Safe to leave one seat down in second row while children in third row of SUV?

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Fitting3carseats

Guest
Hi, we are looking for a SUV that our three children can use. Does anyone know about the safety of keeping a second row seat down (locked in place) with two children in third row. i want to have a climb through for two children in 3rd row while other child in side seat of second row. My concern is that if there was an accident and one of the middle row seats are down, could it whip up and hit a child in third row? We are looking at the Lexus GX460 and it has a 40/60 split on second row. Thanks.
 
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HappyHoo

New member
I know in our ford that we cannot keep a second row seat down if someone is in the third row.

I'm guessing you'd have to check the vehicle manual but my instinct would be that the answer is no.

Also what are the ages of the two older children? If they need top tethers then check to see if there are enough in the third row.
 

henrietta

New member
I looked at a bunch of vehicles a few weeks ago before we bought a Honda Odyssey. Looked at several SUVs, none in that class, but I'm betting the second row seats work about the same. When you fold the seats down to make a flat surface for cargo in an SUV, they don't "lock" down. They just fold. The seat back can still pop up, pretty easily if you are strong enough to move it. Generally, the bottom of the seat lifts up from the back and forward (it may lock) and then the back of the seat folds down and doesn't lock. It wouldn't be easy either for a kiddo to climb up into the SUV and over that seat either.

But most of the second row seats slide forward to allow third row access and it's not that difficult. For my kids, I decided it's too difficult for them. They are only 8 & 5, and our oldest has some special needs. But again, I was looking at the Honda Pilot, Nissan Pathfinder, etc. Not Infiniti, Lexus, etc. Their seats may adjust a bit differently. The Honda Pilots second row seats folded and slid forward easily though to allow third row access. I think my son could have done it and gotten better at it with practice. I just didn't want to deal with it day in and day out.

If the seat folds the way I'm picturing it, I personally would not be comfortable with my kids climbing over that folded seat every day or the chance of it popping up in a wreck. If it folds flat into the floor, like the stow and go seats of some minivans, I'd be fine with it. It's not going to magically flip up and go past it's latching point without extra weight on it, but I wouldn't want to see the forward motion of the third row child headed into it as it flipped up (*if* it would do that).
 

2BunniesMommy

New member
I know in our ford that we cannot keep a second row seat down if someone is in the third row.

I'm guessing you'd have to check the vehicle manual but my instinct would be that the answer is no.

Also what are the ages of the two older children? If they need top tethers then check to see if there are enough in the third row.
What Ford do you have? I did this in my Windstar without a 2nd thought, now thinking that may not have been the best idea. We now have an older Expedition and we have never used the 3rd row, it isn't even in, but figure good info to have if we ever do use it.
 

jess71903

Ambassador
I'm pretty sure my '05 Expedition seats lock down. Now, that's just the seat back folded flat. They also tumble forward and they do NOT lock that way. Unless there's a specific prohibition that I'm missing, I wouldn't have a problem with riding with the 2nd row seat backs folded while someone rode in the 3rd, but it's never come up for us.
 

jgomez411

New member
I'm pretty sure my '05 Expedition seats lock down. Now, that's just the seat back folded flat. They also tumble forward and they do NOT lock that way. Unless there's a specific prohibition that I'm missing, I wouldn't have a problem with riding with the 2nd row seat backs folded while someone rode in the 3rd, but it's never come up for us.

That's weird, I don't think the captain's chairs in my 04 lock when they're folded down. I've actually managed to put it up while I was sitting in the front seat. I have left it down on occasion with no one sitting in the 3rd row, but I'm confused how it could hurt anyone in the 3rd row. Wouldn't it only flip back up into the first position it could lock into and not go all the way back? I don't know if I'm explaining it right.
 

jess71903

Ambassador
That's weird, I don't think the captain's chairs in my 04 lock when they're folded down. I've actually managed to put it up while I was sitting in the front seat. I have left it down on occasion with no one sitting in the 3rd row, but I'm confused how it could hurt anyone in the 3rd row. Wouldn't it only flip back up into the first position it could lock into and not go all the way back? I don't know if I'm explaining it right.
Yeah, and the seat is going to move in the same direction as the rest of the people in the car. So it's not going to flip up and back while the person behind it is flying forward or something.

Anyway, mine is a "bench" not captain chairs. Maybe they are made differently, or maybe I'm just wrong! I still haven't checked.

ETA: Ha! So it turns out that I'm just wrong. They don't lock down. I guess I had it in my head that when I get out of the 3rd row, I have to pull the lever twice: once to make the seat back lay down and once to tumble it forward. I don't know why that translated into the top locking to me, but it did.
 

kathysr98

New member
Most Fords specify that the second row can be folded flat but not tumbled forward.

My Flex second row doesn't require a button push to put the seatback up from the folded position, but it does require pulling up on the seat. It's not the sort of motion that would happen in a wreck. If the seat is tumbled forward, it will pivot back easily, possibly injuring a foot that was too far forward in an accident.
 

safeinthecar

Moderator - CPS Technician
Yeah, and the seat is going to move in the same direction as the rest of the people in the car. So it's not going to flip up and back while the person behind it is flying forward or something.
In most collisions this would be true. Rollovers may not work that that way since those since there will be multiple hits from several directions plus centrifugal force at play.
 

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