best car seats for small cars

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(Last Updated On: November 6, 2019)

We all know this:

Safety is the most important thing when driving with a kid. That’s why parents invest in the best car seats out there. And although child’s safety is a priority, your comfort or that of your passenger is also important.

If you own and drive something with wide leg room and a huge back seat space, then you never have to worry about buying a car seat that will fit inside. You can just waltz around the store, get something according to your personal taste, and secure that your big Beluga of a car will hold it.

However, owning a smaller car is a very much different matter. A compact car under 50 inches room in its backseat or a minivan with around 63 inches— whereas most infant car seats are at least 18 to 23 inches wide.

And math says it’s not easy! Especially if you are installing a car seat facing the rear when the approved and safe angles usually require good space that passengers and drivers cannot fit in front of it.

We can’t tell you exactly what you should buy. However, our list of car seats, mostly convertibles, are ones which you can turn to when faced with such a tight backseat.

  1. Graco SnugRide 30 Infant Car Seat

Do you need a lightweight car seat but do not wish to buy a convertible car seat yet since you have an infant? Well, this ultra-lightweight infant car seat is the best one that can fit small cars.

The SnugRide car seat from Graco is one of the best car seats for a small car that has the best accessories and conveniences to not only protect your child but also provide comfort. Graco SnugRide is lightweight and extra small which can fit most medium to small size vehicles and can be carried with ease.

If you are a Graco fan, then this product will offer you convenience since it is compatible with all Graco Click Connect strollers. You will certainly love its easy installation, featuring Click Connect plus Latch technology for easy installation and secure fit. It comes with excellent safety standards since it has passed rigorous testing and exceeds most federal child safety standards.

  1. Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 Car Seat

A convertible car seat for small cars, the Maxi Cosi combines compact size and portability with superior protection for toddlers and infants.  The Maxi Cosi Pria is probably one of the smallest child car seats out there and can fit kids above 2 years of age.

The Pria is a very convenient car seat since you can use it during infancy as well as when they become toddlers, thanks to its two-mode function. Although small, this car seat can be used as a bucket seat for preemies from 4 – 40 pounds in the rear facing position and shifting it to forward facing where you can use it for kids from 22 – 70 pounds.

LATCH compatible, the Maxi Cosi Pria is very easy to install and fit in almost any type of car seat since it supports deep recline adjustments for custom fits into your car.

Your kid will ride safely and comfortably with its plush infant inserts as well as 3-harness shoulder heights adjustments plus an advanced patented cushioning systems to protect your little one from all manner of crashes. Pros

  1. Britax G1.1 Frontier Clicktight Harness-2-Booster Car Seat

Being Amazon’s Choice, the Britax Frontier Clicktight has made a name for itself as one of the bestselling and most popular baby products out there. The Britax G1.1 is a great car seat for both rear-facing mode for infants and toddlers, so you do not have to buy 2 car seats as your little one grows.

It offers high-grade protection to your kid through its Clicktight installation system as well as a Safecell integrated impact protection system. It also offers the most number of reclining options than any small car seats out there, with 14 adjustment options, allowing your kid to stay comfortable during a long ride.

Also, the car seat features an angle recline bubble adjust as well as a Safesnug harness indicator so you do not have to worry about whether you have installed the car seat correctly. These features will always guarantee that your kid is safe and comfortable. The Frontier Clicktight also boasts a smart design for easy height adjustments as your kid grows, ensuring fit and maximum comfort with just a push of a button.

  1. Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 Car Seat

When looking for a car seat, most parents look for safety. However, most forgot to choose a seat that can last for years. Most car seats for small cars tend to offer safety and a good fit, however, they only last for over 2 to 3 years.

Surely, you do not want to buy another car seat every year. If so, then the Graco 4Ever is just the car seat you are looking for. This car seat is famous for its long extended use for all types of car seats with a lifespan of at least 10 years. Such durability offers you convenience since you can use it from infancy until your little one shifts to seats through the rear facing, high-back booster forward facing and backless positioning mode.

In addition, this car seat is compact and lightweight and is a great fit for most small to medium size cars that you drive or even car services such as Lyft or Uber. You do not have to deal with annoying harnesses and straps, the Graco features integrated harnesses which make it easy to put away the harnesses and straps when not in use, especially on booster mode.

Moreover, this car seat makes use of Expanded Polystyrene or EPS, a lightweight and resilient foam plastic in the head and shell restraints which absorbs crash forces and minimizing injury to your little one in case of an accident. Also, your kid gets to enjoy all comforts including drinks on the go and infant inserts as it comes with integrated cup holders.

  1. Diono Radian R100 All-in-One Car Seat

Diono is a reputable name that makes one of the best narrow convertible cat seats in the world. This basic Radian seat comes at a reasonable price point and can fit in most small to mid-sized cars.

The R100 is only 17 inches wide and comes with a layer of side impact protection. Without any infant inserts, this one is quite roomy when used in the rear-facing mode. This car seat can support 5 to 40 pounds of weight on rear-facing mode; 20 to 65 pounds of weight on the front facing with 5-point harness; and at least 100 pounds of weight when used as a booster with your car’s shoulder belt. The R100 can be folded flat and uses belt or LATCH tech to secure it to the car.

  1. Evenflo Tribute LX Car Seat

Evenflo products seem to dominate the world of compact convertible seats. This particular car seat, the Tribute LX, is a great product to consider. Featuring a width f 18.5 inches, this car seat can seamlessly fit on the rear bench of most small cars.

The tribute LX meets all safety regulations and standards and has been side impact tested for its structural integrity. This car seat is suitable for babies from 5 to 40 pounds and can accommodate kids 2 years old and over.

The unit is designed to grow with your little one and features a 5-point safety harness that is height adjustable and comes with upfront adjustments. Comfortable yet compact, the Tribute LX also includes a comfortable head pillow and a removable seat liner.

  1. Safety 1st Guide 65 Car Seat

Bestselling car seat, this one from Safety 1st can fit in all manner of small and medium cars and yet to find a car that will not fit into. Small and lightweight, this car seat has the highest standards of quality and safety.

It can hold infants up to the time they are toddlers of at least 52 pounds since you can use it in both forward and rear-facing modes. You can even fit 3 Safety 1st car seats in your backseat, thanks to its very small footprint with still enough legroom.

The car seat comes with a 3-buckle position, five position harnesses, and an integrated anti-rebound bolster in order to enhance the safety of your child in case of crashes or accidents.

  1. Evenflo Tribute Sport Car Seat

Another great compact car seat from Evenflo, the Tribute Sport is a convertible car seat with a width of about 18 inches which can fit on the rear seat of most small-sized cars. Recommended for children older than a year old, this car seat is smartly designed and tested for its structural integrity and meets all standard federal crash tests.

The Tribute Sport is fairly comfortable for your little one and comes in two styles and colors. Safety is guaranteed, thanks to its 5-point harness system that comes with 4 height adjustments in order to provide a secure and comfortable fit.

Its upfront adjustment provides easy access, helping you to get your baby in and out of the seat easily. The car seat is also very easy to clean. Its seat pad is removable and machine washable and the safety harness only needs mild soap and warm water.

  1. Chicco NextFit Car Seat

The safety angle of rear-facing car seats is one of the numerous reasons why they are troublesome to fit into small vehicles. However, Chicco addresses this problem with its NextFit car seat. And it did not achieve it by making the car seat narrower or smaller. Instead, it features a 9-position leveling system which allows an accurate fit in a broad range of vehicles, including compact and small cars.

With many reclining options, you can find one angle that fits in your small car and on rear-facing mode on top of that, without giving away leg room in the front seat.  It is also much taller than most convertible car seats for small cars, making it comfortable for taller toddlers.

The NextFit also features easy installation. With 2 ride right bubble levels, it shows you the correct seat angle in both forward and rear-facing modes. Parents who used this car seat also love it for its aesthetic appeals. Being lightweight and streamlined, it is also pleasing to look at.

  1. Graco SlimFit 3-in-1 Car Seat

Another Graco car seat, although this is probably the company’s narrowest convertible car seat available. Not nearly as narrow as the Diono model, however, it comes pretty close with just about 18 inches wide. This narrow size makes you fit 3 Graco SlimFit car seats in a row in larger vehicles such as a minivan, SUV, full-sized cars or a truck.

The SlimFit also features great safety features including a 5-point harness, side-impact testing of the car seat’s double-layered side impact protection, EPS energy absorbing foam and an InRight LATCH system, so you can rest assured that your kid will stay safe in case of crash or accidents.

Also, the car seat offers some convenient features such as an adjustable harness, an infant insert to support kids as light as 5 pounds, headrest which adjusts across tons of positions, 2 cup holders which can swing in to meet the 18 inches wide requirement, 4 position recline and the versatility to go from an infant car seat, to a belt-position booster or a convertible car seat with harness.

Conclusion:

There is no doubt that car seats are a fundamental baby gear specifically designed to keep your little one safe and comfortable when going for a ride. With a small car, you might have the problem of getting cramped up, but with our list above, you can definitely get the best car seat that can fit into your small car.

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