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Best seating arrangment with 3 kids, all 4 and under

  • Put all in 2nd row

    Votes: 13 54.2%
  • Remove 2nd row middle seat and put oldest in back

    Votes: 8 33.3%
  • Remove 2nd row outside seat and put oldest in back

    Votes: 3 12.5%
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We just bought a 2012 EX-L due to our 3rd child due in February. So we'll soon have a 4 year old, 3 year old and newborn. I am thinking of 3 different arrangements and was wondering if any similar parents out there had experience with either or all of these.


1. All 3 kids in 2nd row. Newborn in middle (ability to move that center seat closer to driver), and older kids on outsides. Easy to plop infant carrier in the center seat, and easy to help 3 and 4 year old buckle up since they're right next to the sliders. BUT.. no way to access 3rd row from the sliders, if we have an extra passenger, without removing a carseat.


2. Remove 2nd row center seat. Put infant on one side and 3 year old on other. Use center passage way to allow 4 year old to get to 3rd row. BUT.. I would have to climb through the van using the center passage, to help him buckle up.


3. Remove one of the 2nd row outside seats. Put infant in middle, put 3 year old on one end. Without a 2nd row outside seat, easier access to 3rd row for older child and easier access for us to help him buckle up. BUT, getting rid of a nice, large 2nd row seat.


I know it's all personal preference and I'm sure we'll figure out what works best for us, but wanted to see if any of you had been through this.


Thanks in advance!!
 

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Personally I would suggest the roof rack if so equipped...

Since you probably won't like that I would suggest that the child that usually requires the most attention from the front seat passenger be placed in the second row center. If there are two adults up front then the next should go behind the driver and the most independent behind the passenger. Reverse the last two when there is only the driver.

I also suggest (if finances allow) to get a separate car seat and carrier for the infant. Have a certified Car Seat specialist install the car seats. Since they can be a bear to put in and remove properly, a separate carrier might save you a lot of time and ensure that the seat is properly installed all the time. Check with the local police, most around here have certified personnel and will happily assist for free.
 

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Option 1 is the best choice for kids that age. Main reason to buy an Odyssey in our case.

We just had snow this past Saturday (you know, Philly) and that configuration is priceless to load-unload quickly and, should it be needed, cater for the 3 and 4 yr olds. They are still little kids and need help from time to time.

Check these threads, good info/pics. As you can see, you can tilt the seat to access the 3rd row (even with a kid on it as some describe, LOL)

http://www.odyclub.com/forums/20-ki...-odyssey-ex-l-3-car-seats-across-2nd-row.html

http://www.odyclub.com/forums/54-2011-odyssey/150592-3-child-seats-installed.html
 

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Have a certified Car Seat specialist install the car seats. Since they can be a bear to put in and remove properly, a separate carrier might save you a lot of time and ensure that the seat is properly installed all the time. Check with the local police, most around here have certified personnel and will happily assist for free.
What car seat models are so complicated that they require assistance installing/removing?
 

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1. All 3 kids in 2nd row. Newborn in middle (ability to move that center seat closer to driver), and older kids on outsides. Easy to plop infant carrier in the center seat, and easy to help 3 and 4 year old buckle up since they're right next to the sliders. BUT.. no way to access 3rd row from the sliders, if we have an extra passenger, without removing a carseat.
You could do this, and stow one of the third row seats. Stowing one of the third row seats allows easy access to the the remaining seat through the rear. Sure, you lose a seat, but if you're considering this option at all, you probably won't need it very often.
 

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Last week, I had two adults in the first row, 2 car seats and one carrier in the second row, and 3 adults in the third roll. The problem we had was accessing the third row with all the car seats in the second row...its a tight fit, but it works and prevents a second car to follow.

If you dont have any other passengers, I dont think you need to remove any seat to access the third row. There is plenty of room for a kid to get back there assuming he is going through the side that has no child seat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Wow, lots of great advice. Thanks all.

I think the thread..

http://www.odyclub.com/forums/54-2011-odyssey/150592-3-child-seats-installed.html

really helped out as well.

As someone had said in the other thread, I think this will get a lot simpler once they're out of the big car seats, and into boosters. That will allow a lot more flexibility. I'm sure we'll figure out what works best for us for now. Thanks again!!
 

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My kids are a little older than yours (7, 6 and 4), but we usually have the 6 or the 7 year old in the back (they can buckle themselves in their boosters, so they don't require much help) and the 4 year old in the 2nd row. Even if we have to help one of the kids in the 3rd row I think the 2nd row seats allow for plenty of room for access to help the older kids. This allows an extra spot in the second row if needed sometimes even 2 extra spots depending on number of passengers. Again, I realize that having my kids in boosters and not in tethered car seats makes a big difference here, so it may not be as effective for your situation.
 

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Our oldest (5) is currently in the back. We have twins (3 yrs) in the middle with the middle seat removed.

Will likely switch the twins to the back, remove another middle seat and put the oldest in the remaining middle seat. This way the oldest has a little more contact with us in the front and the twins still have eachother for company in the back.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
My kids are a little older than yours (7, 6 and 4), but we usually have the 6 or the 7 year old in the back (they can buckle themselves in their boosters, so they don't require much help) and the 4 year old in the 2nd row. Even if we have to help one of the kids in the 3rd row I think the 2nd row seats allow for plenty of room for access to help the older kids. This allows an extra spot in the second row if needed sometimes even 2 extra spots depending on number of passengers. Again, I realize that having my kids in boosters and not in tethered car seats makes a big difference here, so it may not be as effective for your situation.
So the 7 or 6 year old is in the back, and the others in the 2nd row. I assume they're in the middle seat and an outside seat, right? If so, that's exactly what I envision my crew to be doing in a year or two.

I think the key turning point is soon as the oldest can buckle themselves up without help. Soon as that happens, my oldest is in the 3rd row!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Our oldest (5) is currently in the back. We have twins (3 yrs) in the middle with the middle seat removed.

Will likely switch the twins to the back, remove another middle seat and put the oldest in the remaining middle seat. This way the oldest has a little more contact with us in the front and the twins still have eachother for company in the back.
Wow, so you'd really potentially take out the middle AND an outside seat in the 2nd row? I thought I was crazy to take out EITHER one, but I imagine it sure opens up the interior a lot. And as long as you don't need that 3rd row to be folded down, it sounds like a decent idea.
 

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I only have 2 and an 07 EX, but I put them in opposite corners, 8 year old behind driver since he uses a full booster seat (britax, can't remember name good to 120lbs), and the seatbelt. I use the Latch to keep seat in place (so it doesn't fall out of the car when he gets out). In the 07 no latch in the rear (except the center, don't want him there).

Due to sibling squabbles, I have my 5 year old daughter in 3rd row as far away from son as possible. makes for a peaceful ride. She's still in a 5 point harness britax good to 85lbs.
To accomodate we moved center jump seat out and passenger 2nd row over to the middle. Gives the extra space for entry exit and room to buckle up without adult climbing into 3rd row.

Altenatively on your newer model, fold the 3rd row seat down. Works just fine that way too.
 

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I have three children too.

With our infant, the wife stays on the second row with the baby in the middle of the second row. When the baby gets old enough, wife will join me shot gun. The two year old will stay in the second row as well. Before the wife steps in the second row, the 5 year old knows how to slide the second row chair forward to get to the third row. This setting works well with us. For now, I don't mind playing taxi.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
I only have 2 and an 07 EX, but I put them in opposite corners, 8 year old behind driver since he uses a full booster seat (britax, can't remember name good to 120lbs), and the seatbelt. I use the Latch to keep seat in place (so it doesn't fall out of the car when he gets out). In the 07 no latch in the rear (except the center, don't want him there).

Due to sibling squabbles, I have my 5 year old daughter in 3rd row as far away from son as possible. makes for a peaceful ride. She's still in a 5 point harness britax good to 85lbs.
To accomodate we moved center jump seat out and passenger 2nd row over to the middle. Gives the extra space for entry exit and room to buckle up without adult climbing into 3rd row.

Altenatively on your newer model, fold the 3rd row seat down. Works just fine that way too.
Ah yes, the ability to move that outer seat to the middle. Maybe this has been addressed in other threads (I'm new here) but why oh why did they get rid of this ability? I'm guessing it's to allow that center seat to move forward and back on it's own (which is great for an infant seat situation), but I'd rather have that ability to move the outer seat to the middle and open up a wider passage to the back. We actually looked at used 2010s just for this purpose but getting a 2012 seemed like a better overall purchase for us.
 

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The center row seat in the older models has no ability to take a child seat of any kind and is unkind on the hindquarters of anyone other than a small child. (too narrow). I think most people use it for its 'table' properties :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
The center row seat in the older models has no ability to take a child seat of any kind and is unkind on the hindquarters of anyone other than a small child. (too narrow). I think most people use it for its 'table' properties :D
Gotcha. Good to know. I'm less bitter at Honda now. ;)

I just know that my sister in law had an Odyssey for years (3, then 4 kids) and she said the typical setup was to remove the 2nd row middle seat and move one outside seat moved over to the middle to allow wide outside passage to the 3rd row. 2 kids in the 2nd row, 2 in the 3rd row with easy access. Seems like the ideal configuration if you have "older" kids in boosters or nothing.
 
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