Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Booster Seat Law!

This pink car seat is similar to the one we just bought for Babycakes, we decided with another girl coming in August, we might as go for the pink!! Our old one is at least 6 years old now, so it was time for another new one. At least it will go through 2 girls!
Minnesota has a new law, that started on July 1st. All children under 8 must be in a booster car seat, like this one. We did already have boosters, but had just taken them out, trying to rearrange the kiddos in the van, getting ready for another car seat to be added in August. Our van holds 8 passengers, if all seats are in, which they are not, we have the middle seat out so the kids can go through to the back. I think the law is good, just a hard one for bigger families. 3 car seats do not fit across in one row, come August, we will have 4 car seats, so we must put the middle seat in, which will be especially hard come winter, when mud and snow is everywhere and we'll have to put down the seat and the kiddos in the back will need to climb over the seat to get to the back and again to get in the front. My hubby and I have been joking about getting one of those giant vans...What do people do?

What do you do, you families with 5 or more young children? How do they all fit with the new laws? What type of vehicles work best?


  1. I feel your pain, I really do. I have 5 boys and we have a mini-van. Our boys are 11.5yrs, 8.5yrs, 4yrs, 2yrs and 7.5mo. So everyone is in some type of seat except the oldest. What we would do if he needed a seat I have no idea.

    I used to be a car seat tech, so I know why kids should be in car seats and boosters and strongly adovate for them, however as a mom of a larger family I also feel the pain of trying to figure out how to safely get all my kids into seats in a van that is barely big enough. I literally spend hours thinking about this when we add a baby, need a new seat, etc.

    Right now I'm just simply leaning towards getting a bigger van when the time comes. I told me husband last week (as we traveled 6hrs each way for vacation in this packed van)that we are just going to have to get the 12 passenger van at some point...simply for space for kids and car seats.

    Right now my oldest is out of a seat, my 8yr old rides in a backless booster (he's tiny), my 4yr old and 2yr old both ride in harnessed boosters and my 7.5mo old is in an infant seat. We're good now as long as I don't need to fit another bigger seat in or unless/until we have another baby.

    I wish there was a simple answer, but there really isn't. I often feel like I'm going to have to compromise on safety to get all my kids in the van.

  2. Jamie, this new law ... Well, let's just say we need to buy another booster seat—and quickly!! I have heard about some booster seats that are "slimmer," so that more can fit across the back seat of a car or van. I think they are pricier, but maybe worth it, since the kids will be in them for much longer now. I will e-mail you with the info. I have it somewhere ...

  3. I don't know. I just have the 2 and because of their booster seats (same ones that you have picture) I can only fit 2 in my back seat instead of the 3.

    SOME states have height requirements! The child has to be 4ft 9inches, before they can give up the car seats.

    Here in IL the law is age 8 AND younger must be in some kind of booster/car seat. However it's HIGHLY SUGGESTED that kids stay in the car/booster seats until they are 4ft 9inches.

    My oldest is 8. So he has to stay in the care seat for at least the next year. (He just turned 8 last month). Although he's about 3 inches from being 4ft 9in. So if he grows those 3 inches between now and then, I'm chucking his car seat!

  4. I know it's a struggle to fit all those car seats in! Our van also seats 8, but we are blessed in that our baby just turned 8 last month!

    At my WIC Clinic, we have been giving away free car seats for the past 3 years, a great blessing to those who can't afford them! In the count your blessings department, a lot of the mom's who would have liked car seats, couldn't use them because they don't even own a car-they depend on Medicaid transportation or taxi-cabs or the bus. Can you imagine carrying 3 car seats and 3 small children everywhere you go so that your children will be safe while they ride in a taxi? It doesn't happen! Safety is so important, but its so difficult sometimes, especially for the poor!

  5. We got one of those giant vans :) We call it our "BIG BLUE BUS"
    God Bless

  6. We have a min-van, but we are only at 4 when the baby comes. I know with my brother and sister's families (he has 8 and she has 7) that they upsized to the 12 passenger.

  7. I was a law breaker for a while in MD, because I refused to buckle my middle schooler in a booster 'cos he didn't meet height requirements. I think it was only for D.C. (strange seat law there) which we rarely went through. Anyway, I rationalized that once my kids were out of car seats, I was done buying things I couldn't properly anchor in in the first place.

    Good luck!!!!

  8. I have 5 months to figure out how to fit SIX car seats/booster seats into our 8 passenger Toyota Sienna...

    Our state also requires that they be in a booster until they are 8 and 80 pounds, AND/OR 4' 9" ... My oldest is turning 9 this month, but he is a whole 53 pounds and 4' 1"... He is going to be in a booster for awhile.

    We can't afford the bigger van right now, nor the extra gas costs, so we are hoping to find a way to make it work. I think I'll take all the seats to the fire department and have them help me figure it out! ;)

  9. Thank you everyone for your info, guess MN is behind in the car seat laws...since most of your states already have these laws! Ours is 8 or 4'9" so my 9 year old does not have to use a booster and my now 6 year old is almost 7, so only one year of the booster.

    We, too, are not in the market for a new van at this point, our van is a 2000 Pontiac Montana. My husband is not wanting to spend any more money on carseats, so we will put in the extra seat and it will just have to get muddy and full of snow (cringe)!

    I am not complaining about the safety isssues, I, of course want my kiddos and all children safe, it's just hard. I suppose if we wait long enough, the new fancy vans will have all this built in?

  10. I remember car shopping for the last two cars we owned. We went to the dealers with three cars seats in tow (we had two kids with one on the way the first time and the second time is after we immigrated to Canada)and managed to get them in a five seater car across the back on both occasions. It worked for us, but was tight. We just bought a good used 8 seater van and love all the space. We were definitely outgrowing our Jetta and next year we will be adding another car seat. Before you buy the car seat or boosters, ask to see if you can try them out in your van. Most places agree. We did that. If the seat didn't fit, then we didn't buy it! Good luck. I hear you with the snow and mud! We get our fair share here in the great white north.

  11. Hi Jamie! I finally got a chance to check in on you again! I love the mailboxes post. As for the five kids thing... When we had our fifth about a year ago all five needed carseats or boosters (our oldest will need one until November when he turns nine). Initially we used our minivan with a special narrow carseat (Sunshine Radian) in the middle in the back, so all three carseats did fit in the back of our Toyota Sienna minivan. Here is a link to the carseat: http://www.elitecarseats.com/Sunshine-Kids-Radian.pro
    It was cheaper than buying a new car. We found one for $175 new, free shipping.

    When the gas prices were really high last fall we found an 8 seater suburban for a reasonable price. I think that we'll get those little passenger seats (3rd row rear facing) if we have more kids - or sooner as it would be nice for carpooling.

    I'd be interested to know if it is safer to drive a 12 or 15 passenger, or to get those rear-facing seats.

    I'll pray for you these last few weeks!!!

  12. I give up. I have the 15 passenger van and it's STILL hard for me to manage all the seats we're supposed to have. I like when Jason Lewis goes off on those laws and says, "They tell you you need a car seat for 'baby Huey'" hahaha, I think I'll name my next boy "Hugh" because that's what they are like, WAY too big for a car seat but (according to the law now) too small to sit in an "adult" seat with belt. I also take out that first row of seats so it's only a twelve passenger right now and we only have 8 max in our family. I can't imagine trying to squeeze everyone in a regular 12 passenger...much less a minivan! I really like my bus, but it does feel kind of funny to take it out on a date with Butch and I ONLY. Heeheehee!


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