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  1. #1
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    4 kids/car seats in a crew cab possible? How to do 3 across back of Chevy Silverado or Dodge Ram?

    We have 4 kids - 9, 8, 5, 3 and they are currently riding in a HBB, FFing, FFing, FFing Gracos in my Honda Odyssey. My husband is wanting to replace his Subaru with a truck, both for his comfort and so that he can more easily carry at least 2 kids. When I'm gone and he has the kids (or at least 3), we just switch cars. The only time I can foresee putting all 4 kids in the truck will be when all 6 of us go camping, but I still need to make sure this will work & is reasonably safe. We have had the same vehicles for years so I could really use help with these details.

    I checked our WA state laws and it says a child under 13 can only ride up front when the rear seats are all full from other children - so I know that part is legal. We are looking at crew cabs - either the Dodge Ram or Chevy Silverado. It appears both trucks have two latch seat possibilities (behind passenger & driver) in the backseat. Our 8 yr old is still in a FFing 5 pt but we could switch her to a HBB if needed. But it looks like there is only a lap belt in the middle backseat (am I wrong about this?). Is this ok with a FFing 5pt harness seat? And the middle backseat is also shorter than the side seats - can the carseat extend over the seat? And my 9 year old that's in a HBB - I was thinking we'd just put him up front in the passenger seat & I'd ride in the front middle with the lapbelt? I have been told that the passenger airbag is no longer able to be turned off but goes by weight.

    If it is just easier for someone that drives a crew cab to share how their carseats work & which brands you use, that would be great!

    Again, this would be rare that we'd all be riding in it, but I need to know if it's possible. Thank you so much!

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  4. #2
    CPS Fanatic Keeanh's Avatar
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    Re: 4 kids/car seats in a crew cab possible? How to do 3 across back of Chevy Silverado or Dodge Ram?

    If you want to put 6 people in a truck, you really should get one with 6 full seats, meaning every position has a headrest & lap-shoulder belt. That would be '06+ Toyota Tundra, or '11+ Ford F-series.

    Don't worry about 3-across in a crew cab. You can fit just about anything across a full-size truck Worry about that middle back seat (GM/Chev still doesn't have a headrest there, even for 2016) and the middle front seat (Dodge, GM/Chev, Nissan can't even be bothered giving you a shoulder belt, never mind a headrest).

    If the trucks I mentioned are out of your budget, you can make some other trucks work with harnessed seats in the middle. But it's not as ideal or as long-term a solution as having 6 full seats.
    17yrs, 15yrs, 13yrs, 11yrs , 9yrs (58", 75lbs, Incognito), 7yrs (46", 50lbs, Dreamtime), 5yrs (41", 35lbs, RN), 3yrs (30lbs, RF Marathon), NB (Peg 4-35)
    '14 Mazda5, '06 Chevy Express, '08 Toyota Tundra

  5. #3
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    Re: 4 kids/car seats in a crew cab possible? How to do 3 across back of Chevy Silverado or Dodge Ram?

    Thank you, Keeanh! Super helpful info! I really feel so lame for making assumptions. He was really interested in the Ford but we had kinda crossed that off because they are pricier. It's for sure worth going to look again and talking to them more knowing this.

    And when you say:
    Quote Originally Posted by Keeanh View Post
    If the trucks I mentioned are out of your budget, you can make some other trucks work with harnessed seats in the middle. But it's not as ideal or as long-term a solution as having 6 full seats.
    do you just mean that a regular FFing 5pt harness seat can go with just a lapbelt & without a headrest, but it's obviously not ideal?

  6. #4
    Car-Seat.org Ambassador Nedra's Avatar
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    Re: 4 kids/car seats in a crew cab possible? How to do 3 across back of Chevy Silverado or Dodge Ram?

    Quote Originally Posted by leahsuzi View Post
    And when you say:



    do you just mean that a regular FFing 5pt harness seat can go with just a lapbelt & without a headrest, but it's obviously not ideal?

    The majority of FF harnessed seats do not require vehicle head support. A lap belt and a top tether should be sufficient for a safe installation. However, as mentioned, it is not a good long-term solution since in just a few short years (they grow up so fast!) nobody will be in harnessed seats anymore and everyone in the vehicle will need lap-shoulder belts and vehicle headrest support.


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    Mama to G. (born March of 2013, riding FF in a Chicco MyFit, an IMMI Go, and a Britax Marathon)... and L. (born June of 2015, riding RF in a Graco Milestone, a Graco Extend-2-Fit 3-in-1 and a Graco SlimFit)

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  8. #5
    CPS Fanatic Dorothy's Avatar
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    Re: 4 kids/car seats in a crew cab possible? How to do 3 across back of Chevy Silverado or Dodge Ram?

    Also, Chevy prohibits carseats in the front center. The heavy duty pickups do not have an off switch for the passenger airbag, either. So, you can't safely have a child in the front at all. Dodge neither prohibits nor expressly allows child restraints in the front. Also, Chevy still hasnt put hwadrests in the center back. Dodge just has a little tiny one. So, head support is restrictive as kids get older.

    Like PP said, Fords (2011+) really are more family friendly. And, I guess the Tundra was also mentioned. Although, I have no personal experience.

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  10. #6
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    I have to second the others' comments. The Ford F-150 really is a great family friendly truck. You won't be able to buy the top trim levels because they have a front center console instead of a seat, but they are super roomy. They also have tons of legroom in the front and rear in addition to the width. Having a three point belt and a real headrest in every position is going to be necessary in just a few years, so buying one now will insulate you from having to replace this vehicle in the near future.
    Mama to Josie (4/08, 47lbs & 49"), retriever-cat Hotrod, munchkin-cat Gizmo, and hell-cat Leggs.

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  12. #7
    CPS Fanatic Keeanh's Avatar
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    Re: 4 kids/car seats in a crew cab possible? How to do 3 across back of Chevy Silverado or Dodge Ram?

    We have an 08 Crew Cab Tundra. It has 6 usable seats, and installs are super easy. The Double Cab (or Extended Cab or whatever it's called) is a bit tougher for installs because the top tether requires some acrobatics to do up.

    If you have to go with a lap belt in the front middle, I believe Ford allows a FF harnessed seat there, but you won't be able to tether it. However you'll also be stuck with no headrest in the back middle. So a 2004 - 2010 F150 would last until the 3yo was out of a harness OR the 5yo was out of a highback. Probably about 5 years max. That might be enough to get a 2011 into your price range, so you could possibly do that and plan on this truck being a 4-year solution.
    17yrs, 15yrs, 13yrs, 11yrs , 9yrs (58", 75lbs, Incognito), 7yrs (46", 50lbs, Dreamtime), 5yrs (41", 35lbs, RN), 3yrs (30lbs, RF Marathon), NB (Peg 4-35)
    '14 Mazda5, '06 Chevy Express, '08 Toyota Tundra

  13. #8
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    Re: 4 kids/car seats in a crew cab possible? How to do 3 across back of Chevy Silverado or Dodge Ram?

    Thank you all SOOOOOO much! That clarified things so much for us. I hadn't thought about long term when they're OUT of their restraints and need headrests! I shared with my DH and he called around to a couple Ford dealerships and he actually found the perfect 2015 (not easy to find the ones with bench seats across with the features we're looking for here in WA!) that he's bartering to get into our price point. Once I looked at the photos, I knew that it made so much more sense so we're just hoping & praying this one works out! I am super thankful everyone's help!!!

  14. #9
    CPS Fanatic Keeanh's Avatar
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    Re: 4 kids/car seats in a crew cab possible? How to do 3 across back of Chevy Silverado or Dodge Ram?

    Quote Originally Posted by leahsuzi View Post
    Thank you all SOOOOOO much! That clarified things so much for us. I hadn't thought about long term when they're OUT of their restraints and need headrests! I shared with my DH and he called around to a couple Ford dealerships and he actually found the perfect 2015 (not easy to find the ones with bench seats across with the features we're looking for here in WA!) that he's bartering to get into our price point. Once I looked at the photos, I knew that it made so much more sense so we're just hoping & praying this one works out! I am super thankful everyone's help!!!
    Yay! So glad you found something you like. I hope it works out for you.
    17yrs, 15yrs, 13yrs, 11yrs , 9yrs (58", 75lbs, Incognito), 7yrs (46", 50lbs, Dreamtime), 5yrs (41", 35lbs, RN), 3yrs (30lbs, RF Marathon), NB (Peg 4-35)
    '14 Mazda5, '06 Chevy Express, '08 Toyota Tundra

  15. #10
    CPS Fanatic Keeanh's Avatar
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    Re: 4 kids/car seats in a crew cab possible? How to do 3 across back of Chevy Silverado or Dodge Ram?

    Oh, and back to your original question about seating positions...

    When we have 6 people in the truck, I put the oldest passenger (usually me, sometimes one of the teens) in the front passenger seat, and the 2nd oldest in the middle front.

    It looks like the rear middle headrest in the Ford is kind of low. No idea from pics how high up it will go. If at some point you find that it doesn't go high enough, you should be able to swap it out with a full-size headrest from a scrapyard. Just something I though I'd mention. I do a lot of headrest swapping (I had headrests from Dodge Caravans put in my Chevy Express 15p van LOL).
    17yrs, 15yrs, 13yrs, 11yrs , 9yrs (58", 75lbs, Incognito), 7yrs (46", 50lbs, Dreamtime), 5yrs (41", 35lbs, RN), 3yrs (30lbs, RF Marathon), NB (Peg 4-35)
    '14 Mazda5, '06 Chevy Express, '08 Toyota Tundra

  16. #11
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    Re: 4 kids/car seats in a crew cab possible? How to do 3 across back of Chevy Silverado or Dodge Ram?

    Awesome tip, thanks Keeanh! I never would've thought of switching headrests!

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