Author Topic: 3 Kids/Carseats in an Outback?  (Read 9660 times)

Snowman99

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3 Kids/Carseats in an Outback?
« on: November 16, 2018, 08:52:52 AM »
We have a 1.5 y/o and a 4 y/o both in Diono Radian Carseats.  My wife loves her 2015 Subaru Outback and doesn't want to get a minivan.  I of course don't want to get a new car. Looks like we have a new baby coming soon. I know you can technically fit three carseats across in the Outback, but I'm just wondering what it is like in actual practice?  Does anyone have experience fitting three kids in the back of an Outback and/or sedan?  Is this realistic from a practical standpoint, or are we both just being wishful thinkers?

So far everyone we know who had three kids caved into the minivan.  Are we only delaying the inevitable?  Thanks.

Slow&Steady

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Re: 3 Kids/Carseats in an Outback?
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2018, 01:09:26 PM »
I had nieces visit for a weekend while their sister was born and we had to add 2 additional car seats to our 2006 Prius for the weekend.  My daughter was 1 at the time and nieces were 2 and 5, I think.  We had a Diono for each of our cars and then another not as slim but still not very big "grandma" car seat that we used.  My daughter was still rear facing but my nieces had already been turned so we did a rear facing on the driver side and the 2 Diono seats forward facing in the middle and behind the passenger seat.  The 5 year old was able to pretty much buckle herself so she was in the middle.  Besides the "X is touching/looking at me!" the fit was fine.  If we would have tried to use the Diono as just a high back booster for the 5 year old it might have made it more difficult to buckle but we just adjusted the straps and had her use the 5 point harness. 

So my opinion is that, especially with Diono seats, everyone should be able to fit pretty good until the oldest one outgrows the 5 point harness.  If you keep your 1.5 year old rear facing after you add the 3rd car seat that might make it interesting for whoever is in the middle but not impossible.

I'm a red panda

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Re: 3 Kids/Carseats in an Outback?
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2018, 01:53:34 PM »
Good tips:
https://thecarseatlady.com/fitting3across/
https://csftl.org/three-across-update/

Outback specific:
https://www.thecarcrashdetective.com/3-across-installations-outback/

I found my car I couldn't put a Diono Radian in at infant recline angle. You can't use the angle adjuster until 1 year of age.  A friend has 3 rear facing Diono's in a Prius, but all are old enough for the angle adjuster, which helps the front seats have space.

Put the oldest kid in the middle, so they can climb to get there. Certainly, it's not idea- but like most infant/toddler things, it doesn't last long.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2018, 01:56:57 PM by I'm a red panda »

brycedoula

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Re: 3 Kids/Carseats in an Outback?
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2018, 12:15:23 PM »
We bought a 2017 Outback in fall 2017 when our daughter was RF in her Diono Radian R120 (in the middle with the angle adjuster). We now have an infant bucket seat (with base) installed in the middle for our three month-old son, and our daughter is now FF behind the passenger seat. There is plenty of room in the seat behind the driver for another passenger; this is where the dog sits when she's with us.

If we were to have another child (NOT the plan) we could definitely fit all three kids in the Outback, as long as the older two were in narrow seats like Dionos or Cleks. My preference is a bucket seat for little babies, as opposed to a convertible seat right from birth. YMMV.

ManyMountains

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Re: 3 Kids/Carseats in an Outback?
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2018, 11:17:24 PM »
We fit three across in our 2008 Honda Fit, which is considered a sub-compact car and I can only imagine is smaller than your Subaru.

We have two Dionos (for 2.5 y.o. and 5 y.o.) and one Chicco Keyfit 35 (for infant). All car seats were found lightly used and deeply discounted on Craigslist. For a while we actually had our 2.5 y.o. in the middle with her Diono rear-facing and the Chicco near the window. This was good because it's safer to be rear facing (and required in some countries until kids are 4), and it was easier to take the Chicco in and out. However, we switched it so that the Chicco is in the middle. We don't often drive, so taking the Chicco in and out isn't that big of a deal as it is infrequent, but it is safer to have the baby in the middle of the car. This setup also keeps the older kids separated (avoids fighting), and they can both take care of their baby sister (which they love to do). Finally, it makes it easier for the older kids to get in and out on their own and they each have 'their side' of the car.

Hope this helps!
https://photos.app.goo.gl/SzLg8ecgynAV39Fu6

Justin1911

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Re: 3 Kids/Carseats in an Outback?
« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2019, 01:33:52 PM »
According to others it is possible to have 3 car seats in your Outback. I applaud everyone who has made that work. I just want to chime in here to make a plug for the Honda Odyssey as an option. My wife and I are very happy with the 2010 Odyssey we bought before having twins a couple years ago. Having their rear facing seats in the two captain's chairs, sliding doors, amazing cargo space (strollers, pack-and-plays, luggage) is just amazing.

We didn't love the idea of a minivan at first. Several unique circumstances lead us to get one and it has proven to be the right choice for us. I totally believe you can get away with not having a van, but it sure is a great option to take a close look at.

salty_monk

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Re: 3 Kids/Carseats in an Outback?
« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2019, 12:24:31 PM »
With 2 Britax carseats fitted you'll have 19" across the shoulders left in the middle... I couldn't make it work. Not really big enough for a person to sit there either for anything more than a short hop.

The "across shoulder" width of an outback was only 3" more than a Nissan Versa we had.

Odyssey's are great but the MPG figures are pretty terrible - having said that - the Outback is not a great deal better. If you want something smaller & more economical than a Minivan what about a real minivan - the Mazda 5...

If only the manufacturers would bring all the smaller flexible 7 seaters from Europe here with a reasonable size engine... (the 7 seat Prius would be a start plus the Ford C-max).

RWD

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Re: 3 Kids/Carseats in an Outback?
« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2019, 12:42:18 PM »
Odyssey's are great but the MPG figures are pretty terrible - having said that - the Outback is not a great deal better. If you want something smaller & more economical than a Minivan what about a real minivan - the Mazda 5...

Really? The Mazda 5 has a fuel economy closer to the Odyssey than the Outback. The Outback is a league better than the Odyssey.

Odyssey - 19/27 mpg
Mazda 5 - 21/28 mpg
Outback - 25/32 mpg

The Outback saves you 9 gallons of fuel every thousand miles compared to the Odyssey in mixed driving.

I'm a red panda

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Re: 3 Kids/Carseats in an Outback?
« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2019, 12:54:33 PM »
With 2 Britax carseats fitted you'll have 19" across the shoulders left in the middle... I couldn't make it work. Not really big enough for a person to sit there either for anything more than a short hop.


But why only benchmark with Britax carseats? It makes sense to change the carseats before changing the car...   Clek Foonf is just less than 17" across, for instance.
And if you want Britax, you can get the Marathon, which is 1/2" narrower than what you stated.

Sometimes the best bet is also to get different brands of carseats, rather than 3 of the same one, depending on the configuration of your car..

Reggie

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Re: 3 Kids/Carseats in an Outback?
« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2019, 04:54:28 AM »
We're expecting our third child in May and we are attempting the same thing.  In a Hyundai Tuscon.  Every time we tell someone we're expecting a third, they say "so time for a bigger vehicle eh?".  Then they think I can't afford one when I say we will make it work.  lol.

So far I've gotten 2 nearly brand new used Dionos and the narrowest booster seat I could find. I'm hoping my 4 year old will crack 40lbs by the time the baby comes and he can go to a the booster.

I've tested it and it works! Rear facing baby will have to go in the middle though but with the removable booster it should make it easy enough to handle. 

getmoneyeatpizza

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Re: 3 Kids/Carseats in an Outback?
« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2019, 08:00:57 AM »
You can fit 3 in the outback for now but I would keep your eye out for a good used minivan for the long term. We have 2 kids and can barely fit everything in our outback for road trips.

We have a yakima skybox 16 rooftop carrier which fits perfectly and could delay your minivan purchase until the kids are older.

Honestly, if we didn't live in a crowded city with on street parking, a short commute, and a really tight parking deck we would have gotten a minivan.

Snowman99

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Re: 3 Kids/Carseats in an Outback?
« Reply #11 on: April 03, 2019, 02:25:21 AM »
We have a Thule box on the roof that does wonders for road trips.  That and we have gotten very efficient at packing!  We have the "kid crap" department covered with 2 and adding a third should not add any more.

I'll be testing out the three across soon once my son is ready to forward face.  I think we will play it by ear and buy something bigger only if we find the 3 in the Outback to be unmanageable.  My wife is a staunch "never minivan" person.

MayDay

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Re: 3 Kids/Carseats in an Outback?
« Reply #12 on: April 03, 2019, 05:08:10 AM »
I did three across in a Civic when I did some childcare and found it really miserable. Still have the Civic but now the kids are out of carseats and it is still miserable! There just isn't much shoulder room. Contrasting that to my father's Accord, and there is plenty of room (but I'd still never do a road trip with 3 across).  So I think it depends mostly on the width of the backseat, as to whether it is tolerable or miserable.

You can rent a van for road trips, maybe (in many areas they aren't available or cost a fortune so check it out in advance). Think about how often you want to drive a few hours or go camping. With five people (even tiny people, even packing minimally) you just don't have a ton of space until you go to a minivan. For us, with two kids, we needed more space to camp, period.

LadyMuMu

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Re: 3 Kids/Carseats in an Outback?
« Reply #13 on: April 03, 2019, 12:09:29 PM »
If you can hold out, definitely do it. Once you go minivan with kids, it's hard to downsize again once they're out of carseats/boosters.

mm1970

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Re: 3 Kids/Carseats in an Outback?
« Reply #14 on: April 03, 2019, 01:01:45 PM »
If you can hold out, definitely do it. Once you go minivan with kids, it's hard to downsize again once they're out of carseats/boosters.
Yup.

We don't have a minivan, but a Matrix and a Thule box.  Our most recent road trip, we pulled the trigger and rented a small SUV.  Our kids HATE road trips, because we are squashed in that car.

Well, the small SUV never turned up and we ended up with a Yukon.  Must say, it was pretty sweet.  Gas mileage wasn't horrible either for the amount of miles we drove.

I can see why people like the bigger cars.  There was no need to "pack the car" (it's like Tetris in a Matrix, even worse if we are camping).

Kmp2

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Re: 3 Kids/Carseats in an Outback?
« Reply #15 on: May 21, 2019, 09:02:27 PM »
I fit 3 in my '04 honda civic... they are cleck foonfs, and one infant britax seat though. Two are forward facing now - the only way to fit a rear facing convertible (comfortably for the adults anyway)was in the middle seat, and it's hard to do up that one while you have two other seats.

We are looking at moving from my DH's GMC Acadia to a minivan though - it is nice to know we can survive on my civic alone when we need to (and we needed to this year, the acadia has required fixin' twice, and once it took 6 weeks to get the parts.. in February, the coldest February in 50 years.

it is almost always cheaper to replace carseats as opposed to replacing cars.