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Old 05-23-2018, 05:02 PM   #1
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Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: North Pole, AK
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Car Seats

We will have 5 kids in our Skoolie, ages 2, 2, 3, 4, 7 and want to be able to restrain them in car seats. The most obvious (and possibly safest) solution is to set up a whole bunch of forward-facing seats (bus, minivan, bucket, etc)

However, I would prefer not to use up that much floor space. (And it’s hard to find anything that looks “finished”). I have been brainstorming, but have not yet come up with an adequate solution. Suggestions are appreciated.

Some of my half-baked ideas so far:
1. Bucket seats on swivel mounts so they can be forward facing while moving (seats for 5 kids is a lot to fit in a design!)
2. Metal-framed couch or futon or vehicle bench seat facing sideway (with a very strong frame and side-impact rated car seats)
3. Car seats fastened directly to floor in the aisle, not in a seat at all
4. Some kind of dinette, with 2x car seats on the bench facing forward, and a custom adjustable back on the other bench seat (the seat back flips over to reverse the direction of the seat from rear-facing to forward-facing)

I’m not satisfied with any of those ideas. Any refinements or new ideas would be appreciated.
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Old 05-23-2018, 06:38 PM   #2
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seating

Freedmanseating they do seats for buses, shuttles, vans. I am ordering seats for my short bus that recline, have arm rests, integrated 3 point belts and car seat tether points.

They make bus seats that have built in booster seats and four or five point belts
for little ones. you can fold up the child seat part and have normal bench type bus seat. I plan on hauling grand children around for the next twenty years or so. I have my bus more for a bus kind of thing but some of the seats are face to face. some are sideways. some are face to back. They twin seats that fold up. go check out the company. many bus seats on ebay.

hope this helps you find your solution.

william
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Old 05-23-2018, 07:35 PM   #3
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Most car seats prohibit/advise against/ invalidate any warranty if installing sideways simply because they are not designed for it. I believe some state laws may also dictate the seats not be installed sideways.

We have two kinds of newer school bus seats with seat belts. One has three shoulder belts and I think with a very slim fitting car seat you might get three into it. We also have seats with integrated foldaway 5 point harnesses and two shoulder belts. These do sit very upright though if your smalls tend to fall asleep.

I’d try for two bus seats set as a dinette with a fold away table and install seats into that as needed for travel. I’d put the smallest 2/3 in car seats rear facing relative to travel and not to the seat orientation. The older ones in remaining spots.

Something like Cosco scenera or finale 2 in 1 are inexpensive, lightweight, pretty narrow fitting and stack together nicely for storage. We use them when we fly.
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Old 05-23-2018, 07:40 PM   #4
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If I can find some time I’ll see how many car seats I can install on the bus seats we have.
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Old 05-23-2018, 07:50 PM   #5
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No, I lied. Youd only get two car seats on a bench.
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Old 05-24-2018, 08:42 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by magnakansas View Post
Freedmanseating they do seats for buses, shuttles, vans. I am ordering seats for my short bus that recline, have arm rests, integrated 3 point belts and car seat tether points.

They make bus seats that have built in booster seats and four or five point belts
for little ones. you can fold up the child seat part and have normal bench type bus seat. I plan on hauling grand children around for the next twenty years or so. I have my bus more for a bus kind of thing but some of the seats are face to face. some are sideways. some are face to back. They twin seats that fold up. go check out the company. many bus seats on ebay.

hope this helps you find your solution.

william
I like a lot of what Freedman makes, but it would be hard those here.

Part of my challenge is that I have limited options for used stuff. eBay shipping to Alaska is ridiculously expensive. On Craigslist, the selection is also limited, since Fairbanks is only 31,000 people, Anchorage is 6-1/2 hours away, and Juneau is only reachable by boat or plane (and even smaller than Fairbanks). The next nearest cities are Vancouver and Edmonton in Canada, 2000 miles away over bad roads. I spent a little time at one of the local junkyards - lots of schoolbus seats with built-in seatbelts, but I’m hoping for a seating idea that’s a little more like a living room than a school bus.

Keep the ideas coming - I may have to be more creative than most to get something I like.
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Old 05-24-2018, 10:28 PM   #7
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Any thoughts on just anchoring the car seats direct on the floor? Under a certain weight, carseats can use the "Latch" system. After that, they need a seatbelt. Not sure if it would be safe without the seatback behind the car seat...

Obviously, this isnt a long-term solution, but would it work at all? Would it be safe?
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Old 05-25-2018, 07:23 AM   #8
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I'm pretty sure the seats need a backing to lean against if forward facing. Rear facing they don't really lean against anything. Make sure to use grade 8 bolts, washers and backing plates.

I read a bunch or RV articles about child deaths in RV wrecks before I went the bus route. The majority of death was from kids not being strapped in.

Anyways, in a pinch, I'm sure you could set up a latching system to the floor.
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Old 05-25-2018, 07:26 AM   #9
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Also, depending on the how much room you have, you could build a U shaped couch. The 2 year olds could be rear facing. The other 2 young ones forward. Then 2 van seats, one for oldest and one for passenger on the opposite side of the bus/across from couch. You could install a swivel base on the van seats so the become part of the living area when parked.
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Old 05-25-2018, 10:05 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Ninjakitty View Post
Also, depending on the how much room you have, you could build a U shaped couch. The 2 year olds could be rear facing. The other 2 young ones forward. Then 2 van seats, one for oldest and one for passenger on the opposite side of the bus/across from couch. You could install a swivel base on the van seats so the become part of the living area when parked.
I assume I'd need to have a welded frame for any seats I built myself. What other design considerations would I need?
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