Sunday, December 20, 2015

I have a two month old and a very small sports car (Subaru BRZ). Can an infant car seat fit in this or will the baby require the biggest expense yet in a new car?

Background

Back in 2013, my wife got a job far enough away from where we lived that we needed two cars. She'd bought the last one so we started shopping around for what I wanted. The cars I settled on were:
  • Hyundai Genesis Coupe
  • Chevrolet Camaro
  • Lotus Elise
  • Subaru BRZ
None of these cars are baby-friendly, but we weren't planning to have a baby for a couple of years so that was a problem for future me.

I settled on the 2013 BRZ, and as you can see from the picture above, the backseat is basically non-existent. Was there any hope of fitting a rear-facing, infant seat in there?

Options

After doing some measurements, I found that I had ~29 inches to work with and found two potential candidates:
We tried them out at the local Babies "R" Us, and felt that the Chicco was the most promising.

Results

Below are several pictures of how it fits:
View from driver's side door

View from passenger's side door. Note that the gap between the two seats is sufficient.

Evidence that the seat angle is safe


Working in our favor is that the backseat has hooks for the seat base, the front seat slides very far forward on the passenger side, and there is a gap between the seat back and the door opening that makes it easy to get the seat in and out. Working against us is the shape of the back seat (it slopes down sharply), the fact that it's only two doors, and the fact that the seat on the driver side doesn't slide forward as far as I'd like to be able to easily get into the backseat on that side.

To handle the angle of the backseat, I took old shirts and used them to flatten out the seat a bit (they're stacked under the seat base with the stack being thicker as the seat sinks in). The Chico base is adjustable, but I didn't find a setting that worked perfectly for this.

To get him in, it's easiest to pull the seat off the base, put him in it, then put the seat back into the base (we often do this with my wife's 4-door also as it's convenient). You can also get in the backseat on the driver's side and put him in there if you prefer.

As is probably obvious from the pictures, the front passenger seat is somewhat useless, but my wife gets sick when she rides in this car anyway, so that's a non-issue for us as we always use her car if we're both in the same car.


Conclusion

If you don't need to use the front passenger seat and can afford to spend >$200 on a car seat, this isn't too bad and the Chicco Keyfit 30 works for me.

Note that all of this also applies to the Scion FR-S.

22 comments :

  1. MY SON AND WIVE DRIVE SMART2 AND MAKE BABY SEAT OUT OF DUC TAPE BECAUUSE OF SMALL BACKSET. GOOD TO SEE BABSET FIT IN YOUR CAR BUT HAVE YOU TRIED SUNFOOR?

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  2. Thanks for posting this! We have a baby on the way and I've been looking all over for a good answer on a rear facing infant seat for the BRZ.

    Just like you guys, we were not planning a child when we bought the car...but things can change in 2 years huh? It's been tough to find a definitive answer on this, so I am really happy I can stop worrying about getting rid of the BRZ.

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    Replies
    1. Actually, one follow up question. Do you have a stroller that fits the Chicco KeyFit 30 that also fits in the BRZ trunk?

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  3. I haven't actually tried a stroller yet...we just carry him or him+car seat around. I think we might try one in a few weeks since he keeps getting heavier, so I'll come back and edit it with that info once I have it.

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    Replies
    1. So after measuring and a little bit of research, I think the Baby Jogger City Mini GT. It folds really flat relative to other strollers I've found, and they have a universal adapter that fits the Keyfit 30 seat.

      I'm in a little shock that I am intensively researching about this and writing about it on the internet, but if it helps another BRZ parent keep their car, why not :)

      Delete
    2. Thanks for the research. We live less than half a mile from our daycare, so I'm planning to walk/jog him there when the weather allows it and am planning to look into jogging strollers once he's a bit older (it feels like the bouncing might be hard on his neck this early). I'll check this one out.

      Just to warn you, you might find yourself doing this sort of stuff a lot. I missed an entire night's sleep when my wife was around 8 months pregnant because I freaked out about the baby falling and dying from a head injury when he was learning to walk and had to know that instant how to baby-proof for falls. I obsessively took pictures of his diapers every day for a while because I was convinced his poop was changing color (it wasn't). You'll find yourself doing the most random things, but it's kind of fun.

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  5. I'm in need of a car with a infant seat in my BRZ. Your post is really useful for me. Thanks for sharing this post!

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  7. And now your baby can travel with you in the car, thanks for share

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