Making kids safer, one question at a time.  Welcome to the Car-Seat.Org community!   Motor Vehicle Crashes are the #1 cause of fatal injury for children and adults, age groups 1 to 34.   Selecting a safe car, minivan or SUV, plus correctly using child restraints and seatbelts may be the most important things you can do to protect your family.   Need help installing an infant, convertible or booster seat?   Looking for carseat reviews or compatibility advice? Need help buying the best and safest car seats for your baby, toddler or older kid?   No question is a bad one, so please click here to ask our experts a question and then join our friendly community of moms, dads, caregivers and advocates in the USA and Canada.   Thank you for visiting; buckle-up and drive safely!


 

Sponsored Ads

Results 1 to 18 of 18
  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Auckland
    Posts
    15

    Minivan- 3 seats in 3rd row

    We are just moved back to the US from New Zealand. We looking into buying our first minivan!
    I need to know which minivans will fit three seats across the back.

    I have three children:
    Almost 5 year old twins, not quite 40 lbs and not especially tall. They are currently in Evenflo Maestros.
    Almost 2 year old in a rear facing Trufit.

    I am expecting to need at least two extra seats for carpools/cousins/extended family.

    My worry is that with most minivans having captains chairs in the middle row that once I have two car seats in the back and another one in one of the captain's chair that there will only be space for one other person.

    We looked at the new Odyssey with the three seats in the middle, but we would prefer to buy used and not spend as much money. Do older minivans have ratcheting seatbelts on the backrow? Are we better off buying an SUV where we can seat three kids across the middle and keeping the back to seats free?

    What minivan's will fit three carseats across the back?

    Thank you so much for you help.

  2. # ADS
    Sponsored Ads
    Join Date
    April, 2001
    Location
    Car-Seat.Org
    Posts
    Many
     
     

  3. #2
    CPS Technician bkcwzy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Dothan, Alabama
    Posts
    16

    Re: Minivan- 3 seats in 3rd row

    My user pic shows my three in the back of an 04 Odyssey. I did have to order two additional tethers and have them installed- it only came with one.
    Kira =]
    SAHM to Carlise (6/05) Wesley (11/06) & Josie (2/08)
    Promoting extended rear-facing and educating family & friends about car seat safety in my community

  4. #3
    Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Auckland
    Posts
    15

    Re: Minivan- 3 seats in 3rd row

    Thanks so much! Do the seatbelts in the back seat ratchet or do you need to use clips? What type of carseats are you using?

  5. #4
    Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Auckland
    Posts
    15

    Re: Minivan- 3 seats in 3rd row

    Also, when you say you had to order two more tethers did you mean you had to order them from the car seat company or from the car company. Not exactly sure what you mean.
    Thanks again!

  6. #5
    CPS Technician bkcwzy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Dothan, Alabama
    Posts
    16

    Re: Minivan- 3 seats in 3rd row

    Quote Originally Posted by rustedsun View Post
    Thanks so much! Do the seatbelts in the back seat ratchet or do you need to use clips? What type of carseats are you using?
    The rear seat belts all locked after the belt was fully extended.
    Kira =]
    SAHM to Carlise (6/05) Wesley (11/06) & Josie (2/08)
    Promoting extended rear-facing and educating family & friends about car seat safety in my community

  7. #6
    CPS Technician bkcwzy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Dothan, Alabama
    Posts
    16

    Re: Minivan- 3 seats in 3rd row

    Quote Originally Posted by rustedsun View Post
    Also, when you say you had to order two more tethers did you mean you had to order them from the car seat company or from the car company. Not exactly sure what you mean.
    Thanks again!
    I had to order the tether part from the auto manufacturer to be attached to the 3rd row tether points in the vehicle.
    Kira =]
    SAHM to Carlise (6/05) Wesley (11/06) & Josie (2/08)
    Promoting extended rear-facing and educating family & friends about car seat safety in my community

  8. #7
    Carseat Crazy
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    117

    Re: Minivan- 3 seats in 3rd row

    I have an '06 Toyota Sienna and have been able to get several combinations of three across with boosters, car seats, and a not so skinny adult in between. Two boosters with my wide hips in between is actually perfectly comfortable. My ideal older van would be the last generation of Sienna (the year I have is in that range, but I can't remember the years) with the 8th seat. it would be pretty perfect. The 8th seat in that generation was basically an almost full size seat. The current Sienna has a tiny middle seat. Even my 7 passenger is great though, because of the 3 usable seats in the back row. I can't comment on tethers, as mine are now in boosters and I can't remember where the tethers are!

    We used to have a Dodge Caravan and could not safely get 3 across the back. One time we got one very skinny booster and my pencil thin sis and her husband back there, but they were not comfortable at all. I had lots of different car seats and boosters and was not ale to do 3 across in the back. It was quite disappointing to not be able to use every seat. On a recent trip we rented a more recent generation Dodge van and had some issues with how far the seat belts sat from the upper body. It didn't seem safe to me. It wouldn't be an issue with a car seat or high back booster, but low back or no booster and an average sized child didn't work well.

    Hopefully that's not too confusing!

    Becca

  9. #8
    CPST and ketchup snob ketchupqueen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    L.A. area
    Posts
    20,435

    Re: Minivan- 3 seats in 3rd row

    '04-'10 Sienna would be my suggestion- especially if you can find an 8 passenger, the second row would hold 3.
    CPST and Mom to Emma, 15, Bridget, 13, Maggie, 11, Katie Sue, 6, Jimmy, born May 2019,
    and Becky, waiting for us as part of our eternal family.
    Our '02 Odyssey, car seats, and seatbelts saved our lives. Now riding in a '13 Odyssey!

  10. #9
    CPS Fanatic MommyShannon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    2,727
    I have an '06 Ody (same as '06-'10) and its tight, but we've put two carseats plus me in the back or 1 carseat and 2 adults. I'd avoid the '05 model since it only has 3 top tethers anchors total and can't be retrofitted. The '11+ model year is spacious. I'm not sure about the 3rd row, but I've ridden several times in my friend's wit 2 adults an a ff marathon in the 2nd row and we weren't crowded at all.
    ~Shannon
    DD (11.5) Seatbelt; DS (9) Incognito; DD2 (7) Britax Parkway; DD3 (4.5) Graco Nautilus

  11. #10
    Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Auckland
    Posts
    15

    Re: Minivan- 3 seats in 3rd row

    Thank you so much for all your advice.

    Do all of the '04-'10 Siennas have ratcheting seatbelts in the back? Do they latch and tether also? If not can they be added?

    Do you need to go to a dealership to have tethers added?

    Thanks again,
    Alisa

  12. #11
    CPS Technician NannyMom's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    7,366
    Quote Originally Posted by rustedsun View Post
    Thank you so much for all your advice.

    Do all of the '04-'10 Siennas have ratcheting seatbelts in the back? Do they latch and tether also? If not can they be added?

    Do you need to go to a dealership to have tethers added?

    Thanks again,
    Alisa
    Yes, the 04-10 Sienna's seatbelts all ratchet (lock when pulled all the way out). It has 2 tethers in the 3rd row (none driver's side), and all 2nd row seats have tethers. In fact, all tether locations have a full set of LATCH. I'd highly recommend an 8 passenger.
    Mama to Sofi: 7.1 yrs, 46Lbs (47"), Boostered in a Turbo, Vivo, Monterey, Cybex; harnessed in Nautilus
    Nanny to BabyD, 21 months in a RXT, Classic Marathon, Boulevard 70

  13. #12
    CPST and ketchup snob ketchupqueen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    L.A. area
    Posts
    20,435

    Re: Minivan- 3 seats in 3rd row

    Also, Toyota defers to the child restraint manufacturer for LATCH limits, so there's no limit on when you are supposed to stop using the tether (which would become a "tough choice" if it was required by the child restraint manufacturer or if you, like me, refuse to use a forward-facing seat without tether), and lower anchors may be used to the weight specified by the car seat manufacturer.
    CPST and Mom to Emma, 15, Bridget, 13, Maggie, 11, Katie Sue, 6, Jimmy, born May 2019,
    and Becky, waiting for us as part of our eternal family.
    Our '02 Odyssey, car seats, and seatbelts saved our lives. Now riding in a '13 Odyssey!

  14. #13
    Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Auckland
    Posts
    15

    Re: Minivan- 3 seats in 3rd row

    That is great that there are so many latch locations.

    So if there isn't a place to top tether on one of the seats in the back row what kind of car seat can be used there?

    My twins are almost 5 but are still just under 40lbs. They are currently in Evenflo Maestros and my almost two year old is rear facing in a Tru-fit. I love that the Maestros are easy to move between cars as the twins are at an age were they often go on play dates. I love that the tru-fit is so comfortable and easy easy to install rear facing, but it does take up a lot of room. We just moved back to the US from New Zealand where we had a Peaugot 307 sw wagon with all three kids across the middle row. The back row was helpful for bringing friends. We are currently driving my in-laws
    Jeep Cherokee which just fits the three seats across with the rear facing true-fit in the middle.

    At what ago do kids switch to booster seats? They just don't seem as safe to me and it also seems like boosters would be harder to buckle when the seats are close together.

    Thanks again for all the help?

  15. #14
    CPST and ketchup snob ketchupqueen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    L.A. area
    Posts
    20,435

    Re: Minivan- 3 seats in 3rd row

    A rear-facing seat or a booster can be used in a position without a tether anchor.

    Children should remain harnessed until they meet the minimums for the booster AND have the developmental maturity to sit properly 100% of the time (usually between 5 1/2 and 7 years old). Until they outgrow the harness is fine. In a 3 across it's definitely easier to deal with harnesses, but on the other hand, when you AREN'T doing 3 across children are often more able to buckle and unbuckle without help in a booster.
    CPST and Mom to Emma, 15, Bridget, 13, Maggie, 11, Katie Sue, 6, Jimmy, born May 2019,
    and Becky, waiting for us as part of our eternal family.
    Our '02 Odyssey, car seats, and seatbelts saved our lives. Now riding in a '13 Odyssey!

  16. #15
    CPS Technician
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    1,346
    All seatbelts have been required to lock in some way since some year in the '90s. Most lock by pulling the belt all the way out and it clicks/locks as it goes back in. Some have locking latchplates but I don't think any of the minivans are that way. The Odyssey had 5 top tethers in the last generation ('06-'10). The middle seat in the second row is the only seat without. It also had lower anchors in the captain's chairs. The American maufacturer vans all have 3 anchors and 3 sets of lower anchor I believe in the last generation. 1 on each captain's chair one off set in the third row is what I am recalling.

  17. #16
    Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Auckland
    Posts
    15

    Re: Minivan- 3 seats in 3rd row

    Thanks again.

    When we are looking at car this past weekend several of the cars had the off-set latch on the third row, meaning that any car seat that was installed there with the latch would take up at last two seats, what a waste.

  18. #17
    Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Auckland
    Posts
    15

    Re: Minivan- 3 seats in 3rd row

    It also seemed that several of the cars didn't have locking seatbelts, the one we are driving right now, a Jeep Cherokee....not sure of the age but it couldn't be more than 15 years old, does not have locking seat belts. Am I doing something wrong? Could the lock be broken? Thankfully it has latch on two sides and the true-fit in the middle has a lock in the seat itself. I find using clips on seatblets very difficult.

  19. #18
    CPST and ketchup snob ketchupqueen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    L.A. area
    Posts
    20,435

    Re: Minivan- 3 seats in 3rd row

    Nope! Seatbelts don't have to lock by pulling out, they can lock at the latch plate, meaning when the shoulder belt lays flat against the lap belt, parallel, the lap belt will not pull out more. That's what Jeeps have. This page is about locking clips, but the first part talks about all the different ways belts can lock: http://www.carseatsite.com/lockingclips.htm
    CPST and Mom to Emma, 15, Bridget, 13, Maggie, 11, Katie Sue, 6, Jimmy, born May 2019,
    and Becky, waiting for us as part of our eternal family.
    Our '02 Odyssey, car seats, and seatbelts saved our lives. Now riding in a '13 Odyssey!

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •