What to look for when purchasing a vehicle and thinking ahead to fitting 3 car seats across and options for fitting 3 across in your existing vehicle.
Fitting 3 car seats across the rear of a vehicle will depend on several factors:
- Car / Vehicle manual instructions regarding the type of car seat seats approved for installation in all car seating positions. A minority of vehicles do not allow car seat installation in the rear centre, so it is a good idea to check the manual of any vehicle you are looking to purchase.
- Shape of the back seat: whether the sides beside the doors are flat or curved. Vehicles that have flatter sides are easier to fit 3 car seats in.
- Location of the vehicle seat buckles and whether they are set into the back seat or on a fabric loop. Vehicle seat buckles that are on a fabric loop can make it more difficult to install car seats that are installed with car 3 point belt. This is due to the potential for the buckle to bend over the frame of the car seat at the belt path causing what is known as car seat buckle crunch.
- Width of the back seat and in particular the middle seat. Many vehicles have 2.5 seats with a narrow centre seat resulting in the vehicle seat buckle being closer to a car seat.
- Location of Isofix points: the Isofix points can be centred on the seat and most vehicles will only have these on the rear sides. See below for the options for car seats fitted with vehicle 3 point belt.
- Width of your car seats.
- Combination of car seats: rear facing or forward facing.
Options for fitting 3 across in your vehicle
- This is where extended rear facing (ERF) car seats prove their worth even more than just keeping kids safer. There are many ERF seats that have a narrow base/recline foot which allows them to be installed safely with the vehicle 3 point belt especially in the centre where there can be less space and the vehicle seat buckle is located closer to the car seat.
- Car seats that can be installed with the vehicle 3 point belt allow more flexibility in positioning as opposed to Isofix installed seats where the positions are set and many vehicles only have 2 Isofix points (rear sides) which means that Isofix seats cannot be used in the rear centre.
- Jig sawing installation and alternating between a rear and forward facing car seat where applicable will mean that the widest part of the car seats are not side by side. (Car seats must be suitable for child’s weight and height and we recommend rear facing car seats until a minimum of age 4.5 years)
- If your current car seats are too wide then you may have narrower options which would be a much smaller cost that purchasing a new car or moving to a people carrier option.
Despite what car dealers will tell you there is a possibility of fitting 3 car seats across the rear of a vehicle, depending on the actual vehicle seat and combination of car seats required.
|Three car seats across have been successfully fitted in the below vehicles:||For smaller cars 25kg ERF seats were used for the below:|
Peugeot 5008, Seat Alhambra, Volkswagen Sharan, Volkswagen Touran, Citroen C4 Grand Picasso, Renault Scenic, Ford Smax, Ford Galaxy
Skoda Octavia, Skoda Superb, Skoda Kodiaq, Ford Mondeo, Ford Focus, Kia Sorento, Kia Sportage, Hyundai Santa Fe, VW Golf and in many other vehicles.
The most important factor when fitting 3 car seats across is that the car seats do not push each other out of place: they can lightly touch.
Also when closing the rear car doors this should not result in the car seats being pushed out of place.
As always car seats must be suitable for the height and weight of your child and correctly installed. Here at Rearfacing.ie we recommend rear facing to a minimum of age 4.5 and for as long as possible.
Car Seat Options
When purchasing a car seat check the fit list to see what seat positions it can be installed in your vehicle.
A popular option for the narrowest high back booster for 3 across is the Britax Adventure.
How Rearfacing.ie can help
Contact us here at Rearfacing.ie with your 3 across queries. We know how difficult it is to find a car seat that suits your vehicle, child and family needs. We also have a Trial Car Seat Service so that you can try out car seats before you buy and see what fits. Based in Ballybunion, Co. Kerry and we hold appointments in Limerick, Killarney, Tralee and Listowel also.