How to fit multiple carseats in a back seat

May 19, 2010 at 12:48 a.m. ET

Figuring out a way to fit multiple car seats in your car can be a challenge that is made trickier when you have more than two. You just may be able to transport the family and friends without super-sizing your vehicle when you follow these do's and don’ts.

Two CarseatsStep 1: keep your options open.

Minivans were invented because of this very dilemma, but don't feel like that's your only option. Many sizes of sedans, SUVs, wagons and crossovers offer the same space as you get in a minivan.

step 2: look for flat seats. recommends deep, flat bottom cushions. The heavily contoured seats found in many sport sedans and coupes can make the installation process harder.

step 3: try them out.

Try out your carseats in your current vehicle or vehicle you want to buy, in every configuration you can think of (forward facing, rear facing, latch installed, seat belt installed, tether installed, etc.).

step 4: have the kids try them out.

Bring your children with you as you shop. Try lifting and loading them into the seats to see how comfortable and easy it is for you.

step 5: DON'T forget about LATCH systems.

LATCH stands for "Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren." Instead of using the shoulder belt to hold your child seat, this system uses tethers with clips on either side of the safety seat that attach to anchors. This is an important safety feature found in most cars manufactured after 1999, which should have at least two latches.

step 6: look for slim models.

Most of a carseat's width is in its base. According to, a typical convertible, forward-facing harnessed seat measures approximately 27 inches, while an infant seat measures about 18 inches. Models are available that are at least an inch or two slimmer, such as the Sunshine Kids Radian convertible carseat that measures just 17 inches and holds children up to 80 pounds.

step 7: ask an expert.

Have a trained carseat technician check the seats to make sure they are properly installed. Your fire or police department can help with recommendations and appointments.

step 8: DON'T use the front seat.

Never sacrifice safety for convenience by putting a child in the front seat if you can help it. Absolutely never put a child in front of a passenger airbag that can't be deactivated. The rear seat is the safest place for a child.

A minivan isn't the only option when you need to fit multiple carseats in your vehicle -- just follow our simple tips. ?