When we made the decision to adopt two children with special needs we knew a few things in our car would need to be adjusted sometime soon.
First, we were going to need another car seat.
Second, three of our four children would benefit from being backward facing much longer than 1 year and 20 lbs.
Third, three of our kids would benefit from a 5 point harness higher than 40lbs.
Fourth and last, with four children in car seats for now a thin seat which fits 3 across a bench would be very helpful
We found all of these things in a seat made by Sunshine Kids called the Radian. Radian comes in two types. One is the Radian 80 and the other is a Radian 65. The numbers refer to the weight limit on the car seat. That means that the Radian 65 holds kids in a 5 point harness until 65lbs. The Radian 80 up to 80lbs in a 5-pt harness!
My first thought was "why would I want an 80lb kid in a 5 pt harness??" My second thought "what would happen to Emma if she wasn't in a 5 pt harness during a car accident?" Not a pretty thought. She'll likely always need a 5-pt restraint in the car. Radian 80 was my answer.
I purchased a Radian 80 in July and have been using it for Emma since then. It comes with head and trunk supports for infants and toddlers. The head support is to small for her gigantic head (kidding, but it is too small) but the trunk supports are great! She sits in a straight line instead of "sinking in" to her car seat! Emma is backward facing and the car seat has been used in the second and third rows of our Chevy Venture. It fit fine in both positions, but it does impede the front seat from reclining much when in the second row. It was behind the driver's seat and I could sit comfortably to drive (I'm 5'4") but my husband feels a little cramped (he's 5'10"). There was no problem with the seat being in the 3rd row. It fit "snugly" between the second and third rows but was reclined plenty and worked fine.
The good things?
- Comes with support for infants/toddlers, perfect for low-tone.
- goes rear facing over 33lbs
- forward facing with 5-pt harness up to 80lbs
- "low profile" sides makes it easy to get the kids in and out of without having to lift them up and over something high (it also makes kids able to kick each other in the back seat though...)
- I've put the Radian, an Alpha Omega, and a high back booster across the third row just fine! Three Radians fit well I am told.
So... the down side?
- It is heavy. So carrying it around isn't recommended. (then again, it IS supposed to be in a car...)
- It is long (but not so long that it doesn't fit)
I think that about covers it! I am happy with our purchase, would buy it again (probably will, actually for one of my other kids) and would definitely recommend it to others!!