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I have a 3YO forward facing in a Diono Radian, and am expecting twins, who will be in Graco Sugride + base seats. From what I can tell, I have two options: 1) Radian in 3rd row, with infant bases middle and side. Means always having the third row up, cutting into trunk space. But then at least one of the infants and the older child are in the safer middle seats. 2) Radian in middle of 2nd row, with infant seats on either side. Means we have trunk space, but if we do need to use the third row, we have to shuffle car seats. And, it probably means going to either side of the car to get the infants out (but maybe that's easier than trying to lift a seat from the middle over another base?)

Any thoughts/suggestions would be appreciated. I've seen a lot of posts about three car seat configurations, but most of them aren't for twins and have one booster, one FF, and one infant.

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    Your question will be challenging. You've defined the car (so available space) and the 3 seats (so space needed). With those not being flexible, the question comes down to how many different ways can the seats be put into the available space and then which one you prefer. – Sylas Seabrook Dec 28 '14 at 23:33
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    I'd trade the Pilot (my favorite car ever) for an Odyssey with captain's chairs in the second row, remove one of the captain's chairs, put the 3yo in the other one, and the babies in the back. To protect my back. – anongoodnurse Dec 29 '14 at 3:25
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    Must admit that I don't know about american cars, so I'll post this as a comment: I'd rather walk round the car to get the babies' seats, than lift them from a bent-forward position over some obstacle. Those things get heavy after a few months, remember? You will be doing a lot of lifting & carrying in the next months / years, so please, please be kind to your back. A herniated disk is no laughing matter! – Stephie Dec 29 '14 at 20:54
  • I'm not entirely sure about the internal size of the Pilot, but fitting three car seats in the same row sounds like it might be impossible. Have you verified that this would actually work? – Ian MacDonald Mar 23 '15 at 11:42
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Your plan to have the infants flanking the 3YO sounds good to me. My son is 11 mo. in a snugride carrier, and my daughter is 6 and forward-facing in a Britax Marathon. His seat is behind the passenger, her seat is behind mine. We have a Volvo XC60 btw. She gets into our car from the passenger side when I pick her up from school, and she can easily get past the snugride base, so regardless which side your 3 y.o. goes out he/she should be able to get in or out of the car.

I wouldn't put anyone in the back seat. With your toddler in the middle, if need be you can reach back and assist them. And you won't be able to really see your infants, even with a headrest-mounted mirror, if they're all the way back in the third row.

As for what to actually do with the 3rd seat? With twins and a toddler you're going to need to fold that 3rd seat down for all your gear. I would basically consider it a lost cause, because even if you're on family outings you're going to be bringing a stroller with you or all manner of other things that will take up a lot of space. Maybe not the answer you were hoping for, but I'm predicating this on realism in the company of my friends who are family-similar to us. We have a Bob Revolution stroller for outings, and some friends of ours have the dualie version of this and it takes up a decent amount of room. I wouldn't expect to find put adults in that back row in any event, especially cause we tend to get a bit carsick that far back.

Good luck!

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    Hi Mark, and welcome to the site. Thanks for the nice detailed answer, with comments from your own experience. – Joe Mar 23 '15 at 19:26
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    Great site. My love for Stack Exchange now goes beyond Overflow to Parenting. Thanks @Joe for the welcome :) – Mark S Mar 23 '15 at 19:38

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