Recently, my middle daughter, Avianna, went to the doctor and was measured at 48 inches tall. This meant that she was only 1 inch away from outgrowing her Nuna Rava car seat. It was officially time for the great car seat shuffle! I already had a booster picked out for her, so I was ready to uninstall her Rava and install her new booster. I am a Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST), so I knew I could safely take on this task myself. I recommend always consulting a CPST for car seat installation or a safety check.
I waited for a lovely spring-like day because installing car seats can be a sweaty business. When I have the luxury of planning out my installs, I try to wait for good weather. I found out that my children wanted to change up their seating arrangements in our van, so this was the perfect timing to accommodate this request.
Check Your Car and Car Seat Manuals
Check for Compatibility
I always start the shuffle by first checking my car manual. It’s important to make sure the vehicle seats I want to put them in are compatible with their car seats. Next, I check my car seat manuals to make sure I don’t need to adjust anything on them. It is recommended to uninstall and re-install car seats every 6 months. As kids grow, adjustments are needed.
For example, the crotch buckle is one that you have to refer to the manual to see where the manufacturer wants it to fit on your child. The Nuna Rava has two positions for the crotch buckle. Rava wants parents to use the position that is closest to your child but not under them. I will check out my 3-year-old in her seat when I uninstall and move her seat and make sure that this is in the right position. Keep in mind that this is where Nuna Rava wants to see their crotch buckle, but not all car seats are the same. Keeping and reading your manual is so important. I also check where straps are hitting on her shoulders. Since she is still rear-facing, those straps should be at or below her shoulders. If you have a forward-facing child, the straps should be at or above the shoulders.
Clean Car Seats
Once I know the seats will work in the vehicle in the selected placements, I start uninstalling the old seats. I do a quick clean job on the seats. Hello, crumbs! Next, I take the seats and start installing them in the places they need to go.
Move the Seats Around
The next step in my fun day of uninstalling and re-installing seats is to take my middle daughter’s Rava that she just outgrew and move it to my husband’s car for our youngest daughter to use. Eleanor(3 years old) has a Chicco Next Fit in that car. My oldest is next to her in a Bubble Bum booster, and our 7-year-old is in a Clek booster on the far end of the car. I am moving the Rava to this car because it is slimmer than the Chicco, which I hope will give my 10-year-old a little more room. Sometimes in tight spaces, you have to get creative which is how we ended up with the Bubble Bum in the middle spot.
Tight Fit? No Problem!
The Mifold is another option that might work when dealing with tight spaces. Also, keep in mind the Clek Foonf and Fllo both fit 3 across in cars. These seats are very safe and easy to install. I love their Crypton® Super Fabrics are GREENGUARD Select Certified and provide permanent protection against stains, moisture, and odor-causing bacteria; and are free of brominated and chlorinated flame retardants.
The Nuna Rava fit like a glove in our Honda CRV! Now my Emmaline has more room in the middle. With this last car seat installed, I was now done with the great car seat shuffle at least for now. My kids were all sitting in my parked van checking out their car seats in the new position. I love how this simple change makes them excited about their seats again and attest to the power of a fresh perspective.