How to Install Car Seats in a Sienna

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You can install car seats in a Sienna in several ways. No matter the year of the Sienna, the LATCH anchors and seat locations are generally the same, with only a few exceptions. Fortunately, because of the spaciousness of the Sienna and the car seat-minded engineering that went in to manufacturing this van, it is possible to utilize all of the passenger area safely and securely, even when car seats are installed.

Configure Car Seat Location

  • Determine the location of the seats. Babies 20 pounds and under one year should be in car seats installed rear facing. For this reason, it may be easiest to install rear-facing car seats in the third row.

  • Find LATCH anchors. In most Sienna models, LATCH anchors are located on the passenger side and middle seat of the third row, and on both captain's chairs in the middle row.

  • Begin installation of the car seat using the steps outlined below for rear facing, forward facing, LATCH and shoulder belt.

Rear-Facing Car Seat With Base

  • Place the car seat base on the desired seat. Thread LATCH clips through the openings on either side of the base and connect to anchors (located underneath the upholstery panel where the seat back meets the seat).

  • If a shoulder belt is used, thread the shoulder and lap belt up underneath the base, through the opening, across the base and down through the adjacent opening, ending by clicking the seat belt into the buckle. Pull down on the shoulder strap until it clicks and allow it to thread back into the seat belt retractor.

  • Kneel into the base, or press it firmly against the seat while simultaneously pulling up on the tightening strap or shoulder belt.

  • Test to make sure the seat doesn't have too much give in it by moving it side to side and front to back. If more than an inch of movement exists in either of these directions, put more pressure onto the base and tighten again until the correct tension is achieved.

  • Place the infant carrier into the car seat base. Ensure that the carrier lies at a 45 degree angle. If the angle is too steep, uninstall the base, roll up a towel or place a water noodle between the bottom of the base and the seat, and repeat the steps above.

Rear-Facing Convertible Car Seat

  • Place the car seat on the desired seat. In a Toyota Sienna, the easiest place to have more than one child in a rear facing seat is in the third row, as it doesn't block the pathway to the back seat like the second row does.

  • Connect the LATCH clip to each side of the LATCH anchor, unless installing in the driver side third row where no LATCH capability exists. In this case, secure the LATCH clips to the locking position on the back of the convertible car seat, thread the shoulder and lap belt through and end by clicking the buckle into place.

  • Kneel into the car seat and pull up on the anchor belt or shoulder strap to tighten. Ensure that you are not kneeling on the belt underneath the car seat fabric, as this will prevent the strap from tightening.

  • Test the tightness by wiggling the car seat side to side and front to back. If more than one inch of movement in either direction exists, apply more pressure to the seat and tighten the straps until adequate tension is reached.

  • Ensure that the car seat rests at a 45 degree angle. If the angle is steeper than 45 degrees, uninstall, place a rolled up towel or water noodle between the base of the seat closest to the seat back of the Sienna seat and reinstall.

Forward-Facing Convertible Car Seat

  • Place the seat in the desired location. Before installing to the seat of the Sienna, thread the tether belt and anchor clip (located on the upper back of the convertible car seat) under the head rest. This will be connected last.

  • Thread the LATCH belt through the correct path on the car seat; note that a different belt path is used for rear- and forward-facing car seats.

  • Connect the LATCH clip to the corresponding anchor, unless the driver side third row seat is used. In this case, clip the LATCH belt into the locking position on the back of the convertible car seat. Thread the lap and shoulder belt through the correct path and connect with the buckle. Pull the shoulder belt all the way out until it clicks and allow it to contract.

  • Kneel into the car seat and pull up on the belt to secure. Ensure that you are not kneeling on the belt located beneath the fabric on the convertible car seat, which would hinder adequate tightening.

  • Move the convertible car seat side to side and front to back. If more than an inch of movement in either direction exists, apply more pressure to the car seat and tighten.

    Connect the upper car seat tether to the anchor. In the Sienna captain's chairs located in the second row, the anchors are located at the rear base of the seat. In the third row, the anchors are located approximately one foot up from the floor of the trunk, behind the passenger and middle seats. There are no rear anchors on the driver side third row seat. Pull up on the strap to tighten.

Tips & Warnings

  • Keep in mind how often you will have to buckle children in, and choose the location that offers the best safety for your child and most convenience for you.
  • Ensure that car seat installation doesn't interfere with driving or safe exit from the car.
  • Have your installation checked by a professional. To find a car seat check location in your area, see the Resources below.
  • Always keep children buckled in their car seats.
  • Never place a rear-facing baby in the front seat where an airbag is used.
  • The back seat is the safest for children under 12.

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References

  • Photo Credit child in a carseat image by Renata Osinska from Fotolia.com
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