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How well do child seats fit into extra cabs?

bigbayoubigbayou Member Posts: 7
edited March 2014 in Toyota
After a series of cars, I'm in the market for a pickup with an extra cab. The problem is that, despite all of that bed space, I don't see putting my future infant back there while we ride around up in the cab...

My truck isn't likely to be our main family vehicle (our Jetta will be the Beast of Burden), but I'm wondering whether or not anyone has had much (any) success with putting baby seat in the back of a pickup's extendend cab. Right now, it looks like the Toyota Tacoma is the leading contender, but if anyone has any pointers, feedback, advice, or commentary on babies and trucks (how to safely fit the former into the latter), I'd sure like to hear from you.




  • obyoneobyone Member Posts: 7,841
    I would never consider placing a child seat in a mini truck's rear seat. Room would be inadequate. For validation, take the seat and try to place it in the Tacoma. That way you'll know for sure.
  • seeligseelig Member Posts: 590
    in a chevy or ford problem..
    in the tundra you'll be in for a real tight squeeze. in a tacoma ext. cab, i wouldn't even bother.
  • seeligseelig Member Posts: 590
    i had the tacoma, and while IMO it is the best mini truck out there, it is not the one for putting a child seat in. the dodge Dakota would be a better choice next to the chevy and ford fullsize trucks.
  • bigbayoubigbayou Member Posts: 7
    Well, it looks like I've got my work cut out for me. It's clear to me that nobody has much positive to say about the usefulness of extracab pickups for child seats. What's bothering me is what's advertised as child seat "tethers" that are built into many extra cabs. If child seats don't fit under normal circumstances, what's the purpose of advertising them? I know that you all aren't lying, but it seems dishonest of auto manufacturers to claim this capability when it's not supported by common users.

    It looks like my wife will be riding in the back (of the bed).

    Just kidding. There's a goldmine of situations that just beg to be exploited as wife joke fodder. I'm gonna have to figure out the safest way to get my family around for these few situations when we'll all be in my truck and when the little ones are still really little.

    Thanks for all the pointers so far,

  • lwittorflwittorf Member Posts: 96
    We have a 01 chev silverado excab and the baby seat fits real good in the back seat as long as we put it on the out side it will not fit back of the center seat in the middle. On the drivers side I have to pull the seat up some also so it either sits on the passenger seat in front with the air bag off or in the back seat pass side. I personally don't like to have a baby in back where I can't see them with out pulling off the road.
  • seeligseelig Member Posts: 590
    about the me, it's a fine truck, but it's not an easy one to mount a child seat. do like oby sez and go try to put one in there and judge for yourself. we both own fullsize rados, so anything smaller just looks like a hassle to me. as far as manufacuters and false advertising goes.....well, let's just say that at least one i can think of, specs ground clearance to be a whopping 3" more, even though it's not. just like the car seat in the tacoma, sure you can get it in there, but they don't tell you what a hassle it is.
  • seeligseelig Member Posts: 590
    can't get the seat in the middle.......hmmm, i have a '00 and '01 rado (both ext. cabs) and have no problem getting a seat installed in the middle. what kinda seat you got?
  • obyoneobyone Member Posts: 7,841
    Ditto on the child seat in the middle. I have mine in the middle of my '00 Silverado ext cab as it is the safest for the child. She has no problems getting in or out and the clearance from her legs to the center console appears more than adequate. Don't have any problems on the center position for the Denali either.
  • obyoneobyone Member Posts: 7,841
    my opinion was based on the safety of the child being the first priority. Getting the child seat to fit may or may not be an issue. I just felt that a small truck would offer less protection than a full size. Especially with the rear cab portion being extremely small.
  • lwittorflwittorf Member Posts: 96
    The seat that we are using is a Gerry and the kid is only 6 mounths old so we put it in facing backwards. the problem we have is the hood has to be up to get it in there. I have not tried it facing forward but it looks like it would fit better that way with the kids feet down on the lower part of the middle seat. Yes I agree that it is safer to be in the back seat but my wife and I both have had him choke so we have to keep our eyes on him may not make sense to all but we feel that is best in this instance. [he is a special needs child]
  • ratboy3ratboy3 Member Posts: 324
    on both my Tacoma and Tundra...

    Wouldnt even try it on the Tacoma!

    Tight squeeze on the Tundra.

    Again it was the first and last experience... I am single and I have no kids... happen to have to do it when my friend and his baby needed a ride.
  • dch0300dch0300 Member Posts: 472
    When I bought my new ext-cab truck last year, I had 2 very important requirements.
    1. The truck would fit into my garage.
    2. The truck would seat 4 adults and my 2 children (1 year old and a 4 year old) comfortably.

    After looking at many models, I bought a 2001 Silverado ext-cab Z-71.
    Infant seats, toddler seats, or booster seats fit very well in the rear seat of the truck (lots of room), and an adult can still sit comfortably in between them (usually it's my mother-in-law).
    The rear seat belts fit great into the child seats and if you pull the side rear seat belts all of the way out and then retract it, it has this ratcheting effect. And this is great when you want to really cinch down on the child seat to properly secure that child seat to the rear seat.
    Also, the "female" part of the seat belt DOES NOT come up too high and cause interference problems when the two seat belts parts are mated together and then interfere with the slots of the child seats where the seat belt normally bends and fits through it.

    Anyway, I have no regrets with my purchase, I have no problems with putting infant, toddler, or booster seats in my truck's rear seat, and I have no concerns what-so-ever with the safety of my riders (adults or my children).

  • 2t1a2t1a Member Posts: 7
    We have a Tacoma. While a child seat will fit in the back (why we picked Tacoma over others), your child may be traumatized so badly (s)he will grow up to become an actor and write a memoir exposing this singular cruelty and highlight it as the root cause of his/her heroin addiction. Only do this to children of neighbors you wish never to speak with again.
    Not only is the position cramped in the extreme, it is so far below the windows, it's a pit. Believe me. I've spent more time back there than the child seat.
  • bigbayoubigbayou Member Posts: 7
    Thanks to everyone for all the information. This is THE place for good tips from good folks.

  • bcarter3bcarter3 Member Posts: 145
    I have an 01 Dakota CC with a toddler seat in the back center position. It fits okay but my 3 year old grandaughter has a hard time finding a comfortable place for her legs as they straddle the back of the console. The console is fixed in place as the front seats are buckets. Should be okay for a smaller child. Plenty of room on both sides for an adult to sit with the child If the adult isn't too tall!!!!!
  • rwagstaffrwagstaff Member Posts: 4
    I'm trying to figure out if there is a way to get 2 child seats into my '95 Ranger extended cab. I have a 3 year old and a 1 year old. One child seat fits in the passenger seat (after disabling the air bag) but I'm not sure if there is a place for the second seat. Has anyone heard of a way to do this?
    Thank you.
  • obyoneobyone Member Posts: 7,841
    suicide seats in the rear? If so, why would you want to try and put a child seat back there? With the name given to those seats, I know I couldn't.
  • rwagstaffrwagstaff Member Posts: 4
    Yes. The Ranger has suicide seats and yes they are not appropriate for car seats. I've talked to Ford about this and they don't recommend putting child seats in the Ranger at all since there are no restraint tabs available to secure a child seat properly.
    I'm wondering if any of the after market companies have come up with a device that can be mounted in back of the cab and can have child seats attached to it.
  • obyoneobyone Member Posts: 7,841
    with such a device would exceed any profit potential therefore making its development highly unlikely.
  • rwagstaffrwagstaff Member Posts: 4
    Good point. I imagine I'm not going to find a solution for the Ranger. Time for a new truck!
  • obyoneobyone Member Posts: 7,841
    I was hoping that you came to that conclusion.
  • mikeb31mikeb31 Member Posts: 25
    Good advice given by all. Will take delivery on a 2002 Silverado soon. My wife took her car to have rear brakes installed and I had to pick her up with my Toyota truck with my 2-1/2 year old. The only was we fit was with the childs seat in the passenger postion and my wife in the middle. Good thing she's 4'11" and petite or we wouldn't have fit. Went over to my friends house and he saw us in the truck and laughed. Told me to take his 2500 Silverado extended cab to lunch, kids seat fit great in the middle. Started looking for a new truck the next day and found one yesterday. 1500 Silverado extended cab. Just might have to go out and buy and new car seat with the center locking strap, just to be a little more safe. I have the little Toyota and it has been a great truck 212,000 miles and I don't think the Chevy will be as good, but I have to think about my daughters safety first.
  • dch0300dch0300 Member Posts: 472
    Sounds like you have made a very wise decision.
    I have a 1 1/2 year old daughter and a 4 1/2 year old son and I just love the way that their seats fit in my 2001 Silverado ext-cab Z-71. They fit great whether it is in the front seat in the center or in the rear seat anywhere.
    Good luck with your new truck when you get it. Be sure to thoroughly check it out before you write them a check. I made a new truck check list before I bought mine, and it took me about 2 hours at the dealer to go through everything. I found no problems what-so-ever, and after 9 months and 7,600 miles I still have not had a single problem.

  • obyoneobyone Member Posts: 7,841
    I still have my '91 Nissan hardbody with 115,000 miles on it. Course after the kid came along and buying the Silverado, I've been averaging 3k miles on it per year.
  • mikeb31mikeb31 Member Posts: 25
    You're also kind of lucky, you would have to be doing a lot of driving on the island to really get a lot of milage on a vehicle, but your traffic can be just as bad a LA. I rack up a lot of miles here 70 miles round trip to work plus side jobs I've been doing. Been so busy I haven't really kept track lately. Anyone know of a good childs seat with the new center strap?
  • obyoneobyone Member Posts: 7,841
    Check this link out first:

    BTW, almost all of the seats that I've seen lately have the center strap.

    Did I mention that the Silverado has 29K miles on it after two years. That makes for a lot of circles on an island.....

  • mikeb31mikeb31 Member Posts: 25
    I guess I'm going shopping for a new car seat with the center tether and a shell. I can still use the childs seat I have for my wifes Accord, but now she wants a new Odyssey. I better get a couple more side jobs haha.
    Thanks for the link.
  • tbundertbunder Member Posts: 580
    if its the 60/40 split bench up front. which most are anymore. on my 2001 ext cab 4x4 auto, i have my two year old daughter's child seat in the middle seat area, with the passenger's airbag turned off just for safety. the ranger DOES have two anchor tie down points on the back of the middle and passenger seats. once the car seat is situated in the middle, you can have someone put their knee in it for more weight (or you can do it yourself), and then pull the middle lap belt so tight that the seat is absolutely not moving. it will not budge at all. very secure. but the rear jumps are no place for any toddler in a seat. especially in the tin can tacoma, with or without the recommendations from toyota. only full-size ext. cab trucks are ok for the kids in the rear. why dont you buy a crew cab? im selling my ranger next january to buy a new nissan crew cab 4x4 xe. one can be bought for around $22500 cash, and probably lower if you dicker. the frontier has received five stars for front impacts. toyota's are way overpriced and old fashioned (dates back to '95). all the nissan may need are larger tires. either way though, the ranger, at least my 2001 is suited for two toddler hook up points. it is a little tight with a seat in the middle, but totally not bad. they do tend to kick the dash if mad enough and legs long enough. sorry so long, but i have experiened what you are asking. hope it helps. regards
  • shawnh2shawnh2 Member Posts: 13
    I have two car seats in my Dakota CC. Booster seat fits ok in the back as does my forward facing baby seat. The rear facing baby seat did not fit. (It might of fit with the front seat all the way forward, never tried though). This would not be my choice for primary transportation, but works fine for the occassional trip.

  • craig64craig64 Member Posts: 12
    I have the front bench seat in my club cab. The baby is due in April. I don't believe my Dakota has any of the (anchor) tie downs. Will I be able to place a rear facing infant seat in the rear? If I have to move a seat forward, am I able to get this rear-facing infant seat behind the passenger seat, or does it have to go in the middle position of the rear bench? The arm rest is attached to the driver's seat, so I would rather move the passenger seat forward. What brand of infant seats work best in the Dakota? The Dakota will not be the primary transportation, but will be used on camping trips, since it pulls our travel trailer.
  • nathan1368nathan1368 Member Posts: 8
    I have a 95 Dodge Dakota Club Cab with the front buckets... and a rear facing infant seat does fit in the middle in the rear. I don't know if it's going to fit in yours with a front bench unless the middle part of your front seat folds down like in the newer Dakotas. The side seatbelts in the rear seat in mine would need the "e" clip (comes with most car seats) to hold the seat in place tightly. Whereas the middle belt is a friction lap belt and holds it in well on it's own.

    There isn't a tether connection point in my truck and I doubt if yours has it either. You'll have to decide if you are comfortable with how well the seat fits in the truck. The infant seat we had was one where the base could stay in the car and the actual seat part clicked into the base, so getting the wee-one in and out of the truck wasn't too tough. And the middle belt always held the infant seat tightly.

    We now have a babyseat (toddler seat) in it (2 year old) Again, in the middle in the rear. If I were you, I'd do some research on car seats, buy a good one from someplace like Wal-Mart, and if it doesn't fit well, take it back. Do this soon, though. I've had three different brands (graco and the like) and they all fit. But the really expensive seats are sometimes really bulky. They might not fit too well.
  • craig64craig64 Member Posts: 12
    My Dakota has the bench seat with the center arm rest that does fold down, or you can leave it up for three across. The arm rest portion slides with the driver's seat. I assume that is what you mentioned with the new Dakota's?

    I would assume my arm rest and your center console between the buckets are the same height when my arm rest is folded down, so it should work the same. My arm rest might protrude into the back seat a little further than the console, but the gap between the seats should be the same. Someone said that I can take my truck to Baby's are Us and they will let me test them in the parking lot.

    Thanks again.
  • leomortleomort Member Posts: 451
    compact trucks for Toyota Tacoma or Dodge Dakota? They sound like they'd be a good compromise for child safety seats without have to go through the expense of buying a full size pick up. Just a thought.

  • nathan1368nathan1368 Member Posts: 8
    The little Four Door trucks (Dakota/Tayota) are going to be about the same price as a full size extended cab (Dodge or Ford). But they would fit a car seat a LOT better than any smaller (ranger/dakota/tacoma/etc) extended cab trucks. But then you lose a lot of bed length/size. For me, I need to get a motorcycle in the back and any shorter bed and it simply won't fit. The new-ish Nissan four door long bed truck would work, but it certainly doesn't have much power and the mileage is almost as bad as a full size. Price is less than the Dakota or Tacoma in most areas, I believe.

    My next truck will probably be a full size extended cab. The Ford and Dodge and Chevy all are big enough in the back for my purposes. Not the Toyota Tundra extended cab, though. That's about the same as my Dakota.
  • leomortleomort Member Posts: 451

    are you sure about the price of those four door compact picks vs full size extended pick-ups? From what I remember when looking at the prices back in May 2000, the full sizes (4x4's) were running 30K+ whereas the four door compact (4x4's) were around 25K. That 5K+ discrepancy might make a difference. I thought the demographics for people who bought compacts were different than those buying full size pick ups. Meaning that most compact truck buyers are not looking at hauling cargo as a priority. But if hauling cargo and kids, then without doubt a full size extend cab pick up is the way to go.

  • yellowdryellowdr Member Posts: 41
    When we found out that we were to have another child, we quickly found out that our 2000 Nissan Desert Runner ext cab would not work out. As it was, we had to put our 3 yr old in the front and my wife did not enjoy the ride in the back jump seats, naturally.

    I had to make the same decision quickly and found the Chevy S10 Crew Cab. It has great space compared to Nissan, Ford, etc....only Toyota compared but I couldn't afford the Toy.

    The Chev cost $21,000 new as a leftover 2001.
    The ride is great and my wife likes the interior and the space for our toddler, our dog (a large boxer), and plenty of space for the new car seat for the new born.

    Toyota has a very nice truck but the price was $3000 more...maybe worth it but.....
    New Nissan crew cab 2001 was dissappointing dispite the reports. Less actual space, less engine, etc.

    I recommend a little truck as an alternative for those who don't really need the full size (Silverados, Rams, and Tundras are very nice). A friend has a full size Chevy EXt. Cab (97) and the car seat would fit and is legal, but is 1/2 off the seat. I feel more comfortable with the little truck with the full back seat of the crew cab.
    Good luck!
  • tistevetisteve Member Posts: 142
    I have a '99 Toyota Tacoma Ext Cab 4x4. When our daughter was born last year I had to see how feasible it was to put a child seat back there.

    No, it's not great, but doable. Her rear facing infant seat fit Ok back there, but you had to push the passenger seat up pretty far. My wife could still sit in the passenger seat, but her knees were touching the dash. When I would ride alone with the infant seat, I'd just push the seat up as far as I needed. Yes, she was in a bit of a "hole" back there, but it was usually just for short trips home from Day-care. She normally rides in my wife's Suzuki XL-7 (plenty of room)

    When she reached 20 lbs we switched her to a forward facing seat and it fits great in the rear of my Taco. You can slide the passenger seat back to where it normally engages, which is a bit more forward than all the way back, but leaves plenty of room for the passenger. I leave it installed all the time and I hardly notice it's back there. She sits up nice and high and can see out the side windows fine. It's also easier to turn around and hand her something (like a binky!)

    I'd like to point out that Toyota did a good job of preparing the rear for a child seat, (as best they could). There is a heavy plastic tray that flips out from the floor that gives you a larger surface to put the seat on. There are also 3 point belts back there with the auto locking thing when you pull the belts all the way out.

    By comparison, I put her seat in her aunt's new Jeep Grand Cherokee and I was afraid for her life. The seat belts did not have the locking mechanism (I though this was standard equip these days!) and it sat horribly uneven on the leather seats. The swing up bar that pulls down over the child couldn't raise up with out hitting the side window. Yuck, I couldn't imagine using that as a daily child carrier, the seat was loose and I couldn't tighten it up enough. The seat is much more secure in my Taco.

    To sum it all up, rear facing infant seat, Ok, but not too good for daily use, would be a problem if you also had to have a regular passenger up front. Forward facing seat for larger kids fits fine and I would have no problem using as a daily thing, even with a passenger. Sorry for the long post, but I though some folks were being a bit harsh on the Taco about this.
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