A weekend editorial in the Boston Globe (Boston.com) put into writing something that Michael and I frequently talk about – families with more than two kids in carseats (or even boosters) have to have larger, less fuel efficient, cars just to fit them in properly.
“RECOMMENDATIONS THAT parents keep children in specially designed car seats until older ages — the American Academy of Pediatrics recently decreed that kids up to age 2 should be in rear-facing seats — have improved safety on the roads. But the need for special seats for multiple children had an unintended consequence: Parents buy larger cars because those seats don’t fit easily into smaller cars.”
“That’s the fault of both the automobile industry, which has failed to contour back seats to maximize space for child seats, and the seat makers, who don’t seem to have given much thought to how parents can fit multiple seats into a modest-sized vehicle. The two should start working together to solve a very real problem.”
“It’s not just that families are being obliged to drive unnecessarily larger cars — though the cost in gas dollars and carbon emissions is significant — but that many makes of car seats are unwieldy and require tricky installation. So the lack of coordination between car and seat manufacturers means that some parents who think they’re protecting their children are inadvertently putting them at risk in poorly installed seats.”
(To head off one inevitable argument, I understand it is the parents’ choice to have two or more kids. However, the manufacturers can make smart changes to help smaller cars accommodate the required seats.)
The author has suggestions to help solve this problem. I agree with some of his points but then question others. See what you think. The author’s suggestions are:
Michael is currently choosing a new company car. His choices range from a very fuel-efficient, tiny car that I’m not sure you could fit two carseats in to a bigger crossover that I think we could fit all three in but is less fuel efficient. He only has to order the car online but we are going to a lot to make sure we can fit two boosters and a carseat in the back. We have to know that in an emergency (or if my car breaks down) we have a second car that can carry our whole family.
I know carseats and boosters save lives, and I feel strongly about keeping my kids in them as long as possible, but I also think the car manufacturers should examine how they can get families with more than two kids into smaller, more fuel-efficient cars. But then again, maybe the manufacturers want families to have to choose the larger, more expensive cars.
What do you think: Have you had problems fitting your carseat in your backseat? What is the smallest car you have been able to get carseats into? Is the problem the shape of the backseat, the distance between the back and front seat or the distance across the seats? (We had problem in Michael’s Pontiac Grand Am getting the rear facing seat in when Rose was a baby. You had to pull the front seat way far forward.)
What would you suggest the car manufacturer’s do to make it easier to fit required carseats in smaller cars?
Would you choose a smaller family car if you could comfortably fit the carseats and boosters in or would you still choose a larger car? (There is something to be said for kids not being able to touch each other in the captain’s seats in minivans. I love they can’t get at each other while I am driving.)
Do you think the car manufacturers want families to have to choose a larger, more expensive vehicle?
– Theresa Walsh Giarrusso, ajc.com Momania