Shopping for car seats can be a bit overwhelming. There are so many different types to choose from, leaving many parents wondering which one is best for their child while being a good fit for their car.
If you have a small car or need to fit three car seats in a row, you may be looking for skinny car seats. You can’t have bulky seats if it’s going to be a tight fit.
The seats may not fit and if they do, the kids may be uncomfortable which is going to make for a miserable ride!
If you’re looking for narrow car seats, there are still many different ones to choose from depending on your needs. We’re going to look at the different types as well as what you should for before making your selection.
In this article
- Short On Time? Here Are Our Top 5 Choices
- Types of Narrow Car Seats
- Things to Look for When Choosing Narrow Car Seats
- Check for Recalls
- Always Buy New
- 15 Best Narrow Skinny Car Seats for Infants
- 1. Graco SlimFit 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat
- 2. Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 Elite Infant Car Seat
- 3. Britax B-Safe 35 Infant Car Seat
- 4. Diono 2020 Radian 3RXT
- 5. Cosco Scenera NEXT Car Seat
- 6. Evenflow LiteMax DLX Infant Car Seat
- 7. Combi Coccoro Streamlined Lightweight Convertible Car Seat
- 8. Chicco Keyfit 30 Zip Infant Car Seat
- 9. Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Car Seat
- 10. Britax Marathon Click Tight Convertible Car Seat
- 11. Baby Trend Secure Snap Tech 35 Infant Car Seat
- 12. Evenflo Tribute LX Convertible Car Seat
- 13. UPPAbaby MESA Infant Car Seat
- 14. Clek Fllo Convertible Car Seat
- 15. Primo Viaggio Convertible by Peg Perego
- The Bottom Line
Short On Time? Here Are Our Top 5 Choices
|Top||Graco SlimFit 3 in 1 Convertible Car Seat||Prime||Buy Now|
|Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 Elite Infant Car Seat||Prime||Buy Now|
|Britax B-Safe 35 Infant Car Seat||Prime||Buy Now|
|Diono 2020 Radian 3RXT, 4-in-1 Convertible, Extended Rear Facing||Prime||Buy Now|
|Cosco Scenera NEXT Car Seat OTTO||Prime||Buy Now|
Types of Narrow Car Seats
Narrow car seats are not an all size fits all type of purchase. There are many different types to consider.
Infant Car Seats
As the name suggests, there are for newborns. They are rear-facing and have a base that stays in the car using the LATCH system. You take the baby in and out of the car in the carrier seat that snaps into place in the base in the car.
These can also be hooked into a matching stroller. This way if your baby is sleeping, you don’t have to physically take them out of the seat. You can just use the carrier seat to move them around.
I can tell you from personal experience that these types of seats come in handy, especially when the baby falls asleep in the car.
Infant car seats are best kept on either side near the window so you can easily handle the baby in and out. As a side note, these seats get heavier as your baby grows. You can get a real workout lifting these in and out of the car.
Convertible Car Seats
Parents looking for an economical approach to narrow car seats may choose the convertible car seat. This one is used rear-facing when the baby is born. Parents can switch them to forward-facing as the baby gets older.
If parents don’t want to buy an infant car seat and then have to buy another one when their baby gets older, this is a good choice.
3-in-1 Car Seats
The 3-in-1 and 4-in-1 car seats are even more economical. These seats are a one and done purchase. They can be used as infant seats, forward-facing seats, booster seats, and backless booster seats (for the 4-in-1 car seats).
Parents like this option because they can be used from the infant stage until their child no longer needs a car seat.
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These are the last stop on the car seat trail. Booster seats use the vehicle’s seat belt which is threaded through a guide. This guide is called a belt positioner.
When children can pass the 5-step-test and have outgrown forward-facing, harness seats, they sit in a high-backed booster seat. They use the vehicle’s seat belt which is threaded through a guide, called a belt positioner or adjuster.
The positioners are there to make sure the lap belt falls across the child’s hips, not the thighs or abdomen.
There is head and torso protection with the high-back boosters. The newer models are very adjustable. The side protection can move up and down and expand to be narrow or wider, depending on the child’s size.
Things to Look for When Choosing Narrow Car Seats
When you’re considering narrow car seats, there are several things to keep in mind so that you choose the one that’s right for your child.
The width of the seat is one of the main reasons why you’re looking for skinny car seats. The seat width should be between 16 and 17.5 inches if you’re looking for a car seat that’s on the smaller side.
There are some that are around 18 inches and may still work depending on the size of your car.
You want to look for seats with straight sides because they take up less space as well as seats that are narrow at the base. These will usually be on the smaller side.
You also want to look for seats that don’t stick out on the sides. If you have all of these features combined, you’re well on your way to finding a good narrow car seat.
Think About the Seat’s Position
If you have more than one car seat in the backseat, think about how you’re going to position your seats. If you’re trying to fit three seats across, look to see where the LATCH’s are. It’s also good to know if you have some seats that aren’t fitted with one.
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Check for Recalls
Check to see if the car seat you’re considering has ever been recalled or if there were any safety issues in the past. If the brand or type of car seat you’re looking at has ever had safety problems, you’ll want to reconsider.
Always Buy New
While it can be tempting to try to save a few bucks by buying a used car seat or taking a hand me down, don’t do it. Safety features constantly evolve. You want to stay on top of the latest models to make sure that your baby is riding in the safest seat possible.
Even if you try to buy a car seat from a consignment shop you probably won’t be able to find one. Many stores don’t even sell them because of the safety issue factor.
15 Best Narrow Skinny Car Seats for Infants
Now that we know about the different narrow car seats and what to look for, it’s time to check out our top 15 picks.
- Graco SlimFit 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat
- Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 Elite Infant Car Seat
- Britax B-Safe 35 Infant Car Seat
- Diono 2020 Radian 3RXT
- Cosco Scenera NEXT Car Seat
- Evenflow LiteMax DLX Infant Car Seat
- Combi Coccoro Streamlined Lightweight Convertible Car Seat
- Chicco Keyfit 30 Zip Infant Car Seat
- Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Car Seat
- Britax Marathon Click Tight Convertible Car Seat
- Baby Trend Secure Snap Tech 35 Infant Car Seat
- Evenflo Tribute LX Convertible Car Seat
- UPPAbaby MESA Infant Car Seat
- Clek Fllo Convertible Car Seat
- Primo Viaggio Convertible by Peg Perego
If you’re looking for an economical car seat that you’ll only have to buy once in your child’s life, this one from Graco fits the bill. It holds children from 5 to 100 pounds.
So, you can use it as an infant seat all the way until your child doesn’t need a car seat anymore.
When it comes to narrow car seats, there are some that are a bit slimmer, but this one is at the top of the list because it has many other features. It is 19 inches wide, so you can plan accordingly for your backseat to see how much room you’d have with this seat.
Start off using this as rear-facing and then turn it around as your baby gets older. There is plush support that keeps your child comfortable but can be removed as they get older.
The simply safe adjust harness system allows you to adjust the height of the harness and headrest to fit your baby best. There is also a 4-position recline to keep your baby comfy as he grows.
When it comes to safety, the seat meets or exceeds U.S. safety standards. The seat has rotating cup holders to save space. The metal and plastic parts can also be cleaned with mild soap and water. You can clean the buckle with a damp cloth.
With the safety features and the fact that you only have to buy one car seat for your child’s entire life, this one from Graco is a good choice.
- 3-in-1 convertible seat
- Easy to clean
- Comfy pads that can be taken out when needed
- There are some that are a bit slimmer
Here’s another winner from Graco if you’re looking for skinny car seats, but want a seat that’s exclusively for babies. This seat only holds children up to 35 pounds and 32 inches, so you’ll have to buy a new one as your child grows.
This seat is slightly smaller than the convertible model at about 18 inches wide. So, if you’re really pressed for space, this one may be a better option.
It has the same Simply Safe Adjust Harness System as the convertible model so comfort and safety shouldn’t be an issue. Also, the base is adjustable with four recline positions. It also comes with a removable head and body support for newborns.
The canopy also rotates and has a little window and visor to provide protection from the sun. This car seat has passed all safety tests. It’s also easy to clean with a damp cloth and some mild soap.
The one drawback is that it’s a little expensive for a seat that you’re only going to be able to use for a short time. You’ll eventually have to buy another seat rather than just buying a convertible seat that could be used throughout the baby’s life.
- Removable head and body support
- Passes all safety requirements
- Canopy to protect from the sun
- Pricey considering you’ll have to buy another seat down the road
Britax also has a good choice here when it comes to narrow car seats. This one is just 17 inches wide and has many safety features that parents like.
There is a layer of side impact protection as well as a steel frame and an impact-absorbing base. There are also removable head pad cushions for infants to make the ride comfier.
The seat is easy to install with the safe center latch or the built-in seat belt lock to make sure your little one is securely fastened. This seat is best for babies 4 to 35 pounds, rear-facing.
Once your child exceeds that weight limit, it’s time to shop for a new seat. That’s the only drawback with this seat. It is a little pricey for a seat that’s not going to last forever.
The cover comes off easily for washing. So, you don’t have to worry about trying to clean it while it’s still in the seat.
If you’re looking for a safe seat just for babies, this one is a solid choice. But, if you want one that will give you more life for the money, you may want to choose something else.
- Removable head rest and cushions for infants
- Many safety features
- Removable seat cushions for easy cleaning
- Can’t be used past 35 pounds
- Pricey for usage time
When it comes to skinny car seats, this one fits the bill at just 17 inches wide. Even when you look at it, you can tell it’s sleek and narrow.
Another major benefit of this seat is that it is convertible to 4 different styles so you can use it until your child no longer needs a car seat.
Use this seat from birth all the way up to 120 pounds if you’d like. This is why the price tag shouldn’t bother you that much when you consider all of the use you’re going to get out of it.
There are some car seats sold at half the price that are only used through infancy.
When you’re looking for narrow car seats to fit 3 in a row, this one should check that box as well. As far as safety, this seat has a reinforced steel core, made from automotive-grade high-strength steel. This helps to protect the child in case of an accident.
One cool feature is the newborn travel high wedge which aims to make the seat even more comfortable for babies. This is especially helpful if your baby is not a big fan of the car seat.
If you want a safe, sturdy car seat that is narrow and will last a lifetime, this one from Diono is a solid choice.
- Can convert into four positions
- Can fit 3-in-a-row in the car
- Travel wedge for infants
- On the expensive side
A far less expensive choice when searching for narrow car seats is this one from Cosco. You can tell that it is a no-frills type of seat but still gets the job done. At 17 inches wide, this seat can likely fit 3 in one row, depending on the size of your car.
This seat can be used up to 40 pounds. Start off rear-facing and then turn it around as your baby gets older. The seat pad is machine washable and dryer safe.
This seat is also certified to use on an airplane in case you were thinking of taking your little one on a trip. There are also 5 harness heights and 3 buckle locations so that you can find the best fit for your child. You can also adjust these as your child grows.
For parents who don’t want a lot of bells and whistles and don’t want to spend a lot of money on a car seat, this one could be a good choice.
- Narrow seat at 17 inches
- 5-point harness
- Easy to clean
- Can only be used up to 40 pounds
- Not many features
Here’s another solid choice if you’re looking for a narrow car seat that’s specifically for an infant. This one from Evenflow is made for babies up to 35 pounds.
It is 17 inches wide, so it fits the bill for skinny car seats. It fits in a base that stays in your car while allowing you to put the baby in the carrier seat and snap it into the base.
This is great if your child falls asleep in the car and you don’t want to wake them up right away when you get to your destination.
The adjustable headrest grows with your child so that it’s comfy at all stages. It also has a no-rethread harness which means you can make adjustments as your baby grows without having to rethread the harness.
When it comes to safety, Evenflow includes a safe zone load leg which helps to stabilize the seat even more in the event of an accident.
There is also a canopy over the seat to protect the baby from the sun’s glare in the car and out. The only drawback with this seat is the price since you can only use the seat until the baby reaches 35 pounds.
But, if you want a seat you can carry with you and don’t mind buying another one down the road, you may want to consider this one.
- Extra safety feature in case of an accident
- No rethread harness makes it easier to adjust
- Only 17 inches wide
- Pricey for only being able to use it up to 35 pounds
If you’re looking for a narrow convertible car seat, this one from Combi is a great choice because it’s only 15 inches wide. Choosing this car seat means you should be able to fit 3 seats in a row.
Use this seat rear-facing for your infant and then you can switch the seat to forward-facing as he grows. There is an infant insert to keep little ones cozy and secure. Remove this as your child grows. The seat accommodates kids up to 40 pounds.
When it comes to safety, there is an energy-absorbing foam layer that can help in case of an accident. You also don’t have to guess that the seat is buckled because there is an indicator you can see when the harness is securely buckled.
While you can’t use this car seat all the way until your child doesn’t need a car seat, you can still use it for a good amount of time. It is a bit pricey when it comes to narrow car seats, but it is one of the smallest ones available.
So, if space is really a factor, this is a good choice.
- Very narrow at only 15 inches
- Safety buckle indicator
- Can be used rear and front-facing
- Removable infant insert
- On the expensive side
- Only accomodates kids up to 40 pounds
When it comes to infant car seats, this one fits the bill at only 17 inches wide. We like this one because it has the cozy zip-open boot to keep baby warm and protected. The canopy is also ventilated which is a plus.
The ergonomic head and body support for your newborn also makes it comfy. When it comes to safety, the high-quality EPS energy energy-absorbing foam is a big plus when it comes to impact protection.
The seat is also equipped with premium LATCH connectors and a SuperCinch tightener. It is compatible with Chicco travel systems so you can easily hook it into a stroller.
The seat is only recommended for babies up to 30 pounds, so you will have to be another one down the road. That’s why some parents may consider this car seat to be on the expensive side.
- Comfy zip-up boot feature
- Ventilated canopy
- Safety features
- Ergonomic head and body support for newborns
- Can only be used up to 30 pounds
- On the expensive side
Safety 1st has an economical choice if you’re looking for a narrow convertible car seat. It can be used rear-facing up to 40 pounds before your baby graduates to the forward-facing seat.
The last step is the belt-positioning booster that is good for kids up to 100 pounds. When you buy this seat, you shouldn’t ever have to buy another one.
If you’re looking for narrow car seats, this one is 19 inches, so it’s a little bigger than some other choices. But, it is economical, so it depends on what features are most important to you.
When it comes to safety, it has side impact protection as well as a quick fit harness that’s easy to adjust. The three-position recline lets you get just the right fit for your child.
As your baby gets older he can enjoy the two cup holders. The seat pad is removable and machine washable which is another plus. If you’re looking for price over extreme slimness, this car seat could be one to put on your list.
- Can be used up to 100 pounds
- Converts to 3 different styles
- Seat pad is removable and washable
- Not as slim as other seats
Here’s another great choice from Britax as you search for narrow car seats that are convertible. Use this rear-facing from 5 to 40 pounds for your baby and then turn it forward-facing as your baby gets bigger.
There is a 14-position harness with a 2-position buckle. This is a good feature because it grows with your child.
Your child can also relax and recline with the 7 recline positions to make them more comfortable. You can also feel confident that your baby is safe with a layer of side impact protection, a steel frame, and an impact-absorbing base.
If the width of the seat is a major concern, you should know that this seat is 18.5 inches wide which is not as skinny as some of the other seats.
When it comes to price, this one is a little more expensive than some other convertible seats like it. Also, this one as a maximum weight of 65 pounds, which isn’t as much as some of the other seats like it either.
- 7 recline positions
- 14-position harness with a 2-position buckle.
- Side impact protection
- Only recommended for up to 60 pounds
- A bit pricey
- On the larger side when looking at narrow car seats
This one from Baby Trend makes the list because it is extremely small when it comes to narrow car seats. At just 16 inches, this is one of the smallest ones you’ll find.
Use this car seat until your baby reaches the 35-pound mark. After that, you’ll have to buy another one. It comes with a removable 4-piece grow-with-me insert.
The 5-point safety harness is another feature that parents like as well as the easy one-hand harness adjustment and push-button release.
There is also an extra-large 3-panel canopy that comes in handy when your child needs extra protection from the sun and the elements. This car seat from Baby Trend is reasonably priced seeing that you can only use it until your baby reaches 35 pounds.
There aren’t many added features when it comes to this car seat, but it’s a good model if you’re looking for something sturdy and skinny.
- Reasonably priced
- Removable 4-piece grow-with-me insert
- 5-point safety harness
- Only holds baby up to 35 pounds
Here’s another simple choice if you’re looking for am infant car seat that’s also convertible and on the smaller side. This one from Evenflo can be used rear-facing as well as forward-facing up to 40 pounds.
When it comes to width, this one is about 18 inches wide, which is not the smallest one when it comes to skinny car seats.
In the safety department, the 5-point harness system with the 4-shoulder strap position allows this seat to fit children as they grow.
It also meets or exceeds all applicable Federal Safety Standards as well as Evenflo’s Side Impact Test Standard for Structural Integrity. There is also a removable head pillow that provides comfort and support as the baby grows.
The seat pads are easy to remove and machine washable. The seat also comes with a removable cup holder for when the baby gets older.
- Reasonably priced
- Passes safety tests
- Comes with a removable pillow for baby’s comfort
- Can only hold baby up to 40 pounds
If you’re looking for a very narrow car seat, this one from UPPAbaby may be the one for you. At just under 17 inches, this car seat is among the most narrow car seats.
But, we’ll warn you, it’s also one of the most expensive and you can only use it until the baby reaches 35 pounds.
For the money, it boasts being the only infant car seat with a technology that uses a tightness indicator and self-retracting LATCH connectors.
When the tightness indicator turns green, parents can see that the seat has been installed correctly. The headrest is also adjustable and has a no-rethread harness when you need to make adjustments.
This car seat also adjusts to the VISTA and CRUZ stroller without needing an adapter.
- Adjustable headrest
- No-rethread harness
- Under 17 inches wide
- Only for babies up to 35 pounds
Here’s another option that fits the bill for narrow car seats. Also at under 17 inches wide, this car seat is also one of the most expensive car seats on the list.
Because of its size, you should be able to fit three car seats in a row if that was a deciding factor for you.
You can also use this car seat for kids up to 50 pounds. It comes standard with a steel anti-rebound for enhanced rear-facing safety. A cool feature here is that the seat is made from GREENGUARD Gold Certified Crytpon.
This helps to protect against stains and odor-causing bacteria. The seat also uses aluminum honeycomb deformable cores to lessen the impact in the case of an accident.
If you’re looking for a sleek design and don’t mind spending the extra money, this one could be the option.
- Under 17 inches wide
- Made to protect against stains and odors
- Extra safety features
- Only holds baby up to 50 pounds
This car seat from Peg Perego rounds out our list of the top 15 narrow car seats. At 18 inches, it’s not the smallest car seat, but it can work if you’re tight on space.
It can be used rear-facing as well as front-facing up to 65 pounds. So, you should be able to use this seat until your child is ready for a booster seat.
It has side impact protection aimed to protect the child’s head, neck, and spine. It also adjusts to 10 different positions to make the seat as comfortable as possible for your baby.
As for safety, it includes energy-absorbing foam, EPS throughout the seat to protect the baby’s head and torso from impact, as well as a shock-absorbing foam element device to reduce the stress on a baby’s neck if there was a crash.
All of these safety features do come with a large price tag. This is one of the more expensive narrow car seats to make the list. But, Peg Perego is known to make quality baby products, so you do get what you pay for.
- Many safety features
- Can be used up to 65 pounds
- 18 inches wide
The Bottom Line
When it comes to narrow car seats for infants, you need to decide if you want a convertible seat or a car seat specifically for infants. We chose the Graco SlimFit 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat as our top pick because it holds children from 5 to 100 pounds.
You only have to buy one car seat for your child’s entire life and this one is reasonably priced.
While it may not be the slimmest model on the list, it does have many features that make it well worth buying. It has passed numerous safety tests and has many safety features. It’s also easy to clean and adjust.
As you look for skinny car seats, consider what features are most important, as well as the cost. This will help you find the one that’s best for your child.