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  1. #1
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    Canada Third Row options? - 2011 Gr. Caravan - Canada

    Hello,
    I would really love some help from anyone able to. We just bought a 2011 Grand Caravan Crew (literally just drove it home tonight). I never thought to even look at the options for installing our car seats because, well, minivan = families, so it never occurred to me that it wouldn't be optimized for a big family.

    Of course, when it came time to install our car seats, I discover the third row only has the center latches/tether anchor. The latches didn't strike me as a big deal, but as I understand things, having the tether anchor in the center means we can't have a FF seat and a booster in both outboard third row positions... correct? We would have to put the booster and the seat right next to one another, and we'd completely loose all functionality of that third seat in the back, yes?

    I'm pretty blown away by the discovery that there wouldn't be at least two options for tether anchors in the back! I did a search on here and found some threads from a while back talking about a retrofit that could be used on a Caravan with the Stow & Go... but the latest year I read anyone having one of those installed was 2007. Is such a thing still a possibility??

    How do families with more than three kids (where three of them need to be FF- being over 35lbs) make things work in a Caravan with this kind of set up?? We were planning to switch my oldest 6yrs/44lbs to a booster anyway, but we thought we'd be able to have him and his brother (FF Radian) in the two outboard third row.

    Thanks to anyone who can help!

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  3. #2
    Admin - CPST Instructor wendytthomas's Avatar
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    Re: Third Row options? - 2011 Gr. Caravan

    You can do booster on the third row passenger (if the belt fit is good, even with a high back booster), and then a harnessed seat on the center seat with the top tether.

    You could also put one child each in a captain's chair and then one in the third row.

    No tether retrofits after 2007, sorry.

    Wendy
    wendy, cpst-i mom to
    piper, 7/26/02, 62", 108#, seatbelt, driving her own car
    laine 9/16/09, 54", 96#, Nuna Aaces, Diono Solana 2
    in my husband's 2018 Toyota Land Cruiser, my 2017 Volvo XC90, and big sister's 2016 Honda Civic
    https://www.car-seat.org/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=1353&dateline=1552329  785

  4. #3
    CPS Fanatic aept's Avatar
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    I have a 2010, and Wendy is right that you can give up now on getting any more top tether anchors in the third row.

    We are going on 4 kids and will do either two high back boosters outboard or one booster and one untethered FF seat outboard because otherwise it was annoyingly tight to buckle the booster next to the ff seat in the middle. I want my two youngest kids in the captain's chairs for my buckling convenience as they are the ones usually with me and the two older ones are at school all day. Ds3 can do/undo his own chest clip but someone (usually me!) has to help him with the crotch buckle every time in and out.

    Be careful with the boosters back there, too, though. The shoulder belts come out from the side "wall" of the van slightly in front of the seat. This makes the shoulder belt just barely fit an adult well there. Kids in no-back boosters will have the belt hovering in front of them which is not good.
    So use high back boosters there (it brings them forward to the belt) and use ones where the shoulder belt guide is near the side of the headrest of the booster. Boosters that have a shoulder belt guide that is parallel to the back of the booster area generally don't work too well as the seatbelt then goes in a funny route and tends to get "hung up."

    When my oldest outgrows all HBB options then I will have him in a second row capt chair in a no back booster and will move my 4 year old to the third row - and maybe his ff radian will fit ok in the center with the narrow HBB (a Recaro Vivo, now discontinued) next to it passenger side and still be able to have my ds2 buckle that combo. He has terrible patience for buckling his booster though.

    In realize I could put my baby RF in the third row but she is going to be the one with me ALL the time and it seems silly to put her in a spot where I have to get her out through the trunk or climb back there for every errand. I did that with ds3 for a short time (started because we rearranged for a road trip) and it got old really quickly. It's doable but not enjoyable in my opinion.

    Sorry you didn't know about the "issues" with kid seating in this van before you bought it. We didn't either. It can be dealt with but gets trickier with more kids and is annoying to have suboptimal choices for the bigger, more independent children who we want to put in the third row!
    I have to say otherwise (knock on wood) that it had been pretty reliable; and great and versatile for our three-kid family, and we did get a killer deal on ours, at least! It runs well and gets our family happily where we need to go!
    Ann, mom to 3 big brothers and a baby girl:
    DS1 - Aug 2006, 80 lb, 56", incognitos
    DS2 - May 2008, 77 lb, 51.5", Vivo or NBB
    DS3 - June 2011, 46 lb, 43", FF in FR85 or booster training
    DD - May 2015, 19 lb, 29", ) Snugride 30

  5. #4
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    Re: Third Row options? - 2011 Gr. Caravan

    Thanks for your responses you guys!
    Wow... I'm still so shocked by this discovery... it NEVER occurred to me that we'd be limited to only the three car seat options!

    We actually only have three kids, so we can do everything safely for ourselves... but one of the things we were really excited about with moving from our Pontiac Vibe with the kids three-across and into a van was the ability to take additional passengers, including our also-still-in-a-carseat nephew.

    I love the van and it's great to have to extra space, but it never occurred to use that we wouldn't be getting more options.

    Thanks for the tip on the shoulder strap position on the boosters as well. I guess we'll have to do some testing on that to find the right one. How incredibly frustrating! He's used to being in a Diono Radian100... so really low profile without big wings. He sees most of the high-backs as even more babyish because they look more like a baby seat than the Radians do. I know it's safety first and not up to him, but he was excited about getting a big boy seat and now he's going to be disappointed too. Our youngest is in a TrueFit which expires in October of this year, so that's the seat we were going to replace with a booster.

  6. #5
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    Re: Third Row options? - 2011 Gr. Caravan - Canada

    Sorry... another question now I guess...

    For those who have experience with the limitations of the third row in the Grand Caravan, what boosters do you know fit well? We live in a very small town and may have to order a seat online. The city is over an hour away so I'd like to know exactly which ones to look for before we make a trip. We are in Canada, so that might limit some of our options as well.

    Right now we have two Radian100s. My son (6) is 44lbs, so he can't use one of those as a booster yet as he'd need to be 50lbs, even if it did fit as a booster in the back row with the shoulder guide on the Radian (which I haven't tried because there wasn't a point). My other two littles are only 35lbs.

    Thanks!

  7. #6
    CPS Technician
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    Re: Third Row options? - 2011 Gr. Caravan

    Yeah, unfortunately you're limited . Here in Canada just putting a FF seat in there with no tether isn't an option, so any FF seat has to go in one of the three spots with tethers. It's a frustrating thing that so many families discover after the fact. I hope you find a set up that works for you.
    Oliver: 06/15 in his Keyfit 30

  8. #7
    Carseat Crazy
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    Quote Originally Posted by littletadpole View Post
    Sorry... another question now I guess...

    For those who have experience with the limitations of the third row in the Grand Caravan, what boosters do you know fit well? We live in a very small town and may have to order a seat online. The city is over an hour away so I'd like to know exactly which ones to look for before we make a trip. We are in Canada, so that might limit some of our options as well.

    Right now we have two Radian100s. My son (6) is 44lbs, so he can't use one of those as a booster yet as he'd need to be 50lbs, even if it did fit as a booster in the back row with the shoulder guide on the Radian (which I haven't tried because there wasn't a point). My other two littles are only 35lbs.

    Thanks!
    We have a 2012 Caravan and 3 kids and I totally have the same problem! I hate this van as a car seat/ booster user! My 7 yo is in a high back Evenflo Amp booster and that works in the outboard 3rd row seat for the belt to retract. My son is 48" tall and 47 lbs. he has a little growing room height wise, but not a ton. My other two boys are almost 10 and 11. They are too tall for any of the boosters I have found for those positions, and a backless doesn't work well because the seatbelt is so far forward it doesn't even touch their chest. The other booster that worked for us was the Recaro Vivo, but they don't make it any more. Our Turbobooster and our older Parkway do not work there either. It just stinks!

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