Monday, November 28, 2011

Transporting Kids in Winter

Last Winter was kind of rough for me; transporting three kids 5 and under anywhere was such an ordeal!  Since I had all of them every morning (my 5-year old had afternoon Kindergarten), I found myself shopping with all of them, all the time.  It was so tiring!
A friend shared with me her idea of moving the seats in such a way that they could all get in from one side- the driver's side.  This was GENIUS.  I wish I remember which friend told me about it first; I know of two who used this for at least a little while!  Since all three still needed help to buckle themselves into carseats, having any one of them in the back meant a lot of stretching and reaching for me.  In the cold Chicago winters, this was not fun.  So, without further ado, here is the amazing setup:

Two seats in the back, one in the middle, and one of the middle bucket seats REMOVED.  This worked so well.  As we exited the store either with two kids in a cart or with one in my arm and the other two holding onto my hand or part of my clothing or bag, I could get to the driver's side of the van and deposit all three kiddies inside, in one fell swoop!  Nobody had a reason to run to the opposite side of the van, freaking me out and getting way too close to traffic.  Once they all climbed in, I got in behind them and closed the door to keep the wind/rain/snow/sleet/hail out.  At this point, I could start the van and warm it up while buckling them in (after getting them out of the cargo area if one of the boys decided hopping over the back seat would be fun, or moving the kids out of each others' seats like my little 1-year old up there sitting in her 5-year old brother's booster).  After that you are good to go!  Heck, you could even jump over the front console and not even have to leave the van.  That's only for those who are small, or flexible, or just crazy like me (I tried that once and had to visit my chiropractor.  That was it).  One of my friends also put a piece of extra carpeting leftover from her house into the middle area to cover those metal seat-connecter parts.  We never had a problem with those, but if I leaned onto one with my knee it was unpleasant :P  I thought that would be just a nice little touch of comfort and luxury for a long cold winter, even though I never did it.  It would also help keep the floor clean.

If you have three kids in a 4-door car, God Bless You!  We did that for a month this past summer while our van had a partial paint job (under warranty, thankfully).  It was brutal getting them all buckled in there!

Another tip I can offer to help keep the van chaos under control is to always have extra plastic bags in the glove compartment or seat pocket (for garbage, diaper or clothing messes).  I have tried to keep wipes in the car but they either dry out or get super cold in Winter, so my kids cry when I try to wipe their face or bottom!  I just try not to forget my diaper bag.

I also have a roll of paper towels in the car.  But they kept getting crushed or in a large unrolled heap at the end of one just car ride.  How do kids manage to DO that so quickly with everything?  So I put the roll of paper towels in this bin I had just gotten on clearance- not even for this reason, I was just on a container kick and picked it up- and they fit perfectly!

I got one at Target in blue, but they have pink and brown on their website for $6.99 as of this posting.  The paper towels won't unroll this way, and I place this bin underneath my front center console (I have an Odyssey, you might need to find another spot for it).  I can reach down and pull the end up, and the roll just stays in the bin and I can rip one off at a time.  I am so glad to have a paper towel to use to grab the banana peel that my daughter wants me to collect before her short patience wears out and she drops it on the floor.
For a garbage, I just use my door's large door cubby/pocket, and if I am stuck at a light or train tracks and it's getting full I just grab a plastic bag from the glove box and empty it all out.  When I unload everything after arriving home, the garbage bag gets thrown into the garage garbage can right away.  Easy peasy, as my son would say!

Happy driving!

1 comment:

  1. excellent ideas! I will be keeping this in mind once the "three kiddies" thing applies to me!