Note: This topic is for discussing car seats. If you want to buy and sell car seats, please use our For Sale/Wanted boards. Please feel free to report buying and selling in this topic. Thanks, MNHQa> section. If you see buying and selling in this topic, please feel free to report it. Thanks, MNHQ.

Doing up straps - middle of three rear facing seats?

(29 Posts)
NewJobNewLife Mon 20-Jan-14 10:25:50

We're trying to decide on a new car at the moment, and I'm a bit stumped as to what configuration would suit our family best.

I'd like to keep my older children rear facing, and have a baby on the way. Ideally I'd like them all in the second row of the car, though we'll probably buy a 7 seater (as I am presuming the second row is safer than the back row?).

As all three will be rear facing in 5-point harnesses, how on earth do you do up/tighten the middle harness?! My only solution so far is a isofix/belted base for the infant carrier in the middle so that I can do the straps and then try to pass the infant carrier through the middle from the front onto the base, but surely there must be a better way?!

I may be able to teach my will-be four year olds to do up the buckle of the 5-point harness, but I don't think they'll have the strength to pull the harness tight. So I think their seats need to be on the seats by the doors. This leaves the middle seat (inaccessible), the front seat (safe? And I'd like it for an adult really!) and the back seats (safe?).

Someone must have been here before me?! Help!

NewJobNewLife Mon 20-Jan-14 11:03:46

I've spotted a problem with my base-in-the-middle plan sad The bases all have a foot prop, which I don't think will work in the middle because of the hump thing on the floor sad

Unless there is a base with a forked prop ....

notso Mon 20-Jan-14 11:17:58

We have a Peugeot 7 seater and the only place the isofix base could go is the middle seat or the front passenger seat.
Many 7 seaters including ours have floor storage in the floor which mean you can't use a support prop.
We couldn't find ERF seats to suit us, despite trying several so they are both now in forward facing seats.

Babbit Mon 20-Jan-14 11:19:29

How old are your children?? Surely they wont have the leg room to be rear facing?

Artandco Mon 20-Jan-14 11:22:50

Use an isofix on one side. Then you can reach middle and strap in, then add baby seat to isofix on side similar to as you mentioned.

Babbit - it's recommended to stay rear facing as long as possible now. Ideally 4 years

Babbit Mon 20-Jan-14 11:25:21

Ok, but surely in most cases there is insufficient room? How does this work - i'm truly interested.

Artandco Mon 20-Jan-14 11:33:26

Babbit- they just bend legs a little. My eldest is 4 and 90% height and fits fine still. In a serious accident I would much rather he breaks his legs than his neck and spinal cord

Babbit Mon 20-Jan-14 11:40:54

the only image I could find online of an older child in a rear facing seat (i didn;t spend a great deal of time on it) was of a child sitting in a sort of V shape with feet rested at teh top of the passenger seat. This, in my opinion, is very dangerous and is likely to produce more severe injuries at a lesser impact than a forward facing seat bearing in mind that most driving will be done in 30mph zones (i assume). I would not be comfortable with it. I expect the data is in its infancy too, and actually useful comparisons are not possible (between forward and rear for children aged 3 and 4 say). Horses for courses, and we must all do what we think is best.

notso Mon 20-Jan-14 12:11:48

Babbit extended rear facing is the law in some European countries. The seats are much bigger and the children mostly just cross their legs.

I found it a minefield looking for seats to suit us. We have a long list of needs and ERF just couldn't meet them all. Our best option would have cost more money than we had in the budget for seats.
My DC only go in a car a couple of times a month even still I feel bad everytime we strap them in that they are not in the safest option.

galwaygirl Mon 20-Jan-14 12:22:56

Hi OP, I only have two DC but we just bought a new car and planned for 3 rear facing. We have bought a Kia Ceed SW. I sit in between the 2 DC in the back and have plenty of room. This is easy as DS is still in maxi cosi but we are planning to move him up to an iso-fix seat, thinking Britax MaxFix, where I can still get in between them easily by taking his seat out. Then a new baby would go in the front passenger seat. Hope that makes sense!

galwaygirl Mon 20-Jan-14 12:27:02

Babbit I'm in Sweden where young children have been rear facing since the 60s so plenty of data. Children here are usually rear facing to 4/5 and taller on average than the average British child. My 2.7 year old DD is still very comfy in her ERF seat

NewJobNewLife Mon 20-Jan-14 13:13:39

Thanks for your responses smile

My twins will be nearly 4 year when the baby arrives, but are small and slim for their age. Ideally I'd like to keep them rear facing until at least 5 years, when I think it'll get easier (I.e. Easier to fit two HBB with one ERF for the baby who will then be one and outgrowing the infant seat).

We are currently looking at a Zafira or a Touran, neither of which have floor storage. I would actively avoid floor storage in order to ERF.

I am a bit worried about sitting in between the two ERF seats on long journeys, as I worry about driver distraction with my head in the mirror all the time, and worry about getting out fast in the event of an emergency. I won't be much use saving children if I am stuck trying to climb out of the middle seat! We have two BeSafe IZI Combi seats and two Britax Two Way Elite seats and I'm reluctant to change the ERF seats if I can avoid it (two ERF is a scary purchase!).

Does anyone know anything about the safety if infant carriers in the front seat, or ERF/infant seats in the rear seats of 7 seater cars?

emark Mon 20-Jan-14 13:28:24

very difficult to turn airbag off in passenger seat of a zafira
It will be impossible to fit three big car seats across middle row.
we have had isofix baby seat+ 5 point harness forward facing and a high back booster in the middle. depending on seat buckle crunch may be an issue

NewJobNewLife Mon 20-Jan-14 15:23:08

Humm, not looking good is it?!

Thank for all your ideas and experiences smile

You could get a belted base for the infant seat perhaps? I don't think they have a support leg. Do that up before installing the two on the sides, then click baby in done-up seat into middle.

Or you'd have to have the baby at the edge with the twins in the middle and other edge. Do up middle twin's straps from baby seat side, sitting or kneeling on the base (ouch) to reach them.

I think personally I'd probably go for HBBs for the twins or one of them, because the belt fitting is so much easier and they can do it themselves with minimal intervention.

NewJobNewLife Mon 20-Jan-14 15:58:20

Hi BertieBotts, the belted base was my initial plan, but they do seem to have leg braces. As do the Isofix bases sad

I think I'm going to have to take my many car seats to visit a few cars and see what I can manage to do! That'll sort the keen salesmen out from the slackers wink!

galwaygirl Mon 20-Jan-14 15:58:26

The front seat should be ok for an infant seat as long as you can turn the airbag off. Have you looked at Which? They rate the safety of seat positions and think they looked at those two cars. I would go for front over rear of 7 seated as if you're in the back of a 7 seater there isn't much car between you and the outside of the car but haven't read any formal studies on that.
Floor storage can be ok as long as the leg on the seat is long enough to go into the open compartment.
Hadn't thought about the issue of getting out easily from middle of backseat! You sound similar to me in the amount of thinking you're doing - watching this thread with interest so do let us know what you end up doing

galwaygirl Mon 20-Jan-14 16:02:38

Have you looked at the Kia Carens? It has 3 separate seats in back so you could get out more easily - push seat bsck or recline seat - if you sat in back between kids?

oadcb Mon 20-Jan-14 21:26:25

Have a look at www.rearfacingtoddlers.com she has pics of 3 across.

She may be able to answer how to do harness question. I cant imagine its that difficult. Certainly no more than leaning in and doing a seat back.

Also you can install a TWE which has no foot prop.

Tourans you can get foam spacers to fill underfloor storage.

Re the transmission hump...ive asked this question before. It is fine to put a leg on top of the hump, as long as it's short enough. The besafe also has a prong shape which straddles it.

good luck!

AliceMum09 Mon 20-Jan-14 22:31:59

It's not too hard to do up the harness on a seat in the middle position.

On a day-to-day basis I have two HBB, and a Britax Multi Tech II ERF seat behind the passenger. However, last summer I put DD2 back into our Britax First Class seat in the middle of the middle row, and made DD1 (then aged 4 3/4) sit in the Multi Tech for our trip to Cornwall and back. I don't remember struggling to fasten DD2 into the First class, but I think I put her in first, before DD1 got into the Multi Tech. And also the Multi Tech is quite 'low down' in the car, so it's easy to reach past it.

Put the Two Ways in the middle and left seat, so you can reach both, then belt the infant seat in behind the driver?

NewJobNewLife Tue 21-Jan-14 08:28:45

Thanks for all your responses, especially those that give me hope that it is possible to tighten the harness in the middle seat by leaning over smile

I think I'm going to ask a friend with a touran whether I can borrow her car for an hour to see what might fit. I am a bit concerned that my ERF seats might be too big for the touran/Zafira, but the thought of parking an Alhambra or similar scares me!

Thanks everyone smile

Artandco Tue 21-Jan-14 10:34:06

There's no harm in trying, and if too hard/ doesn't work you can change ideas then

Ihateparties Tue 21-Jan-14 10:57:32

We have dd2 rf in the centre of the car, I never really thought about doing up the harness, we just did it. Can't be that awkward or we would have noticed I suppose! The elder two are ff, so we lean over and around their hbb. It is a small car though, suppose it would be harder if it was larger and higher up? If the other seats were also rf there would be less contortion though as you would have direct access to the buckle and pull strap without reaching around the hbb sitting against the seat back.

oadcb Tue 21-Jan-14 18:02:18

My friend has her twins in the axkid kidzofix belted.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now