Fitting Three Car Seats In a Row: How I Did It
Hi there! If you’ve been following me on social media, you may know that I just had my third baby. I am officially a boy mom for life! Going from two to three kids was a huge deal for me. So, choosing the right vehicle for my expanding family was my priority.
During my pregnancy, deciding the vehicle that would suit us best was the most stressful part of planning for our new baby. All my kids were still in car seats and would be for a while. This meant I needed to figure out how to fit three car seats in a vehicle. Do I really need a van? What about an SUV? Would a hybrid work? A car? Luckily, Cars.com has this awesome tool called car seat safety check. Certified technicians install car seats into each vehicle to test for the best fit. For our budget, fitting three car seats in a row was super important to me. I’ll let you in on some tips on how I managed to do it.
It’s not a one size fits all when fitting three car seats in a row
It’s important to know that all car seats go through the same vigorous testing. The key to having “the safest” car seat will depend on the best installation you can get. Be sure to read your vehicle’s manual AND your car seat manual to check for compatibility. Some older vehicles don’t allow for LATCH installation while others do. With this in mind, it can save you from spending $400 on a car seat that can be just as safe as a $50 one with a correct installation. What will work for one car seat with not work for the next when installed in the same car.
You don’t always need a bigger vehicle
Turns out, you don’t necessarily need a bigger vehicle if you can fit three across one row. Cars.com also has a list that they are constantly updating as to which vehicles can safely fit 3 across. If it’s not in your budget to buy an SUV which costs more to insure, more to maintain, and more to gas up then choosing a sedan may be an option for you and Cars.com has got you covered.
Do your research
A huge part of my success goes to the resources used in researching over and over different scenarios. SUVs with a third row vs SUVs fitting three in a row vs sedans fitting three in a row. Knowing that one size will not fit all, you’ll have to play around with different car seats in different cars and different seating positions. Here are the resources I used to ask questions, create scenarios and ultimately find success in fitting 3 car seats in a row.
They have the car seat check tool which grades car seat installation, a list of vehicles that can safely fit three in a row, and support for questions
This is a Facebook group that is filled with CPSTs who will gladly answer questions pertaining to car seat safety, installation, maintenance, upgrading, and so much more. It’s a must-have group for all parents.
This website has a ton of information on almost all the car seats. The site will literally break down each car seat by ease of fit in most vehicles, length of use, height and weight limits, and so much more.
YouTube for car seat reviews
If you want to view the car seat without leaving your home, head on over to YouTube and search for reviews of car seats that you are interested in. You’ll get to see all the bells and whistles without having to purchase the seat.
Your local fire department
Many local fire departments offer car seat checks free of charge. They will make sure you get the right fit and install for your vehicle.
If you are thinking of purchasing a new or used vehicle for your expanding family, I highly suggest using these resources to research vehicles and car seats.