Sunday, December 13, 2009

An Open Letter to Whoever Designed My Car.

Dear auto engineer type people,

When I bought my car three years ago, I thought I was buying a larger vehicle. After all, it has four doors, a station wagon-style rear hatch, and is called a "crossover." This, to me, means big. Or if not big, at least family-sized.

After all, it isn't fast. Or particularly stylish. Or particularly comfortable to ride in. So it should at least accomodate the average family, shouldn't it?

But you know what? It doesn't. I have one child.  One child who needs a car seat. And you know what doesn't fit in this damn car? A car seat.

Back when I was pregnant, we had to return the first car seat we bought because it was too big for my car. We ended up purchasing a seat not because of its safety qualifications, but because of its size. Granted, it is a very nice seat (the Chicco Keyfit. Best infant car seat ever),  but that's not the point. The point is, I couldn't buy the seat I wanted because of your poor designing skills.

But I was willing to let that go. I mean, sure, when we go out as a family I have to ride in the passenger seat because to make her seat fit, we have to scoot the front seat allllllll the way forward, but it's only temporary.

You know what I can't forgive, though? The fact that not a single convertible car seat will fit in the rear-facing position. At least, not if anyone wants to sit in the front seat.

My daughter is only eight months old. And she's dangerously close to outgrowing her current seat. It's not going to last her the whole year. It's just not.

But you can't let a baby sit facing forward until she's at least twelve months.

So, what am I supposed to do, oh genius designers of the Dodge Caliber? Not go anywhere for the next four months?

Lest you think my complaints have no basis, I'll have you know that I spent several hours at various baby super stores today. I took just about every model they had (at least those that fit in a normal human's budget) out to my car to test it out.

And you know what? None of them fit. Not one. So I drove two hours (there and back) with a cranky, constipated, teething baby, had my hair pulled, my shirt pulled down (in front of a salesperson) and my pants spit up on, for NOTHING.

You know what I could have been doing that would have been more enjoyable? Sitting on top of a nest of angry red ants while bees stung my eyes and spiders crawled up my nose.

So next time you go to design a car (specifically the front seats of said car), pause to think about your target audience for a moment. If your typical buyers are young families on a budget (who are not midgets), then make sure they're functional for said families. Make sure you can fit a damn car seat in there.


One pissed off mama.


  1. This is so funny. When we first had Bea, we... I mean, I had a Honda Fit. Have you ever see those? I bet they would fit into your current car's trunk, that is how small they are.

    With Bea in the back, there was no way anyone could ride in the passenger seat. We have the SnugRide 32, and I refused to get a new car seat... so, we got a new car.

    Now, I drive a Subaru Forester - 2009. I love it. We all fit, but somehow I think we will need one of those roof cardo-thingys when we go somewhere for vacation ...(sigh)...Babies/ Kids have a lot of stuff!

  2. This should definitely be sent to the fine people at Dodge!!!

    My "little" one has long since outgrown his baby carseat. We had to move him into the convertible carseat at about 6 months old. Although it does fit into the backseat of a Toyota Camry, it's no treat getting him in and out. And you know what the problem is with a baby who needs a convertible carseat at age 6 months? He's so tall that his little legs are already pressed right up against the back of the bench seat. I've explained to him that he'll just have to refrain from growing for the next 6 months until we can turn him around forward-facing. Wish us luck.

    It looks like it's about to be mini-van, here we come!

  3. Did you try the Britax seats? I drive a Focus and was able to have the seat rear facing in the middle and still keep my seat in a comfortable position to drive.

  4. We had EXACTLY the same problem with our previous car - a Subaru Outback. Now, this is not a small car either, but we had to return our infant car seat (wouldn't fit) and struggled to get the convertible car seat to fit in too.
    What are car manufacturers thinking???

    Lise has it right: a minivan is the way to go. They're not sexy, but they make so much sense. We caved and got one, and not only does it fit all sorts of car seats, but it also carries around our single stroller, double stroller, AND playpen with room to spare! We'd never be able to to back.

  5. Yeah, a minivan would be nice. I'm still paying for this one though, so I'm not sure we could trade it in for enough to make it worth our while.

    Steph, it might fit in the middle, but then we wouldn't have room for Kermie...who rides around with us more often than I'd like to admit.


  6. Ah poor engineering. Just do like our parents did. Let us ride in the floorboard. Oh wait that isn't safe. How did we survive.

  7. Wow! I would be so disappointed with my car if I had that problem.

    I have a PT Cruiser and no kids of my own, but earlier this year, I was watching my neighbor's 18 month old during an emergency and was surprised at how easy it was to get her gigantic car seat into my little bitty car. (The back experience ever driving seats come out of the PT Cruiser like suitcases, so I got the car seat out of their enormous truck (like my car would fit in the cab size) put it on the bigger half of my back seat, threw in my 30 lb dog and their 90 lb dog, and had my first with a screaming baby in the car.) I was surprised at how roomy it was for something that seems very small to me (or it could be that all of my neighbors just have huge cars and my perspective is off).

  8. I hope you send the letter! That's ridiculous! Makes me glad my son is tiny...he'll be in his infact carseat for at least a year, if not 13 or 14 months.

  9. Why is no one listening to us mamas? After my son was born the nurse at the hospital came down to our car to make sure the car seat was properly installed (not my first child)and said that it was too big for our car. I shrugged and said, can't afford a new car seat and most certainly can't afford a new car. My son is three now and just fine.

  10. damn, that really sucks. :( I have no wisdom for you, but pure sympathy. Thanks for stopping by my blog, it's good to know I'm not the only owner of a pair of grumpy pants!


Feed my blogging habit and leave me a comment! Oh, and if you do me a favor and make sure your email isn't blocked, we can keep this conversation from being one-sided!