How to Fit 3 Car Seats in a Sedan Safely and Effectively

June 16, 2024

Fitting three car seats in a sedan can be quite a challenging task, especially when trying to ensure the safety and comfort of all children involved. One of the primary steps to achieve this is meticulously measuring the hip width of your vehicle's bench seat and comparing it to the width of the car seats. This will help you determine if they will fit in a three-across configuration.

How to Fit 3 Car Seats in a Sedan

When planning how to fit 3 car seats in a sedan, it is essential to consider both vehicle compatibility and car seat compatibility. This includes assessing the position of top tether anchors, the presence of non-removable headrests, and any specific instructions for each car seat model. Additionally, it's crucial to ensure that car seats are installed tightly to prevent any movement in case of a crash. Always check for vehicle overlap and make sure that all car seats are securely fastened and pass the tightness test.

how to fit 3 car seats in a sedan

Testing Configurations

Testing different configurations of car seats can reveal the best setup for your vehicle. It's often recommended to purchase car seats that are 17 inches or less in width for a three-across configuration. Seeking assistance from a child passenger safety technician can provide valuable insights and ensure that the seats are installed correctly. Don't hesitate to test seats borrowed from friends, stores, or consult with a certified car seat technician.

how to fit 3 car seats in a sedan

Vehicle Examples and Personal Experiences

Drivers who prefer sedans, such as a 2020 BMW 530i or a 2016 Audi A6 3.0L, have reported success in fitting three Diono car seats, albeit tightly. These experiences highlight the importance of testing various seat arrangements and being open to utilizing different car seats for each child instead of identical seating.

how to fit 3 car seats in a sedan
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Important Considerations

When determining how to fit 3 car seats in a sedan, consider using the vehicle's seat belts rather than relying solely on the LATCH system, as many cars do not have three LATCH positions in a single row. It's also important to evaluate the features of car seats, such as anti-rebound capabilities and seat belt installations, to choose the best fit for your vehicle.

Additional Tips and Resources

If you own a small vehicle like a Mercedes CLA 250, understanding the specific features of car seats and positioning is vital. Some families have found success by testing setups in various small and large vehicle models, ensuring a secure and comfortable fit for their children. Engaging with car seat safety resources and professionals can also provide valuable guidance.

how to fit 3 car seats in a sedan
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