Question Best configuration for 3 in a Dodge Grand Caravan

We're expecting DD3 soon and I'm trying to figure out where we're going to place the car seats. When she arrives, I'll have a 45lb 4-year-old harnessed in a Frontier 85 (using a seat belt to secure the seat), a 35lb 2-year-old FF in an Evenflo Triumph Advance, and the newborn in a Chicco KeyFit.

I had originally thought of putting the 2 older children in the back, stowing one of the 2nd row captain's chairs, and putting the baby behind the driver. However, there is only one Tether Anchor in the 3rd row, so I can only have one FF child back there if I want them both to be tethered.

So my current thought is to put the 4-year-old in the middle seat in the 3rd row, the 2-year-old behind the driver, and the newborn behind the passenger, in the captain's seats. Does it really matter which child is in which position? These seem to be the best places to put them in the car.

Thanks!
 
ADS

aeormsby

New member
I think your plan is good. The only other thing that pops into my head right away is putting your oldest in the 3rd row with the newborn (at least while you're using the infant seat). That way you can still fold down one of the 2nd row seats and have both FF kiddos tethered. Put the infant seat on the side where the 2nd row is folded so the older can get back into their seat easier.

Do you have the off-set tether in the 3rd row that can be used by either a seat installed in the center or on the side (trying to remember exactly what the set up is, my parents have a T&C but it's older, I think one of the first years with the Stow & Go).

I would also keep your 3yo RF as long as possible (as close to age 3 as possible).
 
Yes, the third row tethered is off-set, so I could have the Frontier in either the middle or outboard. There are lower anchors there as well, but I can't use those with the Frontier, since DD is too big already. :)

I never thought about putting the baby in the back, but that might be easier, since she could just snap in, and I could still reach the older one to buckle her in. I do plan to keep the 2-year-old RF as long as possible, but the seat only goes up to 35lbs and she's already 31 at 22 mos! Thanks!
 

Kat_Momof3

New member
What I'd do is start thinking RADIAN... I'd put the Frontier in the 2nd row and put the younger two rf (in the Radian and the infant seat, then Radian and Radian or coccoro) in the 3rd row.

push the headrests down all the way on younger models or remove them on older ones (and put them somewhere easily remembered cause you will need them down the line) and loading kids over the bench through the hatch just became easy as pie.

Why Radians? Well, because obviously your 3yr old can't rf forever (or she might not be already)... if she's not rf, you can put her in the center where you have a top tether anchor (depending on year model, you may have more, but either way, I know you have the one)... if she is, well, when she does go ff, she can go in the center and you can keep baby outboard.

And down the line, whether you have more kids or just need to put all 3 in the third row or have to accommodate other kids, the radians will save you so much space for trying to do a three-across in the back.


Now, if you can't be buying new seats right now, I'd put the Evenflo in the back row and plan to get a Radian for her by the time she outgrows it and/or baby is ready to move to the EFTA - and make sure you know when it will expire :D
 
I'll definitely keep the radian in mind for when we need to buy a new seat. I don't think I could convince my husband to buy a new one until one of the kids outgrows the one she's in now. ;) The EFTA won't expire for another 3 years or so...

I can't picture putting the kids in through the hatch. How would that work? Maybe I just can't picture it right now b/c I have this big belly in the way. But what about when you have groceries in the back or other cargo?

There's just one tether anchor in the 3rd row, but one in each of the captains chairs in the second row.
 

aept

New member
A few things:
My understanding was that the third row tether location is only to be used for the latch position (off-set center) or with the center seatbelt.
A RF radian might not install well in the third row outboard due to the funky hinges for the stow-n-go feature. Or maybe it is ok. Definitely not a sure thing though.

That said, a RF radian is great in a captains chair and maybe it would even work well to have the two RF kiddos in the captains chairs (in the seats you currently own or radians) and your oldest in the third row. I have my four year old in our third town now and we keep the 40% side folded down and stowed to make the flat floor most of the time. He loads in through the trunk and I can kneel on the floor or kind of squat in there to get him buckled in. His seat is installed in the latch position on the 60% seat and is tethered FF.
The seat flips up easily if you had to then fit in a stroller in the trunk or something. Also sometimes I will just fold the setback of that 40% side down and he climbs in over that. Then I keep one foot on the "tailgate" and one knee on that folded seat to reach him to do his harness.

I also wish we could make it work to just have one captains chair stowed but it's tricky to get everyone arranged just right!

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I'll have to check on that. I thought the tether could be used for either the middle or the outboard seat. I can't use the Frontier w/ the LATCH, since it's over the weight limit.
 

aept

New member
momto3princesses said:
I'll have to check on that. I thought the tether could be used for either the middle or the outboard seat. I can't use the Frontier w/ the LATCH, since it's over the weight limit.

If you find out it's ok, I'd love it. It would definitely open up some more options. Some people go by the 20 degree rule that as long as your tether is less than 20 degrees from center then you're ok. I hunk someone might new to check the LATCH manual for us.

The frontier installs well in the center seatbelt position of the third row. I used short belt path. I don't think the seatbelt was long enough for the LBP. However the cupholder area does then slightly jut out over into the area of the 40% seat and you'd have to decide to either keep that seat folded flat or keep it upright in the usual seating position. I think it sticks out enough to keep the 40 side seat from folding.

Also, I think you have until 48 lbs to use the lower lath anchors in a Dodge, although a seatbelt install is definitely ok, so stick with that unless someone else backs me up on that info. I'd love to get that verified by a tech.

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Kat_Momof3

New member
I'll definitely keep the radian in mind for when we need to buy a new seat. I don't think I could convince my husband to buy a new one until one of the kids outgrows the one she's in now. ;) The EFTA won't expire for another 3 years or so...

I can't picture putting the kids in through the hatch. How would that work? Maybe I just can't picture it right now b/c I have this big belly in the way. But what about when you have groceries in the back or other cargo?

There's just one tether anchor in the 3rd row, but one in each of the captains chairs in the second row.

Down the line you can always put two kids in the center row and one in the third row (who can buckle themselves so all you have to do is tighten), but for moms tall enough, it's so easy to load a rearfacing kid through the hatch.

I think the doability depends on height a lot... I'm 5'7", so I just put my knee on the bumper... for ones with a well in the back, if I were shorter, I'd put a knee on the bumper and then step into that well and bend over... but as it is when I did it, it was LIKE I had a well since I always had multiple strollers in the back, so I was always working over the ones already there :D

With groceries, I think it's just a matter of planning ahead... park near a cart return and put baby in first, or let your (WITH CLOSE SUPERVISION IF the cart return is on the SAME side of the lot as your car) oldest return the cart (as they continue to age and get more responsible, this way is easier)

It also then leaves better access to anyone ff in the third row for tightening their harness.

Down the line, of course (why I say start thinking Radian), you can put your oldest in a booster and the Radian in the third row and the Frontier with your middle one in the 2nd row. (obviously this is very down the line after both younger ones are done rearfacing in the EFTA)
 
Ah, yes, I'm a good 6" shorter than you, that probably makes a big difference.

I didn't see anything in the car manual about LATCH weight limits. In the car seat manual it says to assume 40lbs, so I've just been working with that. We just got this vehicle a couple of months ago and our old one only had one set of lower anchors (but many tether anchors), so I was just using the belt for the Frontier anyway.
 

seniah945

New member
I have a note I would add regarding placement of the kdis in the 2nd row.

If you park street side often, I suggest most mobile child passenger side/curb side, least mobile child on the driver side/street side. It makes me feel better doing it this way - for the limited time anyway!
 
We had an extra baby today, so I tried it out w/ the oldest in the back with the LATCH, the baby next to her, and the 2-year-old RF behind the driver. Everything fit great! Thanks for the ideas!
 

mom of six

Active member
What year is your van? With a little bit of know-how you might be able to install an additional tether anchor which would give you a lot more options. If you have stow and go it is totally doable to add an additional tether. Here is a link to the thread that talks about it: http://www.car-seat.org/showthread.php?t=163927

LOOK AT POST #13 and follow the links from there.

Good luck and let us know how it goes.
 

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