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  1. #1

    Convenience of 3-across??

    We have a 3.5yo, 2yo and are expecting baby #3 this summer. We are considering doing 3 across but I wonder how (in)convenient it is in real life. How long does it take you to get your kids in and out of their seats? Do you assume the middle kid will be able to buckle themselves? Can you get the middle child out if they are sleeping without doing crazy acrobatics? Do you have to leave one of the kids out in the rain standing free in the parking lot while you're getting the other ones in? Maybe I'm overanalyzing this but it's difficult for me to picture making this work in real life without ever having seen it done.
    We currently own a Honda Civic but are planning on buying a new vehicle in the next few months. If you have a recommendation for the most convenient vehicle to do 3 across in, please let me know!

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  3. #2
    CPS Technician Cryssy Jane's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Bellevue/Seattle, Wa.

    Re: Convenience of 3-across??

    I usually have Odin (was 3 in feb), Amare (now 20 months ish) and Landon (7 months), I drive a subaru impreza.

    I've done multiple threes and didn't expect anyone to buckle themselves. For the most part all three were rear facing. I've done it with Odin climbing to the middle, amare on a side and the baby on a side. Or I've done it, when using all convertibles with the baby in the middle and the bigger boys on the side, which is usually how it works. I usually have baby on my back, put Amare in, Odin stays hand on hip, hand on car right next to me, buckle, walk around put baby in buckle, Odin climbs in (he buckles himself). Or if I'm in the driveway, I open both doors, Odin climbs in and does his buckles on his own, I buckle amare in (climbs into own seat), then buckle baby, close door, walk around, tighten Odin and close door. I've been able to get kids in and out when all three were sleeping with the help of the stroller, or taking each one in one at a time if that's an option for you.

    Crystal: CPST, DCP and BFF to:
    Hania: 3 months, rf in a nuna pipa
    Piper: 2 years, 26lbs rf in a monkey clek fllo
    Isabella: 4.5 years, 32lbs rf in a clek foonf
    Rocking out in a 2015 Subaru WRX and a 2006 Toyota Sienna

  4. #3
    Carseat Crazy mamakc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009

    Re: Convenience of 3-across??

    When I have 3, I put the oldest in the middle (she's ff). She can easily climb into her seat from the front seat if the baby's seat is already in the base. When I have 3 with me I am thankful for the infant seat. Getting into the car is something like this:

    DD runs ahead and gets in first, then I put the baby on the ground next to the car (in the infant seat) and buckle my 2 yo. Then check DD's buckle (she can do it herself), then snap baby into the base.

    Getting out is similar. DD gets out first, usually over the console & through the front door and depending on where we are I instruct her on a safe place to wait for me. Sometimes it's to put her hand on the circle, (gas cap thing) or to wait on the sidewalk in front of the car. Then I get the baby out, then I get the 2 yo.

  5. #4
    CPS Technician Chely7425's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010

    Re: Convenience of 3-across??

    I have 3 across in a Liberty, all RF. The baby is in the middle because he is the lightest and easiest to lift into the middle. I guess it might be annoying but I have never done anything else. 3 kids in car seats is kind of a pitb no matter what vehicle/carseat arrangement you have IMO. We have a routine for how to do it... walk to car, set baby in seat, set middle in seat, buckle those 2 while oldest stand with his hand on the car car bumper. Then go around and buckle in oldest. Middle has to go in the car first because he runs. IF we are in a really busy area/on a busy street ill set everyone in the car and then buckle.

    Rachel, mom to an army of Ts

  6. #5
    CPS Technician An Aurora's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007

    Re: Convenience of 3-across??

    I have three across. I open the door and the girls climb in, then I put DS in his seat, and then I buckle my oldest, who is in a booster. The 4yo is in the middle and gets her straps on and I just buckle her. It's really not a big deal. It took more acrobatics to buckle the 3rd row kid and then both kids in the 2nd row when I had a minivan.
    Anna~ RN and expired CPST (hoping to recert soon!)

  7. #6
    Senior Community Member Dillipop's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005

    Re: Convenience of 3-across??

    I have 3 across and it work ok. DD is either in a bucket or CCO in the middle, since that's how we can puzzle them together. If she's in the CCO she goes in first while ds1 gets in his booster outboard. He has to scootch it over, buckle, then scootch it back. Then ds2 gets in and I buckle him.

    If we are using the bucket, ds1 has to get in first and buckle himself into his booster. He has a really hard time buckling with the seat on the base. Then dd's seat gets put in, then we buckle ds2.

    I can't wait until we can get a car with a 3rd row. My older 2 will both be in school next year full time and I won't have to worry about them in the car 99% of the time. So having it easy to get dd in and out will be my priority and if she's the only one in that row, it should make it easier.

    CCO 4/15

  8. #7
    CPS Technician Holly's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007

    Re: Convenience of 3-across??

    We have had 3 across a 2007 Toyota Camry ever since my son was born (he is now 2 years). My daughters were 3.5 and just over 2 when he was born, they were both forward facing.

    It hasn't ever really been a problem. The girls climb into their seats while we buckle ds in, then we buckle them in. My son has mostly been outboard. We have tried it with him in the middle a few times but it's really so much easier to have him on the side because he is the only one who doesn't climb in himself, and if he were in the middle, the kid on the side of whichever side we stood on while getting him in would have to wait until we got him in before they could get in. I didn't really like that. We could let them get in first and then reach over them to get ds in the middle, but it was a pain to do that.
    It's never been a problem with him on the side.

    At 4 and 5 1/2 now, the girls still climb in by themselves while I put ds in. My 4 year old can buckle herself up completely and my 5 1/2 year old is starting to figure it out, she can do part of it by herself and I help her with the rest.
    My oldest is in the middle because my younger daughter can't be trusted to sit next to my son. She torments him like crazy the entire time she sits by him, so when we help the okldest buckle, we do have to lean in a little bit to reach, but it's never been a problem.

    I'm hoping we can get a van by the time my oldest outgrows her harnessed seat because we have tried a booster in there a few times and while it fits, it's a pain in the butt to buckle because there is either practically no room to put your hand inbetween the seats to buckle the booster, and the booster's arm rest gets in the way of that as well. It's do-able but not fun.

    It's never been a problem to get the kids out while they are sleeping. They have been old enough that if we stop somewhere and they are sleeping, they need to wake up anyway, or if we are getting home for the night and they will be going straight to their beds, we carry them inside but it's not hard to get the one in the middle out, she wakes up enough to help us get her out.
    Mom to:
    Hannah 11 Graco Connext, Abby 10 Graco Connext, Josh 7 Recaro Performance Booster, and Zach 2 1/2 Sunshine Kids Radian 80.

  9. #8
    CPST Instructor Carrie_R's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    I have done allmanner of configurations from three across to two rows - and on days I have the option, I prefer putting the kids three across.
    Down to just a spare Radian, folded in the hall closet for my Godbaby.

    Check out this thread for a Pilot overview!

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