Child car seat not allowed in the middle seat - your experiences?

(22 Posts)
Chiqita Mon 16-Jun-14 23:04:43

We are in search of a new car which can fit 3 child car seats in the second row. I want a 7 seater MPV to have some extra seats, DH prefers a big estate. Anyway we both assumed that fitting the 3 seats was a matter of available space rather than regulations or safety, until I saw that for the new Zafira Tourer the manual expressly prohibits installing even a booster on the middle seat. Kind of takes away the purpose of this car, really!

Anyone saw this on any other "family" cars? Apart from the obvious safety concern I am worried there may be some catch for the insurance etc if you go ahead and put 3 seats against the manufacturers advice. We are considering the Seat Alhambra, VW Sharan, Ford S Max, Peugeot 5008, Renault Grand Espace, or perhaps Kia Carens. That's my list anyway smile Would be grateful for your experience and advice!

rockybalboa Mon 16-Jun-14 23:09:15

We have a Hyundai Santa Fe. I have no idea whether you are 'supposed' to use the middle seat for a child seat but I agree that is very much the point in a family car!!

neolara Mon 16-Jun-14 23:11:49

We have a Volkswagen Touran and can get three car seats easily across the middle. It was why we bought it.

Chiqita Wed 18-Jun-14 10:57:05

Thank you for the responses! I was really shocked to see that in the manual (found it online). Seat Alhambra s manual also says not to install a booster seat in the middle (and that's a big car like Ford Galaxy!) but apparently you're fine with group 0 to 2 seats.

Seeline Wed 18-Jun-14 11:03:24

OP do the cars you refer to have 'proper' seat belts for the middle seat, or are they just lap belts? If it is the latter I can understand why a booster shouldn't be used, otherwise I too am confused

arewethereyetmum78 Wed 18-Jun-14 11:05:54

We've got an smax and bought it over the zafira as all 7 seats are proper individual seats so can all take a car seat. The zafira was a total squash and I didn't feel it was safe for 3 seats across the back. Never read the manual though I'm not surprised it says not to use middle seat. We even tried just 3 booster cushions and even they didn't sit well.

We've had smax 5 years now and when it's time to replace it we'll be getting another one. Cannot fault it

MrsGrumpyPants Wed 18-Jun-14 11:09:52

XC90 here, kind of fits both your briefs. I love it! Have got 3 childseats across the back, although it's been more of a challenge finding the exact ones that fit. I guess the MPVs would be easier, but I love the look and drive of the volvo.

The middle rear seat is a built in booster and there are 2 fold down seats in the huge boot.

SunshineofRay Wed 18-Jun-14 11:21:21

I can't provide a link but a friend mentioned a car seat that is 3 seats stuck together so that they fit across the back seat.
Don't know if that would be of any use but worth a google

Ihateparties Wed 18-Jun-14 11:31:19

I always thought it was car specific, online manuals are useful for this because it allows you to get the official line before you seriously look at buying anything. If you're getting a large car I would try to get one with 3 sets of Isofix point, I think the galaxy has? Possibly the scenic and grand scenic. A few others.

We have a seat Ibiza, which is obviously much smaller and use a rear facing stage 1 in the centre seat, (which the manual allows I'm pretty sure but I am now going to check again!) and two high back boosters on either side. I also use a no back booster in the centre of my 2014 hyundai i10, with a rear facing stage 1 on one side and a high back booster on the other, again it pretty sure the manual is fine with this set up.

CarCiKoTab Wed 18-Jun-14 11:35:09

I have a Zafira doesn't look as if you would be able to get 3 car seats in the back, although we will find out come August having to drive 6 hours to Scotland. I LOVE the XC90 Volvo slightly jealous!

AnythingNotEverything Wed 18-Jun-14 11:42:18

Following - nothing to add but I'm interested in any further responses smile

Flywheel Wed 18-Jun-14 11:46:55

We have the sharan and the 3 seats fit easily. Never thought to check the manual though. A big selling point is the sliding doors. We had a Mazda 5 before the sharan and would find it really hard to go back to regular doors. So much easier for loading and unloading the troops, especially in a carpark.

jerryfudd Wed 18-Jun-14 11:52:29

We went for smax too as needed 3 full seats across back to fit 3 first stage seats. Has helpful 2 extra seats in rear when needed. We've had 2 now and love them

JellyTipisthebest Wed 18-Jun-14 12:00:27

the grand scenic has 3 sets of issofix but to use the middle set you have to fold the buckles under the seat so the child seat rests on them so not suitable for a issofix high back or any high back

drivenfromdistraction Wed 18-Jun-14 12:04:09

Citroen Xsara Picasso (5 seater) and Citroen Grand Picasso (5+2 seater).

Both fit 3 full-size high-back child seats comfortably across the back row (middle row in the Grand). The Grand has 3 ISOFIX seats. In both we had 1 rear-facing baby seat and 2 high-back boosters first, then moved to 3 high-backs when youngest was older.

Ihateparties Wed 18-Jun-14 13:56:27

Ah the c4 Picasso has 3 Isofix points too. The belt disappearing under an isofixed seat happens in our Ibiza too, or would if we used the Isofix.

steppemum Wed 18-Jun-14 14:08:10

we have a zafira. We used to have an old one, which had a lap belt, so no good for 3 seats.

We now have a newer one, which has 3 proper belts. We use all 3 for our kids boosters, (past the car seat stage) and I have never thought about it. I think it would be a tight squeeze for 3 seats, we had 1 seat and 1 booster and one with nothing when we started, which was fine

It is a nice car. one thing we liked was that it was a 7 seater, but not as big as some of the others, so better for car parks etc.

Chiqita Wed 18-Jun-14 21:55:53

Thank you to all who have replied. Looks like we have some favourites here and some good tips! Our current car is 14 years old (Peugeot 306) and only has a lap belt in the middle, but there is just not enough space for 3 seats in any case. If all of us go in it I have to sit in the middle of the back seat between two stage 1 seats and risk my life as the buckle is not reachable sad

So we need another safer option... I started researching the issue after someone mentioned the Zafira Tourer manual online, having checked it further seems like in some cars the belt/buckle design is making it difficult to use the seats but most people do it anyway if they can fit it in.

Also have found this on which website:
www.which.co.uk/baby-and-child/baby-transport/reviews-ns/child-car-seat-fitting-problems-explored/child-seats-in-seven-seat-mpvs/
may be of interest.

LadyNexus Wed 18-Jun-14 21:58:10

Ooh got some good ideas from this thread!

Recently found myself in the market for a 7 seater grin

HennaFlare Sat 21-Jun-14 17:38:21

We've just downgraded our 7 seater to a 5 seater meriva. 3 seats (2 highback boosters and a group 1) fit across the back and it just wasn't necessary to run a massive car. We assumed it would be but the only way to know is take your seats down to a showroom and try everything. About the worst afternoon EVER but revealed a few options we would have assumed were no gos.

GoMommaItsaBargain Thu 03-Jul-14 00:24:25

I have the peugeot 5008 and all three middle row (full size seats) have isofix , the infant carrier base thing has to go in middle as pillar supported by solid floor here vs over underfloor storage compartment in footwell of each window seat, they aren't in carrier forever though so that issue won't exist after the first year max

insanelycheerful Mon 21-Jul-14 18:12:19

Just found this thread as am also about to purchase a new car that can fit 3 child seats across the back!

Need to fit 2 high back boosters and 1 maxi cosi cabriofix.

Am quite intrigued by these cars that are not meant to have a seat in the middle..... Been looking at VW Touran, Ford S Max and more recently VW Sharan or Seat Alhambra. I know the touran fits 3 seats and assume you are "allowed"?! The others seem to have isofix on all 3 rear seats so surely they also allow you to use all 3 for car seats?.....

mrsgrumpypants with the XC90 - I do like this car a lot but not sure it's in budget. Did you say it has a built in booster in the middle seat? Which car seats do you have either side? Would it fit a standard high back booster and a cabriofix on a base do you think?

Any thoughts/opinions on the cars I've mentioned above v gratefully received! Am nearly 33wks now so desperate to just bloody get this car thing sorted!!

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