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Discussion Starter #1
OK might be an unusual one but some of you 3 owners must have young children.

Have our first baby coming in about a month...need to get a car seat. The wife has been reading that some don't fit well in our cars due to the smaller back seats and angle/shape of the front seats.

Any thoughts? I have a 15 gs hatch BTW.
 

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No problem here. They should all be made to the same standards so unless you get something crazy you should not have a problem.
 

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Just about anything will keep your kid safe if installed and used properly, but there is definitely a big difference in size between different systems. Some of the rear-facing seats are MASSIVE, and I think they would only fit in an SUV or minivan. But there are plenty of options that will fit. The stuff I describe below was used in my old 1999 Corolla (which has even less rear space) before I got my 2015 3sGT.

I have 2 kids, and we used a Graco infant travel system when they were very small (until around 1 year when they outgrew it). It includes a base that remains latched into the back seat with a rear-facing infant seat/carrier that can easily be clipped in and out. I'm 6ft tall and I found that putting it behind the passenger seat or in the center position was best for me. The center position was a nice choice because, in a pinch, the 2 side rear seat positions were sill usable. Not terribly comfy, but usable. Behind the driver seat was not possible with the Corolla. It is possible with the Mazda, but only using the carrier alone, not with the base. But if you or your spouse are shorter, it may work OK for you.

When our first kid outgrew the infant carrier, we switched to a Graco Nautilus front facing seat. It's an older model that is now discontinued, but I'm sure there are more recent equivalents. It's convertible from a 5-point harness, to a booster with a back that positions the seat belt, to just a booster. My kid who uses it is now 5, and he's tall for his age. It fits fine behind the passenger seat and he has OK leg room even if someone is in front of him. Definitely get a rugged seat back protector for when their legs get long enough to reach (i.e. kick) the seat back.

There are lots of bigger and more expensive options, but we've felt very safe using these. Good luck.
 

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We have a 15 HB. I currently have 2 Chicco Nextfits, one rear facing in the center seat, another forward facing on pass rear.

They both fit, barely. The rear facing seat in the center means our seats are a little further forward than they would be otherwise, but nothing horrid. The rear facing seat plugs in to the belt system a bit better: when forward facing the base tends to slide forward as you pull their harness tight. The pass seat rubs on the door a little bit.

My other car is an 05 WRX, it seems to have more room. We also have a Peg Pereggo Viagio as the fwd facing seat, which is MUCH easier to fit to that and other cars.

The Nextfit is supposedly super safe, but it is giant compared to the PPV. I recommended the Viagio when people ask. The other weird thing about the Nextfit is they perform differently depending on the fabric. The black neoprene one in my wifes car is easier to tension than the 2 red/black fabric ones in my car.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
So we found out that if you go to babys r us store, you can try out car seats for fit. They also have certified techs.

What an experience. Out of all of the infant and multi use car seats they have only TWO will fit properly and only in the middle seat. This is pretty exclusive to rear facing car seats, but still that's pretty bad.

The thing that got me is that these things are all pretty much the same. Its not like they're all wildly different.

This is the first time I can say that Mazda really screwed up here. I get it if a few don't fit. All but two? That's pathetic. How was enough room for safe fitment of a child seat not thought about during design?
 

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No problem here with any seats...i recommend a simpler model, wife got the mac daddy car seat and it was a pain in the rear for her, often just to get our son buckled up with all the extra "luxury" items all over the seat.

Can be tough addressing all wife's concerns around this time, they want those kids safe of course. When we first needed child seats, my wife insisted that we go to the fire department to have them installed. I ended up stopping in a parking lot halfway home from work so i could install the thing myself (because this is something you need to be able to do yourself) without having her get upset. Once she realized it was installed properly and it was not that complicated, she eased up.

God bless the day we were able to move to a booster seat....life's just that little bit easier now.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
No problem here with any seats...i recommend a simpler model, wife got the mac daddy car seat and it was a pain in the rear for her, often just to get our son buckled up with all the extra "luxury" items all over the seat.
We are not looking at anything fancy here. As I said, this is an entire store with good selection that we went through. All of the universal ones are a no go.

I'd be interested to know where you live. Some countries have different safety laws which could affect this. Also how old is the car seat you used? Was this a rear facing? As I said, front facing are not a problem.

Here law requires using a rear facing until the child is 1 year old or 22lbs. The problem is that the front seats block the rear facing seats from sitting on the back seat properly. Law also states that the car seat cannot touch the front seats. This is why we are forced to use only the middle seat.

I do plan to check other stores but from what I have seen so far they're all roughly the same dimensions. This isn't an issue of doesn't fit a little, this is no freakin way. Problem is the shape of the front seats. For this to work I'd have to adjust the seat in a way that I probably couldn't get in or out. Forget about driving the car. I'm not a big guy either, 5'10" and thin.
 

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You are correct zero. When you have the seat rear facing, they take up a lot of room with that extra angle you usually have to add (you need that extra recline when rear facing which puts the top of the seat way out towards the windshield. When my LO was born, I had a 4-door Tacoma and had plenty of room. When we sold it and bought our Mazda CX-5, we test fitted it at the dealer and it did work. However my wife and I are in the mid 5' range so any taller and it probably would not have.

In the Mazda 3, I would have been surprised if it fit at all. But by the time I bought it (couple months ago), we are now in the Forward facing mode and it makes the world of difference.

The rear facing we had was the Graco Travel system. He outgrew it and now we have the Diono Radian RXT which fits fine in the Mazda 3 (forward facing)
 
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