Preeti’s Car Seat Guide for Family SUVs & Minivans

Shopping for a family car is complicated. Throw in the need for children’s car seats, and your mind may explode.

After searching, and still being in the process of buying our second car, I decided to write a guide on car seats on SUV and minivan models (we don’t want a sedan so they are not included). This includes both 2 row and 3 row vehicles.

With nearly ZERO car manufacturer websites being transparent regarding car seat placement, the burden is left entirely on the consumer to figure this out.
Some questions families with children (from infant babies to toddlers to kids) have to ask:

  • Does the second row come with BOTH lower anchors and back seat tethers?
  • Does the second row middle seat have lower anchors?
  • Do the third row seats have lower anchors? If so, which seats?
  • Do the third row seats have back seat tethers? If so, which seats?
  • Does the third row lack any child seat safety tethering?

That’s a lot of information to figure out. And even on the internet, it is disjointed. However, there are a couple websites to absolutely check out.

First is The Car Seat Lady – she covers just about every car make, model, and year and tells you which car seats can fit. Rear facing, forward facing, booster, etc. Bless TCSL and her team because it is THE MOST THOROUGH resource on the web for car seats.

Second, is A Girls Guide to Cars. The car reviews are detailed and helpful, though the breath of car seat reviewing is limited.

Last, and where I obtained all the below diagrams, is IIHS – Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). It is an independent, nonprofit scientific and educational organization that is funded by auto insurance companies. Their safety information is up-to-date for most cars though some, most notably the Chevrolet and GMC car models stop in 2017.

After you have perused the above and feel seriously overwhelmed, it’s time to get a cup of tea and review your intentions with buying a SUV. I wrote a pdf on questions to ask yourself (and your partner) on what is most important in your car purchase.

I also have a spreadsheet comparing pricing, engine power, anchor options, vehicle dimensions for 20+ car models. I manually pulled this data from car manufacturer sites, Edmunds, Car & Driver, and Google excerpts. It is by far the most comprehensive spreadsheet you will find comparing family size SUVs. As I work to complete the list and add new car, you’ll be able to see the changes. I very much hopes this helps you in your car buying process!

Then, figure out how many children you have/plan to have and how many children you want to fit in the car.  For anyone with 1-2 children, every SUV/minivan is available for you.

If you have 3 or more children, then you need to do some planning. How many kids will be in rear facing seats, and how many in front facing seats? Do you want to squeeze another kid in if you’re doing car pooling?

Once you’ve written down your needs, the below diagram of 20+ car models will get you going in the right direction.

Each of these diagrams is from the IIHS, so please visit their website for more information. Also, I’m not a car seat expert and I cannot vouch for the information provided. Car manufacturers can change their info at any time.

I reviewed 25 cars that are both two row and three row options. Some of the interestings findings are:

  • Many car manufacturers do NOT have lower anchor latches in the third rows. This is puzzling to me as bucket seats (used for babies and infants), car seats (rear or forward facing) and booster seats (for older children) all have lower anchor clips.
  • Yet, many of these third rows have back seat tethers, which clearly mean front facing car seats *can* work IF you use the seat belt. Yea, I’m confused by this logic.
  • Fiver seater cars do not usually have the rear middle seat with lower anchors. This means that slot needs to be a booster or a front facing car seat using a seat belt.
  • Subaru as a car manufacturer is a winner hands down for all the larger car models.  Personally, I dislike the interior finishing quality, but by golly, they know how to put down car seats.
  • The Audi Q7 is the only car model that has lower anchors and backseat tethers for EVERY car seat slot. (If there is another model out there, please let me know!)

The list of popular car models and their car seat options

2019 Acura MDX

2019 Audi Q3

2019 Audi Q5

2019 Audi Q7

2019 BMW X-5

2017 Chevrolet Tahoe

2017 Chevrolet Traverse

2017 Chevrolet Suburban

2019 Ford Edge

2019 Ford Escape

2017 Ford Expedition

2019 Ford Explorer

2019 Ford Flex

2019 Honda CR-V

2019 Honda Odyssey

2019 Kia Sedona

2019 Mazda CX-5

2019 Mazda CX-9

2019 Mitsubishi Outlander

2019 Subaru Ascent

2019 Toyota Sienna – Not as versatile as the Honda Odyssey for car seat position, the Sienna does a better job than most other SUVs. Oh, and it comes in all wheel drive option too.

2019 Toyota 4Runner

2019 Subaru Outback

2019 Subaru Forrester

2019 Volvo XC-90

The A-Z of India – Playtime with Indigrow

I love being an ABCD (American Born Confused Desi). Why? Because our children today have SO many more options to blend their mixed heritages and learn about them in creative ways than we ever did.

30 years ago I never had cool matching cards or puzzles or even beautiful hard bound books to learn about India, Hindi, Gujarati and religion. If you are Generation Xennial, you know what I am talking about.

This generation is the South Asian renaissance. Our immigrant parents have firmly planted themselves into the diasporas, the children (us) have grown up as American and Desi, and now our children live multicultural lives on all levels.

Today I’m super excited to introduce you to indigrow, a small business publishing company based in Singapore serving the global community.

They have created their first collection of learning and play materials for children 0-5. Each of their products ties into the A to Z alphabet yet in different ways. There is a book, a memory match game, on the go flash cards, and a floor puzzle.

Indigrow was sweet and sent me their launch collection to play with. Our children loved them!

The puzzle was the most popular with my 3.5 year old. We did it once together and then he did it on his own. There is a mini poster of the puzzle in completion and it *really* helped us know how to place the pieces (yay!).

Little missy, who is 1.5 years old, was crazy over the matching card coins. I like how they are round instead square, it’s something unusual and fun to hold. I will admit Little Missy did not get the concept of matching but she love looking at the watercolor drawings and asking, “what’s dis? what’s dis? what’s dis”… “OHHHHHHH”

What I love about indigrow’s products are the paper quality, drawings, and diversity. The drawings are watercolor style yet so detailed and exquisite. The card stock for the matching coins and puzzle pieces are thick and heavy – perfect for little, destructive hands!

And, the alphabet takes inspiration from ALL over India, not just the well known cities and things. I even learned about different areas of India, like Nagaland.

Photograph on right: Retlaw Snellac Photograph

Did you know the outfit above is traditional to the Nagas? Me either. I ended up doing some fascinating reading on the state, which was enlightening. Turns out, we adults have plenty to learn from A to Z too!

Thank you indigrow for growing our curiosity and knowledge. Visit Indigrow on Instagram and their website. Shipping is easy and they send anywhere in the world.

Toys R Us Closing Sale Questions and Answers

It’s the death of an American icon for children – Geoffrey the Giraffe.

Of Toys R Us of course.

I’m not that sad to be honest. Toys R Us have always been an expensive place for toys. Always charging full retail price and managing thousands of “special sales”, it was cheaper to go to Kmart and Sears in my days.

Still, it’s the end of an era. Here’s a quick FAQ on what you need to know about the Toys R Us closing sales.

How big are the discounts?
When the sales first start, they will be 10-20% off retail price. Retail price is the full MSRP which means, even with 20% off, toys will be similarly priced to Target, Walmart, Amazon. Remember, Toys R Us always works off of MSRP, which makes them one of the most expensive toy and baby stores.

Are the deals really that good?
When I visited my local Babies R Us that was part of the first round of 180 stores closing, the deals were all over the board. Diapers, formula, food were not on sale at all. Clothes were 20% off MSRP, totally not worth it. Toys were 10-40% off, some were great deals, others not so much.


This week we’ll see how low the discounting will go.

Will Toys R Us honor gift cards?
Yes, until April 15th. But if you’re smart you’re going to use that gift card right now.

What about the Babies R Us gift registry? Will it still exist?
The registry will exist for a couple more months, but you should look to going over to another baby gift registry ASAP.

Are both Babies R Us and Toys R Us really closing?
Yes. It’s sad. Debt and heavy interest payments dragged the company down. Bain and Co, which was part of the restructuring and leveraged buyout will probably make a killing (as it usually does in LBOs) at the expense of the death of an American icon.


Will price matching be honored? What about coupons and discounts?

No. Once the store enters into liquidation, there will be no price matching. Coupons and discounts will also not work.

That’s because once a store enters into liquidation, it’s run by the courts and has to follow set by the judge. In liquidation, the object is to sell everything off, including the floor, fixtures, and whatever can be moved to pay off debts.

Can I return products?
You can return only if you bought before liquidation began. Once liquidation starts at a store, all sales are final. It doesn’t matter if your toy was broken or was missing pieces, the sale is final.

What will happen to the employees?

They are guaranteed wages until mid-May (about 60 days from now). The 33,000 works will be out of a job as soon as their store closes.

Be nice to the employees if you are shopping during liquidation. Chances are that moral is low and they don’t care. Why should they; they are planning their own funerals. So be courteous.

How do I know if my store is closing?
If you’re in the United States or the UK, your store is closing. Canadian stores seem to be in a mixed bag and may stay open longer as a buyer is found.

Is there anything that can be done to save the store?
MGA Entertainment CEO, Isaac Larian, is pledging $200 million of the $800 million needed to buyout half of the stores. Things get weirder though because he started a GofundMe page to raise the rest of the $800 million.

It’s by far one of the most bizarre things to happen in corporate America: a GoFundMe page to save a for-profit corporation in bankruptcy from hedge fund vulture shareholders.

If you donate any money, you are NOT part of the ownership or shareholder of the new company. You’re just throwing your money to millionaires who want you to finance their block party.

A user on GoFundMe said it best:
“So let me get this right. Billionaires want us to donate money for them to buy toys r us. But if I were to donate $50,000+ I wouldn’t get a share of the business. They just want to keep the stores open so they have a store to sell more if there products. So… I guess they are asking people to donate so they can get richer. They just don’t want to take the risk with there own money so they will use yours instead. Incase the business failed.“

Seriously, don’t donate – save your money.

The Ultimate Must Have Newborn Baby Products

After a long time in the making, I’ve finally completed my newborn must have list! This is inspired by my friend R who is expecting a baby next year and is overwhelmed with what to buy.

I wanted to keep the list simple and easy. The baby market is massive and there is so much you can get lost in. While there are plenty of fancy things you can buy, newborns are fairly simple creatures; they just need clothes, milk (breast milk or formula), a safe place to sleep, and a way to be transported.

For some sections, like strollers, I listed budget friendly and splurge items. Splurge products are more expensive but not necessary something you need.

Note: There are affiliate links below. If you click and buy anything, I may make a small commission (and it doesn’t affect your cost). Your support keeps this blog running. Thank you!

**Strollers:**
Splurge: Uppababy Vista Stroller, Bugaboo
Budget Friendly: Uppababy Cruz Stroller, City Mini, Graco

Buying for twins: Uppababy Vista, Bugaboo, and City Select all

**Car Seats:**
For newborn babies, you can get a bucket seat (see pic below) or a convertible car seat that lasts a few years (from newborn to toddler/child). The benefit of bucket seats is that you can remove them and insert them into the stroller. Standard car seats cannot be removed for in-out use but have a longer lifetime.

Depends on the type of stroller you buy, you’ll need to get a compatible baby bucket car seat. Top line car seats are Maxi Cosi, Nuna; more economic friendly car seats are Graco and Britax.

Also good to have is a car seat mirror.

**Diapers:**
Honestly, it doesn’t matter what brand of diapers you get, as long as you buy ones in your budget and style.

Budget friendly diapers tend to be the store brand, Up and Up (Target).

Environmentally friendly diapers: Eco by Naty Premium (biodegradable, compostable, and eco-friendly), Seventh Generation (eco friendly diapers), Honest Company (less chemicals used), Earth’s Best (biodegradable and eco-friendly). Babyganics (less chemicals used but not biodegradable.).

Major brands: Pampers, Huggies, Get Dyper

Don’t forget the wipes, diaper pad, and diaper genie.

Bathtub: A simple tub is the best. If you have space, you can get a standard size baby tub. For space conscious bathrooms, get a folding tub like Puj, Blooming baby, or Skip Hop.

Bottles: Bottles are tricky; every baby is different and bottles deliver formula/breastmilk at different speeds.

In general, for newborns to four months, use nipple size 1 from the bottle manufacturer. Around 5/6 months, you can switch to nipple size 2.

Some bottles help with reflux or colic (though not proven through any research studies), some are ergonomic, and some are simple.

Personally, I like the Munchkin bottle. You can try out a single bottle with nipple size 1, before buying a 3 pack package (better pricing). The Munchkin bottles also come with adapters for the breast pump, which means you can directly pump into the bottle.

I also used the Lansinoh bottle when my firstborn was 5 months old.

Other parents love Dr. Brown’s (either in plastic or glass bottles), Aventi, and Medela.

**Pacifiers:**
Like bottles, pacifiers are dependent on the each baby preferences. Almost every bottle manufacturer makes pacifiers from newborns to twelve months (after one year, baby should be kicking the habit).

Many gift bags that stores give when you create a baby registry will include a pacifier. Try it out and see what sticks.

Health: Thermometer, nasal aspirator, Tylenol, Ibuprofen, gripe water, butt cream or lotion , baby wash. You can skip the baby oil and bubble bath for now.

For moms who are breastfeeding: lanolin cream and nipple soothies (the most amazing thing ever!)

**Clothes:**
Depends on the time of the year baby is born, you’ll need a mix of cool to warm clothes.

To buy a whole collection for a reasonable price, your best is to search Facebook Marketplace. Many moms will sell giant lots of newborn-3 months, 3-6 months, 6-12 months, etc clothes/accessories. They can be as cheap as $.50 an item. Considering how quickly babies go through them, it isn’t until they are older, you need to buy them. And from experience, the older baby gets, like toddler hood, the harder it is to buy secondhand (I don’t know why).

Buy the basic lot of clothes and your special items as splurge. Holiday outfits, dresses, and trendy brands for example.

Remember if you are in a cold climate, you will need more full sleepers and pants.
5-10 Onesies
4-8 Full sleepers – zipper ones are the best
6-12 Pairs of Socks
3-5 Pants – My favorite pants are the ones with the footed covers. This way, you can skip the socks and the search 5 minutes later when baby kicks them off!

**Swaddles:**
My favorite is Aden and Anais, the market standard. Made from muslin, they are soft and a bit stretchy.

**Nursery:**
This is when I highly recommend to get these items used. Facebook Marketplace, Nextdoor, and Craigslist are the best places to buy nursery pieces.

Truly, nobody cares except you how the nursery looks and how much you spent. We bought our bassinet used for $50, the crib (an IKEA one) also for $50 (and the parents gave us lots of extra things), and a small IKEA dresser for $75. We instead splurged on a high end stroller system that would last years.

* Crib + mattress or bassinet
* Dresser
* diaper changing table

Splurge:

* Rug
* Quilt set – this is really just for decoration as baby won’t be using blankets for at least a year
* Rocking chair glider

Wraps & Carriers:
Baby K’tan, Lillebaby, Ergo baby
Baby carriers are the wild west.

Swing:
For the ultimate swing/bassinet, there is SNOO. It is pricey at $1295, but the majority of parents swear by it. And for those it doesn’t work out with, well, baby just doesn’t like it.

On the cost effective side (but also more prone to breakage) is the Grace Dreamglider.

Gift Guide: Books & Toys for Babies 0-12 Months

Call it the holiday gift guide, the Christmas guide, or the baby guide, these have been my favorite books and toys for my son (and hopefully daughter!).

This guide is for babies under one year old. Head over to the 12-24 months guide for babies 1-2 years old.

I haven’t gender separated the books or toys because I don’t believe children should be told what toys are for “boys” and what are for “girls”. I picked toys that I/he love(s).

PS: These are affiliate. If you click through and buy, I’ll make a small commission that keeps this site alive. Thank you! <3 Everything Is Mama
by Jimmy Fallon, Miguel Ordonez (Illustrator)

Teaching your babies to say words? Of course you are. But no matter what you say, they all end up with ‘mama’. This is a cute book by comedian Jimmy Fallon. Check out his [DADA book](http://amzn.to/2zRllpo) too.

Goodnight Moon

A classic book for toddlers and children. I felt this book wasn’t good for babies under 10 months because the details in the images are tiny. And babies love high contrast, large images. But this is a must-have in your babe’s book collection.

Cottage Door Press Books
Babies Love Animals: Lift-a-Flap Board Book
![](/content/images/2017/11/Screen-Shot-2017-11-20-at-11-54-32-AM.png)
I am a big fat of CDP’s books. The illustrations are bright, big, and appealing for little brains. They have the lift a flap books, large board books for numbers and [letters](http://amzn.to/2zSVKwb), and books about holidays. These books will definitely last you from 6 months through the toddler years.

Toys:
High Contrast Black and White Cards for Baby

Printed on thick stock, these gorgeous illustrations in black and white will keep any baby entertained.

Infantino Baby Turtle Activity Mirror

Babies are narcissists. Really cute narcissists. And what do you buy a narcissist? A mirror. An adorable stuffed turtle mirror.

Stackers and sorters:
Every toy brand makes some type of stacker or sorter toys. Babies and toddlers love these toys. At the beginning they are disorganized but over time you will see them blossom and magically stack and sort. My son wasn’t fond of the traditional stackers but he was crazy for measuring cups and blocks.
The classic sorters and stackers come from Fisher Price, Melissa and Doug, Grimms, Haba

Baby Toys & Essentials Shopping List

Wee Gallery Organic Muslin Swaddle • Wee Gallery • $28
Art Cards For Baby – Original Collection • Wee Gallery • $8
Art Cards For Baby – Safari Collection • Wee Gallery • $8
Toddler Wee Gallery Reversible Sunshine/stars Playmat • Wee Gallery • $89.95
Wee Gallery Woodland Animals Growth Chart • Wee Gallery • $38
Toddler Wee Gallery Set Of 3 Animal Nesting Dolls • Wee Gallery • $42
Infant Baby Jogger City Mini Stroller & City Go Infant Car Seat Travel System • Baby Jogger • $492.99
Graco Breaze Click Connect Travel System • Graco • $229–243
The Honest Company Honest 40-Pack Newborn Diapers in Teal Tribal Pattern • The Honest Company • $13.99
Burt’s Bees Baby Bee Sweet Memories Keepsake Photo Box • $19.99
Burt’s Bees Baby Bee Cream to Powder • Burt’s Bees • $9.99
Add to Cart • $8.99
thinkbaby Baby Shampoo & Body Wash – 16oz • Thinkbaby • $9.99
Noodle & Boo Extra Gentle Baby Shampoo, 16 oz. • Noodle & Boo • $16
Calendula Baby Shampoo & Body Wash by Weleda (6.8oz Shampoo) • Weleda • $12.50
Burt’s Bees Baby Shampoo & Wash, Calming – 21oz • $10.19
aden + anais Silky Soft Sleeping Bag • Aden Anais • $28–37
aden + anais Metallic Swaddles • Aden Anais • $50
Carter’s Baby Carter’s 3-pc. Lamb Babysoft Take-Me-Home Coverall • Carter’s • $13.99
Okie Dokie 6-pk. Lowcut Crew Socks – Baby Girls newborn-24m • $4.99
Add to Cart • $16.95
Add to Cart • $18.95
Burt’s Bees Baby® Newborn Sweater Cardigan in Grey • $29.99
Burt’s Bees Baby® Newborn Rugby Stripe Footie Pajama in Navy/Green • $12.99
Cotton Rich Elf All in One with Hat • Marks and Spencer • $23
UNIQLO Newborn Crewneck Long-sleeve Onesie (set Of 2) • Uniqlo • $9.90
UNIQLO Newborn Crewneck Long-sleeve Onesie (set Of 2) • Uniqlo • $9.90
Etsy Zero Fox Given Onesie®, Baby Shower Gift, Hipster Baby, Boho Baby Clothes, Funny Onesies, Newborn Ph • $16.99
Ralph Lauren Polo Bear Cotton Coverall White Multi Newborn • Polo Ralph Lauren • $20.63
Tea Collection Newborn Cycle Footed Romper in Navy • Tea Collection • $19.99
Lansinoh Soothies Glycerin Gel Pads • Sold Out
Lansinoh Simple Wishes Hands Free Breast Pump Bustier • Lansinoh • $30.99
rene rofe (Newborn Girls) 3-Piece Little Star Bodysuit & Pants Set • Rene Rofe • $6.99
Munchkin® White Hot® 4-Pack Safety Spoons • Munchkin • $5.99
Munchkin Bottle & Nipple Brush • Munchkin • $2.99
Munchkin LATCH 3pk BPA Free Baby Bottle Set • Munchkin • $19.99
Skip Hop Explore & More Animal Car, Bee • Skip Hop • $9.99
Skip Hop – Hop Moby Bath Mat Accessories Travel • Skip Hop • $15
Lego Duplo Town Truck & Tracked Excavator • Lego • $19.99
UPPAbaby® VISTA Stroller and Bassinet in Samantha • UPPAbaby • $703.99
Infant Uppababy 2017 Mesa Infant Car Seat • UPPAbaby • $299.99
Munchkin Nursery Fresh 3-pk. Diaper Pail Refill Bags • Munchkin • $12.74
Medela Breast Milk Storage Bags 100ct • Medela • $19.99
Medela® Tender CareTM 2 oz. Lanolin • Medela • $7.99
Medela Tender Care HydroGel Pads – 4pk • Medela • $7.99
Fisher-Price Brilliant Basics Rock-a-Stack • Fisher-Price • $6
Fisher-Price Brilliant Basics First Blocks • Fisher-Price • $9