According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, road trauma is the leading cause of death in children aged up to 14 years in this country, so it’s little wonder we place such emphasis on ensuring our little people are correctly restrained in suitably made car seats.
Now, you and I may fondly recall a youth when seat belts were a grand novelty and the back seat was a playground for siblings, friends, cousins and the odd grandparent, all shoved in there at once.
When I was growing up there were often kids sitting on the laps of adults, and in the holidays when cousins were visiting, there were a few squashed into the footwells as well. Oh, happy days.
These days, thanks to the irrefutable evidence showing the lives they save, and probably in some part, to the hefty fines that accompany non-compliance, seat belts are just a way of life.
So much so in fact, that expectant parents often have a car seat picked out to go with that new super duper pram long before they tell the extended family there is a baby on board.
It’s the law
Australian car seat rules for children are clear.
Babies – a rearward facing child restraint on the back seat until they are at least six months old, longer if possible.
Six months to four years – a rearward or forward facing child restraint on the back seat.
Growing families mean additional car seats as well as a transition from one type to the next.
Four to seven years – a forward facing child restraint, and then a high-back booster.
Seven years and older – a high-back booster until they outgrow it.
Growing families also need This Glorious Mess, Mamamia’s podcast for busy parents.
Three in the bed and the little one said…
Growing families mean additional car seats as well as a transition from one type to the next. While it’s easy enough to accommodate two car seats in the back of most cars, things get a bit trickier when the children in your family start to exceed that number.
But suddenly, before you can sing the first lines of the Playschool theme song, there is already a bear in there, and a chair and table as well. Stretching a bit, but you know what I mean.
Awesome threesomes… not like that!
Car manufacturers will tell you their models can comfortably hold three passengers in the back seat. Sometimes this actually means three average-sized adults who are not fussy about sharing close quarters. Sometimes. Not often.
So if three adults can fit, three car seats will be a cinch, you think. Again, sometimes. Not often.
Size can be deceptive, but generally, depending on the ages of children and the restraints used, these sorts of vehicles should be able to accommodate three child seats across the back seat:
- Any sedan or wagon mid-size and above (eg. Ford Mondeo, Holden Commodore, Mazda6, Skoda Superb, Toyota Camry)
- Most mid-size SUVs and above (eg. Honda CR-V, Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage, Nissan X-Trail, Volkswagen Tiguan)
- Most large SUVs (eg. Hyundai Santa Fe, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Mazda CX-9, Nissan Pathfinder, Volkswagen Touareg)
There may, of course, be some assistance needed from seatbelt extenders and relocated anchor points for comfort and practicality.