According to a study published in the journal Pediatrics, the safest placement for twin infants in car seats is in the middle of the back seat, facing the rear. This position reduces the risk by 43% compared to other placements. It is particularly suitable for larger cars. However, for smaller cars, both the left and right sides of the back seat are considered appropriate for ensuring the safety of your babies.
When I got pregnant with my twins, I worried just as much about their safety in the car as I did about anything else. Was my car big enough? Would convertible seats work here, or was I finally going to get infant seats? Where was I going to set up the seats anyway?
As a research freak, I dug up lots of helpful info on car seats for twins. The most important thing is to ensure your seats are carefully mounted according to your manufacturer’s guide.
I will share my recommendations on how to place car seats for twins in this guide.
What is the Safest Car seat Configuration for Twins (in sedans, SUVs, and airplanes)?
Car seat configurations define how you place your babies’ seats in the car or airplane and what seat types to consider. Here are a few car seat configurations I recommend you consider, depending on the size of your car and the sizes and ages of your babies:
The staggered configuration
This configuration is great for twins, as it allows you to fit two car seats side by side in the back of your car. If you have a larger car, you can fit two convertible or infant seats in the middle of the backseat or use a tandem seat. This minimizes any risk involved.
Tandem car seats are designed to have two babies seated side-by-side. The seats are available in different configurations: front-back, left-right.
With the staggered configuration, you can have both your babies rear-facing and in the center of the car — furthest from the window, the safest place for them to be in, according to studies.
Independent rear bucket seats
Most cars are not big enough for the staggered configuration, where the kids can have their seats side by side.
With the rear bucket seat configuration, you can mount two rear-facing bucket seats on both sides of the back of the car. Or, you can mount one seat in the middle of the backseat and another seat on either side.
Now, if you’ve decided to mount the first seat in the middle, which side of the back seat is safest for the other baby? The left side or the right side?
According to pediatrist Dr. Bryan Sisk, there’s no statistical evidence on which side of the backseat is safest. Set up the second seat on any side, as long as both are installed as the manufacturers prescribe.
The independent rear-bucket configuration works both for infant car seats and convertible seats. However, infant seats are better for carrying your twins out of the car, especially when asleep.
The front-back configuration is another great option if you don’t have enough space in the back for two babies (side-by-side or front-and-back).
You can install one car seat behind the other in your SUV. This means one baby sits in the middle of the back seat while the other sits in the passenger seat.
Car seat placement for airplanes
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recommends that children under 40 pounds be placed in a child safety restraint system (CRS) or device for airplane travel. The CRS must be approved by the FAA and used according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
The tandem configuration for airplanes
The Federal Aviation Administration insists that babies should fly in an approved child restraint system (CRS) device. A CRS is a forward-facing or rear-facing car seat designed with a hard plastic shell and a harness to keep your baby safe.
Make sure you’re traveling with car seats approved by the FAA. I’d recommend the tandem configuration for your seats, where one baby sits in front of the other. Thus, you should get a CRS designed to carry both babies simultaneously – one in front of the other.
The tandem car seat saves space on the plane, as it combines two car seats.
For maximum safety, you want to ensure your babies are in the back seat, well away from the active airbags.
Best Convertible Car Seat for Twins
Convertible seats are my preference. This is because they’re easy to switch from rear-facing to forward-facing the minute my baby meets the standard recommendations specified by the device’s manufacturer and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Based on my experience, here are the best convertible car seats for twins, classified according to size and specifications:
|Car Seat Name||Specifications||Usage Details|
|Evenflo EveryStage DLX||3-in-1 car seat||Suitable for children from birth to 120 pounds. Ideal for mid-size cars.|
|Maxi-Cosi Pria 70||Convertible car seat||Suitable for children from birth to 70 pounds. Ideal for small cars.|
|Safety 1st Grow and Go 3in1||Convertible car seat||Suitable for children from birth to 100 pounds. Ideal for mid-size cars.|
Do they make double car seats?
Yes. There are double car seats designed for twins. These are called tandem car seats.
Tandem seats have two major configurations:
- Side-by-side: Place your twins sideways, one adjacent to the other.
- Front-back: This configuration puts your twins on opposite sides so they sit facing each other (one in front of the other).
How do you carry twins in a car seat?
There’s no correct answer to this. When my babies were under two, I used two infant seats that I mounted in the back seat of my SUV. If the babies were asleep, I would click the seats out one after the other and carry the babies with me in my hands.
However, the best way to carry twins in a car seat is to raise the handles to the elbow level of your arms. Place both seats in between your arms, elbow level. It’s much easier to carry your babies in car seats for longer distances this way.
Check out the video below from the Mum of 3 Twins and B YouTube channel:
Where should car seats be placed for twins?
Studies show that the best position to place your babies is in the middle of the back seat. It is the furthest from the windows and minimizes any potential risk involved.
The middle back seat is best for your twins if you have a big car to place two infants or convertible seats side-by-side. However, you can place your seats on either side of the back seat for smaller cars. There’s no real proof that one side is better than the other.
The NSW’s child car seat guidelines state that kids under two should be placed in a rear-facing car seat.
What car do I need for twins?
Ideally, you’re looking for cars with enough space in the back for your twins. A few great cars for twins:
- Honda Odyssey
- Toyota Sienna
- Chrysler Town and Country
- Dodge Grand Caravan,
- Nissan Quest
I can say from experience that these cars have ample space for two car seats and all the gear that comes with having twins.
Your babies’ safety depends on how well you mount the seats in your car, following the manufacturer’s guidelines to the letter, and a little less on ‘where’ you place the seats. Generally, for the maximum safety of your twins, I recommend a pair of rear-facing staggered car seats in the middle of the back of your car.
Check out more helpful car seat guides on our blog to help you keep your kids safer and happier in your car.