not fall asleep in the car often, unless it is close to his scheduled nap time.
  • Sleep disruptions– if your baby is overtired you will notice that you baby may have more difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. You child may wake early from a nap or wake several times throughout the night if overtired. Or you child may have difficult falling asleep at night. For more on this see my post about sleep windows.  https://blogginaboutbabies.wordpress.com/2009/04/23/sleep-windows-get-them-to-bed-before-its-too-late/
  • Fussy/ Irritable- You may notice that your baby is waking from a nap or nighttime sleep fussy. Your baby should be waking up happy unless they have not slept enough. Young babies will wake from a nap crying, but that is usually due to hunger. Once they are feed, they are generally content unless they did not get enough sleep. Make sure you don’t rush in when you hear your baby stir during sleep or naps, they might be cycling from one sleep cycle to the next. If you leave them alone they might return to sleep on their own. For more on this see my posts entitled “Baby Wise: Sleep Training” https://blogginaboutbabies.wordpress.com/2009/05/06/baby-wise-sleep-training/ and “Sleep Cycles” https://blogginaboutbabies.wordpress.com/2009/04/13/infant-sleep-cycles/

Quantity?: Check my post about sleep requirements that babies need. For instance a three month old should be getting a total of 15 hours, 10 hours at night and 5 hours during the day (spread over 3 naps). If you are already jotting down the time and length of each of your daily naps in a sleep log, then you should be able to quickly total up the amount of sleep to see if it equals 15 hours. Some babies will sleep slightly less or slightly more than the recommended amount, but usually no more than an hour of deviation. At 3 months old my son slept for about 15.5 hours a day, 9 hours at night and 6.5 during the day. You can see that my son still slept close to 15 hours a day, but his nighttime sleep was a little less and his day time sleep was a little more than the average infant at that age. The important thing is that he was getting at least 15 hours and appeared to be well rested.   https://blogginaboutbabies.wordpress.com/2009/04/08/sleep-requirements-for-infants/

Quality?: Your baby really needs to sleep in his own crib or bassinet for his naps and nighttime sleep. Prior to 6-8 weeks old, your newborn is so sleepy they will sleep in someones arms, in the car, in the swing. When your baby is older than 6-8 weeks old, they really need to sleep in a stationary crib. “Motion lulls us to sleep, bit it also keeps us in a lighter, more fragmented sleep; our brains never reach the level of full restorative sleep if we’re moving.” If your baby falls asleep in the car (and it will happen every now and again), try to move them from the car to the crib as soon as you get home. If you put your baby in a swing before nap time and you notice him drifting off to sleep, quickly remove him and place him in his crib. Now I know that babies are only little for so long and that you might want to hold them a little while they sleep, that is okay. Just try not to make that a habit.  Also, it is important to make sure that your baby’s room is conducive to sleep. You would not want to put your baby down for a nap in a bright room right outside a noisey street. Try to make sure your baby’s room has very little sound and light and is a good temperature. For more on how to create a good sleep enviroment for you baby see my post “Create a Good Sleep Enviroment” https://blogginaboutbabies.wordpress.com/2009/04/27/create-a-good-sleep-environment/

Quotes taken from Good Night, Sleep Tight by Kim West p. 35-36

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