Fitting car seats in the back of your car isn’t as easy as it looks.
If you’re sick and tired of playing car seat tetris just to take your kids to the grocery store or the dentist, it might be time to buy a new car that better suits your growing family. But as most moms know, car-buying becomes a lot more complicated when your family needs two, three, or even four car seats to travel safely.
Before you give up entirely and vow not to leave the house until the kids are grown (you’ll go stir-crazy in a week, I promise!), check out these cars that will haul even super-sized families safely. These are the absolute best cars for moms with multiple kids in car seats. No more car seat tetris required!
Sedans aren’t usually at the top of any larger family’s list, but the Subaru Legacy manages to accommodate two car seats with the LATCH system and has three built-in tethers for car seats. This means that three children can safely travel in car seats in the Legacy’s backseat. Plus, it has headrests that are all enough to properly support children riding in backless booster seats!
Subaru comes out on top of the hatchback and wagon category of cars, too! The Outback wagon has the same features as the Legacy but it offers more cargo space for busy families on the go who need extra room for sports equipment, Costco-sized grocery hauls, or even Fido.
Minivans are the obvious choice for larger families, but you might be surprised to learn that many of them aren’t properly configured for maximum car seat safety. The Odyssey, on the other hand, comfortably and safely carries either four or five car seats using LATCH (depending on whether you select the seven or eight seater), and it has five or six tethers (again depending on the model). Plus, all of the seat belts have flexible buckles to ensure that belts can be adjusted to rest appropriately for kids in booster seats. Most of the Odyssey’s competitors can only carry three car seats using LATCH, even when it’s billed as an eight seater minivan!
Minivans aren’t the only option for busy families. SUVs can be a great choice for families who want a more rugged vehicle. The Nissan Murano offers two rows of seating, and can easily fit three car seats across the backseat: two using LATCH, and with three tethers.
It’s surprisingly difficult to find an SUV with three rows that contains enough LATCH seating and tethers to safely carry multiple kids in car seats, but the Volvo XC90 fits the bill. It has two LATCH systems, and three tethers. Plus, the middle seat in the second row can be equipped with an optional built-in booster for children ready for a high-back booster, enabling car seats across all three middle rows. Unfortunately, the third row doesn’t have any tethers or LATCH, but it’s still safe for kids in booster seats to ride in.
If you have multiple young kids in car seats, no matter how appealing other car models may be, it’s probably still true that the best car for a busy mom is, you guessed it, a minivan!