I feel I may have given the wrong impression in my last post about car seat safety. I want you to know that I do think it [car seat safety] is VERY important, and I don't think that the size of my family (with the accompanying challenge of getting everyone in a seat, etc) excuses me from following the law.
I do sometimes wish we could go back to "the good ol' days" and just live simpler lives. When I was in Kindergarten our "bus" was a grocery-getter station wagon, and we all just sat in the back. Crazy stuff! I just want to be clear that I don't think that just because we used to do it that way it was the right way. I shared the story about my brother because I think it's a cute/funny story... not because I EVER thought it was safe for him to be standing in the front seat between my parents! :)
It's nice to see that there are some more "streamlined" options out there for car seats. Right now, we can just barely fit 3 kids in the back seat of the Yukon because 2 of them are in boosters. Alex and Chase take turns sitting in the middle, but even that's not all that safe because it's only a lap belt. If the law is going to require us to put our kids in seats, then car seat mfg's and car mfg's need to follow suit by including things like a shoulder belt for ALL seats in a vehicle. If seating is intended for 3 (adults) across, then I want to be able to fit 3 car seats/boosters across!
Since Jericho's arrival, our seating arrangements had Alex/Chase (on a monthly rotation), Jericho, and Shiloh in the second seat, with Levi, Alex/Chase, and Victory in the third seat. Today I moved Shiloh's seat (a convertible booster with 5-pt harness -- sadly, not rear-facing) to the center of the third row. Alex and Chase will sit on either side. The second seat will be Victory and Levi on the outsides in belt-positioning boosters and Jericho in the middle in her infant carrier. It will be a bit tighter getting everyone buckled in that second seat, as well as increasing the "work" required to slide the seat forward for access to the third seat, but well worth the added safety of a shoulder belt for each of the boys.
Courtney, who wrote the original post that prompted MY last post, and I spent today shooting emails back and forth discussing car seats and the options available to us. She mentioned the Sunshine Kids Radian seat. Tim and I have been discussing our options, and this seat seemed to fit the bill (nice and compact, will fit three across without too much hassle, offers a 5-pt harness up to 80 lbs, etc). They are spendy, but after seeing this amazing story, we are totally sold! Having just received our property tax refund for the year, we plan to first fix Tim's car and then buy a Radian 80 for Jericho. Even Alex and Chase, at 11 and 9, don't weigh 80 lbs, so I have no doubt well get our money's worth out of this seat! :)
To give credit where credit is due, I copied the above photo from the Sunshine Kids site. It's the photo that convinced me we need at least 3 of these :)