2011 Toyota Sienna- Where to place my 3rd child?



Hi there :)

We have a 2011 Toyota Sienna and love it, though I'm a bit apprehensive about placement of where to seat our kids when we have our 3rd child in September.

My boys will be 2.5 and 3.5 years old... They both currently ride forward-facing in the 2nd row captain's seats in Britax Boulevard cs70 convertible car seats. We have a removable 8th seat that can be placed in the 2nd row. From what I have read in previous posts, this middle seat does not have latches, correct?

My dilemma is one of both a) safety and b) convenience.

Safety- Is it any less safe for a child to ride in the 3rd row? I worry that in an accident, the person sitting in the back row will be more susceptible to being trapped or directly affected in a rear-end collision. If I could feasibly fit all 3 carseats in the 2nd row (I would, of course, need to use the seatbelt to secure the middle carseat as there are no latches), would that be safer?

Convenience- Given how young our kids are, I could never ask my oldest to just hop in the back row and strap himself in! Safety always trumps convenience but I can't ignore convenience as we get in and out of the car MANY time each day! It would likely be a lot easier for me if all 3 kids could sit alongside each other in the 2nd row and I didn't have to climb into the back row to buckle my eldest up.

Any thoughts?? I'm really open to suggestions... I'd appreciate any insight you all could give me!

Thanks so much!


New member
Hi :) I'm not a tech and I don't have a 2011 Sienna but I've done some reading and this is what I've gathered- hopefully somebody else can fill in the gaps.

There's no concern with having passengers in the 3rd row, the important part is installing and using child restraints correctly. It looks like nothing except the narrowest backless booster will fit on your 8th seat, and that's not an appropriate restraint for your children yet so somebody will have to ride in the 3rd row.

Your 3rd row only has one set of LATCH and no additional tether anchors, so ideally only rear facing children or one forward facing harnessed child will ride in the 3rd row.

Also, Toyota indicates that you should follow the LATCH weight limit of your child restraint. Britax indicates that when the car manufacturer does not state a higher LATCH limit, to assume 40 pounds for the weight of the child only. You'll have to switch to a seat belt installation at 40 pounds for your current seats.

Sorry I couldn't give a specific recommendation, but hopefully this bump will catch the eye of somebody who can be of more help :)


Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to my questions! You may not be a car seat tech, as you say, but you are extremely helpful and clearly very knowledgeable. I really appreciate it!

With respect to 3rd row tether anchors, there is just one located behind the middle seat- correct???

So, I could place my oldest (3.5 year old) in that location with his convertible seat attached to the latches and tethers, then place the baby's infant carseat behind the driver's side (2nd row) and my middle child (2 year old) behind the passenger seat (2nd row). The two convertible carseats (ff) would be latched and tethered and the infant carseat would be latched as well. Does this arrangement make sense to you?

Latch weight limits: Does the weight limit refer to the child's weight alone (and not the child + carseat weight)? If I go by the 40lb weight limit for the 2011 Toyota Sienna, then I need to secure my child's carseat with a seatbelt when he turns 40lbs, correct? I know this sounds like a pretty self-explanatory question, but I just want to be 100% sure and not regret not asking!! The following blog: http://carseatblog.com/20202/weight-limits-the-death-of-latch/ discusses weight limits and how, in 2014, the standards will change so that each carseat will have a specific weight limit of the CHILD printed upon it that is specific to that carseat (as the weight of carseats themselves differ.)

Lastly, I read that some car manufacturer's latch weight limits apply to the tether anchors as well... Do I still tether my soon-to-be >40lb forward-facing child, then? He sits in a Britax Boulevard CS-70, so he could use the seat (if secured with a seatbelt) for a good while longer (which I read is safer than switching to a Booster seat, if possible) but would I use the tether regardless?

I'm so confused about carseats. I thought I had everything down, but I am quite humbled by all that there is to know about them. I'm sorry to have just tossed every question of mine out in this


New member
I'm not a tech but I do read a lot on here. From what I understand as of right now you latch limits are for 40 pounds of child, which is confusing because it will change in 2014. As for the top tether- technically they are included in that limit- but it is often recommended that you continue to use it even after your child hits 40 pounds. The Car Seat lady can explain it far better then I can, but what it comes down to is a "parental decision" or what your most comfortable with.




New member
If I were you, I might consider putting the 3.5 year old in back. Start teaching him to buckle up himself. He'll learn pretty quickly! Then you'll only have to check his work. You may want to consider a different seat that would be easier to get into for him and hand his down to the baby.

Another option would be to rear face baby also in the back using seat belt install and take out or stow one of the captains chairs for easier access to the back. This is what my daughter did for awhile and she liked how much easier it was to get to the back.


Thank you!!

So, for my son who is 3.5yrs old and 36lbs: when he turns 4yrs and is 40lbs, is it safer for me to place him in a booster or keep him in his convertible seat? I've read it's better to keep them in their 5-point harnesses for as long as possible, but what if the tether were to fail in an accident? Would the booster be a better choice, then?

Argghh. So many questions!

P.S. The very fact that he is already 36lbs makes me nervous that he is nearing the 40lb latch limit... Tomorrow morning I'm switching his seat to seatbelt install!


New member
At 4 he will be much safer in a 5 pt harness simply because most 4 year olds aren't mature enough to sit properly in a booster. Most seats don't require a top tether but it reduces head excursion so it's highly recommended. As long as its a seat that doesn't require the top tether, the seat will still restrain him even if the tether failed.


CPST Instructor
Here is what I tell parents regarding the top tether and weight limits:

We know the benefits of top tethering are significant.

In Canada, use of the top tether is required by law.

I have never heard of an instance where a top tether failed.

IF a top tether were to fail, it would have already done its job.

You as the parent get to make the decision. If it were my child, I would tether.

Car-Seat.Org Facebook Group

Forum statistics

Latest member

You must read your carseat and vehicle owner’s manual and understand any relevant state laws. These are the rules you must follow to restrain your children safely. All opinions at Car-Seat.Org are those of the individual author for informational purposes only, and do not necessarily reflect any policy or position of Carseat Media LLC. Car-Seat.Org makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis. If you are unsure about information provided to you, please visit a local certified technician. Before posting or using our website you must read and agree to our TERMS.

Maxi Cosi is a proud sponsor of Car-Seat.Org!Graco is a Proud Sponsor of Car-Seat.Org!

Please  Support Car-Seat.Org  with your purchases of infant, convertible, combination and boosters seats from our premier sponsors above.
Shop travel systems, strollers and baby gear from Britax, Chicco, Clek, Combi, Evenflo, First Years, Graco, Maxi-Cosi, Nuna, Safety 1st, Diono & more! ©2001-2020 Carseat Media LLC