As I head rapidly towards having 3 kids, the stress of fitting the whole family into my not so big car is starting to build. I just bought my car, 3 months before I found out I was pregnant with my 3rd baby. I was not planning another baby so when we looked at cars I just wanted something small that I could run around town in and still fit my 2 kids comfortably. We ended up buying a Hyundai Grand i10 and I am so in love with the car.. BUT .. How the hell do I fit 3 car seats on the back seat!
Read along here to find out how I have solved this problem and the thought process I went through along the way.
My initial thought was that I have a serious problem and I am never going to fit 3 seats onto my small car’s back seat. But at further inspection it does actually fit and can very much be done, I also discovered there are two ways I can fit my whole family into the car so I will take you through both of them.
Before I carry on, I must just tell everyone reading this that because of my work with CarseatFullstop over the years, it has taught me exactly how very important it is to have ALL your children up to the age of 12 years old in an age appropriator car seat. So there is no option in this where I have my six year old in the car without a booster. This is why I put the time in to find out how to fit 3 seats in the car and make sure they are in in a safe and properly installed way. You can also Follow CarseatFullstop on Facebook to read all about how and how not to use a car seat and all the dangers involved in not using one.
Fitting 3 Car Seats on a back seat.
Yes it is possible in most cars! I will have three children all at different stages. A baby in an infant seat, a 6 year old in a booster seat and then my 2 year old in the Toddler seat and they all fit onto the back seat.
BUT I did run into a small issues, I only now in trying this out have discovered that the back seat of my car only has a 2 point lap belt in the middle and not a full 3 point seat belt. This means that I can not put the infant seat or the booster in the middle and there is only one make of Toddler seat that I know of (The Volvo one) that is properly designed to be installed with just the lap belt. I do not own that seat so I cant put my 3 kids onto the back seat.
PLEASE DO NOT install a car seat with only a 2 point lap belt if it is not made to be used with one! This can be EXTREMELY dangerous for not only the child in that seat but also the other children in the car. If you are in a bad accident and the car is flipped or jerked too hard then the car seats move around with an incredible force, even traveling at a small rate of 60km, A seat that is not properly secured can then be hurled around in the car and cause terrible harm to the child in it as well as the children sitting next to it. It is then in this event even more dangerous.
As long as you have 3 full seat belts at the back or at least one car seat that is lap belt compatible, then you should be able to fit your kids in and that is fabulous news! Unless you have a really really small car, then it may not fit too well.
Option #2 of Fitting 3 Car Seats in the car
The second option to my problem of fitting the whole family in the car is that I put baby in the infant seat on the front seat and I sit in the middle with the other two at the back. This is most probably my easiest option and actually works out rather fine, I tried sitting at the back in the middle over the weekend when we went for a drive and it was nice being with the kiddies at the back. It also offers me a good view of what baby is up to in the infant seat on the front seat and I have access to all my children in the car.
During the week when it is just me and the 3 kids then I will anyways be driving around with baby next to me on the front seat so there is no problem there.
The only thing to note with this method of fitting 3 is to then make sure that your front air bag is switched off if the baby is on the front seat. Other than that there is no issue here.
Lets have a quick look now at some of the important points to remember here:
- If you can or know you are planning for 3 then make sure you buy a car that has 3 full seat belts on the back seat so you avoid future problems. Having isofix can also help with space issues and fitting seats in so if you are car shopping then esquire about that as well.
- Do not attempt to strap a car seat in incorrectly or with a 2 point lap belt if it is not designed to do so. It is very dangerous.
- It is possible to fit 3 seats plus mom and dad into a somewhat small car so do not panic! When you shop for car seats you can check the size of them and even go for one that is not too wide so you save on space a little.
- ALWAYS make sure that the passenger seat air bag is switched off if you are going to have a car seat on the front seat. The air bag can cause extreme harm to a child because the force is too much for them to take and will slam the car seat into the backrest of the seat.
- Do not try and put your child into a car seat that is too big or too small for them just to fit them into the car. Car seat sizing and weight guidelines are there for very important reasons and should be adhered to. A car seat that is the incorrect size for your child does not offer proper protection and support for their little bodies during an accident.
I will be doing more research on this topic as time goes on because I do feel that there is a lot that we can still learn. Please comment bellow if you have any questions or concerns and I will get the correct answers and information for you as far as I possibly can.