Diono Global Safety Advocate answers an expectant mom’s question.
I am Pregnant with my third baby (eep!) and trying to avoid upgrading my vehicle.
Is it possible to install three car seats on the same row, and how can I ensure each one is safe?
It is possible to install three car seats across in the same row. Follow these safety measures to ensure proper installation.
First, you want to know the width of each car seat and then measure the interior of the car.
(If you want to make things easy, look for a car seat base that’s only 17 inches wide. They fit in most midsize vehicles and work best for side-by-side seating.) Close the doors and measure armrest to armrest to make sure you have enough room. (Keep in mind, you will most likely have to give up on any added cup holders.)
Next, install each seat in the desired seating position, independently, to be sure they install correctly. You’ll want to install using the vehicle seat belts, as this will allow for more flexibility of moving the seats an inch or two. If you install with the lower anchors, you won’t have this flexibility (although still doable).
Be sure the car seats move less than 1 inch side-to-side and front- to-back at the belt path. Don’t forget the top tether for a forward-facing installation. If you are using an infant-only car seat, you might not be able to rotate the carry handle. Once you have established each seat fits correctly, start with the center installation and reinstall the car seats on the outboard seating positions. It might be a tight fit, but at least it gives an alternative to upgrading your vehicle before you’re ready.
Certified child passenger safety technician and Diono global safety advocate