3 rear facing child seats
I have 3 kids under the age of 3 and I want to keep the 3 children in rear facing child seats for as long as possible.
This post is just to say how I have done it and how pleased I am with the outcome, with one minor issue.
1. I have an 8 seat Touring L Plus (so it has the leather seats, which will be relevant later)
2. I have 3 Diono RXT car seats
3. I use the LATCH anchors in the second row for two child seats. One behind the drivers seat and one in the middle "8th seat".
4. I "stow" the seat behind the passenger seat under the floor.
5. I have the third child seat LATCHed to the 60% seat in the 3rd row.
Each car seat can be easily accessed, there is no "middle seat" to reach over to.
Sometimes my wife or I will sit on the back row so we have full visibility of each kid, but need to take off seatbelt to actually access the kids in the 2nd row. This can be helpful if the drive overlaps with a mealtime/snacktime for example.
The stowed seat can be easily put back into place after we have accessed the back row if we have an additional passenger. But the child seat on the back row effectively uses up two spaces so max capacity is 7 people including the 3 kids.
Safety specialists generally recommend staying rear facing for as long as possible, in fact I believe the legal age requirement for changinging to forward facing in Sweden is 4 years old, so I am glad I have been able to solve this. No other minivan offers the stow n go which makes this possible, I would have had to remove one 2nd row seat.
The only problem is that the 8th seat does not have a crevice where the seat back meets the seat, it is one continuous piece of leather so the bottom of the rear facing car seat does not have a crevice to Jam into. I have a rubber seat protector which I have used to protect the leather but it is necessary to tighten the LATCH Belt very tight to make it safe so there is a lot of pressure on the leather and i am not sure if it will cause damage.
The only other point is that the LATCH system is limited at 65lbs for rear facing, which my boys and the Diono RXT together will likely exceed fairly soon so will have to switch to seatbelt to attach the seats to the car.
I cannot think of another car on the road that would allow such easy access to three rear facing car seats, if they would fit at all. It is the stow and go that makes the difference.
Just thought I would share my experience.