The children and their seats was one of the biggest issues with me. their comfort is always paramount in my decisions. I suppose they are "healthily" spoiled to an extent - but I fought 15 years to have them and plan to cherish every moment from the first poop till they can't stand me and want to be "independent" (though I prey that day never arrives).
That said I liked having the rear windows for them to see, the dinette to sit and play, the upper bunk which my daughter absolutely loves. Plus I have a nice ramp that lets their 100# dog come along too. And my daughter likes to climb it as well since her legs are still too short for a gound up climb into the cab.
My resolution to the car seat issue demanded that things be left intact. To do so I got a set of seat belts - 2 sets for two seats. I admit that I haven't installed them yet but its not too difficult. I plan to place them so that the car seats can be place in either , or both, the left and right side of the dinette up tight to the back wall facing forward. The base of the seats are Plywood and go into the lower luggage compartment. once your in there there are several locations to bolt down the base that are pertty strong - I noted they may not be as strong as the bolt down in car or truck - but that they also don't need to carry the wight of a full person. The decision I was working on was whether I wanted to go "hog wild" and use a heavier bolt down with backing. this lets you have the two seats in regardless of work station position (up or down) and allows two people to sit next two them - one each side. and still leaves the copilots seat open .
All that said - I know I should have acted on those day one - but have only recently came up with what I felt was a good solution and we didn't go out allot in the snow (I'm pretty anal about keeping my cars detailed and this one is a bugger <G>
having done allot of traveling in our old class A's with our firends children I recall that only the two front seats ever had seatbelts - I'm not sure if thats changed today- our last new one was around 87 or so.
How I got by initially was to put the baby seat for my son up tight to the dash between the seats. I could attend to him and in a frontal impact he wouldn't fly forward - unless quite substantial (note : I know all this is wrong - just telling what I had experienced - keep in mind I still remember that my parents never used seat belts with us when we were young - right or wrong). My daughter was always in back with people around her as well as sleeping bags and padding - or behind one of the passenger "nets" that came with the truck.
FAst forward to today when they are both a bit older and larger - My son resides in his car seat located in the passenger seat - hes all strapped in good and tight - and legal. He loves looking out - can't do that in our other cars - hes too low.
My daugher usually loves sitting and coloring or watching TV in the dinnete with my wife with her and in front of her. often she likes the bed down to play and we can place the net up. While trying to decide what to do regrading selling the rig this weekend I showed her the upper bunk and ladder. I'd say that was the final blow. She wouldn't have come down yet if I hadn't forced her to. She spent the better part of the weekend up there- behind the net while I was "puttzing" around.
In your case you could improve on safety - if you strapped the baby into the passenger seat and added seat belts up back for your daughter. You could do as I did with the carrier - but its not an approved method and your wife may not like you for it. - mine liked the way it worked. I still see trucking families today with kids piling in and out of the rig - I don't know how they deal with it.
AFter reading a post in another forumn of how a fellow wasn't even jarred while reading in the back of his 770 while his wife T-boned a cow - I got new respect for my truck. And also remembered why I got it in the first place.
I'd love to discuss the 750 with you - why I got it for safety of the kids and a ton of other things - I'm guessing the admin here wouldn't care for it too much so I'm assuming I should email you privately on that. 1) love it - 2) got if after my daughter was born - couldn't take her and the mrs in the ZR1's or on the bikes so I parted with everything and got one car - the safest and sportiest sedan I could find (not including the M5 which is small for me) this one has the nav and reard and side airbags plus the security glass with the metal protected sunroof. ITs a tank that can book. We've even had that on the market due to our recent situation (as well as our house ;-0 but not sure I can part with that either. And like you - I prefer its look over the new 745/760 - the later e38's are, from what I've been taught, pretty reliable. I even found a cheat to enable the TV here in good ole US of A. Please drop a line re the BMW topic if you'd like. I'm never around - but I'll get to it eventually.
Kevin E. Silva
ZR1 Parts for sale -
In Major Need of an Update
1998 BMW 750il - Orient Blue
2000 Volvo VNL 770
NCM - #4738
ICQ# - 18873747