2015 Highlander 3 across


New member
I was searching for 3 across 2014/2015 highlander options and noted a post mentioning this might not be possible per the manual. I pulled up the manual to find the following:

When using the right-hand second and third seat for the child restraint system, do not sit in the center second and third seat. Seat belt function may be impaired, such as being positioned overly high or loose-fitting, which may result in death or serious injury in the event of sudden braking, sudden swerv- ing or an accident.

Am I reading this right? There is no option to seat 3 across with any type of car seat or booster? We have had both a 2009 and 2012 highlander with 3 across and no issues. The kids are now 5, 5 & 7.5 and we are flexible on seats. Do we have any options?



Moderator - CPST Instructor
I'm not familiar with that specific vehicle but Toyota has been producing vehicles with overlapping seat belts lately that makes one position unusable when an adjacent one is occupied. It's frustrating for sure. If you do not have massively overlapping belts in your current Highlanders then I suspect the interior has changed.

With what you have posted it sounds like your options are to use your 3rd row for at least one child, or consider another vehicle.


New member
Thanks for the reply Jen! So - does that mean that even without child restraints, you can't have three people sit together? If so - can you do boosters in lieu of harnessed seats? It sounds like a crazy and misleading design choice! We have so few options since most 3 row SUVs and minivans will not fit in our garage.



Moderator - CPST Instructor
Hmm, that I'm not sure about. Is there any direction in the regular seat belt sections about belted passengers? I'm not sure if Toyota would consider a booster seat to be a 'child restraint' or not, might be a question for them.


New member
I thought you couldn't do three car seats across it, but according to the review of the car on this site, you can do two harness seats next to one another in the passenger and middle. You could probably do a booster on the driver's side. I have the 2014 with three kids, 5 ff in a TFP behind the driver, 11 in an incognito behind the passenger and 8 in a harmony literider , third row behind the passenger. if you opt for the seven passenger, there is an aisle for the third row child to walk through, however we wanted the flexibility of the 8 passenger for when my parents are in town - didn't want to put an adult in the 3rd row.


New member
A quick follow-up here. I called toyota and after multiples days and limited answers - I, in theory, have a final response from them. Here is the gist of it. The only thing they will provide in writing is in the manual - despite the fact I have an email that says otherwise. They only recommend using the 3 LATCH positions in the vehicle for car seats because the research on carseat.org shows the average consumer does not get a safe seat belt install, so they do not recommend it. However, they do have a top tether in the middle position of the 2nd row, so if you have a secure install in the second row using LATCH or seatbelt, you may have 3 car seats across (including boosters). In no case, however, do they recommend having two car seats in any order (outboard/outboard, outboard/middle, etc) along with a passenger across the 2nd row. The explanation was that the "bolster" of the car seat may interfere with the passenger's seatbelt and is therefore not safe. Of course, if the consumer thinks the seatbelt fits properly, they can choose to do what they want.

In sum, after speaking with several helpful individuals who could not answer the question, I had the pleasure of speaking with the least customer friendly person who in theory could answer the question. All in all, very frustrating.

Unfortunately, it is one of the few, if only, 3 row vehicles that actually fits in our garage, so I am not sure what we will do.

Thanks again for the previous replies!

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