Child safety is always the parent’s top priority when traveling by car. First and foremost, having the correct car seat for your child’s age, height and weight can help ensure their safety in the car. But, once you know which kind of car seat your child needs, there are also many different variations of the same seat.

You’ll find all sorts of various types of car seats meant to meet the needs of parents around the globe. From convertible types, to the infant car seat, to the booster seat, it’s tough to know what’s what and what will work best for your vehicle. You also have a slew of features to consider for car seats or boosters, as well. Things like cup holders, side impact protection, the latch system, and more. But, one thing some parents don’t even think about is how wide a car seat is. If you have a narrow car, you aren’t going to benefit from having big, wide, chunky car seats, especially if you have more than one child who rides in one. 

a cute boy sitting on a booster seat. This seat provide safety, security and comfort. Those are the most important features consider when looking for a booster seat.
Source: flickr.com

Deciding between different variations of the same style of seat, from an infant seat to a backless booster can also save you some sanity and give you piece of mind. Although any good car seat will keep your child safe and secure, the best one will do that and more.

For example, some seats are designed to help promote proper buckling technique, and some provide easier access to your child’s buckle than others. On the other hand, certain seats are more comfortable, with features like flexible sides, armrests and padding, which might help keep meltdowns in the car to a minimum.

When it comes to choosing a booster seat, there is one more feature that can become especially important: the boosters width. Since children continue to use a booster for many more years than any other kind of car seat, it’s very important that a booster be narrow in order to fit multiple seats in a row and allow for other passengers to ride more comfortably. This is especially true for small cars.

You’ll start off with your baby in an infant car seat that is rear facing. Eventually, that rear-facing infant car seat will be outgrown. At that point, you will need to get one meant for a toddler. One way you can save money in the long run is by purchasing a convertible car seat. Convertible types can accommodate children for much longer because they’re designed to grow with your child. A convertible type can even start out rear facing, convert to front facing when the time is right, and then convert to a booster seat, in some cases. Many go as far as converting all the way to a backless booster seat. However, if your convertible type doesn’t fit well in your back vehicle seat, you may have a problem. There are many things to consider and needs to be met by your car seats and boosters.

So, in order to pick out a booster seat that meets all of those needs, you’ll need to consider which features and elements you want the car seat to have. We suggest considering the following aspects when choosing fo the best booster or narrowest car seat.

child booster seat
Source: flickr.com

Width

As a general rule, any booster seat that is more narrow than about 18-21 inches is relatively narrow, since most boosters vary in width (at their widest points) from about 15-20 inches, although most high back boosters are wider than booster seats without a back.

Thus, if you read that a booster seat is 17 inches wide, then you can be sure that you’re getting a narrow seat. Although you may be tempted to just choose the narrowest booster you can find, it is a good idea to take into consideration a few other top features of boosters that can make your car rides a lot easier and even a little safer. Narrow car seats are great, you just still want to ensure you’re getting everything you need from the booster you choose. 

2-in-1 Boosters

Some car seats are “combination seats,” meaning that they can be converted from a high back booster to a booster without a back. These boosters have more longevity than other seats because of that convertibility, which can mean that your money goes much further. Combination types are also no less safe than other seats, as long as they are correctly installed. You also need to follow the safety guidelines for converting to a backless booster because it’s meant to happen at a certain weight and height.

Some parents complain that while a combination booster is a good choice for a high back booster, they tend not to be the narrowest seat without backs because they originally had to accommodate the back, so you should also keep that in mind when deciding if this kind of seat is right for you.

booster seat's best features should be comfort and safety of the child like this Britax booster seat.
Source: flickr.com

Comfort

Although safety is parents’ number one concern when it comes to seats in the car, many children spend a significant amount of time in the car and having a comfortable booster to sit in can make a big difference in terms of a child’s behavior. If you go with a narrow car seat that is too small to give your child a comfortable ride in their vehicle seat, you won’t be doing yourself any favors. 

Opting for seats with armrests, headrests and cupholders can help keep your child under control, which can also be a plus for their safety, since the main role of car seats is to keep your child correctly positioned. Sometimes things like cup holders can make a narrow car seat wider, but the added convenience may be worth it. Also, choosing a high-backed booster seat that has extra padding will be more comfortable and provide more impact protection.

Narrow Booster Seat Belt Accessibility

One of the biggest battles most parents have in the car is getting their child buckled correctly, and the first attack on that front is getting to the buckle. Most parents know that a seat buckle can get easily drowned under all the plastic of a car seat, but some make accessing it much easier than others. Seat belt positioning is something that gets overlooked quite often by parents shopping for convertibles and boosters.

Some boosters also are designed to promote proper buckling technique: that, is the buckle sitting snugly on your child’s lap, which can also be another feature that promotes your child’s safety.

The width of the convertible type or boosters you choose can make buckling harder, also. Let’s say the vehicle seat where you’re going to be installing the convertible car seat is about 18 inches wide. But, your front facing boosters are about 19 inches wide. That’s going to make it tough to get the seat belt into the buckle as it might get covered up with the seat. In this situation, you might need to look into more narrow car seats.

This booster seat is perfectly fitting the car.
Source: flickr.com

The Differences Between The Infant And Convertible Car Seat

In the beginning, you have to choose an infant car seat, which is where your baby will be placed to ride home from the hospital. An infant car seat needs to be rear facing for the safety of your baby. The features you look at to decide on infant car seats will likely be different to what you’re going to be looking at for convertible car seats. Infant car seats aren’t usually decided on by how many inches wide they are or how many extras they have, such as cup holders or armrests. 

No, an infant car seat needs to be lightweight, have a good handle for carrying, maybe come with an easy click in base system, and have great impact protection and padding for comfort. An infant car seat is all about comfort and safety. Consider the name Britax B Safe. It’s an infant car seat that has safe in it’s title. 

Now, flash forward to when it’s time to start looking at convertible car seats. You are still going to be concerned about the safety features, like impact protection and such. However, now there are more things to consider. Your child is bigger, thus he or she will take up more space naturally. You may also have other children. You need to look at convertible types that can classify as narrow car seats because you only have so much room to work with. Where how many inches wide the infant car seat was didn’t make it to your list of concerns, the inches wide of a convertible type will most likely. Choosing more narrow car seats will allow you to work with the space in the back of your car better. 

One thing to note here is that convertible car seats come in two types. There are those that are only going to convert from a high backed booster seat to a backless booster and those that convert from a rear facing infant car seat to a front facing seat. The Britax Marathon is an example of this type of convertible car seat. Don’t purchase the Britax Marathon thinking it converts all the way to a booster because it’s a convertible car seat. You’ll find that it doesn’t and that it’s not one of the narrow car seats. The base of it is more narrow at 18.5 inches wide, but the actually seat body is much wider than that. The Britax Marathon is a great convertible car seat, just don’t purchase the Britax Marathon thinking you’ll be getting a booster, as well. 

Our Top Favorites

With all of these important factors in mind, you still need to pick out which is the narrowest seat for your needs. Here are some of our favorites:

Maxi-Cosi Rodifix

  • This narrow booster seat is a high-back car seat. Rodifix boosters are very narrow, at only 15 inches wide, but also promote comfort, correct buckling technique and have easy access to the seat belt. The only downside is that this Maxi Cosi booster seat can’t convert to a backless booster.
  • Maxi Cosi car seat makes their narrow booster seat products in several different colors. You can find Maxi Cosi products for sale on Amazon. 
Maxi-cosi booster narrow seat only is 15 inches wide, but also promote comfort, correct buckling technique and have easy access to the booster seat belt.
Source: flickr.com

Graco RightGuide Portable Seat Belt Trainer

  • If you’re looking for the narrowest booster seat out there, this top booster seat is it. It’s only 12.34 inches wide. At a very affordable price, this backless narrow booster seat is a great option for older kids that still need boosters but will be comfortable with a simpler design. There are no bells and whistles in these Graco narrow booster seats. This is made to simply boost your child up in the back vehicle seat to ensure their safety.

Peg Perego Viaggio Shuttle Plus 120

  •  Of all the car seats out there, we think this is especially excellent because of the flexible sides that allow you to adjust the width of the car seat based on a child’s needs. That flexibility allows it to accommodate children of all sizes, and it can be switched to a backless booster as your child grows. Hence, it is considered as one of the most narrow booster seat options.
  • Peg Perego is well known in the industry for its car seat quality and safety features. This particular Peg Perego convertible car seat includes all around impact protection. It’s a narrow type that can be adjusted from its standard 17 inches wide to what you need it to be. Peg Perego designed this convertible car seat to give parents the versatility they need for this to be a product with true longevity. It can be secured with the latch system, but if your vehicle seat is not latch system compatible, Peg Perego thought of everything and included a space where you can tuck the latch away. 
  • The Peg Perego booster seat does have armrests for your child, as well as comfortable padding in the seat. While this is one of the more pricey convertible car seat options, Peg Perego makes high quality and top products like infant seats and booster car seats that will last you a long time. 
Peg Perego narrow booster does have armrests for your child, as well as comfortable padding in the booster seat.
Source: flickr.com

Diono Radian 3 in 1 Narrow Booster

  • The Diono Radian narrow booster seat is meant to last you for 10 years. This booster seat is a slim fit designed narrow car seat that will fit 3 across in most vehicles. This is the best narrow booster seat for families with multiple younger children. It’s a convertible type that can be taken from a high backed booster to one with no back. The Diono Radian high back booster seat, one of the more narrow booster seats at only 16 inches wide. 

Chicco Kidfit 2 Booster Seat

  • The Chicco Kidfit is an affordable top option of convertible car seat that can be converted from a high backed booster seat to a backless booster seat. It has armrests and cup holders and is 16.5 inches wide, so a fairly best narrow car seat. Most narrow car seats fall somewhere under 18 inches wide so the Chicco Kidfit is considered as one of the top narrowest booster seats.

 

Cosco Finale 2 in 1 Combination Booster Seat

  • For the true bargain shoppers, the Cosco Finale is one of your best bets for the top narrowest boosters. The car seat is a convertible type that sells for well under $100. While it doesn’t convert from a backed booster to a backless booster seat, it can be used with a secure harness for younger children, and then converted to be used with the vehicle’s seat belt for older children. This Cosco Finale’s narrowest booster is lightweight so it’s easy to install or move to another car. This also has a removable machine washable cover making the Cosco Finale a convenient choice. This Cosco Finale is considered in the narrow car seats category, at 18.25 inches wide, and is one of the less expensive options.
This Cosco Finale is considered in the narrow booster category, at 18.25 inches wide, and is one of the less expensive booster seats.
Source: flickr.com

Frequently Asked Questions

 

What Are The Most Narrow Booster Seats?

  • The most narrow kind of booster car seat is the booster seat, and in general, backless boosters are narrower than high back boosters. Of course, you need to use the right kind of seat for your child, so it is helpful to look for the best and top narrowest seat in the type of seat they need. If you want to get the most out of your booster seat, you may want to look for a good convertible car seat to grow with your child. One that’s good for this is the Diono Radian. It’s meant to be used throughout most of the child’s life when they’re still sitting in a car seat. The Diono Radian is a convertible car seat that can fit three across in most back vehicle seat configurations.
  • Consider this too—the Graco RightGuide Portable Seat Belt Trainer is the most narrow backless booster while the Maxi-Cosi Rodifix Booster seat is one of the most narrow high back booster seats.
Cute Maxi-cosi narrow booster pink seat for girls. It's slim and will not take so much space.
Source: flickr.com

What Is The Narrowest High Back Booster Seat?

  • Different high back booster seats vary in width in certain areas, which makes it a little difficult to quantify which is the narrowest overall. One good narrow booster seats feature to look for is flexible sides which allow you to adjust the seat’s width according to your child’s needs, while still minimizing its width. Some can go from around 15 inches wide up to around 21 inches wide. Setting however many inches wide you want your kid’s booster to be is a nice feature to have.
  • One of the top narrowest booster seats that do a great job with that feature is the Peg Perego Viaggio Shuttle Plus 120 high back booster seat. Not only can you minimize the width with the flexible size, but you also can adjust the seat to allow children of different sizes to be comfortable in the seat. The best part of this is Peg Perego boosters do not sacrifice any safety features to give you this flexibility. Peg Perego boosters are one of the best in the business when it comes to designing vehicle seat products with safety features at the forefront.
Graco backless booster narrow seat. This does not take big space inside your car. Thus, allowing more passengers to seat.
Source: flickr.com

 

Are high Back Booster Seats Safer Than A Backless?

  • In general, how safe any kind of car seat is for a child depends on how the seatbelt fits them. The goal of a high back booster is to ensure that the seat belt hits your child’s shoulder and chest in the right place. 
  • If it hits the child correctly in a backless booster seat, then it’s not necessarily inherently any less safe than a high back booster, but it can provide less padding and might not keep your child in the correct position as they squirm and sleep, which can make a high back booster safer.
  • The biggest thing for ensuring you get the most out of the safety features that manufacturers build into convertible car seats and infant car seats, is to make sure you’re using them the way they are intended to be used. Read the infant car or child booster seats manual for the seats you choose and adhere to all of the safety guidelines so the safety features protect your child the way they are supposed to. 

What is the best convertible car seat?

  • We recommend the Peg Perego Viaggio Shuttle Plus 120 car seat as our pick for the best convertible car seat. Peg Perego really thinks of everything when they design a car seat. Whether you’re looking for an infant car seat or one for an older child, you are almost certain to be happy with a Peg Perego. Our biggest complaint with Peg Perego is the price of their products, however, if you can afford them, they are worth it.

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Last Updated on May 7, 2022 by Marie Miguel

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