When Dominic and I were having conversations about a third child one of my main convincing points was that we only truly needed one thing – a third car seat. So pretty much, this baby would be our super budget baby :) Practically free!
When it comes to car seats I’m a bit of a stickler so I wasn’t looking for any ol’ car seat. I researched and researched during my pregnancy with Jemma and fell in love with the Radian model from Diono. I didn’t want something too wide or bulky and Radians are one of the slimmest car seats on the market. Thankfully, that slim feature doesn’t compromise safety. Not one bit. Plus, when it comes to safety, the steel alloy frame and aluminum reinforced side walls just can’t be beat. I was sold! Triple sold apparently :) Jemma graduated from her bucket seat to her Radian at 5 months and she rides in the same seat today; with adjusted straps for her growth, of course. When Max was born, he followed the same path as his sister. And now, I knew I wanted nothing but a Radian for our third little one. This time we’re even skipping the bucket seat and going straight to the Radian. That’s right, these seats both rear and forward face and are acceptable for 5 pounds to 120 pounds. The one and only seat each of our children needs thanks to the 10 year life span and high weight limit.
I’ve seen many a photo of three Radians all side by side in a smaller vehicle, so I know I’m blessed to have the wiggle room to choose where all three kids sit in the van. Knowing Jemma and Max’s personalities and how we function while on the go, I opted to at least start out with the kids in this set up …
Jemma sits in the far rear passenger seat. In our Toyota Sienna the third row splits into a single and double seat for stow ‘n go options and I often flip that double seat back and forth so having Jemma on the single seemed to make most sense. At almost 5 years old she can also buckle herself and knows that her 5 point harness chest clip belongs at arm pit level. In her mind though, I think the biggest back seat perk is having the side storage cubby and double cup holder available for her car activities. She can’t unbuckle herself, but I can reach back with just my arm which saves me from the pregnant mama backseat hustle dance :) Max’s seat is in the captain seat behind the driver. He loves being able to climb in and out of his seat like a big boy and has learned to clip his chest piece too. He yells, “Safe!” whenever he hears the pop of it going into place :) Max is now forward facing so having him behind the driver’s side made most sense as it allows the driver to adjust the seat back and forth as needed. Baby will occupy the passenger side captain’s chair. Easy for me access from the side door and keep an eye on via the rear view mirror. Jemma will also be able to be my second set of eyes since she is positioned right behind baby. There you have it! Our placement plan for three kids in car seats! You’ll notice in the photos that Jemma and Max have retired versions of the Radian – all still safe, just no longer for sale. They’re also down to bare bones when it comes to support since they don’t require the extra padding and inserts due to their size. Baby has the new Heathered Grey Diono Radian RXT. All three kids have the Seat Guard Complete underneath their car seats to catch wayward snacks and while rearfacing, protect the backs of the seats from dirty shoes. These are musts in my book! When the time comes to sell our vehicle or dare I imagine we make it to the stage of parenting where car seats aren’t recommended, I don’t want our fabric seats to show the wear and tear of children and car seats. We’ve had a few versions of seat protectors in the past and Dominic, being just as particular about car seats and their accessories as me, feels the Diono Seat Guard Complete is the best!
Last, but not least, while I’m on my car seat soap box, I’ll just say that buying a bucket seat, convertible seat and then a booster for your child is super silly when you can buy one Diono car seat that lasts for 10-12 years (depending on the model) while keeping your child super safe from 5-120 pounds. Less car seats in the landfill AND extra safe kiddos while you’re on the road sounds like a win to me! Yay Diono!
We received a complimentary car seat and seat protectors from Diono, but as I shared, we’ve been Diono diehards since Jemma’s infancy in 2010.