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  1. #1
    Member Jackielyn's Avatar
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    3 across a Prius

    We have decided to bite the bullet and get a Prius. We currently own a Suburban but after spending $87 to fill up the tank I have had enough!! We will sacrifice quite a bit but there will be quite a big savings this way. My kids currently sit in a Recaro ProSport (DD age 3.5) Recaro Vivo (DS age 5.5) and Graco Turbobooster backless (DS age 8)

    I already know that ProSport is NOT going to work, so I want to replace it with a Radian. I was thinking of putting the radian in the middle. Then the boosters outboard. Would this configuration work? Would the Graco TB backless work? Are there narrower backless boosters?? I know the Vivo is pretty narrow...any other boosters that compete? All in all, does this sound like it would work?

    Thank you for your time!
    Jackie, mama to--
    Corbin age 8, Graco TB backless
    Reid age 5.5, Recaro Vivo
    Faith age 3.5, Recaro ProSport

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  3. #2
    CPS Technician creideamh's Avatar
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    Re: 3 across a Prius

    No idea, just wanted to say good luck. I can barely get a Radian and CCO next to each other! Someone on here told me the TB is one of the narrowest boosters so I think you would be ok with that. Don't know about the other booster, sorry.

  4. #3
    Senior Community Member sirrahn's Avatar
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    Re: 3 across a Prius

    It's going to be tricky with boosters. The passenger side seatbelt buckle overlaps quite a bit with the center seatbelt and the buckle stalks for the middle and driver's side are short and tight next to each other which makes buckling rather difficult. My almost 6 yr old cannot buckle her driver's side Turbo by herself even when no one is in the center. I've figured out that it's pretty easy to do if you push the buckle out toward the middle as you push in the latchplate, but she can't manage it yet.

    Ours is mostly just DH's commuter car so I haven't had to work too hard at getting 3 across, but the couple of times my almost 8, 11, and almost 6 yr old's have ridden back there together, they were in a Literider, seatbelt only (he just barely 5 steps in the middle), and a Turbo and it's snug.

    If you can still access that passenger side buckle, a Radian will probably fit in the middle. If not you may need something like a Britax that sits up on a narrow base for the 3.5 yr old. HTH a little!
    Mom to DS-21 driving a 2011 Honda CR-Z, DS-19 driving a 2010 Toyota Prius, DD-16 driving a 2017 Toyota Yaris iA, and DD-14 riding in a 2018 Mazda CX-9 & 2018 Mazda CX-3

  5. #4
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: 3 across a Prius

    I have an 07 prius and was never satisfied with the install of the radian in the middle. Mine works just fine outboard. I can get a radian outboard on both sides of a britax husky.. I have a graco turbo booster beside it right now. Much more challenging to buckle, but doable. I do three across here and there and my ds is now 8.

    Maybe my belts are different then pp, but my kid who has low tone and fine motor issues (can't use scissors) cane buckle the turbo on his own. My buckles are side by side, but not overlapped and they are of decent length and soft.

  6. #5
    Member Jackielyn's Avatar
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    Re: 3 across a Prius

    This is an '09 Prius and from what I've noticed is that the center buckle is longer than the driver side and it's floppy. I may have to put the rear seats down and play with the buckles...I haven't had too much of an issue buckling, just had to scoot the booster to the side and scoot back...I'm determined to make it work! lol My friend has a Britax Marathon, I wonder if I could install that in the center to see if it works.
    Jackie, mama to--
    Corbin age 8, Graco TB backless
    Reid age 5.5, Recaro Vivo
    Faith age 3.5, Recaro ProSport

  7. #6
    Moderator - CPSTI Emeritus Defrost's Avatar
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    Re: 3 across a Prius

    You might have more luck with a Harmony Literider backless to replace the Turbo, but try the Turbo out first. The Harmony's not that much narrower, but the armrests are lower and it's got a different configuration. It might be skinnier where it needs to be, or it might end up that the widest parts of the seat are in the wrong place to fit next to a Radian, yk?

    You might want to try out the Marathon, too. It's wider than the Radian, but because it sits up on a skinny base, sometimes it leaves you more room to reach between the seats and buckle.

    Also, do you have the screws in the armrests on the Turbo?
    Debbie, CPST-I
    driving my '07 Mazda5 with
    Thomas (18) * Sam (17) * Patrick (15) * Macha (13)
    Safely secured with seat belts - everyone, every ride!

  8. #7
    Senior Community Member sirrahn's Avatar
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    Re: 3 across a Prius

    I believe the 2010 model was a redesign so maybe the buckles are different. I can't get either of them to pull out at all, so they're kind of buried, and they aren't stiff enough to not move as you try to buckle either. I'm sure you can make it work, it will just take some playing around. GL!
    Mom to DS-21 driving a 2011 Honda CR-Z, DS-19 driving a 2010 Toyota Prius, DD-16 driving a 2017 Toyota Yaris iA, and DD-14 riding in a 2018 Mazda CX-9 & 2018 Mazda CX-3

  9. #8
    CPS Fanatic
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    Re: 3 across a Prius

    Quote Originally Posted by Jackielyn View Post
    We have decided to bite the bullet and get a Prius. We currently own a Suburban but after spending $87 to fill up the tank I have had enough!! We will sacrifice quite a bit but there will be quite a big savings this way. My kids currently sit in a Recaro ProSport (DD age 3.5) Recaro Vivo (DS age 5.5) and Graco Turbobooster backless (DS age 8)

    I already know that ProSport is NOT going to work, so I want to replace it with a Radian. I was thinking of putting the radian in the middle. Then the boosters outboard. Would this configuration work? Would the Graco TB backless work? Are there narrower backless boosters?? I know the Vivo is pretty narrow...any other boosters that compete? All in all, does this sound like it would work?

    Thank you for your time!
    We fairly recently bought a 2008 Prius (which is also one of the Gen 2 models, like your 2009, so probably pretty comparable). It's definitely workable for three across, but it takes determination, and perhaps some compromises. Coming from a '96 Corolla, I never expected my older kids to be able to buckle their own boosters in the first place, so the fact that they can't do it in the Prius has not been a shock to us (this seems to be one of the things that people often complain about with boosters in three-across situations in small cars).

    I do have a Radian in the center, but it's RF (for DD, who will be 4 y.o. this month). This is partly because I like RF for safety, but partly because having one seat RF makes for easier combination of seats in a tight situation.

    We started with two (old-style) Parkway boosters outboard for our sons (9 y.o. and 6 y.o.). Buckling/unbuckling these took some practice, but was manageable IMO. There was the hazard on the driver's side of unbuckling the installed harnessed seat in the center by mistake (which my husband did once). Also, DS2 (the 6 y.o.) had been harnessed until very recently, and still leaned out of his booster more than I liked, so I put an older Radian FF outboard for him (he'll still fit harnessed for a while). I have to admit, even though I don't mind buckling boosters, it's a lot easier to have him back in a harness. DS1 is now in a Recaro Probooster outboard -- the Probooster actually puzzles a bit with the RF Radian, and works well that way in the Prius; I have my doubts, though, that it would work next to a FF Radian (I haven't tried it, though, so can't say for sure). What with the armrests on the Probooster, it looks like a ridiculous buckling challenge, but it actually isn't bad once you develop a technique. The semi-rigid covering on the outboard seatbelt buckle stalks helps with this, as the buckles more or less stay put while you're trying to click in the latching part of the belt.

    Since you have a backless booster in the mix, that should open up more possibilities in terms of fitting three FF seats, if that's what you're aiming for. As for a Radian FF in the center, that's the one position I haven't tried hard to install one yet, although I have confidence from reading other threads on these boards that it can be done. I've found Radian installs to be hard work in this vehicle -- they have to be approached with determination. It will help if you read over the tips that have been posted by others for installing this seat in this particular vehicle. And feel free to ask for help/advice here, of course .

    We love our Prius! You'll find some other threads criticizing the car as being too cramped for multiple kids, but we don't share that opinion. Again, coming from an old Corolla gives us a different perspective than someone who's been living in a minivan, FWIW.

    Katrin

  10. #9
    CPS Fanatic SavsMom's Avatar
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    Re: 3 across a Prius

    My Prius is a 2010 but the rear seat is very similar to the 2009. I found that the Complete Air works quite well in the middle. I get a rock solid install rear and forward facing in the middle. I don't know much about boosters, but both of my parents can sit in the back seat of my Prius outboard and can get their belts on and buckled with the CA in the middle.

    Congrats on your Prius - I mine - especially now when I can fill it full for about $32 and that lasts me two weeks or more

    DD - 12/07 - Backless Turbo
    DS - 9/13 - Boulevard

  11. #10
    Member Jackielyn's Avatar
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    Re: 3 across a Prius

    So I got a successful three across! I put the backless TB on the passenger side. The marathon is in the middle and the Vivo is driver side. They all really like this, they seem to have their own space and not smashed together...This weekend I am going to Wichita to see if I can find a Radian in BRU or baby depot to test it out in the car...
    Jackie, mama to--
    Corbin age 8, Graco TB backless
    Reid age 5.5, Recaro Vivo
    Faith age 3.5, Recaro ProSport

  12. #11
    Carseat Crazy
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    Apr 2009
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    130

    Re: 3 across a Prius

    I've started several "I need 3 across in a Prius" threads, we have an '05. The newer models *may* have another inch or so across the back seat, which would help a lot. I find it really stinky to work 3 across, though. In general, we love the car otherwise, except for the low clearance, which stinks for winter driving.

    Otherwise, for 3 across, we've been using the RSTV, and I am waiting for the Bubblebum to come out in April for carpooling (we only have 2 kiddos). I'll put it in the middle, between the vivo(dd1, 8 yrs) and a FF Radian XT (dd2, 4 yrs). This will probably be the narrowest backless booster, but people have mixed feelings on safety at this point, it'd be for short carpool runs for us, so not quite the same issues as everyday use.

    Good luck, other config's (2nd booster or 2nd convertible seat) required us to scoot booster out, buckle, and scoot booster and kid back in. Didn't work so well for the drop-off line at school, and the RSTV isn't kid-friendly either for self-use (the buckle is too hard for them to open on their own on a single try.)

    Keeping a kid in booster as long as possible is best, but when your kids are older, do take note that the middle seat has no scoop, is shallower, (and ours has the raised spot where feet can rest, too) etc and may pass the 5-step test sooner than outboard rear seats. Will be good to know down the line......not sure if these are still present in the newer models, but worth checking for.

  13. #12
    CPS Technician
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    Re: 3 across a Prius

    I have a 2010 Prius. I am having a REALLY hard time finding a 3 across solution. Here's what I have tried:

    My kids are currently riding in a FF Radian drivers, FF Radian center, and RF KeyFit passenger.

    I'm passing the KeyFit to my sister and my 5 year old is nearly outgrown the harness height in the Radian.

    I have successfully installed FF Radian, FF Safety 1st Go in harness mode, and RF MyRide. But my 3 year old has nearly outgrown the harness height on the Go.

    I cannot use the Radian RF as it pushes the front passenger seat too far forward for anyone (even me, I'm small) to safely or comfortably sit there. I tried a Coccoro RF, but could not get a tight install.
    Carla - CPST

    K - 10/17/05 - Diono Monterrey and Britax Parkway SGL
    L
    - 05/03/07 - Diono Monterrey and Britax Parkway SGL
    J
    - 06/24/10 - Britax Frontier and FF Britax Marathon

  14. #13
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    Re: 3 across a Prius

    I was able to get a successful three across my 08 Prius, I had a FF radian in the center, a graco snugride behind the driver, then when he outgrew that a RF radian behind the driver and a Evenflo big kid booster which is really narrow behind the passenger. I had to compromise on the booster, we now have a Mazda 5 and have my almost 7 year old in a monteray but the evenflo fit her well. A backless monteray might work too but the highback was too bulky for the door to close.

    One tip would be to buckle the booster and pull out on the belts and have the child slip in that way, the buckles can be tricky because of the overlap. the other thing my daughter got used to doing was to pull her booster out climb in and buckle and then we would push the booster back in place and tighten the belt, kind of a hassle but only added seconds to the buckling process.

    Good luck, I miss my prius.

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