Good news! It is possible to mount a baby seat in a Toyota Tacoma with an Access Cab. As you’d expect, things are very cramped and certainly not very practical, though.
Toyota intended for us to mount infant seats in these Tacomas when they included LATCH anchors in the back seat of both the Double cab AND the Access Cab. That proves this is safe to do.
As the proud owner of both a Toyota Tacoma and a baby, I’m going to share my experience with this less-than-ideal situation. You see, our 4runner (the regular family hauler) has been down for repairs so the former work truck had no choice but to step up for family duty.
I take the safety of my little guy very seriously, so I made sure to do my research before putting his seat in the Tacoma. Even still, I wouldn’t feel comfortable driving long distances at highway speed like this. For short trips around town, I think it’s fine.
Fitment of different baby seats in an Access Cab
There are a few variables at play when it comes to whether your little one can ride in your Tacoma or not. I think I’m a bit lucky in that my baby seat and truck combo are a match – I never intended to put it in the Tacoma when I purchased it.
If you’re currently shopping for a baby seat and planning on using it in your Tacoma regularly, you’ll want to take the time to do a bit of research. The truth is, not all baby seats will fit in an Access Cab safely.
The difference in rear seat design throughout the 2nd generation Tacoma
For starters, it seems like Toyota changed the rear seats of the Access Cab midway through the production of the 2nd Gen Tacoma. The early models like mine have a flip-out base that gives you plenty of room to mount a baby seat.
You can check out more of the year-to-year changes in my 2nd Gen Tacoma buyer’s guide.
Newer models have more of a jump seat design that folds down from the back wall. This makes it important to choose an infant seat with a lower profile design. Technically both versions can fit a baby seat, but the earlier trucks make it easier.
Forward facing vs rearward facing vs booster seat
Whether or not you can fit a child seat in the back of your truck depends greatly on the type of seat you’re using. Here are the 3 types:
- Rear-facing infant seat: These seats are designed specifically for newborns and infants, usually up to 12 months old. Their fit in a Tacoma Access Cab can be a bit tricky, but I was able to fit my Evenflo Litemax seat in mine.
- Forward-facing seat: These are for toddlers and older children who have outgrown their rear-facing seats. You might find it easier to fit a forward-facing seat in your Access Cab.
- Booster seat: Boosters are designed for kids who have outgrown forward-facing seats and need a little extra help to ensure their seatbelts fit properly. These are easy to fit in nearly any vehicle. One of the many ways that life gets easier when the kids get older!
There’s less room for big babies
When babies get older, their legs might end up dangling out the end of the car seat. With the Access Cab, that rear wall is very close and nearly vertical. That means those little feet are gonna be jammed up and might be a little uncomfortable without the room to stretch out.
Getting the right angle can be tough
A typical rear seat (like the one in my 4runner) has a bit of an angle to it. I don’t know if this is common with all baby seats but it seems as though mine expects to have that angle there.
It has a limited adjustment to get the angle safe for the size of the baby, but that adjustment isn’t nearly enough for the Tacoma’s flat floor. I had to stack some towels underneath in order to get the dial into the safe range.
Tacoma Access Cab rear seat measurements
When the flip out seat bases are extended, they give you 23” of depth and 25” of width to mount a baby seat to. I don’t have a 2010+ model here to measure the jump seats but rest assured, it’s quite a bit smaller than these fold out ones.
Mounting methods – LATCH and conventional seat belt
You have 2 different methods to choose from when it comes to installing a baby seat in your Tacoma – the LATCH anchors or the regular seat belt.
Using the LATCH anchors
The fact that Toyota installed LATCH anchors at all tells us that this vehicle is intended to transport a baby safely. In my opinion, this is the easiest and quickest way to mount the seat in both the 4runner and Tacoma.
First, locate the lower anchors in your truck’s seating area. These are super easy to find because they’re just sitting there out in the open. Regular cars have these anchors hiding deep in between the seat cushions and they can be difficult to reach. Score one for the Tacoma!
Next, attach the car seat’s LATCH connectors to these anchors. Ensure you hear a click sound, which indicates a proper connection.
If your car seat also has a top tether strap, connect it to the top anchor point in your Tacoma. Tighten both the lower connectors and top tether strap according to the car seat’s instruction manual. Once you’re finished, give the seat a firm shake to make sure it’s secure and that there’s no more than 1 inch of movement in any direction at the belt path.
Using the seat belt
Start by threading the seat belt through the appropriate belt path on the car seat. Make sure the belt lies flat and is not twisted. Connect the seat belt buckle and pull the belt tight.
To achieve a secure installation, lock the seat belt by either:
- Pulling it out all the way and letting it retract slowly, engaging the locking mechanism.
- Using a locking clip or built-in lock-off on the car seat, if available.
Once you’ve secured the seat with the belt, give it a firm shake to ensure it’s properly installed.
Wrap-up: Is an Access Cab Tacoma a good fit for a family?
In this article, I just proved that it’s possible to mount a baby seat in the smaller Access Cab Toyota Tacoma. In my experience of using it as our family vehicle for the past week, I’d have to say it isn’t very practical. This is a temporary solution for us and I don’t see it being sustainable as a long-term family vehicle.
Sure, the Access Cab can fit a baby seat. But what else can it fit? Not much. If you have a baby, you know how much gear you tend to bring with you everywhere you go. The phrase “10 lbs of crap in a 5 lb bag” comes to mind here!
In my situation, the diaper bag goes on the passenger seat, the top of the stroller goes behind the driver, and the base of the stroller has to slide around in the bed. It wasn’t until I was taking my son to Grandma’s on a rainy day that I realized how helpful a tonneau cover would be!
So if you’re a single parent with an only child, it works. Forget about adding a sibling or a spouse though. The passenger seat needs to be pushed all the way forward (and tilted forward as well) for clearance.
The Access Cab is a great option if you want a Tacoma with a long bed without the wheelbase of a limousine. When it comes to transporting a family though, I’d highly recommend reconsidering your choice of vehicle.
While this truck will get you out of a pinch, a Tacoma with a Double Cab, a Tundra, or an SUV like the 4runner, GX470, or Sequoia is a much better choice.
Tim is the creator of Canadian Gearhead. His experience with auto detailing and working for Toyota shows through all of the articles posted here. He runs the Canadian Gearhead site and YouTube channel full-time now and currently owns a 2007 4runner, 2006 Tacoma, and 1991 MR2. Read more about Tim: