Question adding a third car seat--to a RAV4 ?

U

Unregistered

Guest
We have two kids (born 9/06 and 4/08) and are expecting a third soon. We have a 2008 RAV4 with the optional third row seat. After checking the car (and manual) and these forums, I think I've come to two conclusions:

1. Regardless of carseat brand or configuration, we cannot do three across in the second row due to the weird seat belt configuration (and b/c there are no center LATCH anchors);

2. If #1 is correct, we are looking at putting our oldest in the third row (unless we put the newborn in the third row, which just seems like a bad idea even if the RF seat would fit, and it probably wouldn't fit); oldest is currently FF in an EvenFlo Triumph Advance, she is about 40" and about 40 lbs, and I'd like to keep her out of a booster seat as long as possible. The problem is that there are no top tether anchors for the third row seat in the RAV4 and my sense is that the top tether really should be used on a seat like the Triumph Advance.

Am I correct so far? If so, is there another option that I'm not thinking of--perhaps a booster with a five point harness but that doesn't require a top tether? And even if this exists, is it a good idea in the third row of a RAV4?

I'm happy to by a new seat (or seats) if we can avoid buying another car, but it's looking like another car is in our future. Any insight would be appreciated. Thanks.

Craig
 
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wendytthomas

Admin - CPST Instructor
Staff member
What is the weird belt configuration? I've not done more than one in a RAV4 before, so I'm not familiar with what you're talking about. The lack of LATCH isn't a concern in the least, the seatbelt is just fine to install a carseat with.

Your two year old is rear facing, your 3.5 year old is forward facing in an EFTA? What seat is the two year old in?

What is the middle row like in terms of folding down or removing seats? If you have no tethers in the third row, if you could move up the second row what I'd probably do is remove part of the seat for easy third row access, and put both rear facing kids in the back row and then the oldest in the middle row. That way everyone is safe and tethered as necessary. You can put the younger two in through the trunk.

Another option is to get three Radians and see if they fit. Two rear facing for the younger two, one forward for the oldest (or rear facing, if you get an 80SL or XTSL). Then everyone can be tethered and across the middle row. Which may be ideal, if you need trunk space. Or do two Radians and an infant seat. If they'll fit.

Wendy
 

ketchupqueen

CPST and ketchup snob
Staff member
Wendy, due to the way the middle seat buckles in the middle of the driver's side seat, you absolutely cannot do 3 across in the 2nd row of a RAV 4 with the new configuration (I think it was 06 or so the new design came in.) There's no physical way to do it.

If you CAN rear-face a child in the back row, I'd prefer to put a rear-facing seat there (I'm not sure if it would fit or not) because I believe there are no tether anchors for the third row last I checked. (My LATCH manual is in the broiling-hot garage. Maybe someone can confirm that.) And your oldest is young enough he's not ready for a full-time booster yet.

My best-case solution would be if you can fit a rear-facing convertible for the 2 year old, to put it in the back. Often a convertible at 30 degrees can fit taking up less space than an infant seat. Maybe a 30 degree angle on a Complete Air, for instance, would work...
 

Maedze

New member
Welcome to C-S.org

1. Unfortunately, you are correct. The Rav-4, despite having 5 seatbelts, is for
all intents and purposes, a 4 passenger vehicle (in the 2 row model)

2. You are correct that there are no top tethers in the third row of the Rav-4 and therefore those seating positions shouldn't be used for a forward facing harnessed restraint.

The third row in your case is safe for rear facing children, boostered children, and adult riders. Your middle child is only 2 and therefore should be in a rear facing convertible. The third row would be suitable for a rear facing convertible, if you aren't comfortable with a newborn in the third row.

At not even four, your daughter is no where near old enough to be safe in a booster.
 

Pixels

New member
Using a harnessed seat without a tether is no more or less dangerous than putting that child in a booster, according to the safety testing the government mandates. Of course, that doesn't take child maturity into account, as dummies always sit properly. A child that young isn't likely to sit properly in a booster, and would therefore be at higher risk in a booster than in an untethered harnessed seat.

Any US seat with a harness can be used without the tether under 50 pounds.
 

ketchupqueen

CPST and ketchup snob
Staff member
Using a harnessed seat without a tether is no more or less dangerous than putting that child in a booster, according to the safety testing the government mandates. Of course, that doesn't take child maturity into account, as dummies always sit properly. A child that young isn't likely to sit properly in a booster, and would therefore be at higher risk in a booster than in an untethered harnessed seat.

Any US seat with a harness can be used without the tether under 50 pounds.

While this is true, a harnessed (forward-facing) seat WITH a tether is safer than either. I'd much prefer to put a rear-facing convertible back there rather than a forward-facing untethered seat. :)
 

wendytthomas

Admin - CPST Instructor
Staff member
While this is true, a harnessed (forward-facing) seat WITH a tether is safer than either. I'd much prefer to put a rear-facing convertible back there rather than a forward-facing untethered seat. :)

I agree.

Thanks for the info about the three seats. How moronic.

Wendy
 
U

Unregistered

Guest
Thanks--this has been most helpful.

Our two year old has been riding FF in an EvenFlo Triumph, so I didn't think about putting her in the third row due to the same issues with the eldest's seat (i.e., no top tethers in the third row). However, I turned the Triumph back around to RF and tried it in the third row--but it doesn't fit. Even with the second row all the way forward the Triumph contacts the second row seat in such a way that a secure fit is impossible. I also tried our infant seat (a Graco SnugRide) with the same result.

I'll check into other seats like the Complete Air (other suggestions welcome) but based on what I saw when I just tried the Triumph and SnugRide I'm doubtful that any RF seat will work in the third row.

Any other seats/configurations to consider? It looks like we're headed for a different vehicle....

Regarding the idiotic design of the second row seat belts, it's hard to believe. We've been really happy with the RAV4 but this is ridiculous.

Thanks again,
Craig
 

Maedze

New member
If *any* convertible will work in the third row rear facing, it's probably the Complete Air. It can install really upright, but that third row is pretty ridiculous all on its own, it's so shallow. I can see it being incompatible with any rear facing seat, unfortunately.
 

bubbaray

New member
Just wanted to chime in to categorically confirm that the RAV4 can not have more than 2 child restraints in the 2nd row. I just traded in my 2005 Honda Ody for a 2010 RAV4 specifically for this reason -- I don't *want* to be able to carry more than 2 children in my vehicle.
 

cookie123

New member
How big is your 2 year old? You might be able to rear face him/her in the Safety First Avenue in the 3rd row. It rear faces to 35 lbs and installs very upright. It has the tallest shell of the 40 lbs ff limit seats.
 
U

Unregistered

Guest
Not to jack your thread, but what about the older RAV4s? We currently have 2 britax boulevards for my 4.5 and 2.5yos in my 2001 RAV4, but we are expecting #3 and don't want to trade in. Could we do 3 Sunshine Radians across? Has anyone tried? Thanks.
 

Maedze

New member
Not to jack your thread, but what about the older RAV4s? We currently have 2 britax boulevards for my 4.5 and 2.5yos in my 2001 RAV4, but we are expecting #3 and don't want to trade in. Could we do 3 Sunshine Radians across? Has anyone tried? Thanks.

For the older Rav-4s, the seatbelts are set up more sensibly, but unfortunately they're so small that I would be surprised if you could do three across, even with Radians... Can't hurt to try, though :)
 

ketchupqueen

CPST and ketchup snob
Staff member
I know someone has gotten a Radian in the center of an older RAV4-- it was a 2 person (and experienced tech was one of them) job. But it can be done. Whether that leaves any room for Radians either side, I don't know.
 
U

Unregistered

Guest
Thanks, Maedze. I suspect the answer is no because even the new Radians, which can be latch-only, aren't compatible with the middle back seatbelt, which I believe comes from the ceiling of the car. I'll have to check to be sure, but I think it's impossible to safely install. I could install the smaller 2 with latch on either side, but then my oldest would have to be secured with a seat belt, and that seat belt looks to be incompatible with the Radian.

Does that sound right?
 
U

Unregistered

Guest
Ketchup Queen, thanks for your input. I'm in L.A. too, and not sure where to find a tech.

I'm not sure how you could do that in the middle seat since the shoulder belt at least, but I think the lap belt too, comes from the ceiling behind the passenger side. Although I just looked at the manual and it says there's an anchor for the center seat in the U.S. Maybe we'll just take the plunge and see if we can fit 3 across. Would save us a pretty penny.

Thanks!
 

Maedze

New member
The version with LATCH in the center is the above mentioned kind that is a four person only car. There is a top tether anchor for all three seating positions, which is not the same thing as lower anchors.

The Radian can be installed with a seatbelt, and yes, that kind of seatbelt :)
 

ketchupqueen

CPST and ketchup snob
Staff member
Ketchup Queen, thanks for your input. I'm in L.A. too, and not sure where to find a tech.

I'm not sure how you could do that in the middle seat since the shoulder belt at least, but I think the lap belt too, comes from the ceiling behind the passenger side. Although I just looked at the manual and it says there's an anchor for the center seat in the U.S. Maybe we'll just take the plunge and see if we can fit 3 across. Would save us a pretty penny.

Thanks!

The lap belt doesn't come from the center, it is in the bottom and the shoulder belt buckles in. ;) There's no LATCH in the middle seat, only a top tether anchor, as Maedze says.

In OLDER RAV4s, there was a lap-only belt in the center, and it did not overlap. Not sure when that changed exactly.

If you check the list you'll see there are several techs from this board in the L.A. area, and several of us do private checks: http://www.car-seat.org/showthread.php?t=59135

Feel free to contact one of us if you need help. :)
 

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