Suv For 3 Car Seats – Installing three car seats or booster seats in one row or three passengers in one row is one of the biggest challenges many families can face when it comes to car seats. We call this scenario Three Across and it can be applied to several situations:
The word “three to the right” can send shivers down the spine of any caregiver or CPST, but it doesn’t have to!
Suv For 3 Car Seats
We tend to think of this scenario as the holy grail of car seat installation, as it presents some unique challenges. We’ll break down the different elements that come into play when installing three car seats in a row, and hopefully you won’t be afraid to prepare your setup.
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While we can make some suggestions based on our experience, finally getting to the setup can usually require some trial and error. And often some swearing or angry words.
Top strap Place the seat belt facing forward in the sitting position where the top strap attaches. Top straps provide significant safety benefits for forward-facing children. This is usually not a problem for sedans because almost every sedan has 3 anchors for the rear seats. But in an SUV or minivan, all bets are off. The third row can have 3, 2, 1 or 0 anchorages, so the three forward-facing seats in that row cannot be used.
Access to the booster seat buckle Getting the child into the car seat when there are three on the right is often easier with three seat belt seats than with a push seat.
While children’s small hands can fit into these spaces, children often lack the dexterity to fasten their seat belts between seats. Adults’ hands often don’t fit. And if the car seat next to the booster is fitted with a seat belt, when the booster reaches to unbuckle the seat, he might accidentally unbuckle his brother’s seat; trust us when we speak from experience: this headache is worth avoiding.
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In some cases, installing a car seat using the car’s seat belt can help create additional horizontal space in the car seat. The lower anchor is only attached to the vehicle in one place – the lower anchor connector on the car seat must connect directly to the lower anchor at the front of the car, there is no side-to-side flexibility in the car. the seat fits like a car seat. Seat belt installation does not have this requirement – the car seat can slide from either side of the seated position and still have a secure installation. An exception may be car seats with high side supports, as the car seat may not be securely fastened in the middle of the backrest.
Some vehicles have a special lower anchor in the middle seat of the car. In some cases, installing a narrow car seat in this position using the lower anchor can free up space on the outer seat, allowing the seat belt to be attached to the outer seat.
Using the lower anchors under the outboard seats to mount the LATCH in the middle is known as “borrowing the LATCH”. Many vehicle and seat manufacturers prohibit this. Before using the lower anchor in the center position, consult the manufacturer of the specific seat and the manufacturer of the vehicle. If you can’t occupy the LATCH, you can usually mount it in the middle with your seat belt.
In some vehicles, the middle seat belt has an attachment or buckle in the side seat belt. This results in a situation where the seat belt or lower tether strap can interfere with other car seats. On some cars, the three-cross setting is not possible because there is too much overlap.
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It’s not just the width of the car seat that affects which seat will work – sometimes the height of the car seat is important too. In some cases, car seats can fit together in a configuration we don’t expect. On the contrary, sometimes the high forward-facing seats in the third row quickly approach the roof, which will be a problem when the child grows up.
In most cases, the squarer a car seat is, the more likely it is to fit another car seat or between two car seats. A multi-contour seat does not fit well with other car seats unless the contours are properly coordinated!
Important note: Some manufacturers do not allow the edge of a car seat to extend beyond the edge of another car seat. In other words, you want to imagine an impassable glass wall between the seats. If you encounter this scenario, check with the car seat manufacturer for each seat in question.
Installing three car seats on top is sometimes easier if the seats are rotated. This can be translated as: a booster seat on the outer seat, a rear-facing car seat in the middle seating position, and a forward-facing seat or car mat in the second outer position.
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Other settings that use alternating directions: forward-facing outboard car seats, rear-facing middle seats, and forward-facing outboard car seats.
When a rear-facing car seat is best installed in the middle seat of the car, if the child cannot be buckled into the seat, it does not matter if the seat fits. Sometimes getting a child in through the tailgate of a van or hatchback can make the rear seat of the back row usable.
In popular city and country minivans and other vehicles with three or more rows, the third row presents some unique challenges for booster riders. The seat belt anchorage angle on the outboard seat places the car’s seat belt in an awkward position above the passenger – several inches in front of the shoulder.
A push-back seat is not a good choice for the third row, as a push-back seat in most of the split bench doesn’t have enough head support for three.
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We’ve searched high and low to find a solution to this problem, but there’s little out there. We even wrote an article about the frustration of the third row in the Mazda 5.
We are still looking for a consistent booster seat option for this seating position. We had mixed results with the Evenflo Spectrum and Kiddy Cruiser 3.
Another factor to consider is how the car seat is attached to the side of the car seat, which some manufacturers do not allow; how much front-to-back space is required for installation; and check that each individual seat is tight.
All car seats must be properly installed and independently secured. This means that if one car seat is removed, the other car seat is still properly installed, with less than an inch of movement in the belt path. Adjacent car seats cannot properly store other car seats – each car seat in any configuration must be installed correctly.
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As you can see, there are many factors involved in achieving a safe and correct installation. We hope you find this article helpful and please feel free to post in our Facebook group or message this page with specific questions!
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All cookies that may not be necessary for the website to be used and used specifically to collect users’ personal data through analytics, advertisements and other embedded content are called non-necessary cookies. You must obtain user consent before running these cookies on your website. Parents are often looking for the holy grail in a car: a car that isn’t a minivan and can fit three child safety seats in the back seat. We found the answer in our car seat reviews – which include some minivans too, in case you were wondering.
In more than 10 years our editors have installed car seats in vehicles to test fit and space, we’ve found SUVs, vans and pickups that can comfortably and safely hold three car seats in the back seat of a vehicle.
How we came