3 small children and a Model S

3 small children and a Model S


I'm strongly considering buying a Model S. Except; I already have a little girl of around 2 and we expect a twin this summer; so a real family man as from this summer :). But a family man with the need to have a decent car!

So for a period of time we have to be able to have 3 child-seats on the rear-seat, does anybody know if this will fit? Even better: is there somebody else that uses a Model S with 3 small children that would like to share his / her experiences?

thx for all reply's in advance


Jolinar | 18. März 2013

In "Model_S_safety_information.pdf" is written that you can use 2 LATCH child seats + 1 non-LATCH in the middle...
So, yes, it is possible, but at least one have to support non-LATCH-retained instalation.

gasnomo | 18. März 2013

I have two children, 5 and 8, the 5 year old is still in a full car seat, the 8 in a booster. I have schlepped both and one of their friends in the back of my S. The only way it words is to have the full children's car seats on the sides. I have had two boosters (one in the middle), plus my youngest's car seat in the back no problem with a catch...

While I think TM was smart in putting the buckles integrated into the seats, ie flush, it makes putting seatbelts on for the child seats/boosters tough. You literally have to pull the seats forward, then buckle them in because the boosters/child seats cover the buckles. For those you are using the LATCH system for this obviously doesn't matter, but for booster seats it does....hope i explained that well enough.

mlascano | 18. März 2013

I have 3 boys (6 yo and 4 yo twins) and I finally had my rear facing jump seats installed 10 days ago (I strongly suggest you consider getting these for the future, the kids love them and unfortunately they cannot be added down the line as they have become a factory only option), but before this I was using 3 boosters on the back row with these belt extenders:

Without these extenders it is very difficult to buckle the kids in (let alone having them do it themselves) as the boosters (no matter how narrow they are) overlap the buckle piece.

For now I would suggest you place the baby twins' cars seats on the outer seats using the LATCH mechanism, and place your 2 yo in the center seat with an appropriate booster seat using a belt extender +/- a strap adjuster if she's too small for the seat belt alone.

Good luck!

bjornsimm | 18. März 2013

Thanks for all the advice! At least it is good to hear that 3 boosters fit into the rear-seats. I already looked at what age children can use the rear facing jump seats, but there seems no clear answer to be? I'll look further into that.

I live in The Netherlands and I don't know if this is common in other country's, but the following system (an ISO fix system) is very convenient when travelling with a baby because you don't need to use the seat-belts every time you put your children into the car:

we used it with our youngest girl and getting in and out of the car is very easy. So the most preferable option I would think is:
- one child seat / booster in the middle
- two of those ISO fix systems on both outer sides

Am I to optimistic to hope this will work (the ISO fix takes some more room)? Any thoughts on that?


PS There are not yet any demonstration cars available, so I can't find out in real life, will do though as soon as it is possible.

Thimo Jansen | 18. März 2013

This should not be a problem. We have twins too (may the force be with you for the upcoming years), three kids in total in the ages 6 and 4. Currently we're driving a 2000 Mazda 323F and it fits three full size Maxi-Cosi seats, although it's a bit cramped. The Tesla does have a bit more room in the back, but I didn't bring my ruler to the test drive.

PS: There will be a Model S in the Eindhoven shop from tomorrow (19th March) onwards, both for viewing and test drives.

sandman | 18. März 2013

I know you didn't ask this question, but you may want to consider getting the 2 rear facing seats as an option. Those are 5 point adjustable harnesses that relieve you of kids seat requirements in many cases (30lbs+ in my state). Obviously that would help with the schlepping of more than 3 kids and reduce the amount of car seat pushing/pulling to get the buckles in.

Brian H | 18. März 2013

Terrific design.

kjo | 18. März 2013

I am waiting for my model S and I have 3 kids- 6, 3 and 10 months. We're able to fit 3 across in my husbands infiniti G35- but we had to buy special narrow car seats. The company that makes them is Radian or Diono. The model s is a bigger car so I know it will fit.

Your kids are too small for the jump seats for acquire a while, but it's a sensible upgrade. I got the rear jump seats for the 6 year old. I will probably not let the 3 year old sit back there until he turns 4.

JDster | 18. März 2013

@mlascano - thanks for the recommendation for the seat belt extenders. Just bought them through Amazon. When we went for our test drive, we had such a hard time buckling up our 2 children in their booster seats. My wife asked me not to purchase the car because it will be such a pain every time we go out as the kids are not able to buckle up by themselves. And I'm sure it would be much more difficult at night time as the buckles are covered behind the booster seats. Anyways, I still went through with the purchase and should be getting the MS in 2 weeks. Looking forward to snapping in these extenders! Thanks again mlascano! You've made our lives easier :-)

mlascano | 19. März 2013

Glad to help :)

muller | 19. März 2013

I'm having the same consideration. Kids are 5y, 3y and 3m. In our Audi RS6 the three child seats fits narrowly on the second row. I actually had my ruler with me on the 10min testdrive in Copenhagen and was surprised to find that the backseat is (app. 1cm) smaller door-to-door in the Model S than my 10y old RS6. But I guess with the seat-belt extender it will be bearable to mount all of them back there. (@mlascano: thx for the hint! :))

We are ordering the 3rd-row seats, but typically you'll need the trunk for the baby carriage... So you will need to fit three child seats in the second row from time to time.

According to the Tesla staff at the Copenhagen test drive there are three isofix mounts in the back. But that is not confirmed anywhere on the website...

Looking forward to a 60min test drive on Monday :D

bjornsimm | 24. März 2013

Thx all for your comments and advice!

This morning we made a test-drive and wow: what a great car! Also the Tesla sales dude showed me pictures of a Model S with 3 child seats in the back, so it fits :).

This is my idea (same as muller):
- daily use (bringing children, etc) use the rear facing seats and 2 children in the back
- weekend package: 3 kids on the rear seat so you have the trunk (and frunk) to pack your things.


sethvandermeer | 24. März 2013

I have asked this somewhere else too, but does anyone know if the Model S has Iso Fix. This is a (European?) standard for attaching chIldseats to the car, much safer than with a belt.

Oliver in Seattle | 24. März 2013

The model S has LATCH, which includes the isofix style connectors between the vertical and horizontal cushions of the seat AND a tether attachment for use with installed forward facing seats (usually on the seatbacks). I have yet to see an isofix car seat that doesn't work with LATCH.

biggator | 24. März 2013

I have a 7 and an almost 3.. the 7 is in a booster (just ordered a seatbelt extender) and the 3 is in a car seat. The LATCH system on the MS is almost impossible to use. The latch points are hard to get to, and with the seat we have (Britax) it has a nice quick-release latch buckle, which would NOT fit in there. Not a big deal, as the seat will work fine with a seatbelt - but it did seem difficult to use. I suspect other seats may work easier.

JDster | 27. März 2013

@mlascano, so I got my car and put the seatbelt extenders on...the same ones you recommend from Amazon. On the drive home, the extenders popped out on its own twice, once on each child seat. Did you ever experience this problem? Kinda scary as my kids aren't able to put the extenders into the buckle on their own.

jhannemann | 21. Juni 2013

@JDster, did your extenders keep popping out? I was going to order them for our daughter's booster seat but I'm worried about your experience.

podoffice | 21. Juni 2013

We have a 2,4 and 6 year old. The 2 and 4 year old sit in regular car seats the 6 year old in a booster. I highly recommend using a Radian car seat if you want to fit 3 across. They are extremely narrow profile while still being safe for your kid.

Brian H | 21. Juni 2013

That looks like a superb product. Many decades past needing it, but will recommend to some later gens.

david | 21. Juni 2013

I have two kids still in boosters. Your kids will soon graduate from carseats into boosters. Therefore, one thing you should be aware of is that the location of the seatbelt latches (sunken down in the seats) makes it difficult to use some booster seats in the Model S. We have pretty skinny booster seats, but they still encroach upon the seatbelt latches, and the kids are constantly complaining that they can't fasten themselves because their booster is sitting on top of the latch (which is buried down in the seat). Just something to keep in mind -- this is a small problem, though, and not enough of a reason to not buy a Model S.

Brian H | 21. Juni 2013

Extensions solve that. Check around.

larmorfreq | 21. Juni 2013

What would be nice if the smallest kiddo could sit in the middle with their car seat, why: I have an 8, 6, and 1 yo, and occasionally (almost all the time) the 8 and 6 year old fight, by putting the baby seat/convertible booster in the middle solves alot of the proximity disputes b/w the elder siblings. Any chance the MS can allow the baby/convertible seat in the middle?

HenryT2 | 21. Juni 2013

I have to say, I'm a little disappointed with the back seat of the Model S. One of the very few things I'm disappointed with. The entrance is terrible. The roof is low and the floor sill (?) is high requiring a bit of yoga to get in (esp. while holding a child). Further, the latch positions are asymmetric (not sure while they did this) making seat positioning for 2 child seats less than ideal. And, I've already mentioned in the past, in this forum, the back seats are not near the level they should be for a luxury segment sedan. Amenities, comfort, safety.

I love my Tesla. But honestly, the entire back seat is not near the level it needs to be to compete with let alone dominate leaders in this segment as the rest of the car has.

tristan | 29. September 2014

I was interested to see whether other owners had experienced annoyance with the design of the Model S rear seat for booster seat acceptance. I have three children; twins at 5 years and the eldest at 8. Coming from a people carrier, the difference in comfort is pronounced and my children now moan after no more than 30 minutes in the car.
The biggest issue is the incompatibility of a booster seat sitting on top of the rear bench. If you use a back rest on your booster, the nasty little head rest "bumps" in the Model S push the back rest forward, making the seats too upright. If you don't use the back rest, and just use the booster base, the shape of the Tesla bench pushes the booster toward the middle of the car, completely obscuring the seat belt clips. Furthermore, as the boosters are wedge shaped, when sitting on top of the scalloped Tesla seat base, the booster is tipped backwards, decreasing the angle of recline to the backrest, again making the seat too upright to be comfortable.
As the car is clearly designed to accommodate 3 (short) people in the back, I am surprised to find the issues I have described not allowed for. I have now commissioned custom booster seats to be made to exactly fit on top of the Tesla seat, creating better recline and seat belt access. If anyone is interested in seeing them, let me know.

mrspaghetti | 29. September 2014

Having clunked my head on several different vehicles getting my son in and out, I am convinced that pretty much all of them suck for child seats other than possibly the mini-buses. The Model S can't be much worse than most other cars.

sule | 29. September 2014

I have three children (11, 9, 3). Was looking at SUVs before and found that only Audi Q7 (of those that I looked at) could fit them side by side. Third row made for cramped trunk space in all of them (Q7 still had some left for a single stroller, others did not).

They I tried Model S (that I now own). Three kids side by side do fit, although you can't use the widest seats/boosters out there. Easily accessible. Middle sit totally functional as there is no exhaust hump in the floor. You can get two extra seats at the back but not necessary (I didn't, wanted even more trunk space). We're happy!

drax7 | 29. September 2014

Elon has 5 young children, if it works for him , it should be good enough for you.

slingi2017 | 25. Juli 2019

baby mei tai

don't forget to take on the road)