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Car seat arrangement in minivan?

How do those of you with 3 or more arrange the car seats in your minivan? We are having to get a minivan because our station wagon can't fit 3 carseats across. I love that my 2 girls right now (3 1/2 and 15 m)sit close so they can entertain each other. I would ideally like it so that the baby could be entertained too. Any input?

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This is going to sound like an ad, but... I have a Chevy Astro because it and the GMC Safari are the only minivans with regular van sized seats. I only have one carseat now, but until a few months ago we were using two booster seats. Three carseats would fit in the bench seats and I can reach the middle seats from the driver's seat. If you can, take your carseats with you shopping, or at least measure them. I was surprised to find that vehicles marketed as family cars often don't have enough room in the backseat for a rear-facing carseat!
So there's my unpaid endorsement for General Motors!

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I only have two, but I was asking my sister about this. She has a Kia Sedona. Her two olders (4 & 6) sit in the way back and her little gal (1) sits in the middle seats. This way the older girls can still entertain her a little and Mom can easily reach back to touch her too...my two (2 & 4) sit in the way back (Honda Odyssey) per their request, although I'm re-thinking this now. They seem awfully close to the front end of the person in the car behind me most days. At first it seemed great, they can listen to music together and can hand things back and forth, etc., but it doesn't feel like the safest solution anymore.
Leah

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Well, right now we have 3 across in our station wagon, but are planning on eventually getting a minivan.
First idea: get captains' chairs in front, like the Honda Odessey and remove one. Put two forward facing seats in the back and the rear facing seat in the front. Easy in and out for everyone. The only problem is with a captains seat the baby isn't going to see much.
Dh's idea: put the baby in the back and the twins in the captain's seats. Apparently he doesn't remember the rental van we had where the infant seat was rear-facing in the rear row. Not only was she bored and weepy, but it was a *huge* PITA to get her into the seat and then buckled in. We both bumped her on the ceiling of the van a couple of times and I nearly strangled myself with the seatbelt from the middle row a couple of times. Not to mention that I tripped on it nearly every time I put her in or out of her seat.
Good luck, taking the seats with you is a good idea. But also try fitting three across (if you haven't already). We didn't think it would work, but when one is rear-facing it usually sits higher and is out of the way of the forward-facing seats. I've seen smaller cars with three in back (like a Chevy Cavalier) and both my and dh's car easily fit three (Volvo and Passat).

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We have a Pontiac Montana with three individual seats in the middle row, and as long as you don't have a fourth person in the back, three car seats will fit in the middle, then you can fold the back row down and have lots of cargo. Get the extended wheel base anyway, it's got way more storage with all three rows up than the regular.

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The new toyota (2004) has an 8 passenger configurtion available. You could see if the three would fit in a row and then have lots of cargo. Most cars *can* fit three carseats (we've done it in our Escort) it is just finding the right ones to piece together.
Good luck,
Kay


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