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  1. #1

    Car seat in the middle of both the second and third row??

    Hi All,

    My husband and I are looking into buying a new vehicle but seem to be running into the same problem with each SUV. We have an 11-month old and I'm 5 months pregnant with baby #2. We'd like to have both car seats in the middle, one in the second row and the other in the third row. But it seems as though we'd have to have both car seats next to each other in the second row, leaving the third row for passengers. Does anyone know of a three-row SUV (we definitely do not want to get a mini-van) that allows us to have car seats in the middle of BOTH rows?
    Thanks in advance for your time and suggestions!


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  3. #2
    Admin - CPST Instructor murphydog77's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2001
    In a wind tunnel

    Re: Car seat in the middle of both the second and third row??

    Welcome! How big of an SUV do you want? Lol! It'd have to be one of the big ones to get a 3rd row that has 3 usable installation spots. Not to mention that legroom is typically lacking in mid-size SUVs (Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot, Acura MDX) that have 3rd rows--they often have 3rd rows built more for kids than adults.

    I have 2 kids and when they were young (they're 10 and 13 now) and when we had a van, the thought of putting them in separate rows made for good birth control, lol. Seriously, though, rear-facing carseats offer excellent crash protection. The back and sides of the carseat will protect the child's head, neck, and spine. In a side impact, there's almost always some forward motion and the back of the carseat rotates some toward that point of impact so that the carseat provides protection for the child.

    With the correct carseats, you can fit 2 rf carseats next to each other if you need a spot for a passenger, or have them both outboard.

  4. #3
    CPS Fanatic
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Are you really sure you don't want an Odyssey? Because that would solve your problem with car seats, be cheaper than an SUV to buy and get better mileage too. Just saying. They're awesome.

    However, I do agree that having one kid outboard is fine and still safe.

  5. #4
    Ambassador jess71903's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008

    Re: Car seat in the middle of both the second and third row??

    I agree. I would not willingly get a kid in and out of the 3rd row if I had perfectly good 2nd row spots available. The center is "safest" but riding rear-facing is very, very safe. I have 2 kids (and a large SUV, actually) and they both ride outboard in the center row. They pick at each other constantly if they are side-by-side, accessing the 3rd row when I don't have to is a pain, and I need my cargo space on a day-to-day basis.

    That said, I do drive an Expedition. It has 3 seats across the back row, and I can install a seat rear or forward facing in it. The rear-facing seat is a tight fit, but it works

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  6. #5
    CPS Technician canadiangie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Calgary, AB. Canada

    Re: Car seat in the middle of both the second and third row??

    To answer your question, a Honda Pilot and Nissan Armada have two rows of 3. Meaning, you have a middle seating position in each row.

    There are others as well, but you're getting into really massive vehicles.. the Armada is already huge, IMO.. The Pilot is big too, really.

    But what I think you need to do is focus less on both babies being middle, and more on dedicating yourself to learning about the best way to keep kids safe in side impacts.

    Rear facing for as long as possible (age 4, usually), in a seat correctly used, is very protective in side impacts.

    My girls were 16 months apart and I kept my youngest rear facer in the middle, and my rear facing toddler outboard. I knew her rear facing seat offered her good protection. Add in side airbags which I'm guessing you will have, and you shouldn't be too worried -- tho I know it's not easy when you essentially have two babies.

    I think you should find an SUV with a wide enough second row that you can do a middle and outboard set-up.

    Personally I drive a Honda Pilot and its great. I think most people would agree its one of the most kid friendly SUV's out there. The other ones to consider is MDX, new Pathfinder or the JX if your budget allows. I have three kids and no plans for a minivan.

  7. #6
    CPST Instructor Avery'sMama's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006

    Re: Car seat in the middle of both the second and third row??

    Mini-van or not, it's not necessary to keep all kids in the center. I often see parents who think this is what they want, until they try to do it. I don't want a RFer in the third row, even with my 8 year old back there to entertain her. I can't get to her, it's hard to get them in and out, she can't see her big sibs behind her, my reasons go on and on. Now, that said, I have a mini-van with captains chairs, so there is no middle row.

    I would focus most on proper installation and use of your car seats. Using both middle seats is not a very practical option for the vast majority of vehicles. You would have to get something really big to make that work.
    Carrie- CPSTI and busy WOH Mama to
    A., 11 yr old, I., 8 yr old, E., 4 yr. old, and baby O. 2 yr, old!



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