A car seat is one of the most important purchases you’ll make for your baby. If you have a small car, or limited space in the backseat due to other car seats, you’ll definitely need a narrow car seat.
All of the narrow car seats featured here are less than 20 inches wide, but there are also other factors that need to be taken into consideration, such as the seat’s shape and overall size, as well as how much room you actually have in the back of your car.
My choices include car seats for infants (also known as bucket seats), convertible models that will be useful for your child from infancy all through the toddler years, and big kid boosters.
Depending on your budget, you might find that a convertible car seat is the most cost-effective option, as your child will be able to make use of it for several years.
However, if you are interested in starting off with an infant bucket seat, I recommend checking if it’s compatible with any strollers – that way you can create your own travel system, and make the transition from car to stroller seamless.
Make sure you read all the way to the end, so you get all the info you need when it comes to shopping for a car seat for the first time!
So, without further ado, here is a selection of the best narrow booster seats and car seats!
For all of you busy moms, here’s a quick list of our top picks!
|Clek Liing Infant Car Seat||Prime||Buy Now|
|Diono Radian 3R||Prime||Buy Now|
|Top Top||Chicco KidFit Zip Plus 2-in-1 Belt Positioning Booster Car Seat||Prime||Buy Now|
|Top Top||Cosco Finale DX 2-in-1 Combination Booster Car Seat (Dusk)||Prime||Buy Now|
|Top||Clek Foonf Convertbile Car Seat||Prime||Buy Now|
Best Narrow Car Seats And Boosters
If you’re worried that there’s not enough space in the back of your car for your little one, these narrow car seats will help alleviate your concerns!
1. Safety 1st onBoard 35 Air 360 Infant Car Seat
Starting with narrow car seats for infants, this rear-facing Safety 1st model is 19 inches wide, and will provide a very comfortable seat for your baby.
It fits babies up to 35 pounds in the rear-facing mode. This seat has undergone thorough testing so as to ensure your baby stays safe, even in the event of a car crash – it includes energy-absorbing foam and protection from side impacts.
If your baby ends up making a mess, you can simply throw the seat pad in the washing machine.
You can choose between a simple grey and black design, and one with pink accents.
2. Chicco Keyfit 30 Infant Car Seat
If you are searching for a rear-facing infant car seat, that is also sufficiently narrow, then the Chicco Keyfit 30 might be what you’re looking for.
It’s only 17 inches wide!
It comes with a newborn insert, making this car seat perfect for that first ride home from the hospital!. Your baby will be so comfy! Then, when she grows out of it, you can simply remove the insert.
The SuperCinch LATCH system allows you to get the perfect fit, so that it’s locked in tight and doesn’t wobble. The minimum weight limit is 4 pounds and the maximum is 30 pounds.
There’s a bubble level indicator to make it easier to place the base at the proper angle, which is always a welcome feature, particularly for new parents who are just getting the hang of car seats!
Of course, this car seat adheres to all safety standards and includes a 5-point harness, that you can tighten quickly with one hand, leaving your other hand free to tend to your baby.
This car seat is also compatible with their strollers, so if you’re still looking for the perfect one, be sure to check Chicco out!
It’s available in more than a dozen stylish designs. Regardless of which style you choose, you can rest assured that your precious cargo will be kept safe and snug during your car journeys.
3. Clek Liing Infant Car Seat
Measuring 16.9 inches in width, the Clek Liing is another excellent compact car seat for infants.
Equipped with a load leg, protection from side impact in case of a car crash, and a newborn two-stage body support system, this car seat will give you peace of mind anywhere you go. Not to mention that the base is also designed to minimize the force of impact.
Although no one wants to end up in a car accident, especially with a baby in tow, these are events outside our control and it’s great to know that your baby is protected when you’re on the road.
The seat can accommodate babies from 4 to 35 pounds or up to 32 inches in height. It’s compatible with the UPPAbaby Cruz, Minu, and Vista strollers as well as with other brands such as Bugaboo, Baby Jogger, Stokke, etc. Therefore, this is a good choice if you’re looking for an all-in-one travel system.
The handle is specially designed for easy carrying while the canopy is big enough to protect your precious bundle of joy from the sun (SPF 100+).
This model also includes the EPP energy-absorbing foam and C-zero fabrics that don’t contain chlorinated and brominated flame retardants.
However, if you are more interested in a convertible model, you should check out the Britax Marathon ClickTight car seat. It’s wider than this one but it might be a good fit for you.
4. Maxi-Cosi Mico 30 Infant Car Seat With Base
The Mico 30 car seat by Maxi-Cosi is only 18 inches wide, and an excellent choice if you’re not interested in convertible car seats. As an infant car seat, it can accommodate babies from 5 to 30 pounds. Eventually, you’ll need to upgrade to a bigger model.
I love this car seat in particular because it’s so easy to clean – you can remove the cover and throw it in the washing machine whenever you need to. In addition, it can not only be used with Maxi-Cosi strollers, but is also compatible with other stroller models, so it will be easy to switch from a ride in the car to a stroll in the park.
Unlike many other car seats, this model is very light and easy to carry. It can be used with or without the base, so if you need to take a ride in a different car, it won’t be a problem.
There’s an infant insert to provide extra support for very young babies, as well as a canopy to shield your baby from the sun or rain.
You can get it in a simple black, blue, or emerald color.
5. Baby Trend EZ Flex Loc Infant Car Seat
The EZ Flex Loc car seat is one of the narrowest models on the market – at only 14.66 inches wide! As such, it’s a fantastic choice if you already have one, or even two, car seats and are now faced with adding a third.
For your baby’s safety, Baby Trend has added energy-absorbing foam. There’s also a 5-point safety harness, which acts as your baby’s very own seat belt. Furthermore, you can adjust the height of the base.
Baby Trend designed the handle to make carrying the seat easier and more comfortable, and the seat is also compatible with some of their strollers.
As for the overall comfort and design, some parents have noted that it’s not as plush as some of the more expensive models, but this is something to expect with any car seat in the lower price range. Besides, this is a car seat for infants, so you’ll need to replace it with a bigger model within a few months anyway.
6. UPPAbaby MESA Infant Car Seat
The UPPAbaby MESA car seat is only 17 inches in width. As it’s a car seat designed for infants only, it has stroller compatibility with their Cruz and Vista models, so you might be interested in getting one of their travel systems.
This seat is made with a wool/polyester blend that is naturally flame resistant and does not require added chemicals to meet automotive flammability requirements.
It’s a bucket seat that will fit your child until she’s 32 inches tall and weighs 35 pounds. The minimum weight requirement is 4 pounds.
What makes this car seat perfect for new moms and dads is the tightness indicator. When you install the car seat properly, the indicator light will turn green, so you can rest assured that you’ve done it correctly.
The canopy has a UPF rating of 25, giving your little one an extra layer of protection from the sun. As your baby gets bigger, you can adjust the headrest as she grows.
What’s more, the seat comes with an infant insert that is specially designed to fit even the smallest of babies. In the event of a car accident, your baby’s head will be well protected by the EPP foam.
When it comes to price, this bucket seat is on the more expensive end of the scale. However, the safety features, ease of installation, as well as the fact that it’s flame retardant-chemical-free certainly justifies the cost.
7. Graco SlimFit 3 in 1 Car Seat
Graco is one of the best baby gear brands around, and their slim car seat definitely won’t disappoint you! It is 19.9 inches in width – slightly wider than most narrow models, but it could still be a good fit.
The first thing you need to know about this car seat is that it’s convertible, so it will grow along with your baby. Kids weighing from 5 to 40 pounds can ride in the rear-facing position, while the forward-facing position is suitable for kids who weigh between 22 and 65 pounds.
Finally, this car seat transforms into a booster seat for kids weighing between 40 and 100 pounds.
As cup holders can take up unnecessary space in the back of your car (especially if you have more than one car seat), Graco has designed special rotating cup holders that you can switch into a space-saving position when they’re not in use.
The height of the headrest is adjustable to your baby’s growth. You can pick from 10 different height adjustments.
The SlimFit model has an ‘InRight’ latch system that makes installing this car seat quick and easy. When the seat is properly locked, you will hear a click. You can also recline it in 4 positions to create a comfortable seat for your child.
The SlimFit car seat is available in 3 different designs.
8. Peg Perego Viaggio Flex
The Italian-made Peg Perego models belong to the more expensive group of car seats. They look sleek and elegant while being safe and functional.
However, the Viaggio Flex model is a more budget-friendly Peg Perego model that offers great features regardless of its price.
The car seat is 22 inches wide but it should fit nicely into the back seat of your car without taking too much room.
The minimum weight capacity for this model is 40 pounds, and the maximum recommendation goes up to 120 pounds.
When it comes to side impact protection, it ensures that your baby is comfortable and safe in the car seat by securing the head, neck, and your little one’s spine in case of an accident.
The inside of the seat is equipped with energy-absorbing foam or expanded polystyrene (EPS), which is a key safety feature that will keep your child protected in the event of an accident.
Peg Perego Viaggio Flex doesn’t include an anti-rebound bar like Primo Viaggio, but the sides of the car seat contain special kinetic pods that are tasked with deflecting force should your car be hit from the side.
The Viaggio Flex model is one of the most convenient car seat models when it comes to storage and transport. This car seat has the ability to fold onto itself which saves a great amount of space.
The bottom line is – this is an excellent car seat, whether you have a small or big car. It’s comfortable, made from high-quality materials, and most importantly, safe.
9. Diono Radian 3RXT
Diono is one of the best options to consider when it comes to car seats for small vehicles, even if it’s slightly out of your budget, and there are several reasons why.
First of all, it’s just 17 inches wide. Secondly, this is a seat that will be suitable for your child until they reach 120 pounds and start using a proper seat belt. Therefore, if you go with this option, you probably won’t ever need to purchase another car seat again.
How awesome is that?
The seat comes with all the accessories you need to provide support for your newborn baby. There is a 5-point harness to keep her safe until she’s old enough to use the vehicle seat belt.
As a rear-facing car seat, it can be used until your child weighs 50 pounds, which is a very handy feature. What makes this model extra-safe is the powerful steel core and the adjustable head support.
The Radian also gets bonus points for having a cup holder, which is very useful for when your baby gets older. It’s perfect for air travel too.
10. Diono Radian 3R
If you really like the look of the Diono car seats, but the 3RXT model is simply out of your price range, the Radian 3R is the perfect alternative!
However, it’s important to remember that it is missing several features that the 3RXT has, such as newborn protection and extra side protection for the child’s head. It is also missing a cup holder.
On the other hand, it’s as narrow as the 3RXT, can be used in both rear-facing and forward-facing modes with a seat belt or a 5-point harness, and it’s certified by the FAA, so you can bring it on an airplane.
The seats are available in 5 colors, ranging from black to vibrant blue.
11. Clek Foonf Convertible Car Seat
The Canadian-made Clek Foonf (and also Clek Fllo) convertible car seats stand out among the competition.
They are very narrow – only 16.9 inches – so they’ll be perfect for very small cars, no minivan required! Your baby will also love the extra legroom.
This model is safe to use for young babies (but you will need to get an infant insert). The minimum weight limit is 14 pounds and it is safe for babies weighing up to 65 pounds.
However, there are different weight limitations depending on which direction the seat is facing. When rear-facing, the upper limit is 50 pounds. When forward-facing, the lower limit is 22 pounds and the maximum is 65 pounds.
Clek has also put a lot of thought into the seat cover material. It’s made from Merino wool, which helps regulate body temperature.
It’s also very safe, as the seat is equipped with energy-absorbing foam, a headrest to protect your child’s head, as well as a metal frame.
So, what are the downsides? An obvious one is the price, which is significantly higher than the majority of car seats. Not to mention that many parents who have twins would find it very difficult to afford two!
Also, some parents have reported that it was difficult to install this narrow car seat, although this might depend on your own handiness.
In addition, because it’s on the heavier side, switching it between cars won’t always be easy.
12. Evenflo EveryFit 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat
A little wider at 19 inches, the Evenflo EveryFit is an affordable car seat that will grow with your baby, saving you plenty of money in the long run!
There are 4 ways you can use this seat: in the rear-facing mode (babies from 4 to 40 pounds), the forward-facing mode (babies from 22-65 pounds), as a booster seat (from 40 to 120 pounds), and as a backless booster seat (with the same weight limitations).
As such, this would be the only car seat your baby ever needs!
The armrests come with an inbuilt cupholder and a snack tray, which is an excellent feature for toddlers. The seat is made from breathable fabric to prevent your little one from getting too hot. What’s more, the material is very soft and the seat is
It also boasts 4 recline positions and you’ll be able to adjust the height of the headrest using just one hand (there are 12 height settings).
The installation is also pretty easy, so there are very few reasons not to consider this car seat!
13. Combi Coccoro Streamlined Lightweight Convertible Car Seat
The Combi Coccoro is a convertible car seat, and one of the narrowest options available, measuring only 15.5 inches wide!
However, I should mention that this car seat doesn’t offer a lot of room for growth in terms of weight. For instance, the rear-facing mode fits babies weighing between 3 to 33 pounds, which is significantly lower than the 40, or even 50 pounds, offered by other models.
Similarly, the front-facing mode can only fit kids that weigh between 20 to 40 pounds.
On the other hand, it still comes with many features found in other convertible car seats, like an infant insert that you can remove when your baby gets bigger. It also includes protection against car accidents – the energy-absorbing foam inside the seat will reduce the force of the impact.
What’s more, it has an FAA certification, so you can bring it with you when traveling by plane. The seat cover can be cleaned in the washing machine, which is always a handy bonus.
The car seat is available in purple, lime green, and a blue and beige combo. As for affordability, it’s in the mid-price range, and a good investment if you’re in need of a super narrow seat on a budget.
14. Maxi-Cosi Rodifix Booster Car Seat
In the blink of an eye, your baby will grow from needing to sit in a rear-facing bucket seat, into an energetic toddler that needs a more spacious booster seat when you’re on a road trip.
The Rodifix car seat measures just 17.75 inches in width, and can accommodate kids weighing from 40 to 120 pounds.
You can tell that this is a comfortable booster just by looking at it. There’s padding in both the seat and the backrest.
In the event of a car accident, your child will be kept safe by the special Air Protect system located in the headrest.
As your child grows, you can rely on the 12 different headrest height positions to adjust the fit to suit them. During long rides, the seat can easily be reclined so your child can take a nap.
As well as the safety features, this booster seat is also super easy to clean. Simply remove the cover, throw it in the washing machine, then the dryer, and you’re good to go!
The one downside to this booster is that it doesn’t have a cupholder. Although this does make narrower, older kids need their drinks and snacks during lengthy car trips, and a cup holder prevents their sippy cup from getting lost under the back seat where your kid can’t reach it.
You can get the Rodifix in black, grey, and blue.
15. Cosco Finale DX 2-in-1 Combination Booster Car Seat
This is a booster seat that won’t break the bank! Although it’s not the narrowest of models, the 19-inch width could still be a good choice for your vehicle, depending on the exact size of your car.
This is a belt-positioning booster, however, and it features a 5-point harness, which is great because not all parents are comfortable with immediately transitioning their kids to a regular seat belt. Although, this means that it can only be used in forward-facing mode.
As for the weight limitations, the lower limit is 30 pounds while the maximum recommended weight is 100 pounds.
Keep in mind that younger kids (under the age of 4 and weighing less than 40 pounds) need to be strapped in with the 5-point harness .
Another neat feature is the cupholder – you can attach it to the seat and remove it when you need to clean it. It’s also dishwasher-safe! I particularly like how it’s positioned slightly above the seat, so it doesn’t take up any unnecessary space.
The Cosco Finale DX comes with a machine-washable seat pad, which is always a welcome addition when it comes to car seats!
The entire thing weighs a little less than 12 pounds, so it won’t be difficult to switch it between different cars.
While it’s not as fancy as some of the more expensive seats, it’s great value for money and your child will find it comfortable too.
16. Graco TurboBooster High Back Booster Seat
As it’s only 16.7 inches wide, the Graco TurboBooster seat is a great narrow car seat for larger kids! It has all the safety considerations that we’ve come to expect from Graco, as well as comfort and durability.
When the seat pad gets dirty, you can simply throw it in the washing machine to clean it up. There are also two cupholders.
17. Chicco KidFit Zip Plus 2-in-1 Belt-Positioning Booster Car Seat
The Chicco KidFit looks like a classic toddler high back booster seat. It’s 18.75 inches wide, however, so it could be perfect if you’re lacking space in the back of your car.
When it comes to comfort, Chicco has really put a lot of effort into making this booster seat as comfortable as possible for your child.
Whether you’re driving your kid to school or taking a day trip to visit the grandparents, you can rest assured you won’t hear any complaints coming from the back seat.
What’s more, this booster seat converts from a high back model to a backless booster, so this will be the last car seat you need to purchase for your child.
It’s equipped with energy-absorbing foam that will keep your child safe in case of an accident. In addition to your car’s shoulder belt, this booster seat is kept in place by its LATCH connectors.
Your child will also have their very own cup holder and a storage tray for snacks or small toys. I also love that there are armrests for added comfort!
The KidFit car seat is available in 7 colorful designs, and the best part is all the seat covers are machine washable!
18. GoFit Plus Backless Booster Car Seat
The GoFit Booster was designed for older kids who have graduated to a backless booster. Only 17 inches wide, it’s a great fit for smaller vehicles, especially if you have more than one car seat in the back.
The seat is padded with double foam and you won’t hear any complaints from your kiddo even when you embark on a long car trip. The armrests provide another layer of comfort.
Since it weighs only 5.5 pounds, you can easily switch it between cars.
For an extra layer of safety, GoFit has equipped this booster with quick-release LATCH connectors which keep the seat stable. Many boosters do not have this feature and only rely on the seatbelt of the car to protect your child, so this is a welcome addition.
19. Hifold Fit-and-Fold Highback Booster
The Hifold Fit-and-Fold booster is truly one of a kind, both in terms of appearance and features. Most highback boosters are lumpy and take up a lot of space in your car, even if you get a narrow model.
Wouldn’t it be great if there was a booster you could fold up when it’s not in use, freeing up the entire back of your car?
Well, Hifold is the answer to all your prayers!!
It only weighs 10 pounds, so you can move it from one car to another without any fuss, especially when it’s folded. There’s also a handy shoulder strap so you can easily carry it over your shoulder.
If you were impressed by the different adjustment settings of other models, you’ll be blown away by the fact that the Hifold booster can be customized in more than 200 different ways!
It’s suitable for children who weigh between 33 to 100 pounds. As for the height, your child should be a minimum of 36, and a maximum of 59 inches tall.
This booster seat is available in black and red.
Car Seat Buying Guide
Are you a first-time car seat buyer? Then you might be surprised to learn that purchasing a car seat isn’t always as straightforward as you might think.
Aside from finding a car seat that’s narrow enough to fit in the back seat of a small car, there are a number of other things to consider.
Ease of installation
After some time, even the clumsiest parents will get the hang of installing their baby’s car seat properly. However, if you’re using more than one car, you’ll probably find yourself moving the seat from one car to the other quite often.
This is why it’s important for you to be able to install and uninstall your car seat quickly, so that you don’t eventually find yourself buying an extra car seat to keep in the other vehicle, just to avoid the hassle of constant switching.
If one vehicle is bigger than the other, it goes without saying that the car seat model should be picked so it fits in the smaller vehicle.
Also, your kids will only get bigger with time, and no one wants to find themselves in a situation where they’re avoiding going places with their kids because they can’t stand being cramped up in the back of the car.
Before attempting to put a car seat in for the first time, make sure you read the manual carefully, and don’t throw it out. YouTube is also your friend – if you find yourself struggling, look up video tutorials to see how it’s done.
Car seats aren’t the cheapest baby gear you’ll have to buy. But unless you live in a city with fantastic public transportation, and can go everywhere with your little one in a stroller or baby carrier, you’re going to have to get one for your car.
Many narrow car seats can cost upward of hundreds of dollars, and it’s totally fine if that’s out of your budget.
But before you decide to settle for a more affordable version, try to see if there is any way you can save up for a higher-quality model.
I always recommend planning for pricey purchases like these ahead of time, so you can gauge your options and create a saving plan if you need to.
Purchasing a car seat at the last minute on the other hand, can leave you stuck with a low quality model you’ll need to replace in a few months anyway.
When it comes to baby gear, my number one rule is to avoid impulse purchases, especially when it’s something on the expensive side.
Ask any parent, and they’ll tell you that there are few things in this world that can get as dirty as a car seat.
Even if you do your best to keep it clean, your child could get sick during a long car ride and throw up, or even have a diaper accident.
In this case, removable covers are the best option because you can throw them in the washing machine and forget about it.
This is another reason to buy a car seat in a darker color (a simple black is usually best) that doesn’t stain easily, and even if it does get stained, they won’t be as visible.
How long your baby will use it
These days, there are so many different kinds of car seats. From models that are specifically designed for infants, to convertible car seats that your child can use for several years, you can bet that there’s a type that’s just what you’re looking for.
But before you click on the Amazon checkout button, consider how long you’ll need it for and whether the car seat you’ve chosen fulfills all your criteria.
How you will use it
Your lifestyle also dictates the kind of car seat you should get. For example, if you spend a lot of time in your car and you’re planning on going on many trips with your baby, then comfort should rank very highly on your list of requirements.
For airplane travel, you’ll need an FAA-approved model. Even if you’re not planning on traveling right now, it’s a good idea to keep this in mind so you don’t need to purchase a second car seat for when you do go on vacation.
Consider the stroller
Not every parent needs a stroller. If you usually rely on your car to travel and rarely walk places, you might decide that you don’t need one and just use a baby carrier, for example.
Or perhaps you’ll just get a simple and affordable stroller to use on the odd occasion you do need it.
Some car seats that are specially designed for infants, are also compatible with so-called travel systems or baby strollers that can fit a car seat.
This way, you won’t have to wake your sleeping baby up when moving her from the car seat, which makes the entire process of going out easier.
Travel systems like these are pricey, so I recommend that you think carefully about whether this is something you really need. If not, you can just get a regular stroller that doesn’t cost a fortune and a separate car seat.
Used vs new
In the grand scheme of things, your baby will only use a car seat, and then a booster seat, for a few years. As a result, you might be wondering if buying a used car seat is a better decision that will save you money.
Perhaps there is someone in your family offering to give you theirs for free – who would say no to free baby gear?
A used car seat can be safe, but you’ll need to know its full history before putting your child in it. You shouldn’t get a used model that was in a car accident, as its safety features could be compromised, even if it looks okay on the outside.
Furthermore, baby products get recalled all the time for various safety reasons, so make sure to check whether the model in question is still safe to use.
It’s also possible that the seat has expired. The expiration date of most car seats is 6 years after the date of manufacture, but this can vary.
When in doubt, go to the store
Sometimes online retailers offer discounts that make ordering a car seat off the internet a good choice. However, if you’re still unsure about your decision, taking a look at the car seats that are narrow in person will quickly solve any doubts you may have.
There are also retailers that let you install the seat in your car as a test before purchasing, so definitely take advantage of that!
The Bottom Line
Shopping for car seats is hard work! If you’re a first-time parent, hearing about all the different features can be very confusing, and there’s also the fact that you might need a special narrow car seat if you have a smaller vehicle that you’re not willing to trade for a minivan.
But even if you’re not a first time parent, you should consider narrower models, especially if your older kids are also still in car seats or boosters of their own.
As a mother of two, I know very well just how quickly sibling fights can break out when the kids are sitting a little too close together!.
Once you’ve measured the back seat of your car and determined how much actual space you have for your car seat, you can browse through all the different options and make your choice according to your own lifestyle, budget, and preferences.
Whether you go with an infant bucket seat or a convertible car seat, I’m sure your baby will love it!
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