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Baby car seat input and also am I crazy

QuothQuoth the RavenMiami, FL FOR REALRegistered User regular
edited January 2011 in Help / Advice Forum
I currently drive a 2003 Honda Civic coupe and have a baby on the way. It is already a bit of a pain for people to get in and out of the back seat of my car, so I am somewhat concerned about how annoying it will be to do the same with a baby or one of those infant car seats. Has anyone else dealt with this and how much of a hassle is it?

Having said that, I was thinking of getting a new (four-door) car today because it is allegedly the best time to do so. All kinds of sales and deals and whatnot because it's the end of the year. I've been trying to go over the pros and cons and I can't help but wonder if I am just being a prima donna about the whole thing given that my primary motivation is convenience. My current car is perfectly fine, which means that I could either ostensibly keep it for a while yet, or get a good trade-in value should I opt to buy.

Help me be logical about this, please.

If more detail on my current thoughts will help:
I have enough money to pay cash for the car but would finance if I could get a good deal. My credit is excellent. I would likely get another Honda Civic or go all pretentious and get an Insight. My car is 7 years old, so it's not like it's brand new or still under warranty or anything.

On the other hand, my husband's car is the one that has been giving us trouble. However, he has no interest in getting a new one because he loves his car. We could afford two new cars if we HAD to, but obviously that would not be preferable and would tap out our savings.

And I know that obviously people get babies in and out of coupes all the time, but in my experience it's a righteous pain in the ass to get stuff out of my car. And people. Complaints have been lodged. But I could do it if I had to, of course. So part of me thinks I'm being an uber tool whiny preggo nutjob.

Quoth on

Posts

  • ElinElin Registered User regular
    edited December 2010
    I don't have a kid, but this question comes from traveling with people who do.

    Do you see fitting a car seat, a stroller, and a diaper bag in your car. What about adding in a passenger? Is your car seat going to be one of those detachable ones so it's your baby carrier too? If not, can you fit the car seat, the baby carrier and a diaper bag comfortably? If you have to take the baby grocery shopping can you fit that stuff and a week's worth of groceries?

    Elin on
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  • MushroomStickMushroomStick Registered User regular
    edited December 2010
    From what I've heard, even with four doors, car seats are a pain in the ass to get in and out of Civic sized cars. Maybe you should look at cars that are significantly larger instead of just a marginal upgrade in space. Maybe look into a CRV or something.

    MushroomStick on
  • JHunzJHunz Registered User regular
    edited December 2010
    If you plan on leaving the car seat in the annoying car, and not trying to switch it between cars all the time, it won't really be a problem. I have a 2-door 99 Accord, and we deal with it just fine. However, I definitely would not want to try to get the car seat in and out of the car on any regular basis.

    JHunz on
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  • QuothQuoth the Raven Miami, FL FOR REALRegistered User regular
    edited December 2010
    Secondary question, then. We were thinking of getting one of those infant car seats that you lift out and attach to the stroller. Would that be more of a pain than a regular stroller and convertible car seat? I guess the infant one would suck most with a coupe.

    Quoth on
  • PeenPeen tw1tch0rz occasionallyRegistered User regular
    edited December 2010
    What Elin said about the amount of stuff that'll be in your car is good to keep in mind, babies come with a lot of accessories.

    As for the car seat thing, I know that they recommend putting a newborn in the center of the backseat instead of one of the sides to maximize safety in a crash and that's a bit of a hassle in a four door so it could definitely be a pain in a two door. It's not like it's required but it's something to keep in mind.

    We did the whole "travel system" thing with out baby and while the stroller is great it's also a mammoth beast, which is another thing to keep in mind with a smaller car. If you're looking at reviews for those things and they say as a con that they can be a bit heavy pay attention, our Graco car seat gives us a nice workout when we're carrying her around and she's just 10 pounds.

    Peen on
  • MaguanoMaguano Registered User regular
    edited December 2010
    before you get a new car, borrow someone's car seat and put it in the back seat, then get in the front passenger's seat and see if you have enough leg room. My wife and I ruled out a couple cars since I couldn't sit comfortably in the passenger seat with the rear facing car seat in there. (we used a graco travel system thing for the newborn and the britax roundabout when he got too big for that car seat.)

    Maguano on
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  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    edited December 2010
    Practically speaking, if your car is fine and your husband's is not then you should probably replace his car before yours, unless he gets so much joy out of his old car that it's worth the expense and additional time in the shop (revisit this consideration after the kid comes and you both get a better appreciation of your "free" time). If you determine that having a baby and the coupe is an untenable situation you could always replace the coupe later. You'll still be able to get a good deal 3-6 months from now.

    The biggest concern in having an infant/child seat in a coupe is that if the infant falls asleep in a carseat/carrier and you're trying to transition him/her into or out of the back of a coupe it'd be harder to do w/out waking the infant. Your child may be a sound sleeper or easy to get to sleep so it may be a non-issue, but you won't know til he/she arrives, and evenso that may change over time. Both our kids tend to fall asleep in a running vehicle so driving around town just to get/keep the kid asleep was not uncommon for us, nor was letting the engine run while parked somewhere so as to extend naptime.

    Having a carseat that is easily transitioned between vehicles is very handy. Moving carseats (w/or w/out children installed) is a pain, not so much b/c it's heavy, but because it's bulky and you cannot really position it so it's near your center of gravity.

    FYI, in our X3 (4 door SUV) I have to move the driver's seat forward of where I'd prefer it to be to accommodate infant car seat (installed in a base). This only became an issue when we had to have 2 carseats, and thus neither could be in the center of the rear bench where there's more forward clearance.

    We got a combo set (car seat, bases, and stroller) and I'm of the opinion that it's better to buy individual pieces that best suit your needs. The stroller that permits the carseat makes a lot of compromises. It IS sturdy, but doesn't handle bumps or speed as well as a jogger, nor is it very compact even when folded down. We still use the carseat part (infant sized), but not so much the stroller. Infant gets carried on the body mainly and for the toddler we use the umbrella stroller if anything.

    Djeet on
  • QuothQuoth the Raven Miami, FL FOR REALRegistered User regular
    edited December 2010
    I wish I knew people with babies so I could do that, but alas, I'm on my own. Would a store let me try that sort of thing?

    Quoth on
  • ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited December 2010
    I fucking loved my travel system, or whatever those clip into the car seat base clip into the stroller dealies are called. We definitly used it longer than we had to (but stopped before it became unsafe of course). I went from a 2 door to a 4 door when my son was born, so I never really tried it in a two door, but even in a four door it was a bit of a bitch.
    Can you do it in a two door? Sure! Other people do, why can't you? You'll get better at it in time. However, a four door will certainly be easier.

    Improvolone on
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  • SzechuanosaurusSzechuanosaurus Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited January 2011
    Quoth wrote: »
    I wish I knew people with babies so I could do that, but alas, I'm on my own. Would a store let me try that sort of thing?

    Yes any decent store should let you test fit their car seats in your car before you buy one. This is extremely important tbh as not all car seats fit all cars and it ensures you can be shown how to fit it safely and securely.

    Szechuanosaurus on
  • SzechuanosaurusSzechuanosaurus Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited January 2011
    A thought - are you still allowed to put rear-facing car seats in the front passenger seat? That would seem like the easiest way to go about it in a 3-door.

    Szechuanosaurus on
  • Ashaman42Ashaman42 Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    A thought - are you still allowed to put rear-facing car seats in the front passenger seat? That would seem like the easiest way to go about it in a 3-door.

    A definite no no if there's a passenger airbag. Of course not all cars have them (I've only had older cars though, maybe all new cars do). I've no idea if a airbag can be disabled by a shop so you can use a car seat.

    Ashaman42 on
  • Blake TBlake T Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    I know your hubby doesn't really want to get rid of his car but from a practicality view it seems to be best to dump his car, give yours to him and get a larger car.

    Blake T on
  • QuothQuoth the Raven Miami, FL FOR REALRegistered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Yeah, I can't put it in the front seat because my car has an airbag. I'll definitely hit a store and ask to try some out, I'm glad they let you do that.

    I went to a car dealership yesterday and checked out some cars but actually didn't like any of them too much, so nothing happened. Also my dad said that the whole thing about dealers making deals at the end of the month/year is bull and they don't really care.

    Blake, I CANNOT AGREE WITH YOU MORE but he is being super stubborn. He insists there is no other car that he likes. For all I know, his car will die in a few months and that will be that, whether he likes it or not. :P

    Quoth on
  • japanjapan Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Ashaman42 wrote: »
    A thought - are you still allowed to put rear-facing car seats in the front passenger seat? That would seem like the easiest way to go about it in a 3-door.

    A definite no no if there's a passenger airbag. Of course not all cars have them (I've only had older cars though, maybe all new cars do). I've no idea if a airbag can be disabled by a shop so you can use a car seat.

    Most recent cars have some way of disabling the passenger seat airbag for exactly this reason. Usually it's a switch on one of the door pillars operated by the ignition key, that is only accessible with the door open.

    For a few years most cars that had passenger airbags had no way to disable them, looks like the Civic was/is one of them (without digging into the wiring loom at least), and for some manufacturers (notably Ford) an airbag deactivation switch was an optional extra for some reason. Something to bear in mind if you're car shopping.

    japan on
  • mtsmts Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    a lot of them also have weight sensors, with a 50 lb cut off or so anything lighter than that it is unarmed

    mts on
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  • dacount97dacount97 Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    I drive a 2 door Jeep wrangler, and have 2 car seats in it. Here is the thing, at first, it won't be that bad, because if you have the clip n' go system (or whatever it's called) the base stays in the car and you just unclip what the baby sits in and pull them out. Easy Peasy. I keep my passenger seat forward to make this easier, but you don't have to.

    Where it's going to be a PITA is where they move up to "Stage 2" where the car seat is stationary (the clip n' go is only up to 20 lbs or so), but has to be rear facing still. I would go through the back of the wrangler to get my daughter in and out, which I don't think that will be an option in your case.

    Once they get to be forward facing (1 yr I think?), it's much better, you can just reach back and un clip them and they can get themselves to the front for the most part. Maybe that's a bit later, 1 1/2 to 2 years or so. If you think you can make it the 4 - 8 months in the stage 2, then you should be good.

    What kind of car does your husband have? Are you going to be primary with the child and he is going to be secondary or will it be a 50/50 travel time with each car? You say you have enough $$ to buy another car, could you get a nice 4 door used car and trade in the civic? It's way easier to car shop before the little one gets here, than after and they are fussy or bored in the dealership.

    dacount97 on
  • LewieP's MummyLewieP's Mummy Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    I have a 4 door Toyota Corolla, LewieP's Daddy has a 2 door Nissan Micra. I have the bigger car because of ferrying children (foster children; LewieP and his sister are all grown up). On the rare occasions I've had to use the Micra, its been a right PITA, as I've had to climb in the back to fasten seatbelts for a 4 year old.

    My first car was a Ford Capri, 2 door, and that was such a pain putting LewieP's sister into her baby seat!

    I know we Brits drive much smaller cars than you Yanks do, but I absolutely hate putting children into the Micra, cos of having to climb into the back to fasten child seatbelts, and that's without having to carry the car seat (we use fixed child seats, well, they are detachable, but stay in the car whilst we have younger children staying with us) with a baby in and out of the car.

    I'd definitely only use a 4 door car with children if I had the choice.

    LewieP's Mummy on
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  • Modern ManModern Man Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Our second car is a 2-door coupe. Every time I've had to drive that thing with my son in the car seat, it was a pain in the ass getting him in and out. If you have the option of switching to a 4-door, I'd say do it.

    As for the travel system, they're just a beast. There is a smaller version which is basically just a frame your grab-and-go car seat locks into.

    Honestly, the travel system doesn't seem all that necessary. You can make do with a much more compact stroller and a diaper bag, rather than trying to haul around that monstrosity.

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  • QuothQuoth the Raven Miami, FL FOR REALRegistered User regular
    edited January 2011
    I'm now shopping around for other car options to see what's available. My husband is also slowly getting off his high horse and trying to like other vehicles, since his is the bigger problem.

    So you'd all generally recommend one of the systems that has the piece that stays in the car, and you just lock in the seat? Sounds good to me. I looked at the convertible seats but it seems like it's better to have the infant one because if the kid falls asleep, you don't have to yank it out and risk waking it up.

    Quoth on
  • PeenPeen tw1tch0rz occasionallyRegistered User regular
    edited January 2011
    If your baby's anything like ours and a lot of other peoples' that I know, he/she is almost guaranteed to fall asleep in the car-seat and you won't have to worry so much about having to wake them pulling them in and out. Babies love those things, it's pretty much awesome.

    On to the point though, if you're going to get a base then you should check the cars that you're looking at to see if they've got the rings built in the back seat that you can attach it right to. You can buckle the bases in with the car's seatbelt but we've found the built in straps get a lot tighter and our Versa has rings built into the back seat that you can hook it right onto, I think most newer cars do.

    Peen on
  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    When I looked there were not many options that could accomodate a newborn (6-10 lbs) and also an infant that was more than 29 lbs, meaning once the infant hit a length (25-30") or weight (22-29 lbs) threshhold then the carseat was no longer rated for the child and you needed to get a new one. I gave ranges cause different brands/types of infant carseats have different threshholds.

    We have a travel system (infant carseat, plus bases, plus carseat/stroller), a convertible, and a couple extra carseats for other family members (these can only really accomodate a newborn if you provide additional bolstering, which we needed to do to get the newborns home without them lolling about in the carseat).

    For our 1st baby (and 2nd) we very much appreciated the ability to move him in and out of the car while still strapped into the carseat, particularly when moving sleeping baby out of the car. He outgrew that carseat (by length/height, not weight) within the 1st year. I think our convertible is good til he's around 60-65 lbs.

    The convertible, in which our toddler resides, very easily moves between vehicles, which is convenient (though it mainly lives in the suv). However, you have to strap the kid in directly. I don't know of any system where you can have the kid strapped into a carseat which you can carry around and snap into a base, but also use beyond about 12-15 months.

    If you're looking for the carseat anchors, they're called LATCH. Any carseat or base ought to be able to be installed in a car without LATCH, you'll just need to use the seatbelts. It takes a bit of doing to get it right, but if it's for a base you'll only need to do it to install the base. I wouldn't want to have to remove and re-install using the seatbelt each time I needed to go somewhere with the kid, that would be a PiTA.

    My convertible seem sto be anchored better (3 LATCH points and it has tensioners), whereas the bases we have only attach to 2 LATCH points and are cinched tight, so even when it's tightened down as much as possible the carseat/base still moves around more than the convertible.

    Djeet on
  • Count FunkulaCount Funkula Registered User
    edited January 2011
    I'm just coming in here to plug the car I drive (2008 Scion xB, not the old smaller xB, the new re-designed one) as a great family car with lots of room, lots of safety features, and generally just a good overall car for relatively little money (16k). Built by Toyota in Japan and very reliable. Has worked great with my son who is now almost 3 years old.

    Count Funkula on
  • rockmonkeyrockmonkey Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Our daughter will be 2 yrs in April. I'd recommend the infant carry/car seat that clicks into the base, we had that and it was great, but ANY backward facing carseat (and it has to be backward facing until they are 1 yr old AND 20lbs by law here, and it's recommended to go longer if you can before turning them around) is a PAIN in the ass in a 2-door.

    I had a 2000 Dodge Avenger when she was born and that thing was a nightmare, luckily we mostly used my wife's 4 door Mazda 3, which is still a SMALL car but it was a hundred times easier to deal with than my Avenger, and despite the Mazda being a generally small car the car seats haven't been an issue at all.

    I now drive an '09 silverado crew cab and the four doors and the front facing carseat is an easy combo in both cars.

    The mammoth strollers that the infant carries lock into are nice when the kid is a baby, but once they get old enough to sit-up, and want to look around all the time you'll find yourself buying an umbrella stroller because it's so much easier to manuver with inside places and it takes up almost no room in the car while the big (while smooth ride and nice for carrying things) graco stroller we had took up almost the entire trunk and we started using it less and less until we stopped entirely and now strictly use the umbrella stroller if we have to use a stroller.

    rockmonkey on
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  • WezoinWezoin Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Just out of curiosity, what car does your husband drive?

    Maybe if we knew we could find something similar that he wouldn't be opposed to getting.

    Wezoin on
  • QuothQuoth the Raven Miami, FL FOR REALRegistered User regular
    edited January 2011
    He drives a 2004 PT Cruiser.

    Quoth on
  • EggyToastEggyToast Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Quoth wrote: »
    I'm now shopping around for other car options to see what's available. My husband is also slowly getting off his high horse and trying to like other vehicles, since his is the bigger problem.

    I think this is the best approach, personally. I'm sure that both of you are great people and will make great parents, but he needs to get over this stubbornness.

    Can you drive his car? (as in, maybe it's a manual and you can only drive automatic, etc.) Force him to switch with you for a week, since it sounds like he'd get your car. At some point his car is going to die (or be financially stupid to repair) and he'll be in the same boat.

    I'm a big fan of parents remaining a sense of self during pregnancy and parenthood, but there's a reason that cars are kind of the standard "things we have to change for the kid" trope.

    edit: Wait, I thought PT Cruisers were good for kids?

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  • QuothQuoth the Raven Miami, FL FOR REALRegistered User regular
    edited January 2011
    His car is a manual and while I CAN drive it, it's an enormous PITA and is very hard to get into the garage at my job, which has two very steep ramps. I had to drive his car for a few days and literally had to beg my coworker, who drives a stick, to park it for me. But if we got him a new car, I'd still have my two-door coupe, which would suck but at least I wouldn't have to sit around worrying about whether his car is going to die again.

    Quoth on
  • WezoinWezoin Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Quoth wrote: »
    He drives a 2004 PT Cruiser.

    Oh... well, he may be beyond helping then...

    Thats a very different car... and its odd that he'd love it since its one of the most widely hated cars...

    What does he like about it?

    Would something like a Honda Fit (different stylistically but similar kind of shape), or a Chevy HHR work for him?

    Maybe even just a better condition PT Cruiser.

    Wezoin on
  • QuothQuoth the Raven Miami, FL FOR REALRegistered User regular
    edited January 2011
    He loves how it looks, mostly. To my knowledge they have stopped production on the PT and also he insists that his year is the "cutest" year or something like that and he doesn't like the others.

    We checked out the Fit and neither of us was too impressed, and he does not like that Chevy. In his words, he wants a car with "character." I believe he is okay with the new Scion xB, and the look of the Subaru Impreza but that is out of our budget. I honestly don't care, as long as he is happy and I don't have to drive a stick (he also loves manual cars but I will not budge on that).

    Quoth on
  • PeenPeen tw1tch0rz occasionallyRegistered User regular
    edited January 2011
    I've ended up making this plug often in here but the Nissan Versa is a nice little hatchback that's pretty cheap new.

    Peen on
  • MushroomStickMushroomStick Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    I like Mazda 3 hatchbacks. Also, that new Nissan crossover thing looks like it might be ok.

    MushroomStick on
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