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Quick List: Narrow Car Seats to Fit 3 in a Row
If you don’t have much time to research on a narrow car seat, here is a shortcut for your reference. After comparing and reviewing 20+ narrow car seats with the slimmest ones starting from 16.75″, we can reveal that the best narrow car seat (ordered by type) are:
1. Best overall: Graco SlimFit3 LX ($279.99) -16.75″, up to 100 pounds weight limit.
2. Best narrow infant car seat: Chicco KeyFit 30 ($219.99) – 16.75″ width. Friendly for preemies.
3. Best narrow convertible car seat: Evenflo Revolve360 Slim ($329.99) – 16.75″ width, extended rear-facing (50-lb weight limit).
4. Narrow booster seat with 5-point harness – Chicco MyFit ($199.99) – 17.5″, 54-inch highest harness height.
5. Narrow high back booster seat: Graco TurboBooster ($59.99) – 16.5″, budget-friendly for most families with big kids.
Want to find the best narrow car seats for fitting more than one child? You’re in the right place.
If you have limited space in the back, it will be a bit challenging to find a narrow car seat, especially if you have to ride multiple children at the same time in the back seat. In this article, we’ll create a list of our favorite narrow car seats with the slimmest width starting from 16.75 inches.
The majority of the narrow car seats on this list are the thinnest on the market, making them also the best car seats for 3 across if you have to fit two or three children in a row.
Not all car seats are designed and manufactured with an equal narrow width. But to satisfy the needs of growing families with two or more children, manufacturers did launch a few slim models.
Best for Preemies
Best for Travel
Doona Infant Car Seat Stroller
Evenflo Revolve360 Slim
Graco SlimFit3 LX
Diono Radian 3R
We also make several lists of the best narrow car seats according to their performance (rear-/forward-facing/booster weight/height limits), by budget, and by bonus features (like lightweight, portable for travel)
Best Narrow Car Seats - Infant (16.7"-18")
Chicco KeyFit 30 Review
Chicco KeyFit 30 - 16.75"
Measuring 16.75 inches in width, the Chicco KeyFit 30 is the narrowest infant car seat of the four. It’s very compact in design, making the KeyFit 30 easy to fit three across if you have multiple kids in a car seat.
The company gave it a low size for small babies under 30 pounds or 30 inches tall. That’s very low compared to other narrow infant car seats. It has a sibling with a 35-pound weight and 32-inch height limit. But the KeyFit 30 seems more popular than the KeyFit 35.
The KeyFit 30 is friendly for preemies and was recommended as the #1 for small newborns. It comes with an infant insert to support the baby’s head and body when they weigh between 4 and 11 pounds. The infant insert can be removed to provide extra room for growing babies, but may not for long due to the 30-pound and 30-inch limitations.
As one of the narrowest infant car seats, the Chicco KeyFit 30 is relatively lightweight, weighing only 9.5 pounds, without the base. But it’s a bit heavier than the lightest infant car seats.
The Chicco KeyFit 30 is a bit pricey for its size, but it’s not the most expensive on the narrow infant car seats list, just a bit more expensive than Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 ($199.99 vs $159.99). It seems the Chicco car seats are a bit more expensive than the Graco (check our comparison on Chicco vs Graco car seats.
But this is only the entry-level model of the KeyFit infant car seat series. Higher-end siblings with premium features are available.
KeyFit 30 vs KeyFit 30 Zip vs KeyFit 30 Zip Air
|Car Seats Comparison||Chicco KeyFit 30||Chicco KeyFit 30 Zip||Chicco KeyFit 30 Zip Air|
|Weight limits (lb)||RF:4-30||RF:4-30||RF:4-30|
|Rear Facing Weights||Up to 30"||Up to 30||Up to 30|
|Quick-remove seat pad||-||✓||✓|
|Cozy all-season boot||-||✓||✓|
|Premium zipper features||-||✓||✓|
|3D AirMesh breathable backrest||-||✓||✓|
UPPAbaby MESA Review
UPPAbaby MESA -17"
If you’re one of the new Millennials moms and dads who pursue something new, you may try the UPPAbaby car seat. It is a new Internet-genie car seat brand that started several years ago: simple, stylish, multi-functional, and high-end (generally high-priced).
So you won’t be surprised that the UPPAbaby MESA is more expensive than Chicco KeyFit 30 ($299 vs $219 as the post was written). Will the MESA be worth the $299 price? Let’s see.
The MESA is one of the narrowest infant car seats. It’s a bit wider than the Chicco KeyFit 30 (17” vs 16.75”) but slim enough to fit 3 in a row, even in small cars.
This narrow infant car seat has a top size limit among its competitors: 35 lbs/32” (this is an average for most infant car seats). It’s better than the KeyFit 30 and should last for a longer time, approximately around your child’s 12 months or 9 months for tall babies.
It looks higher-end. Made of superior materials, along with a sophisticated design and contemporary details, the UPPAbaby MESA is very different in appearance from other traditional car seats from Chicco and Graco, like the KeyFit 30 and SnugRide SnugLock 35. You can get this point by first looking at their pictures.
Premium features include the innovative techniques used in both the infant car seat carrier and the base, which will work together as a piece to ensure your baby’s safety in the vehicle. The included tightness indicator is very useful to deliver a comfortable fit for growing babies. You never want your baby to sit in the car seat too tight (which is not comfortable) or too loose (which is not safe).
The MESA infant car seat carrier weighs 9.9 pounds, comparably lightweight for the car seat itself. However, you won’t carry a 10-pound car seat plus a 20~30 pounds baby. That’s why the Doona infant car seat and stroller came out.
Doona Infant Car Seat to Stroller Review
Doona - 17.3"
Okay, here comes my favorite part. We really love the Doona infant car seat and stroller. It’s like the Swiss Knife in its overall performance.
Measuring 17.3-inch, the Doona is not as narrow as the Chicco KeyFit 30 and UPPAbaby MESA. But this does not affect its fitting in any sized cars and is good to fit three across in most vehicles.
The width remains 17.3 inches, no matter whether folding or unfolding. See? The Doona is a foldable narrow infant car seat. This makes it one of the most portable car seats – the Diono Radian series are also foldable and portable but heavier than others in the same type.
After folding, the Doona product works as an infant car seat to ride a baby from 4 to 35 pounds until he or she reaches the 32-inch height limit.
After unfolding, the Doona becomes a stroller. It’s the only car seat with wheels. It’s also the only one-piece travel system, combining an infant car seat and a stroller into one. It’s a pity that this Doona stroller does not have a high size as the common stroller (35 pounds vs 50 pounds). This is very understandable, the stroller mode has the same size as the car seat mode.
After unfolding the wheels down and turning the Doona to the stroller mode, you can adjust the handlebar to the upper position for an easy stroller for your baby. This is really convenient if you’re going to meet friends in a cafeteria or drop them off for a museum visit. It’s a pity that the handlebar only has two positions and the upper position is still a bit short for tall dads.
Doona might be the safest infant car seat. The handlebar can be pushed back to the bottom (or original) position and work as an anti-rebound bar for extra protection in the infant car seat mode.
Plus, it features 3-layer side impact protection. That’s unbeatable among the narrow infant car seats. It meets federal safety standards and is FAA-approved for air travel.
Another point we thought parents would like is the included vehicle seat protector. That’s warm-hearted for dads who love their cars very much (who doesn’t). You can always see a statement that child safety experts recommend not to use a protector under the car seat and this behavior will probably result in unsafe installation.
But if the manufacturer includes a vehicle protector, then you should not worry about this issue and use the vehicle protector under the manufacturer’s instructions.
With so many great features, you won’t be surprised about the high price, right? Doona Infant Car Seat Stroller is the most expensive car seat, at a price around $550-$699, beating some high-end convertible car seats like Britax One4Life ($399.99) and Diono Radian 3QXT ($449.99).
The price is different based on the color. The Blush Pink is the most expensive one, $699.99 with no sale discount. The canopy and inserts are pink. We also have it listed in our best pink car seats for girls.
Following is the Desert Green, priced at $644.99 on Amazon (price may change due to promotion). The unisex Nitro black is the cheapest at $550. This price is applied for other colors, including Flame Red, Racing Green, Royal Blue, and Greyhound.
With a foldable design, the Doona Infant Car Seat Stroller is one of our best 6 foldable car seats. But it’s not a lightweight one, weighing up to 16.5 pounds. You can easily imagine this. It has four wheels that will definitely add weight to the car seat itself.
The heavyweight is one drawback of the Doona Infant Car Seat and Stroller. Luckily, you don’t need to carry it, only for exceptional cases like upstairs.
The Doona car seat is one of the most popular car seats on Amazon, even though it’s really pricey.
One point I really want to mention is the installation without the base. Yes, the Doona infant car seat stroller can be installed in a car directly. You don’t need to purchase another car seat base to match it for installation, making it a friendly option for parents to take a taxi.
Graco SnugRide SnugLock
Graco SnugRide SnugLock - 17.5"
If you prefer to get an infant car seat to work with strollers, you may check the Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35. Manufactured by the Graco company, there will be a handful of strollers compatible with this infant car seat. With the Click Connect technology, the Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 is compatible with all Click Connect strollers.
This Graco infant car seat is very average in performance and in price as well.
Designed for newborn babies and small infants, it has a common size: 35lbs/32″. With one inch left for a safe gap, it’s probably outgrown when your kiddie is at most 18 months old. Some tall babies may reach this limit at 12 months.
It passed the crash tests according to the federal safety standards and provides side impact protection.
All the infant car seats boast lightweight designs. So does the Graco SnugRide SnugLock. The car seat carrier weighs 7.5 pounds, a bit lighter than Chicco Keyfit 30 (9.6 pounds) and UPPAbaby MESA (9.9 pounds). It’s one of our best recommendations for the lightest infant car seats under 8 pounds in weight.
However, if you add a baby to it, you won’t feel it is lightweight anymore. You won’t want to carry a baby in an infant car seat for a long distance or a long time. But it should be okay for a short distance like switching to another car or putting the carrier on a stroller.
The portability and convenience are far from as good as a Doona car seat. The price is one-third of the latter one as well. With no more premium features, the Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 is sold at a budget price, of $159.99, making it one of the cheap car seats under $200. It’s the cheapest one on this narrow car seat list – cheaper than $199 for Chicco KeyFit 30.
If you don’t have a big budget for an infant car seat, Graco SnugRide SnugLock is a good option. But you should keep in mind that all infant car seats won’t be used for kids 2 years or older. This is not related to how long it will last before the expiry date. Your baby probably outgrows it between 9 months to 18 months and does not need it anymore.
Best Narrow Convertible Car Seat (16.75"-18.5")
Evenflo Revolve360 Slim
Evenflo Revolve360 Slim - 16.75"
Among the car seat database and our research, there are very very few narrow convertible car seats.
The Evenflo Revolve360 Slim is a game changer and is the slimmest convertible (except all-in-one) car seat. It’s 16.75 inches wide, as narrow as our best recommendation –Graco SlimFit3 LX. It’s thin in design from the product image and you’ll be impressed with its other more advanced features.
The first is the 360 degrees rotation. Yes, the Evenflo Revolve360 Slim is one of the best 360 car seats. It’s only the rotatable narrow convertible car seat.
More and more parents choose this type of car seat for their 360-degree rotation feature because they can easily get their child in and out of the car without any hassle. This feature is particularly helpful for parents or grandparents who have back problems or limited mobility, as it eliminates the need for them to twist and turn to get their child into the seat.
You’d probably wonder: how to rotate the car seat to fit 3 across? That’s a good question, as we know that rotating car seats need to borrow space from the next spot. So my suggestion is to install the Evenflo Revolve360 Slim first and then install other car seats next to it.
It’s unbeatable to combine the slim design with 360 rotating features, and the affordable price. The basic version costs $329.99 (price may change for promotion sales). That’s the lowest price among rotating car seats. The premium siblings with Quick Clean Cover and SensorSafe are available for parents who are in pursuit of additional features.
Oh, you should be impressed about its 50-lb weight limit for rear-facing. The new two series – Evenflo Revolve360 Slim and Extend upgrade in the rear-facing weight from the original model’s 40-pound. So we also list them in the best rear-facing car seats 50 lbs if you want to extend the rear-facing time for your little one.
Rotatable Narrow Convertible Car Seat Comparison
|Car Seats Comparison||Evenflo Revolve360 Slim||Revolve 360 Slim with Quick Clean Cover||Revolve 360 Slim with SensorSafe||Gold Revolve 360 OG|
|Rotation||360 Degrees||360 Degrees||360 Degrees||360 Degrees|
|Weight limit (lb)||RF:4-50 / FF: 22-65||RF:4-50 / FF: 22-65||RF:4-50 / FF: 22-65||RF:4-40 / FF: 22-65 / Booster:40-120|
|Height limit (in)||RF:17-48"* / FF: 49"||RF:17-48"* / FF: 49"||RF:17-48"* / FF: 49"||RF:40" / FF: 49" / Booster:57"|
|Headrest Adjustable Positions||10||10||10||10|
|Type||2-in-1 convertible||2-in-1 convertible||2-in-1 convertible||All-in-one|
|Quick Clean Cover||-||✓||-||-|
Britax Marathon ClickTight Review
Britax Marathon - 18.5"
If you want an affordable narrow car seat from Britax, then the Marathon is worth your consideration.
Convertible car seats are typically equipped with a bulky design. So do Britax car seats. You can get this point at first sight. Even though Britax Marathon has its name on this narrow car seat list, it is not as slim fit as other narrow car seats. 18.5-inch is the least width at the bottom to fit the car’s seat, making it possible to fit 3 across in some large vehicles.
If you want a narrow convertible with a width around 17 inches from Britax, you’ll be disappointed. The 18.5-inch is the thinnest among Britax car seats, meaning Marathon is the narrowest Britax car seat.
The manufacturer does not intend to satisfy these needs. The Marathon is the slimmest, at 18.5-inch; so does the Boulevard. The One4Life (all-in-one) is wider at 19.5 inches. The Advocate is the bulkiest, at 20.5 inches.
The Marathon is also the cheapest convertible car seat from Britax, priced under $300 for a normal sale right now. Other Britax convertible car seats are over $300. For example, the same 18.5-inch-width Boulevard is selling $329.99.
You can’t tell the reason why it’s a bit cheaper than others because you can’t easily distinguish the difference between these three 2-in-1 convertible car seats from Britax (Advocate vs Boulevard vs Marathon).
Luckily, the manufacturer made it clear with the specs comparison. So we know that the Marathon is equipped with the lowest layer of side impact protection. It has only one layer, while the Boulevard has two layers and Advocate has three layers, which is considered the safest Britax car seat for this reason. But this does not mean it’s not safe to use Marathon.
What makes Britax Marathon safe and more expensive? The secret weapon is ClickTight.
Thanks to the included ‘ClickTight technique, the Marathon offers parents an easy way to get a truly tight installation, reducing the injury risk. You can effortlessly install this narrow car seat with the vehicle seat belt.
As we know, it is thought to be more difficult to install a car seat with the seat belt than that with the LATCH. All Britax car seats with ClickTight support the seat-belt installation.
Weighing 28.5 pounds, the Britax Marathon is not a lightweight convertible car seat. It’s heavy. This should be a drawback, but a few parents think this is the approval that Marathon is a solid car seat for safety.
It really does. The high-strength metal frame, decent padding, and energy-absorbing foam add to its body weight but enhance its protection as well.
It’s a pity that the Britax Marathon does not include a cup holder. Small babies and infants may not notice and need it. But big toddlers and preschoolers may prefer a car seat with cup holders to put their snacks and toys for long-distance boring road trips. You can purchase cup holders and attach them to the Marathon (Advocate and Boulevard as well), but this will cost extra money and definitely broaden its width.
Graco SlimFit3 LX - Narrowest Car Seat to Fit 3 in a Row
Graco SlimFit3 LX - 16.75"
If you’re a Graco loyal and want to find a narrow car seat from it, you should try the Graco SlimFit3 LX. Measuring 16.75 inches, the Graco SlimFit3 LX is not only the narrowest all-in-one car seat, but it also ranks top-notch among the 3-across car seats.
From its name, you can easily know that the SlimFit3 LX is upgraded from SlimFit3, the previous sibling that measured 18 inches wide.
The SlimFit is narrower than most all-in-one car seats, but may not do three across in small car seats. As a result, the manufacturer made a slimmer version – Graco SlimFit3 LX.
The 16.75-inch of Graco SlimFit3 LX is even narrower than the famous 17-inch Diono Radian series, but you can’t see the difference by eyes. All the slim fit car seats around 17-inch wide look almost similar to each other featuring a slender body.
The SlimFit3 LX is considered a premium model from Graco. It’s one of the safest narrow car seats but is priced at an affordable range between $250 and $300. It’s more cost-effective than most all-in-one car seats on the market.
Like the Graco Extend2Fit, it is built with the ProtectPlus Engineering technique that delivers extra safeguard. So it will protect your baby in case any crashes from frontal, side, rear, and rollover incidents happen.
It’s also a parent-friendly narrow car seat. The seat pad is not only made of machine washable fabrics but also can be effortlessly removed in seconds. The Graco SlimFit3 LX comes with a ‘Rapid Remove cover’ that is used in high-end models like Graco 4Ever DLX 4 in 1 car seat.
The Graco SlimFit3 LX is a child-friendly car seat equipped with two cup holders. Boys and girls would be happy to have them for storing snacks and toys.
Another point we love is the multiple color options. You don’t need to use the unisex black color for your girls. Purple color is available and makes the Graco SlimFit3 LX one of the best purple car seats for girls.
Diono Radian 3R - Narrow Car Seat to Fit 3 in a Row
Diono Radian 3R
Diono might be the first manufacturer who noticed the parents’ need to fit three across in a row. The Radian series is the result of this consideration and features a very narrow 17-inch width. As a result, Radian products are well-known for their slim fit design. The Radian 3R is the entry-level among the Radian all-in-one car seats, not just for its price of under $200, but also for its lack of premium features.
Measuring in 17-inch at width, the Diono Radian 3R is narrow enough to fit 3 across in a row if you have to install two or three car seats in the same row. But you should pay attention to the position and direction for installation. It’s better to install the Diono Radian 3R (and other Radian car seats) forward-facing. It is 28.5-inch high. If installed rear-facing, the Diono Radian 3R lacks reclines and will take more space from the front seat. If facing forward, this problem disappears.
It’s a cheap narrow all-in-one car seat that is suitable for families that don’t have a big budget for a car seat.
Priced under $200, the Diono Radian 3R is the best narrow car seat in this price range. It has a good size limit to grow with your child: 100lbs/57″.
We love its 50-pound rear-facing weight limit and 44-inch height limit. This combination makes the Diono Radian 3R a great car seat for extending rear-facing. Only Graco Extend2Fit has a chance to compete with it in this aspect.
But the Diono Radian has a handful of drawbacks. It does not include the infant insert or any other body support, making it less appealing for newborns and small infants. There is no head support on the top section, making it less friendly for toddlers who may fall asleep (most kids do this in the car seat, especially on a long road trip). It does not offer multiple recline positions for you to adjust the perfect fit for your growing kid.
It’s a narrow but heavy-duty car seat, weighing up to 25.9 pounds. But it’s still one of the most portable car seats, thanks to its foldable design. You can easily lug this car seat across the airport if you’re planning to take it for air travel with your children. You just carry it like a backpack using the straps.
Besides the Radian 3R, products in the Radian series are all narrow all-in-one car seats, with different premium features at a variable price range. Check and pick up one that most fits your needs.
|Car Seats Comparison||Radian 3R||Radian 3RX||Raidan 3RXT||Raidan 3QX||Radian 3QXT|
|Weight limits (lb)||RF:5-50 / FF: 22-120||RF: 5-50 FF: 22-120||RF: 5-50 FF: 22-120||RF: 4-50 FF: 22-120||RF: 4-50 FF: 22-120|
|Rear Facing Weights||Up to 50lb||Up to 50lb||Up to 50lb||Up to 50lb||Up to 50lb|
|Newborn Protection||-||-||2-in-1||Advanced 3-in-1||Advanced 4-in-1|
|Head Support||-||12 Positions||12 Positions||Safe+ 12 Positions||Safe+ 12 Positions|
Narrowest Booster Seats
Chicco MyFit - Narrowest Booster Seat with 5-point Harness
Chicco MyFit -17.5"
Chicco doesn’t have slim fit car seats, except the infant car seat. But this MyFit Harness Booster is narrower.
Padded with plenty of energy-absorbing foam around the reinforced-steel metal frame, the Chicco MyFit looks a bit bulky. But the real width makes it rank top on the narrow car seats list.
Measuring 17.5-inch width, the Chicco MyFit is much narrower than the NextFit Zip (19-inch). This width is narrow enough to fit three across in some large vehicles like the SUVs, even though it is not as narrow as the 16.7-inch of Graco SlimFit3 LX and 17-inch Diono Radian 3R.
What Chicco MyFit impressed us with is the higher harness size limit. It has the highest 54-inch harness limitation, beating convertible car seats and all-in-one car seats with the 5-point harness of 49″ height limit.
The 5-inch more harness height limit benefits for extending the forward-facing ride. That appeals to parents who would like to have their kids in a 5-point harness longer, probably lasting to 7-8 years old big kids.
Why is it better than the Graco Affix?
Why is it worse than the Britax Highpoint?
If you want a narrow high back booster seat, the Graco TurboBooster should be the best option. It’s only 16.5 inches wide, even including the backrest at the widest point. This width makes the TurboBooster a good 3 across car seat if you have limited space in the back row or when you plan to install one car seat for multiple kids.
We thought the booster seats should be narrow, not in the real world. Not all booster seats are slim designed, for example, the Diono Cambria 2 XL (20″) and Britax Skyline (19.5″). Another Chicco KidFit is also very narrow – only 17 inches wide, but not as narrow as the Graco TurboBooster.
Among all the high back booster seats, the TurboBooster is also the cheapest one. Graco car seats are averagely cheaper than the same-leveled car seats from other brands like the Chicco, Britax, and Diono. If you just want an entry-level booster seat with very basic features, this Graco narrow booster seat is good enough.
Backless boosters are definitely narrow, lightweight, and portable. They don’t have backrest and only include the seat pad section of the highback boosters or harnessed boosters. So we don’t have any backless booster seats on this narrow car seats list. Backless booster seats are the narrowest to fit three across in any car, including small cars.
Best Narrow Car Seats by Size Limits
|Weight Limit||Car Seat||Price||Height Limit|
|30 pounds||Chicco KeyFit 30||$219.99||30 in.|
|35 pounds||UPPAbaby MESA||$299.99||32 in.|
|35 pounds||Doona Infant Car Seat Stroller||$550||32 in.|
|35 pounds||Graco SnugRide SnugLock||$159.99||32 in.|
|65 pounds||Evenflo Revolve360 Slim||$329.99||49 in.|
|65 pounds||Britax Marathon Clicktight||$299.99||49 in.|
|100 pounds||Diono Radian 3R||$199.99||57 in.|
|100 pounds||Graco Slimfit3 LX||$279.99||57 in.|
|100 pounds||Graco TurboBooster||$59.99||57 in.|
|100 pounds||Chicco MyFit Harness Booster||$219.99||57 in.|
Best Narrow Car Seats by Price
|Rank||Price||Car Seat||Width||Weight/ Height Limit|
|1||$59.99||Graco TurboBooster||16.5"||100 lbs/ 57 in.|
|2||$159.99||Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35||17.5"||35 lbs/ 32 in.|
|3||$199.99||Diono Radian 3R||17"||100 lbs/ 57 in.|
|4||$219.99||Chicco Keyfit 30||16.7"||30 lbs/ 30 in.|
|5||$219.99||Chicco MyFit Harness Booster||17.5"||100 lbs/ 57 in.|
|6||$279.99||Graco Slimfit3 LX||16.7"||100 lbs/ 57 in.|
|7||$299.99||UPPAbaby MESA||17"||35 lbs/ 32 in.|
|8||$299.99||Britax Marathon ClickTight||18.5"||65 lbs/ 49 in.|
|9||$329.99||Evenflo Revolve360 Slim||16.75"||65 lbs/ 49 in.|
|10||$550||Doona Infant Car Seat Stroller||17.3"||35 lbs/ 32 in.|
Best Narrow Car Seats by Bonus Features
- Narrow infant car seat – Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 (7.5 lb)
- Narrow convertible car seat – Evenflo Revolve360 Slim (360 degrees rotation)
- Narrow infant car seat – Chicco KeyFit 30 (16.7 in.)
- Narrow infant car seat – UPPAbaby MESA (17 in.)
- Narrow infant car seat – Doona Infant Car Seat Stroller (17.3 in.)
- Narrow convertible car seat – Evenflo Revolve360 Slim (16.75-inch)
- Narrow convertible car seat – Graco SlimFit3 LX (16.75-inch)
- Narrow convertible car seat – Diono Radian 3R (17-inch)
- Narrow booster seat with 5-point harness – Chicco MyFit Harness Booster (17.5 inches)
- Narrow high back booster seat – Graco TurboBooster (16.5 inches)
When to Use a Narrow Car Seat
The narrow car seats are beneficial to you if you find your family in the following cases:
- The car used to ride the child is small in size;
- Your second or third baby is on the way and you need to install more than one car seat;
- Narrow car seats typically take up less room in the back seat. This is very friendly if you regularly have other passengers in the car or you need space for groceries or other things, especially if you have a compact vehicle.
A narrow car seat commonly has a compact base, especially for infant car seats.
Narrow car seats will have detachable or repositionable cup holders. In this way, the cutouts for holding cups or bottles won’t increase the width after installation.
Putting two or more car seats in the back seat might be a challenge for most parents. Narrow car seats are a great solution for this. It can be placed wherever it’s best, even in the center, which is considered the safest position but is much narrower than the sides.
Types of Narrow Car Seats to Consider
What type of narrow car seats should you consider? That depends on your child’s age and size and your personal needs. Here are the most common car seat options.
Infant Car Seats
Narrow infant car seats are suitable for newborns and babies younger than 1 year old or less than 32-inch tall. A lot of car seats of this type are narrow, generally with a width under 18-inch.
It’s very easy to understand this point. Newborns and infants are small in size and don’t need much room in the car seat or car. As a result, infant car seats are compact. The width, length, and height are not as big as other types of car seats.
Infant car seats are always used in the rear-facing direction. They frequently slide into a base, which is also narrow in width. The base is usually used to situate the infant car seat’s fit in the vehicle properly. It’s separate from the car seat and can be purchased separately.
This is helpful for multiple-car households. You don’t need to purchase several infant car seats that commonly come with the base, only need to purchase the base that fits the car seat.
Infant car seats often feature a low weight limit and can become heavy and cumbersome to carry as your child grows. You may need to replace your car seat with one for older children within the first year.
- Provides a comfortable fit for newborns.
- Easy and convenient to get in and out of cars.
- Simple to use in multiple-car households.
- Not made to be used for more than a year or so.
- Can be cumbersome and bulky.
Convertible Car Seats
Convertible car seats are designed for growing children. It can be used in multiple modes for a prolonged period of time, going through several stages. This can allow you to make fewer car seats purchased, making them a good money saver.
To achieve the goal of a long-time and multiple stages lasting, convertible car seats are commonly bulky.
They typically feature a width range between 19 to 22 inches. Few models are narrow for the most common sedan cars. Check our post on the narrowest convertible car seats.
- Offer a prolonged period of use.
- Can be used forward-facing and rear-facing.
- May have additional features.
Offer customization through the headrests and harness.
- Usually works best for children in the middle of the provided age range.
- Can be tedious to move from car to car.
- May be heavy.
3-In-1 Car Seats
All-in-one is one specific kind of convertible car seat. They last even longer than the most typical rear-/forward-facing convertible car seats, extendable to booster mode. You can imagine that they’re bulkier as well.
They tend to be heavy and take up a significant amount of space.
- Can work for the duration of your child’s car seat years.
- Comfortable for long trips.
Features additional accessories like cup holders.
- Offers recline options and adjustable components.
- Heavy and more difficult to move between cars.
- May not work as well for very young babies.
Booster seats are suitable for big kids. Some are with a 5-point harness (also with 2-in-1 or 3-in-1 in the name), and some do not; both types of booster seats are fastened into place with a lap-shoulder belt system, which is required by the local laws of all 50 states.
The point of a booster car seat is to lift your child. This allows the seat belt to fall across their body properly so they’ll be protected in an accident.
Booster seats, even with the 5-point harness for small toddlers, can be designed to be narrow enough to cross three seats. Because they go through just one stage (or two if with a 5-point harness).
Older children might need more space in a narrow booster, but they should be more steady with better self-control in the car seat.
Booster seats are divided into two types – high back and backless. Parents can easily distinguish them from each other.
High back boosters provide extra protection through the head, neck, and body. Some features are side-impact protection. They are usually considered a safer, better option than the backless booster.
But for older children at six or seven years of age, backless boosters are good options. They are fully safety tested and approved, but at a cheaper price.
- Great for older children.
- Offer nice traveling features.
- Position your child properly for seat belt restraint.
- May not be as comfortable for long trips.
- Don’t always feature LATCH compatibility.
Backless boosters are definitely narrow, lightweight, and portable. They don’t have backrest and only include the seat pad section of the highback boosters or harnessed boosters. So we don’t have any backless booster seats on this narrow car seats list. Backless booster seats are the narrowest to fit three across in any car, including small cars.
WAYB Pico car seat is as narrow and lightweight as a backless booster, but it’s actually a travel car seat for toddlers between 22-50 pounds and under 45 inches tall. It is even more suitable for travel than our lightest convertible car seats.
How to Choose a Narrow Car Seat
If you’re planning to shop for a narrow seat, whichever situation you’re in, you’ll want to keep the below tips in mind. This will help you determine which model – and which type – will best suit your family and your kids.
Narrow design should not compromise safety.
Luckily, all the car seats sold in the United States meet or exceed the standards of crash tests required. That means the narrow car seats ensure at least the minimum safety to ride a child.
Some narrow car seats may provide extra protection with premium features. For example, the 18.5-inch Britax Marathon is equipped with the ClickTight technique for a truly tight installation. The 16.7-inch Graco SlimFit3 LX is ProtectPlus engineered to offer all-around protection.
This will help you identify which type of car seat will be best for you. If you’re looking for a long useful time, you’ll want to stick with something that can grow with your child. Convertible car seats and all-in-one car seats are good options. They last between 8-10 years.
But just as I said above, convertible or 3-in-1 (all-in-one) car seats are bulkier than other types. Only a few models feature a narrow width, like the Graco SlimFit3 LX and Diono Radian 3R. Both are slim enough to fit 3 across.
Infant car seats and boosters have a shorter lifespan between 6-9 years, but can be slimmer.
Your Child’s Size
You can’t put a newborn in a booster.
The size of your child is also an important factor in deciding which type of narrow car seat you should consider.
Babies younger than 1 year old can use a narrow infant car seat or a convertible car seat with extended rear-facing. Graco SlimFit3 LX and Diono Radian 3R are good choices. The former is able to accommodate 2 year old toddlers in rear facing, thanks to its 40-lb-49-inch size limit. The latter is even better. The 50-pound weight limit is suitable for toddlers up to 3 years old to ride facing the back.
Toddlers and preschoolers can use a narrow car seat with a 5-point harness, convertible car seats, or harnessed boosters.
Features You Need
If you’re traveling by plane frequently, you may want a narrow car seat approved by the FAA for air travel. Most of the car seats with a 5-point harness are allowed for air travel, but not booster seats.
Plus, you may also want it to be lightweight and portable for easy carrying from getting or departing the airport. Safety 1st Jive is a lightweight car seat while the Diono Radian 3R is the most portable narrow car seat.
If you take your kids for road trips most of the time, you might need a narrow car seat comfortable for long rides – a narrow design does not mean less space.
Ease of Installation
This is especially important if you need to switch the narrow car seat between vehicles frequently. You want a narrow model that won’t be frustrating or time-consuming to install.
From this point, Britax Marathon ClickTight is a better choice than Safety 1st Jive.
The Marathon has the manufacturer’s unique ClickTight feature for a simple and easy installation.
While a lot of parents complain on Amazon that Safety 1st Jive is a bit difficult to install.
Easy to Clean
It’s inevitable that a car seat will get dirty. You should choose a narrow car seat that is easy to clean in case of a spill or leaky diaper. Dark colors would be better. That’s why you can see a lot of unisex colored-car seats on the market.
Another important factor is related to cleaning. The pad of the narrow car seat should also be easy to take off.
Chicco NextFit Zip has an obvious advantage here. It features a zip-off design. The seat pad can be removed from the frame in seconds.
The Graco SlimFit3 LX outperforms as well. It features a ‘Rapid Remove cover’.
It’s a fact of life that memorial-foamed padding is comfortable but not as breathable as cotton.
If you live in a state with hot weather mostly, a narrow car seat with air mesh fabrics should be under your consideration.
Doona Infant Car Seat Stroller and UPPAbaby MESA are high-end infant car seats with premium fabrics.
Maxi Cosi Pria is also good with air mesh fabrics.
This may play an important role in choosing a narrow car seat. Know that car seats are available at all price points and set a price range for your purchase. Check the narrow car seats ranking based on the price.
FAQs on Narrow Car Seats
What is the narrowest car seat you can buy?
Narrowest infant car seat – Chicco KeyFit 30 is the narrowest at 16.75 inches
Narrowest convertible seat – Safety 1st Jive at 17.5 inches
Narrowest all-in-one car seat – Graco SlimFit3 LX at 16.75 inches
Narrowest booster seat with 5-point harness: Chicco MyFit Harness Booster at 17.5 inches
Narrowest high back booster: Graco Affix Highback Booster at 16.5 inches
What are some slim car seats?
Here we list some slim car seats for a quick review.
16-17 inch width range:
17-18 inch width range:
- Diono Radian 3R – 17 inches
- UPPAbaby MESA – 17 inches
- Doona Infant Car Seat Stroller – 17.3 inches
- Safety 1st Jive – 17.5 inches
- Chicco MyFit Harness Booster – 17.5 inches
18-19 inch with range:
Which convertible car seat is the narrowest?
Are booster seats narrower than car seats?
Not really. The most common rule for car seat width is: the infant is #1 narrowest, booster (typically high back models) is #2 narrowest, and convertible (including all-in-one) is the last.
There are a few exceptions. Some manufacturers specially designed slim fit convertible car seats to do three across. For example, the Graco SlimFit3 LX and Diono Radian 3R (and other car seats in the Radian series). They are narrower (16.75 inches and 17 inches) than some boosters like Graco Tranzitions (19 inches) and Britax Highpoint (19.5 inches).
But if comparing the backless boosters to car seats, the backless booster absolutely won to be the narrowest.
How wide is Graco SlimFit?
How do you fit 3 car seats in a row?
Does the car seat go behind the driver or passenger?
The car seat should always be installed in the back seat. That is the safest spot for your baby. If you can, put the car seat in the center seat. If not, it is fine behind either the driver or passenger side.
Both sides perform the same in safety. Putting the car seat on whichever side depends on the convenience and your habit.
How wide is a normal car seat?
Typically, a car seat ranges in width from 16 inches to 21 inches at its widest point – which might not necessarily be the base. That’s why not all car seats are compatible with each other when trying to fit three across in a row.
Only the narrowest models – the width is less than 18 inches, might cross three seats in the back seat. The narrower, the better.
The 4 in 1 car seats are the bulkiest; none is on the narrow car seats list.
Is it safe to have 3 car seats in a row?
As long as you can install the car seats properly following the manufacturer’s instructions, they should be considered to offer safe riding.
How many car seats are installed in a row won’t affect the car seat’s safety reviews. It is just that those car seats are narrow enough to allow 3 car seats in a row. From this point, it is safe to have 3 car seats in a row.
However, make sure every car seat does not overlap with the other if there are three car seats in a row. Every car seat should be tightly installed for proper use.
Can you fit 3 baby seats in a row?
Absolutely. It’s not a big problem to fit 3 baby seats in a row if they are narrow and slim enough. Good examples include the Chicco KeyFit 30 (16.75-inch), UPPAbaby MESA (17-inch), and Doona (17.3-inch).
It’s better if you have a large-size car like an SUV, which provides more space and is more friendly and easy to fit 3 baby seats in a row in the back seat.
Can you put 3 baby seats in the back of a car?
Yes. If you’ve got three small children – or regularly transport the kids and their friends around – then being able to install 3 car seats across the back seat of your car can be a must. Find those narrowest car seats that best fit the child and vehicle.
Can you put a car seat in the middle seat?
As long as the car seat is allowed, the safest spot to install a car seat is the center in the back seat. Placing the car seat in the center minimizes the risk of injury during a crash.
But you should not install a booster seat in the center if you have a lap-only belt in the center of the back row. Booster seats are required to use a lap-shoulder belt for safe installation by local laws in all 50 states.
Can you put 2 car seats next to each other?
Larger vehicles may have more hip room, even in the center of the back seat. In this case, you may put 2 car seats next to each other, as the center seat is always the narrowest of the three.
In some cars, two car seats will not fit side-by-side in the back seat. In these situations, it is most important to have each car seat safely installed, even if they are placed on opposite ends.
What car seat does Uber use?
The official Uber Car Seat program provides an IMMI Go car seat, that fits kids 31-52″ and 22-48 pounds. If your child is too small or too big, you’ll need to bring an infant car seat or a booster seat.
How wide is an infant car seat?
Infant car seats are commonly the #2 narrowest of the five car seat types (backless booster is the #1).
Among the infant car seats we reviewed, they are usually 16 to 19 inches wide. Chicco KeyFit 30 is 16.75 inches wide, UPPAbaby MESA is 17 inches wide, Doona Infant Car Seat Stroller is 17.3 inches wide, and Graco SnugRide SnugLock is 18 inches wide.
They are averagely narrower than convertible car seats and boosters, but not 100%. A few slim fit convertible car seats are even narrower. Graco SlimFit3 LX is 16.75 inches wide and Diono Radian 3R is 17 inches wide. Both are all-in-one car seats.
How wide is Graco Snugride 35?
Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 is 18.07 inches wide. This is a very common width, not the narrowest, nor the widest. This width can achieve 3 across fit in some larger vehicles, but not as good as its competitors anyway.
If you want to install three baby car seats in a row, try the Chicco KeyFit 30 (16.75-inch) or UPPAbaby MESA (17-inch).
How wide is the Chicco Fit2?
Chicco Fit2 features a width of 17-inches, slightly wider than KeyFit 30’s 16.75-inch width, but narrow enough to fit three across. It’s the same as the Diono Radian 3R, which is popular for its ability to fit three across.
Do car seats fit in compact cars?
Compact car seats might fit in compact cars, like infant car seats.
Infant car seats are usually used for babies and small infants before 1 year old. They don’t need to grow with your child. As a result, they don’t have a large size.
How wide is the Nuna Rava?
The Nuna Rava is 17 inches wide at the hips and 19 inches wide at its widest point at the shoulders. This makes it a 3-across-friendly convertible car seat for most vehicles, as good as Diono Radian 3R and Graco SlimFit3 LX.
How wide is the Graco Tranzitions?
Graco Tranzitions features a width of 19 inches, making it one of the narrowest car seats. Along with being lightweight at 12.5 pounds, the Graco Tranzitions is highly suitable for traveling, particularly by airplane.
Can you fit 3 car seats in an SUV?
SUVs have a larger size that can fit three car seats in one row and provide plenty of versatility to handle bulky car seats. It’s better to have slim fit car seats to fit three across in a SUV.
Can a Toyota Corolla fit 3 car seats?
Toyota Corolla is not as spacious as the Camry from the dimensions: Shoulder Room (front/rear): 54 inches/51.7 inches. Hip Room (front/rear): 53.9 inches/51.3 inches. Legroom (front/rear): 42 inches/34.8 inches.
If you’re going to fit 3 car seats in a Toyota Corolla, make sure the car seats are narrow and compact. Chicco KeyFit 30 and Graco SlimFit3 LX are good choices, but Diono Radian 3R might need attention on the car seat height (28.5 inches), especially rear-facing. Lacking reclines will finally result in taking up much space from the front driver or passenger seats.
How wide is Graco SlimFit3 LX?
The SlimFit3 LX is the narrowest Graco car seat. At just 16.7 inches wide, the Graco SlimFit LX makes installing three seats across in a row in the back seat possible in many situations, including in some small cars.
What's the best car for 3 car seats?
If you have a big family with multiple children in a car seat and want to change to a new vehicle for fitting 3 car seats, you may have a look at these options:
Best cars for 3 child seats
- Rear Headroom:1090 mm
- Backrest Length:570 mm
- Rear Seat Length:460 mm
- Rear Seat Height:360 mm
- Rear Interior Width:1465 mm (57.7 inches)
- Head Room, Front 919
- Head Room, Rear 897
- Leg Room, Front 824
- Hip Room, Front 1476 mm
- Hip Room, Rear 1520 mm (59.8 inches)
- Shoulder Room, Front 1450 mm
- Shoulder Room, Rear 1442 mm
Citroen Grand C4 Picasso/Spacetourer.
- Head Room, Front 996
- Head Room, Rear 973
- Shoulder Room, Front 1508 mm
- Shoulder Room, Rear 1493 mm
- Head Room, Front 1056
- Head Room, Rear 1022
- Leg Room, Front 1088
- Leg Room, Rear 991
- Shoulder Room, Front 1531 mm
- Shoulder Room, Rear 1535 mm
Tesla Model S.
- Head Room, Front 986 – 990
- Head Room, Rear 889 – 897
- Leg Room, Front 1085
- Leg Room, Rear 897 – 899
- Hip Room, Front 1397 mm
- Hip Room, Rear 1389 – 1397 mm (54.7 inches – 55 inches)
- Shoulder Room, Front 1466 – 1473 mm
- Shoulder Room, Rear 1397 mm
- Head Room, Front 1015 – 1077
- Head Room, Rear 955 – 973
- Leg Room, Front 989
- Leg Room, Rear 947
- Hip Room, Front 1507 – 1530 mm
- Hip Room, Rear 1521 – 1578 mm (59.9 inches – 62.1 inches)
- Head Room, Front 1010 – 1071
- Head Room, Rear 990 – 1016
- Hip Room, Front 1571 mm
- Hip Room, Rear 1561 mm (61.5 inches)
- Shoulder Room, Front 1512 – 1557 mm
- Shoulder Room, Rear 1485 – 1542 mm
- Head Room, Front 1015 – 1064
- Head Room, Rear 973 – 989
- Head Room, Third Row
- Leg Room, Front 837 – 1000
- Leg Room, Rear 887 – 910
- Hip Room, Front 1458 – 1490 mm
- Hip Room, Rear 1484 – 1518 mm (58.4 inches – 59.8 inches)
- Hip Room, Third Row 1269 mm (50 inches)
- Head Room, Front 1020 – 1037
- Head Room, Rear 985 – 1001
- Hip Room, Front 1560 – 1562 mm
- Hip Room, Rear 1525 mm (60 inches)
Can you fit 3 car seats in a car?
Yes, of course. Large-size cars may be more friendly to fit 3 car seats. Small cars may be selective to have slim models to fit 3 car seats in a row.
Minivans; full-size, midsize SUVs and full-size cars are the most popular vehicle models that work best with three car seats in the rear seat. Vehicles where it’s a tight squeeze to fit three car seats: Compact SUVs; compact and midsize sedans; pickup trucks, and CRVs.