News of the Multimac, which has been around for 20+ years in the UK, has ebbed and flowed on social media for years. Since it’s currently making the rounds again thanks to TikTok—we felt the need to address it. Again.
If you’re not familiar with it, the Multimac is a child restraint system that includes three or even four seats that are installed at the same time into a standard back seat. Various accessories allow the Multimac to accommodate children from birth to age 12, from rear-facing to seatbelt-ready.
The four-seater Multimac means that people who previously would have needed an SUV or minivan (or would have needed to put one child up front in a sedan) can now fit four kids in the back of a standard car.
Does that sound too good to be true? Well, it is and it isn’t.
The Multimac does appear to meet standards…in the United Kingdom. It does not meet U.S. standards, and therefore cannot be sold or used in the United States.
If you’re living in the UK, the Multimac might be a great option. However, if like most of our readers, you live in America — you’re sadly out of luck.
If you’re an American hoping that the Multimac will eventually be available here, don’t hold your breath. There’s currently no way for the Mulitmac to pass U.S. testing.
For one, our standard requires child restraints to be installed with a seatbelt or LATCH. The Multimac is installed with bolts and straps, plus legs that extend to the floor. It would fail U.S. testing by virtue of not being able to be installed on our test sled (that has no floor) and therefore we don’t know how it would fare in terms of meeting injury criteria.
Now let’s talk about cost for a moment. A four-seater Multimac with two rear-facing seats is about £2,500. (That doesn’t include the other accessories you might need, but it’s a starting point.) That translates to about $3,275 US dollars, which is a big chunk of change to drop on car seats. On the other hand, if you are someone living in the UK, that’s still a lot less expensive than upgrading to a bigger vehicle. So you have to keep it in perspective.
Maybe someday U.S. standards will allow for testing of innovations like the Multimac, but change in federal regulations are typically verrrrry slow. Child passenger safety advocates have long encouraged changes, like adding a floor to the test sled to accommodate seats with load legs, but so far nothing has come of that.
If you’d like to see changes, contact your elected U.S. representatives and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Tell them we need to update our FMVSS 213 sled test fixture to include a floor, so at the very least we can begin testing U.S. car seats that feature a load leg.
And if you’re in the UK, have fun with your Multimac!