Is it safe to put 3 carseats in a Prius?

We have 10 month old twins, a 3 year old son, and a 2007 Prius. I understand that I can fit 3 Sunshine Radian carseats in the back seat. However, when I contacted our local, professional carseat installer, he mentioned that the side airbags may not work correctly, and he suggested that I contact Toyota. I can’t find anyone at Toyota who can answer the question(s). Is it safe to put 3 carseats in the Prius? How much room is needed between the doors and the carseats for the side airbags to work correctly?


Have you tried fitting them in the car yet? I’d be more concerned they all actually fit 3 wide in the backseat.

According to the carseat measurements and the Prius backseat measurements, yes, they will fit. I believe they will almost touch the side doors though, which is why I’m wondering how much room is needed between the doors and the carseats for the side airbags to work correctly.

I’d much rather put 2 in back and one in front, assuming it can be done correctly in the front seat. The Prius is a fairly narrow vehicle, I would not trust that anyone actually “knows” the ability to SAFELY put 3 car seats in the back seat, and how they would interact with the side airbags.

Does it have a roof rack?


What does your owners’ manual say? If nothing, your dealer will have explicit written instructions in the use of carseats in your vehicle.

Nope, no roof racks. Why? Is it safe to put a carseat on the roof rack?
Just kidding.

I’d Replace That Little Prius With A Larger Car That Is Safer For 4 Or 5 People.

Cramming three little kids in one of these little cars is just too risky. The Prius must have been purchased prior to the expected arrival of the twins and now is no longer practical. It’s not just fitting in child seats, but having some space surrounding the occupants.

It’s just not worth it. Nothing is more important than your family. Put safety first and you’ll thank me second.


Replacing the car is easier said than done - we already replaced one car and the house when we found out about the twins. Spending $1000 on car seats is more realistic than spending $30,000 on a car. But I definitely see your point.

Isn’t there any data on how much room is needed between a car door and a car seat?

The only data I’d trust is what you get from Toyota. What does you manual say? You can also ask this question over at, but be wary of trusting the answers.

I tried to look for the manual online - all I found were random chapters of the manual, but nothing addressed carseats. I’ll check our owners manual when I get home from work tonight. Thanks for the advice.

When my job required me to either remove a childseat or even work around it I would find a way to be present when the car was picked up and I would go over the installs with the parent with the parent leading the show,ending with a signature from the parent that all was well with the seat installation, My point, parent has to know that seat (and the part of the car dealing with that seat,and I will help with that part) from AtoZ. Would this protect me in a lawsuit, hard to say.

Here’s an idea - if putting the 3 seats back there forces the outside seats closer to the door than a person would be sitting normally, it’s a bad idea.

Safe ??
It’d be more UN-safe NOT to.

You have three kids , all of whom need a car seat . This leaves you no options.
Three kids = three car seats.

Extremely un-safe to seat any of them with no car seat.
Your side airbags are the least of your worries ( 1 in a million ) but your day to day…every day, stop and go, emergency braking or swerving, etc
THIS is every day and your kids must be safe for the every day stuff that you can pretty well count on .

Does anyone make ‘twin’ car seats in the manner of twin strollers ? I’ve never seen any but I haven’t needed to look.
It was twenty years of technology and law changes between my kids and grand kids needing seats. Now mine are; 1 car seat, 1 booster and the ten year old needs none.

Of course we’ll use carseats - no carseats is not an option. The alternative is find a different car. No, they don’t make ‘twin’ carseats, though that’s a great idea!

Your best bet is to try loading/unloading the car seats empty, then shutting the doors. You can look at measurements all day long, but the real test is the actual act itself. It will also tell you whether or not you’re going to be comfortable loading/unloading the car seats in the Prius.
I’d hate to mention mini-van, but they’re popular for a reason

I don’t want to buy the Sunshine Radian carseats until I know they fit safely. They are the narrowest on the market, and they are pricier than other carseats. Guess what our other car is… a mini-van!