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Old 01-25-2013, 04:18 PM   #1
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Question Carseat advice for a large van!

I need a new seat for the new baby and not sure what to get.

We are about to get a Chevy 3500 15 passenger van with the swing doors on the side. What type of seat would be easier to get the baby in and out of the van....an infant seat or a convertible seat?
I was already considering just going with a convertible this time since we babywear anyway, but I would love an opinion from those of you that have a large van and little ones.
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Old 01-25-2013, 09:24 PM   #2
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We have a GMC 12 passenger van. I use the infant seats because it is cold here so we just put them in inside and straight to the car. I babywear also.

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Old 01-26-2013, 03:46 AM   #3
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Re: Carseat advice for a large van!

I have a minivan and only have to put two carseats in it, we are going with an infant seat for the baby and will use DS's convertible when we switch him to a 5 pt booster.
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Old 01-26-2013, 08:48 AM   #4
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Re: Carseat advice for a large van!

We have the Chevy Express 15 passenger. You can only put seats rear facing in the second row. They will not fit anywhere else. And, on top of that, if the a rear-facing convertible will only fit in the middle of the second row. Now, of course, I have not tried ALL brands of carseat, but we do have several brands. A bucket you can put behind either of the front seats, but still only in the second row. We have twins. So, obviously, we had a problem with only being able to get one convertable in the middle. We got Diono Radian carseats (because it is the thinnest and allows us to put 3 across forward facing. All our children are still in carseats since they are all young.) They have a "angle adjuster" you can buy that goes under the seat and makes it sit more upright and fit behind the front seats. That is what we did. If you only have one child who is going to be rear facing, as long as you put them in the middle of the second row, you should be able to get what you want.

So, that is our experience. We were shocked to find that it isn't as easy as we would have thought to get carseats in a huge passenger van. However, we still do really like the van. It has plenty of space and growing room if we need it, which I hope we do.
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Old 01-28-2013, 10:10 AM   #5
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Re: Carseat advice for a large van!

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Originally Posted by HeatherlovesCDs View Post
We have the Chevy Express 15 passenger. You can only put seats rear facing in the second row. They will not fit anywhere else. And, on top of that, if the a rear-facing convertible will only fit in the middle of the second row. Now, of course, I have not tried ALL brands of carseat, but we do have several brands. A bucket you can put behind either of the front seats, but still only in the second row. We have twins. So, obviously, we had a problem with only being able to get one convertable in the middle. We got Diono Radian carseats (because it is the thinnest and allows us to put 3 across forward facing. All our children are still in carseats since they are all young.) They have a "angle adjuster" you can buy that goes under the seat and makes it sit more upright and fit behind the front seats. That is what we did. If you only have one child who is going to be rear facing, as long as you put them in the middle of the second row, you should be able to get what you want.

So, that is our experience. We were shocked to find that it isn't as easy as we would have thought to get carseats in a huge passenger van. However, we still do really like the van. It has plenty of space and growing room if we need it, which I hope we do.
By 'second row' do you mean the first bench seat??
I went to see the van we are going to get and I see that I can easily fit rear facing seats on the first bench seat, but I could not tell for sure if any would fit rear facing in the other bench seats. I should have taken our convertible seat with us to try it out. We will be going to pick it up in a couple of weeks, so I guess I will find out then. I still cannot decide if it would be easier to get an infant seat in and out or just carry the baby in the van and put her in a convertible.
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Old 01-28-2013, 04:01 PM   #6
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Re: Carseat advice for a large van!

Yes, that is the row I mean. I never know what to call it. The first "row" would be the driver and passenger seats. But, I think of the the first row as the first one behind those. It seems no matter what I call it, no one knows. LOL! You will not be able to get your convertible in any other row. I have no doubt of that. For a huge van, it is a pain when it comes to car seats. I do love the space though. (Oh, and we didn't bring our seats to try out in the van either and wished we had. It wouldn't have changed our minds about the van, but at least we would have known the limitations of the seating. All my kids were still in full size car seats when we bought it and like I said, 2 rear-facing 3 month old twins. Now, I have 6 and only one is in a booster. So, for us, it makes a difference.)

I think as far as which seat, it's totally up to you and personal preference. Personally, I like my babies in an infant seat as long as they can be. I like to be able to strap them in inside the house and carry them in if they are sleeping. I like to have a place to sit the baby when I go to someone else's house or wherever. So, I like my infant seat. I do babywear, but I'm not a die hard babywearer and like the options my infant seats provide. Also, I have small kids and they can stay in them for quite a while. Of course, that is just me.
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Old 01-28-2013, 05:30 PM   #7
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Re: Carseat advice for a large van!

I have to disagree. We've put rearfacing carseats in the other rows in a 12 passenger van. Sure, it's not as easy as installing them in other vehicles but I can't say it's terribly hard either. We've put the Radians rear facing in the other rows. For infants, I always use a bucket type seat because I tend to have small babies, then switch to the convertible seats and use them rear facing until they are at least 3. We typically have had 2 rear facing seats in the first row of bench seats and then the third one in the next row back.
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Old 01-28-2013, 06:37 PM   #8
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Re: Carseat advice for a large van!

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I have to disagree. We've put rearfacing carseats in the other rows in a 12 passenger van. Sure, it's not as easy as installing them in other vehicles but I can't say it's terribly hard either. We've put the Radians rear facing in the other rows. For infants, I always use a bucket type seat because I tend to have small babies, then switch to the convertible seats and use them rear facing until they are at least 3. We typically have had 2 rear facing seats in the first row of bench seats and then the third one in the next row back.
Really? Do you have the same van we have, a Chevy Express 15 passenger 3500? My understanding is this is the same vehicle the OP is getting. We literally cannot get them in anywhere but the first bench if they are rear facing. It isn't that it is hard to install. It is that they do NOT fit between the rows and cannot be forced to fit. Maybe you have a different make/model or year (ours is 2007) or totally different seats. We have Radians and Gracos and infant Gracos and a random Eddie Bower. For my vehicle, which I thought was the same exact as OP is looking at, nothing fits rear-facing behind the first bench row. We were very surprised when we discovered this and turned our older twins around a little sooner than we would have otherwise.

OP - I've never had an issue getting our infant seats in and out of the van. We did put a running board on ours, so we have a step up. But, we have not always had that.
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Old 01-28-2013, 06:19 PM   #9
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Re: Carseat advice for a large van!

Well, I guess I will wait until I bring it home to decide which to get and where I can and cannot fit seats rear facing.

I usually do get and infant seat for the convience of having somewhere for baby to sit at certain times, I just did not know how difficult it would be to get it in and out of the van, since it is a step up into the van.
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Old 01-29-2013, 07:28 AM   #10
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Re: Carseat advice for a large van!

We have a 2004 Chevy Express 3500. We put Radians in rear facing in the other rows with no issue.
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