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Three Car Seats In a Prius!

Discussion in 'Gen III 2010+ Prius Main Forum' started by boulder_bum, Sep 4, 2009.

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  1. boulder_bum

    boulder_bum Senior Member

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    This topic has come up every once in awhile, and I always thought the answers sucked. I just put together a guide for three car seats in the back seat, and I was hoping to post here for posterity and to solicit feedback. Any takers?
    2 people like this.
  2. HTMLSpinnr

    HTMLSpinnr Moderator Staff Member

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    While three could be done, I'd advise against using LATCH for the center position if the outboard positions are also using the connections as I'd be hesitent to suggest that the inner loops could support 2x the force in a crash scenario. I also had problems putting my infant carseat base in the middle w/o interference from the center console sliding back into it. My 8½ month old now rides on the driver's side of the back seat in a rear facing convertible (Radian65 - really quite narrow, perfect for a full back seat). The Radian65 could easily be done three-abreast, but the Britax Roundabout (free from my employer) that sits in the 2004 is a tighter fit w/ the other two kids in the back, and I'm not so sure it could be done three-abreast.


    Notes on my 3 occupant back-seat (not 3 car-seats though):
    My 8 year old (she's rather small) sits in the center and my 13½ year old on the right side (or front if my wife isn't along - she's big enough to enable the airbag). I left the passenger side open as it facilitates a safe drop-off at school w/o requiring one or both of them to exit unsafely on the driver's side. My wife is a bit leery of the carseat being close to the edge with side air-bags and what not.

    Hope this helps a tad.
  3. Dgreene120

    Dgreene120 New Member

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    Good to know and thanks for the tip. We have 3 Britax in our Odyssey, but it's good to know that we now have the option of getting all 3 kids in the Prius if necessary.
  4. CPSDarren

    CPSDarren CPS Technician

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    Good advice. You should never hook two attachments to the same anchor. Also, Toyota does not recommend using LATCH for a child restraint installed in the center position. That said, this is a good setup for 3-across and the seatbelt installation(s) should work fine, also.
    DrPepperholik likes this.
  5. bluemonday

    bluemonday New Member

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    Nice job, just remind little Sleepy McDozerson not to block the air intake for the battery and you're good to go. :)
  6. boulder_bum

    boulder_bum Senior Member

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    Thanks, guys! I will probably update my blog post with the seat belt for the middle car seat tip.

    Out of curiosity, what are the sources for the seat belt tip? I'll check the owners manual here shortly and Google a bit, but I want to make sure I have solid sources to corroborate before I publish my facts (and perhaps provide a link to the info).
  7. drees

    drees Senior Member

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    Cute kids. :)

    Do you think that three of those Radian 80 XTs would fit all front-facing once your little one outgrows the rear facing seat?

    BTW, it looks like the seat on the right could have the should straps adjusted down a bit - either that or your daughter is slouching. :)

    We've got two kids but the Boulevard seats we have leave absolutely no room in the middle for another seat should we have the need!
  8. CPSDarren

    CPSDarren CPS Technician

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    This publication establishes best practice on the subject and compiles information from manufacturers regarding their policies, too-

    LATCH Manual

    Edited to add information from Toyota:

    LATCH System anchor maximum weight (lb), both lower and tether anchors used: Follow Child Restraint Instuctions

    Tether anchor maximum weight with seat belt(lb), if CR instructions allow: Follow Child Restraint Instuctions

    Use of inner bars for center seat in non-LATCH positions- if CR instructions allow: Not Allowed
  9. boulder_bum

    boulder_bum Senior Member

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    Absolutely! I came across information on the interweb that said it couldn't be done in a Prius because of "the sloping roof", but that's totally bogus. The Radians can easily fit three in a Prius.



    The manufacturer recommends fitting the shoulder strap one notch higher than the shoulder line of the child (and they have a big cross through putting the straps through a notch lower than the shoulder line). That's how the seat is set up.



    Thanks again, CPS Darren! I still find a lot of the data confusing, but everything points to not using the LATCH system used for the middle seat.

    I updated the blog post to correct this error, and offer a second round of thanks so I know I need to change the seat installations for my own kids!
  10. CPSDarren

    CPSDarren CPS Technician

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    Honestly, there is ongoing debate about "borrowing" the innermost anchors to install a seat using LATCH in the center, especially if the spacing of the anchors is about the same or somewhat wider than the standard allows. Some manufacturers, like Ford, have allowed this for years on many models, within certain constraints. Most, like Toyota, do not.

    On the other hand, attaching two attachments to the same anchor is a definite No-No in any situation.
  11. HTMLSpinnr

    HTMLSpinnr Moderator Staff Member

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  12. CPSDarren

    CPSDarren CPS Technician

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    As a side note, Amazon may have older info. All Radians made after 9/1/08 now have updated (and retroactive) rear facing limits of 40 pounds.
  13. HTMLSpinnr

    HTMLSpinnr Moderator Staff Member

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    Darren, thanks - I'll provide that feedback to them. In either case, our rear facing limit is more of what our child will tolerate once she crosses the 1 year (and 20lb) mark. By then, her neck/head to body mass ratio is not nearly as critical in a frontal collision.
  14. CPSDarren

    CPSDarren CPS Technician

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    Rear-facing is also showing to be extremely beneficial in side impacts, even moreso than frontal impacts for older toddlers. The most recent study indicates significant benefits to rear-facing up until 24 months old.

    The recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics that infants should remain rear-facing until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their car safety seat’s manufacturer. The 1 year and 20 pounds mark is a minimum mark where it is acceptable to turn a child forward facing, but is not considered safest practice.

    As you suggested, keeping a kid rear-facing can be more difficult in smaller vehicles with upright seat backs. Usually, it isn't too difficult to keep them rear-facing to 18-24 months in most vehicles. In fact, some kids tolerate it well until they are 3-4 years old, though others won't. In vehicles like minivans or other large cars where the seat back reclines, you have a little more room for older toddlers to remain rear-facing.
  15. isibrigade

    isibrigade New Member

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    4 months now with three carseats in the back! The kids are cozy, we didn't have to sell the prius to buy the minivan, and we still get the fuel economy.
    Thanks for posting this thread and turning my wife into a believer. We would have gotten rid of the prius without your guidance.

    For the record:
    a 4yo, 2yo, and a 4 month old.
    -ALpha Omega front-facing on the drivers side (2yo)
    -Graco Booster in the middle (4yo)
    -Smaller rear-facing infant seat on the passenger side. (4 month old)

    I'll take a pic and post later.

    Thanks again
  16. Kenrick

    Kenrick New Member

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    I've got 4 year old twins and an 8 year old, and they all fit nicely in the back with the Radian car seats (we got the XT's). At first we tried it with different car seats, but there wasn't enough space in the middle for the 8 year old. The only downsides:
    1) No cup holders when all three are in the back
    2) Unlike our Sienna, now the kids can kick and smack each other when they get into fights!
  17. isibrigade

    isibrigade New Member

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    Yeah, but life just wouldn't be interesting without sibling rivalry:D.
  18. Nannycar

    Nannycar New Member

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    Hi How did you get 3 radians in the back? we installed two Radian 65, one behing driver, one behind passenger, and there are only 10 inches between the two, we need to get a third seat in the middle could be a booster, any advice would help!
    Thanks
  19. misinformed

    misinformed New Member

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    All three has radian car seats or just 2 with the 8 y.o. w/o seat?
  20. jawshoeaw

    jawshoeaw Junior Member

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    What do you plan to do when your baby grows out of the infant seat?

    In our 2010 Prius, we presently have a Britax Boulevard front-facing passenger side, and a Chicco Key Fit in the middle. This fits great, and then a passenger can sit in the back with the baby and she is in the center, which is safest.

    However, she's already outgrowing the infant car seat, and now we need to get her in a convertible seat. I'd like to keep her in the middle.

    We could either put the baby in the Boulevard in the middle rear-facing and get a new seat for my 3-yr-old, or we could get a different convertible for the baby and leave my son in the Boulevard. Suggestions? (We know that 2 Boulevards won't work in the configuration we want because the rear-facing Boulevard gets all crooked.)

    I'm even considering putting my 3-yr-old back to rear-facing if possible (He's only 37 inches and 27 pounds). We moved him forward-facing because we didn't think we could fit rear-facing very well on the sides and because I didn't fully realize how much safer it might be rear-facing even at his size. Have other people successfully done rear-facing on the sides without having to scoot the passenger seat annoyingly forward? How might that change any suggestions?

    Thanks!
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