I got the beautiful Bertini Valencia infant carrier's base installed without a hitch. The LATCH system is really nice and makes it very easy to do. I was feeling empowered. I was feeling intelligent. I'm smart, college education, and dammit....I can put in a car seat on my own! :-)
Well, all of that quickly went out the window when I went to put the carrier on the base and could not fit the thing behind my passenger seat. I moved the seat forward to make room, but the seat had to be pushed all the way forward to the dashboard. No person with legs would be able to ride with me, and unfortunately (or fortunately), I don't have any friends with no legs. The closest person to that would be Jenn, my shortest friend. :-)
So, I unhooked everything and moved the seat to the middle seat. I couldn't use the LATCH with this, so I had to use the shoulder/lap belt. I didn't like this. It moved a lot more. Plus, it didn't fit there either. It was too wide for the gap between my driver and passenger front seats.
I tried the convertible car seat that we have to last through the toddler years. It didn't fit in the infant recline position either, and since the baby has to be in this rear-facing position until he/she graduates high school (or 1 year/20 lbs, whichever comes first), I started to get pissed.
Commence INSTAMELT! This is the term Luke has given my instant, spontaneous meltdowns. I can go from happy and smiling to upset and crying in a matter of seconds, which means that I will get along great with my newborn son or daughter very soon. Regardless, I was upset and stressed, thinking my cute little Elantra was not going to be big enough for my child's car seats, and the law would not allow me to escort my infant anywhere.
We got the Bertini in Luke's car (tight squeeze, but doable). To try and find a solution, we started Googling used Hyundai Santa Fe's (the next car purchase I would like to make-- a nice small SUV). I thought that maybe this purchase would just be coming sooner rather than later for us.
Leave it to my mom to think rationally today and tell me to try to look for a smaller car seat, versus look for a larger car. Hmmmm....$180 or $18,000..... (hands in "weighing position" in air).
I posted on Baby Center message boards about this problem, and I got some helpful responses. I Googled the best car seats for compact cars, and I came up with a few choices. I set out to Babys R Us to find a car seat, tape measure in hand. The nice lady at Babys R Us let me take the model seats out to my car to try them out.
I settled on the Chicco Keyfit 30, which fit in my car and will allow me to carry a passenger other than Jenn (not that I wouldn't be delighted to have you as my only passenger forever and ever-- AND I hope you a reading this carefully since you have an Elantra, too...you know, for the future...when you have a baby...not trying to start any rumors). It is in a nice orange and gray color combo, and I already have it installed in my back seat.