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Old 01-24-2009, 02:49 PM   #1
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Small children & SMB

I'm brand new to the forum, but have had my eyes on a SMB for years.

My wife and I are considering buying a SMB, and we have two little girls age 2 1/2 & 4 1/2. Does anyone have experience with installing car seats in a SMB? Is the forward facing couch a must? What is the model description for that type of layout? Any feedback on personal experience would be greatly appreciated.

Do others travel in a SMB with two small kids? How does it work out?

Thank you.
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Old 01-24-2009, 03:12 PM   #2
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Re: Small children & SMB

Our son will turn 3 in March. As far as I know, forward or side facing seats are a personal choice, but for us, forward facing was a must.

We had the California Highway Patrol install the car seat in one of our rear captain's seats, near the side barn doors for our convenience. The CHP officer said it was an easy install and the seat belt that Sportsmobile uses made it very easy for him to install. CHP does this for free (make an appointment early).

We don't have a couch setup at all, our is based more or less on the Traveler configuration (small galley unit, rear captain's seats, rear removable bed platform, penthouse bed). I don't know if that style is still listed on Sportsmobile's site, but I can't imagine why they wouldn't be willing to make it anymore.

I hate top say it, but the drop down DVD screen has made travel much easier. I used to say "I'd never have one of those in my car"...famous last words.


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Old 01-24-2009, 03:22 PM   #3
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Re: Small children & SMB

We travel with 1 child and 1 dog. There probably will be another child sooner or later. We've found no REAL problem with the forward facing seat belts except that the buckle end is fairly long and it puts the buckle and insert in the middle of the child seat. Also, I'm going to have to take the seats out and weld some anchor points as well as potentially a "LATCH" system.

We investigated the forward / vs side seating thing and I don't really see a big problem with it- as long as the seat is fastened well and nothing will impale or hurt the child in the event of a collision on any side. We ended up with the EB50 configuration. We use the back of the 50 as a toddler room for his naps so we don't have to bring a pack n play or anything like that.

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Old 01-24-2009, 03:33 PM   #4
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Re: Small children & SMB

More kids was one of the key reasons we got an SMB in the first place. Sure beats traveling in an SUV.

We got the SMB when our kids were 8, 5 and 2. Our layout is the EB-51 with an extra captains chair for the little guy in a full blown child seat. That layout works great and is very comfortable. Front facing was our preference, and it makes watching a DVD while on the road much easier for everyone.

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Old 01-24-2009, 05:15 PM   #5
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Re: Small children & SMB

We have an EB 71 configuration in our SMB. We have a 2 1/2 year old as well. The 3rd captain seat (for our little one) has built in anchors, perfect for a child seat. We also have the Britax Blvd. and our little one is very comfortable. We drove from LA to Salt Lake City last summer (more than 12hrs) and she took it like a champ and she was very comfortable.

Our van configuration is on the bottom:

http://sportsmobileforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=1073
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Old 01-24-2009, 05:39 PM   #6
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Re: Small children & SMB

The 50 has been great with my nieces and nephew, no questions with the forward facing bench you can get 3 kids on, although only one shoulder belt. You can also squeeze another captain's chair in the EB 50, in case you'll have extra people or want to be able to split the kids a bit.

My brother uses a side facing bench in his SMB sprinter, and they are sticklers for safety so they verified all the regulations and the actual safety on top of that. The only problem they have is my nephew gets seriously car sick looking sideways out the window, but shutting the shade and putting a DVD on takes care of it.
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Old 01-24-2009, 10:24 PM   #7
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Re: Small children & SMB

Wow. Sounds like I'll be in the minority when I get my SMB, with a side-facing Gaucho. I contacted the DE DMV and they said side-facing is fine as long as you have seat belts.

I guess it's the same "idea" no matter what. Most would argue that you'd want front-facing seats in case of an accident. But there's no difference between a head-on collision w/ forward-facing seats, and a side-impact collision w/ a Gaucho. Forward facing seats and a side-impact is the same as a Gaucho and head-on collision. It's a directional thing....

Sorry to sound so morbid. But my guess is side-facing seats like the Gaucho are acceptable in the safety world due to the numerous variables during an accident. Anything could happen, from any direction. So as long as you have seat belts, you're good-to-go.

So, I'm sticking w/ my Gaucho idea for my SMB, even though I have 3 small children who would be riding in it w/ me (it'll be my daily driver)....
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Old 01-25-2009, 12:06 AM   #8
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Re: Small children & SMB

Quote:
Originally Posted by dave_in_delaware
Most would argue that you'd want front-facing seats in case of an accident. But there's no difference between a head-on collision w/ forward-facing seats, and a side-impact collision w/ a Gaucho..
If there is ever an accident with an SMB, most cars on the road are a lot smaller than my Beast of a Van. This is the main reason why we love our TANK....I mean SMB so much. My wife feels safe whenever we are in our rig vs. her little Honda or my truck.
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Old 01-25-2009, 09:13 AM   #9
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Re: Small children & SMB

Quote:
Originally Posted by dave_in_delaware
But there's no difference between a head-on collision w/ forward-facing seats, and a side-impact collision w/ a Gaucho. Forward facing seats and a side-impact is the same as a Gaucho and head-on collision. It's a directional thing....
Actually, I don't think that's inherently true unless you compare side impact crash-worthiness against front impact crash-worthiness. I don't know if that question can be answered however, since I don't think they crash test the heavy duty trucks which I think the large vans fall into. I do believe most vehicles are built to withstand a larger frontal impact than a side impact. That's purely anecdotal however, no info to back that up.


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Old 01-25-2009, 09:47 AM   #10
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Re: Small children & SMB

Well, I didn't mean there was no difference in crash tests vs construction vs collision vs elastic/inelastic physics... I was talking about directional relationships. That's all. Basically, an accident is an accident, and so many factors play into the outcome, it probably wouldn't matter which direction anyone is facing. LOL.
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