Q: So, I just found out I'm pregnant with number 3 (completely unexpected) and my due date will be near my daughter's 3rd birthday and son will be 20 months. How in the world am I going to fit three car seats in my car!? I have a Saturn Vue. I saw people suggesting the Radian. We currently have 2 safety first air protects, would a third fit okay, or should we go ahead and get the Radians?
A: Fitting three car seats across can be tricky in any vehicle. The upside to having a van/SUV with a third row just means less struggle with this configuration since you have the third row option, but it's still a struggle. Since you're looking at probably two-forward facing and one rear facing, you might be OK. Usually it's the third forward-facing car seat that pushes over the end. The rear-facing car seats tend to fit nicely as if you're completing the puzzle, but it depends on your car so test it out before baby #3 arrives.
Here are a few thoughts:
1) You might look into a different rear-facing car seat. The new guidelines suggest stay rear-facing until age 2 so you could get one of the newfangled car seats that supports this and make your life easier by having that seat rear-facing longer. With two other kids in the back to entertain him or her, you'll probably be able to keep him/her facing backwards longer and avoid the dreaded three-car seat shuffle with all front-facing seats.
2) Do a test run with all your current car seats you plan to use within the next year. Make sure they all fit well and the infant seat is easy to get in and out without too much fuss. If for any reason it's not, I would look into changing something--whether it's the rear-facing seat (mentioned above) or giving the Radian a try. You could always buy the other seats and return them if they don't help out.
3) If you're planning to keep your car for a while, try the configuration with the booster thrown in there as well. You would think those are narrower, but often they are just as wide and can make the three-across difficult. This just gives you an idea of how your family will grow in your car.
With all that said, we're optimistic you can make it work, and we're excited to hear the news of your new baby.