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  1. #1
    olliemom
    Guest

    Three kids in a Grand Caravan

    We just bought a 2006 Grand Caravan. We have a 2-year old and a 4-year old and are expecting a new baby in February. A couple questions for the experts here:

    1) What is the best placement for all three kids? Where is the safest place for the baby? I'm assuming in the middle, but which middle -- second or third row?

    2) I'm a little confused about LATCH. I've been under the impression all this time that LATCH is the top tether. I didn't even realize there was a bottom/seat tether until someone pointed it out to me very recently. Is it possible to use the bottom and top LATCH tethers for all three kids in a Grand Caravan?

    Thanks so much for any help. I want to make sure we do this right!

    Julie in Indiana

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  3. #2
    CPS Fanatic
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    1,460
    I can tell you how I have my 3 in my minivan!
    I have my 6 yr old who can buckle himself, in a Britax Regent in the 3rd row, passenger side outboard.
    4 yr old (who just learned to buckle and unbuckle!!) in the middle row, center position, Marathon, FF
    infant in Graco Safeseat1 outboard driver side.

    My personal opinion is that where the infant goes is up to parental discretion. I've had techs say it both ways. The typical thinking is that the youngest child goes in the middle. But apparently the actually recommendation is that the least protected child goes in the middle. RF is safer than FF, therefore, a FF child should go in the middle before a RF child. Since there's some question on that, and because I know that all seats are "safe", I went with ease of use. It's way easier on me to have my big kids get in on one side of the car, and I only have to go to the drivers side. I don't go to the passenger side at all.
    Is your 2 yr old RF or FF? IF RF, then I"d put the 2 yo in the outboard 2nd row, since that one is older than the baby AND RF, so that makes the baby less protected than the toddler, due to size/development. I'd put the baby in the middle 2nd row, because I find getting an infant into the 3rd row difficult. And I'd put the 4 yr old in the 3rd row, middle if possible.
    If the 2 yo is FF already (and is over the limits for RF) then I'd put the infant outboard, 2yo in the middle.
    Assuming that only one kid is in the 3rd row, yes you should be able to use all 3 latches. Check your manual about how it works in your 3rd row. You can't attach 2 carseats to the same hooks, but you usually can g et 2 seats latched on the 3rd row. Just check and see what your vehicle manual says about the lower anchors.
    Kelly, mom to Aaric (7.5 and 65 lbs), Mikayla (6 and 52 lbs), and Xander (20 mo and 25 lbs)
    No more Huskies due to a wreck...
    Xander's in a MA, Mikayla in a GN, Aaric is temporarily in the pink Vivo...
    Graco SS1 due to come out of retirement in Jan 09

  4. #3
    CPS Technician
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Nebraska
    Posts
    3,680
    I have an 06 Caravan w/ 2 bench seats, is that what you have? I also only have lower anchors in the front bench and then upper anchors there and in the back middle. I have my oldest ffing in the back middle. Evan is rfing behind the driver and Ilana is in the middle since it's a 3/4 bench and there's no side. The only one using the lower anchors is Ilana, the others are in using the seatbelts.
    Jennifer, Special Needs CPST, peds nurse, and CSFTL Admin mom to:
    AJ-13 (five steps), Evan-11 (nbb),
    Ilana-9 (nbb) ,
    Olivia-7 (hbb), and
    Unity-3 (rf and ff)

  5. #4
    Carseat Crazy
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    480
    we don't have 3 yet (2 is on the way) but I've thought about it a lot. 06 has stow'n'go seating, right?

    We don't have stow'n'go in our GC, it was one year too early for it. We have captains chairs inthe 2nd row, and a 50/50 bench in the 3rd. We rarely drive other people as most of our friends have kids and don't want to move seats around.

    I plan when we get to 3 to put the oldest FF drivers side 3rd bench, middle RF (assuming the spacing is about the same, and the kids grow the same rate) on the passenger side 3rd row, and infant on the passenger side 2nd row, remove the driver side 2nd row seat.

    My logic for this is that the FF 3rd row will tether down to the anchor in the back, the RF will tether to the 2nd row anchor, and the infant will tether down to the front row. I can get in the van from the driver side sliding door with all the kids, have space to move around, close the door, fix coats, help buckle, etc. w/o having to reach over/around seats to do that. Infant in a bucket can also go in that way and easily be put in place. All 3 will be in 5-point harnesses.

    If we make it to 4, it's likely the oldest will be in a booster, and can buckle in... not sure what we'll do at that point!

    I don't know about your model year, but mine only has lower anchors in the 2nd row, and tether anchors in the 2nd row on both seats and one point in the 3rd row.

  6. #5
    olliemom
    Guest
    Thanks so much for the responses. I'm afraid I'm still a bit ignorant about exactly what our new car has or doesn't have (we just got it last night!), but this will all be helpful as we figure it out. I plan to really go through the manual tonight and try to make sense of it all.

    Kellyr2~ That does make good sense about the least protected child being in the middle. My 2-yo is FF (a big guy, well over the RF weight limit for his seat) and obviously the 4-yo is FF as well. Right now I have the 2-yo in the 3rd row, driver's side (because that's the only location we could find the latch tethers when we put the seat in last night) and the 4-yo in the 2nd row, driver's side. Is there a reason you suggest putting the 2-yo in the 2nd row and the 4-yo in the back? I hadn't given that a whole lot of thought. Thanks.

    thepeach80~ I *think* that's what we have. A full bench in the back and 3/4 in the middle. I'm kind of thinking there are not anchors in every seat, that's part of what I'm trying to figure out. My first thought was to put both boys in the far back, then put the baby in the middle in the 2nd row, but I don't think the LATCH anchors are in the right places. I may be wrong though, I hope to get it figured out tonight!

    lisa2976~ Yes, we do have stow'n'go. Your logic makes sense, if only my 2-yo were still RF and could use that 2nd row anchor. I'm thinking what I'm going to have to do is figure out which 3 (hopefully there are 3) seats are fully equipped with anchors, and put them there? I'm not sure if we can move/remove seats, that's something else I need to figure out. You've got the right idea, I need to figure out how to get them all in/out from one side of the car!

    Thanks again, you guys, I really appreciate the help!
    Julie

  7. #6
    CPS Fanatic
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    1,460
    Well, mine does have the full latch system available for every seat in the rear ( I have a chrysler voyager), and my older one can buckle himself, so he goes in the 3rd row. If Mikayla was back there, I"d have to climb. Of course, she has learned to do hers now, too.
    If the van has the anchors for the 3rd row drivers side, I'm sure it has them for the passenger side too. SO you could use either side. My bet is that both middle row positions have latch, and probably the 2 outboard ones in the back.
    I also like the oldest child in the back because I figure in an accident where someone rearended us, I'd want the kid with the strongest neck back there. I doubt it makes a huge difference though. But my reasons were more convenience related than anything. That's also why he's outboard - climbing in is easier for him in the outboard seat since there is no seat in front of him, AND there's a cupholder outboard. In the middle, his feet are right against the middle row, and there's no cupholder within reach. AND with him in the middle, there's no room for others back there but outboard there is (He's in a Britax Regent).
    Kelly, mom to Aaric (7.5 and 65 lbs), Mikayla (6 and 52 lbs), and Xander (20 mo and 25 lbs)
    No more Huskies due to a wreck...
    Xander's in a MA, Mikayla in a GN, Aaric is temporarily in the pink Vivo...
    Graco SS1 due to come out of retirement in Jan 09

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