Purchasing a car seat for your child is one of the most important items you will buy as a parent. With a myriad of options on the market, it may feel overwhelming picking and choosing something so pertinent to your child’s safety. For families with multiple children, or who need to use every seat in their car, a narrow car seat that meets all safety guidelines is the perfect solution. These narrow car seats are designed to fit three across the back seat in most vehicles. With lightweight, convertible options that are easy to install, you can be sure your children are riding safely in the car every single drive. Created to provide enough space for more than one car seat to fit, as well as for adults to comfortably sit next to these car seats, you’ll never have to worry about precious car space again.
Best Narrow Car Seats
1. Diono Radian 3R Slim Fit Convertible Car Seat
(Best for three across — $$)
Why it’s great: The Diono Radian 3R Slim Fit Convertible Car Seat’s slim-fit design is made to fit three car seats across the back seat of most vehicles, the ideal solution for families with multiple kids. The engineered design with a reinforced steel core keeps safety at the forefront, allowing your child to be rear-facing longer, up to 50 pounds! This narrow car seat has a custom, adjustable fit that works from birth until your child is ready for a booster.
Keep in mind: These car seats are on the heavier side and not ideal for taking in and out of vehicles or for lugging around for travel.
Good for: Families with three young children who need car seats that will fit three across in most vehicles.
2. Graco Tranzitions 3-in-1 Harness Booster Seat
(Best 3-in-1 model — $$)
Why it’s great: This narrow car seat grows with your child from a forward-facing car seat to a highback booster to a backless booster. The Graco Tranzitions 3-in-1 Harness Booster Seat is lightweight and portable, making it easy to install and take out different vehicles quickly and easily. Two easy-to-clean cup holders allow your child to have snacks and drinks easily accessible.
Keep in mind: There is a steep learning curve to ensure you have a tight install in some vehicles. It may require you to fully recline the seat to get the seat belt tight enough.
Good for: Parents who want narrow car seats their children can use for multiple years as their child grows.
3. Cosco Finale Dx 2-in-1 Booster Car Seat
(Best budget option — $)
Why it’s great: The Cosco Finale Dx 2-in-1 Booster Car Seat offers a narrow design that fits easily into most vehicles at a price point that doesn’t break the bank. This car seat has a removable seat cushion that can be tossed into the washing machine for easy cleaning. The five-point safety harness can convert into a belt to fit your child safely and comfortably as they grow.
Keep in mind: The straps and buckle can be a bit tight initially and can feel stiff when securing your child into the seat.
Good for: Parents who want a space-saving car seat that is wallet-friendly.
4. Safety 1st Grand 2-in-1 Booster Car Seat
(Best easiest to install — $)
Why it’s great: This narrow car seat is easy to take in and out of different vehicles, even when fitting three of them across. The Safety 1st Grand 2-in-1 Booster Car Seat is made with soft, deluxe fabric that guarantees a comfortable ride for little ones. Plus, the two positions work for children from 30 pounds to 120 pounds.
Keep in mind: The cup holders are on the shallower side and may not support larger or heavier drinks or snacks.
Good for: Parents who need car seats can easily take in and out of different vehicles.
5. Graco SlimFit 3-in-1 Car Seat
(Best option to grow with your child — $$$)
Why it’s great: The Graco SlimFit 3-in-1 Car Seat can be used from birth until your child is 100 pounds, making this the perfect car seat from day one and beyond. Made with a slim, sleek design, this narrow car seat has passed rigorous crash tests in frontal, side, rear, and rollover crashes. For even more convenience, the no-rethread design allows the headrest and harness to adjust together in one motion.
Keep in mind: The rear-facing design does not recline back that far and may not be as comfortable for napping children.
Good for: Parents who want a car seat their child can use for multiple years.
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6. Baby Trend Trooper 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat
(Best color options — $)
Why it’s great: Coming in several bright, kid-friendly colors like Moondust and Vespa, this narrow car seat makes it easy for kids to know which seat is theirs. The Baby Trend Trooper 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat has a built-in bubble level that makes installation easy in addition to a rear-facing recline flip foot that makes it easy to access the installation points. The super-deep side wings ensure quality side impact protection.
Keep in mind: The straps are prone to twisting if not used correctly.
Good for: Children who are more excited to get into their car seats when it’s a color of their choice.
7. Century Drive On 3-in-1 Car Seat
(Most sustainable option — $$)
Why it’s great: The Century Drive On 3-in-1 Car Seat is created from recycled fabrics, making this an eco-friendly and sustainable option. This narrow car seat saves space across the backseat and can be both rear-facing and forward-facing. The no-rethread harness system avoids parental headaches when creating a perfect, secure fit for your child.
Keep in mind: It can be challenging to get a tight fit without latches, which is most common in the middle seat of cars.
Good for: Parents who prioritize sustainability when shopping for car seats.
FAQs about Narrow Car Seats
1. Why should I opt for a narrow car seat?
A narrow car seat is a great solution for families with three children who would like them all to fit across one or in their vehicle. Narrow car seats are also helpful if you’d like to have enough room in the space directly next to a car seat for another passenger or to hold items. Narrow car seats are also space-conscious and can make it easier to travel with a car seat on any mode of transportation.
2. Are space-saving car seats safe to use long-term?
Follow the height and weight recommendations of the car seat you choose. As long as you follow their regulated sizing requirements and install the car seat correctly given your child’s height and weight, your child can use the car seat for as long as they fit in these dimensions.
3. At what age can my child use a narrow car seat?
Rather than age, most car seats will go by your child’s height and weight to determine if they can use this car seat safely. Car seats that work from five pounds and up can typically be used with newborns. Booster seats with a minimum weight of 30 pounds are designed for older toddlers and school-aged children.
4. How do I ensure I correctly install my slim-fitting car seat?
Reference the installation instructions on the car seat of your choice to ensure a safe, tight fit. If you’re still not sure if you’ve installed the car seat correctly, most fire stations and police stations will check to ensure your car seat is installed correctly for free.
5. Where should I install my children’s car seats?
The safest spot for a car seat is in the rear, rear-facing as long as possible. Consider which side of the car is easiest to access your child when deciding which seat to install the car seat. Some car seat experts recommend putting your child on the side most likely to be against a sidewalk to avoid standing toward the road when taking your child in and out of the car.
Narrow car seats are the optimal solution for families with more than one kid or those who need extra vehicle space for people or items. This selection of slim-fitting car seats allows three children to fit across a row comfortably and safely. Meeting all the necessary safety guidelines, these sleek designs don’t compromise by coming in a smaller package. With features like convenient cup holders and padded five-point harnesses, these narrow car seats don’t skimp on style. With styles created for newborns to school-aged children, you can rest assured that you can invest in a narrow car seat that can be used for years to come before its expiration date. Coming in bright, spunky colors and soft, durable fabrics, these space-saving car seats will win over parents as well as the children that ride in them.