posted in Products & Prizes
All-in-one car seats have been on the market for some time, but it’s only in the last few years that they’ve gotten awesome. Multi-stage (a.k.a. 3-in-1 or 4-in-1) seats of the past usually lagged behind in at least one mode — they didn’t fit infants snugly, or were too short for lanky grade-schoolers. After all, making one seat that fits everything from a 5-pound preemie to a tall fifth-grader is a pretty tall order.
But car seat engineers have been hard at work and are coming up with all-in-ones we can wholeheartedly recommend. Buy one of the following 4 seats when your child’s on the way, and you might just be able to get away with never buying another seat, ever.
Holding kids from 4 to 120 pounds and up to 57 inches tall (about the height of an average 11-year-old), the 4Ever is such an all-around great seat that it’s hard to list all its features without rambling on boringly. One of the downsides of all-in-one seats is that they tend to be gargantuan, but the 4Ever fits easily even in compact cars. Installed rear-facing, you won’t have to pull your front seat up uncomfortably. We included it in our lists of car seats that fit in small cars for this reason.
It also fits a wide range of kid-sizes well, with an infant insert that makes things snug and comfy for even extra-tinies, and a nice tall back that works for long-bodied grade schoolers. It does expire after 10 years, so if your child — like some — needs a booster seat until age 12, it might not last you all the way through the child-restraint years. But it’s such a great seat that it’s worth it. (Kmart, $269.99)
Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1
So reasonably priced that we listed it in our bargain-hunting story 11 extended rear-facing car seats under $200 (5 under $100!), the Grow and Go ticks off many of our “gotta have it” boxes. It has generous rear-facing weight/height limits of 40 pounds and 40 inches, which should get all but the largest kids up to age 3. It holds children up to 100 pounds as a high-backed booster, too; about the size of an average 12-year-old.
Downsides: As the name says, the Grow and Go is a 3-in-1, not a 4-in-1. You can use it as an infant seat, a convertible seat and a high-backed booster, but not as a backless booster. Kids who complain about sitting in a “babyish” big booster may object. Also, like the 4Ever, the Grow and Go expires 10 years after the date of purchase, so if your child needs a booster until age 12 — many do — you’ll have to get one more seat. But for a seat this bargain-priced, these small downsides are so very worth it. (Walmart, $135.86)
The 4Ever’s cheaper cousin has a lot to recommend it: the same height/weight limits as the 4Ever in rear, forward-facing convertible, and high-backed booster mode. So why is it $60-$100 cheaper? Because, like the Grow and Go, the Milestone is a 3-in-1 instead of a 4-in-1. You can use it as a rear-facing infant seat, a convertible seat, and a high-backed, but not a backless booster.
So the weight limit on the Milestone tops out at 100 pounds rather than 120. But since backless boosters are both inexpensive and very easy to get secondhand from friends, this seat may be worth it to you. (Walmart, $209.88)
Evenflo Symphony LX
Like the Grow and Go and the Milestone, the LX is a 3-in-1. It expires in 8 years too, which means you’ll almost definitely have to get a booster at the end of your child’s car seat years. So why recommend it? Because for a truly bargain price, you get a very fine seat that’s great for extended rear-facing (weight/height limit 40 pounds, 37 inches), has a nice high 65-pound weight limit for the seat in harness mode, and can be used as a high-backed booster up to 110 pounds.
Those are very generous limits, considering the Symphony LX’s gentle price. (Target, $139.99)
Looking for a car seat that’ll fit in a row of 3? Here are 47 car seats for infants, toddlers, and grade-schoolers that are narrow enough for 3-across installation.
Graco SnugRide Classic Connect 30: The most popular infant car seat in America comes in so many different flavors that parents can get confused. Do you need click or classic connect? The SnugRide 30, 35, 40? LX? Safety Surround? That’s all for you to decide. But what we can tell you is that at 16.5 inches wide the Classic Connect 30 is an inch or two narrower than any of the Click Connect versions, and much likelier to fit in a tight 3-across installation. It holds infants rear-facing from 4 to 30 pounds and up to 30 inches. (Walmart, $84.88)
Urbini Petal: Urbini has made quite a splash in the baby-products world with its lightweight, low-cost, but high-function baby products. First introduced in 2014, the Petal is a terrific infant car seat at any price, but at under $100 it’s a steal and has features normally found in much pricier car seats, such as an adjustable recline foot (no pool noodles needed!) and a high-quality infant insert for newborns. It’s 17.5 inches wide at its widest point and holds infants from 4 to 35 pounds and up to 32 inches. Our favorite feature: the highly adjustable harness, which has an unusual hip adjustment that makes it better fit both teeny tiny babies and chubby chunky ones. (Walmart, $99.99)
Chicco KeyFit 30: This infant seat is a perennial parent fave and frequently tops car seat best-of lists because it’s easy to install and use. The KeyFit fits infants from 4 to 30 pounds, is 17 inches wide at its widest point, and is nice and narrow at the base of the handle, giving it the ability to snuggle up next to other seats. (Chiccoshop, $199.99-$239.99)
Evenflo ADVANCED SensorSafe Embrace DLX: Narrow at 18 inches and rated for infants from 4 to 35 pounds and up to 30 inches, the SensorSafe Embrace has a neat feature not found in other seats: it communicates with your car, and when you shut the engine off plays a tone to remind you your infant is in the seat — don’t forget her! (Want to read more about it? Click here) We also like the high-quality and easy-to-use LATCH connectors, cushy padding, and easy one-pull harness adjustment. (Walmart, $149)
Combi Shuttle: At 16.75 inches wide at its widest point, the Shuttle infant seat packs a lot of safety, installation, and comfort features into a small space: an anti-rebound bar for increased rear-facing safety, built-in seat belt lockoffs, easy-read level indicators, energy-absorbing foam-filled head wings. It holds infants rear-facing up to 35 pounds and up 33 inches and is a good choice for triplet or twin seating. (Target, $162.35 to $180)
Uppababy MESA: The MESA infant seat is on the pricier side, but it’s a goody. The safety features are noteworthy, particularly the enhanced side-impact protection due to the head wings and a shell lined with energy-absorbing foam. But what really makes us love this one are the easy-installation features: auto-retracting lower anchor LATCH attachments which make it much easier to get a tight installation and a reassuring tension indicator on the base that turns from red to green to let you know when you’ve got the right level of tight. Another small, but nice, refinement: recline angle indicators on each side of the base, which makes installing the seat in a variety of positions a lot easier. The MESA holds babies from 4 to 35 pounds and up to 32 inches; it’s 17 inches wide at its widest point and its base is only 14 inches wide, it’s a natural for 3-across infant seating for triplets or plays well with convertible seats. (Pishposhbaby, $299.99)
Cybex Aton: Beautiful to look at, the 18-inch-wide Cybex Aton Infant Car Seat can be installed with or without its base, giving more flexibility to those with small cars or who move the car seat around frequently. It holds infants from 4 to 32 pounds and up to 32 inches tall. The Aton and its sister seat the Aton 2 is a good bet for cars with less legroom/taller drivers, as it protrudes into the front-seat-space much less than other popular infant seats. Try this seat out if you find you have to pull the driver’s seat up too much to fit a different infant seat safely. (Bedbathandbeyond, $249.99)
Cybex Aton 2: Anyone else confused by the fact that Cybex has an Aton, an Aton 2, and an Aton Q? No? Just us? The deal is that Cybex has a tiered system of products: Silver (the Aton), Gold (the Aton 2), and Platinum (the Aton Q); each time you go up a level, safety features are added and the price is higher. Anyhoo, the gorgeous Aton 2 infant seat is priced between that Aton and Aton Q and is very similar to the Aton, with the addition of a “load leg” (looks like a metal pipe) that extends from the car seat’s base to your car’s floorboards to reduce crash forces. They’re popular in Europe, but rare in America. The Aton 2 is 17.25 inches wide, and fits infants from 4 to 32 pounds and 30 inches tall. (Sears, $299.95)
Cybex Aton Q: Pricier than the Aton and with slightly higher weight limits, the Aton Q infant seat is super easy to install with or without its base, and a mere 17 and 1/4 inches wide at its widest point, its handle. Its base is quite narrow too, just under 15 inches, which makes this seat a great bet for “puzzling” beside other seats that are wider at the bottom. It holds infants from 4 to 35 pounds who are 30 inches tall or less, boasts a no-rethread harness, and is one of only a handful of car seats on the market with a load leg to reduce neck/head stress in the event of a crash. (Babyearth, $349.95)
Evenflo Platinum LiteMax 35: Evenflo just keeps on bringing out great seats in 2016. First the clever (and frequently sold out) Embrace DLX with SensorSafe, now this neat infant seat that’s 17.75 inches wide at its widest point and just terrifically comfortable — Evenflo’s Outlast fabric is remarkably cooling even in hot weather, and the seat is cushy and deep. We like the premium LATCH connectors and nice weight/height limits too: 4 to 35 pounds and 17 to 32 inches. (Toysrus, $149.99)
GB Asana 35: One of the newer car seats on the market, the 17-inch-wide Asana 35 is a rear-facing-only infant seat with many safety features, including a rotation-reducing load leg, increased side impact protection, a telescoping base for easy recline adjustment, and simple-to-attach push-button LATCH connectors. It holds infants from 4 to 35 pounds and up to 32 inches. (Toysrus, $149.98)
Nuna Pipa: The Pipa is another expensive-but-worth-it-if-you-can-afford-it stylish infant seat like the MESA, with gee-whiz features. It holds infants from 4 to 32 pounds, and up to 32 inches, and like the Aton Q, the Pipa boasts a load leg for absorbing crash impact. It’s nice and narrow at 17.4 inches wide, and is exceptionally straightforward to install using LATCH with rigid connectors that click in easily. (Neimanmarcus, $299.95)
Maxi-Cosi Mico Max 30: The newest member of the Mico family, the Mico Max 30 infant seat is 18 inches wide at its handle; 16 inches wide at the base, and has higher weight/height limits than other Mico seats — it holds infants from 4 to 30 pounds and up to 32 inches. It’s a favorite for parents of preemies because its crotch strap can adjust tighter than most seats, providing a better fit. Another interesting feature: The Mico Max 30 has an anti-rebound bar on its base that’s rare for seats sold in the U.S.; it helps lessen the rebound movement of the seat in the event of a crash. (Nordstrom, $249.99)
Phil&Teds Alpha: Phil&Teds is known more for strollers than car seats and this is the company’s first foray into the safety-seat market. This lightweight, skinny (17 inches at its widest point) infant car seat is also narrow front-to-back — riders in the front seat need not pull up uncomfortably. Without its base, the seat weighs just 8.3 pounds, which makes it easier than most to lift with your infant inside. It holds infants from 4 to 35 pounds and to 32 inches. (Target, $199.99)
Recaro Performance Coupe Infant Seat: Recaro has long been in the racing and auto seat business, and it’s only in recent years that they’ve expanded their line of safety seats for children. The aptly named Performance Coupe really does its job well: It holds infants from 4 to 35 pounds and to 32 inches and is only 17 inches wide. Parents will love the easy-use features: a clever system keep the harness from getting twisted, and the harness adjusts with one quick pull. Memory foam padding and stay-cool fabrics up the comfort for your baby. (Diapers.com, $249.99)
Maxi-Cosi Prezi: So beautiful it looks more like an artwork than a car seat, the Prezi infant seat is 17 inches wide with a back-to-front measurement of a mere 21.5 inches, so super-tall parents won’t have to pull their seats up when it’s installed behind them. The Prezi holds infants from 4 to 30 pounds and up to 29 inches. (Albeebaby, $129.99)
Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35: One of the newer and lesser-known seats on this list, this Italian -made infant seat is luxuriously padded and made with ultra-soft high quality fabrics. It holds infants from 4 to 35 pounds and 32 inches, and is just 17 inches wide so a row of three may fit backseats. It’s one of the few seats on the American market to offer a rebound bar for better crash protection, as well as a whole bunch of easy-use features: no-rethread harness, not one but two sizes of infant inserts to fit very-wee or semi-wee infants (read: preemie-friendly), and harness-holding pockets to keep the straps out of the way when you’re putting your infant in. (Babysden, $279.99)
Safety 1st OnBoard 35 Air: This easygoing car seat holds infants from 4 to 35 pounds and is only 17 inches wide; it’s an easy-on-the-wallet and solid option for parents who want a feature-rich seat with enhanced side impact protection without shelling out for one of the pricier high-end brands. (Target, $144)
Cosco Light ‘n Comfy LX: This reasonably priced infant seat has gotten a recent upgrade that lifted it onto this list. It’s only 17 inches wide and holds infants rear-facing from 4 to 22 pounds, — definitely on the low side, though babies should switch to a convertible at a year or sooner, and average babies top out at about 22 pounds at that age. But if you have a bigger baby, count this one out despite the sweet infant insert, side impact protection, a nice big sunshade, and an easy-adjust harness. (Target, $72)
Baby Trend Flex-Loc Infant Car Seat: Well-known amongst budget-minded parents, this highly rated car seat is just 16.5 inches wide. Earlier versions of this seat had very low weight limits, but the updated Flex-Loc carries infants from 5 to 30 pounds and 30 inches. It does have a tendency to protrude into the front seat, so it’s not a good choice for cars without a lot of leg room. (Walmart, $79.87)
Clek Foonf: This absolutely beautiful convertible is a mere 16.9 inches at its widest point and fits children from 14 to 65 pounds, truly a massive range. It’s a go-to for car seat installation pros, because this seat is easy to install, holds riders rear-facing up to 50 pounds and 43 inches (the size of an average kindergartener!), and it’s so narrow and sleek that it fits neatly next to just about any seat. Or, if you have triplets, 3 Foonfs will fit side-by-side in many, if not most cars, a rare attribute (Diono’s Radian line and the Clek Fllo are the other 3-across convertible seat champs for triplets) And just look at it! Gorgeous! (Albeebaby, $379.99)
Clek Fllo: The Clek Fllo, the Foonf’s younger and less expensive sister seat, is a favorite of car seat installation pros, because it’s super-narrow — 16.9 inches wide at its widest point, 13 inches at the base — and crazy easy to install. The Fllo holds rear-facing riders from 14 to 50 pounds (the highest on the market) and 25 to 43 inches, forward-facing 20 from 65 pounds, and 30 to 49 inches. Want to use the Fllo for a newborn? Shell out for the $70 Infant Thingy (the real name) and it’s a breeze. The Fllo weighs less than the Foonf and has a lower profile so it’s easier to see over the top of the seat when installed. It also boasts an anti-rebound bar for enhanced rear-facing safety and a telescoping foot that helps caregivers get the correct installation angle. Like the Foonf, the Fllo is narrow enough for 3-in-a-row even in smaller cars: triplet and twin parents, take note. Unlike the Foonf, the Fllo has regular, not rigid, LATCH connectors, so it’s not quite as easy to install — that’s one of the reasons it’s cheaper. (Albeebaby, $299.99)
Combi Coccoro: At just 15.5 inches wide, this nice-looking convertible seat is the narrowest we’ve seen yet. But the unusual weight limitations (3 to 40 pounds, depending on orientation) mean that this seat is great for preemies and smaller kids, not for huskier ones. (Diapers.com, $198.24)
Diono RadianRXT: The super-slim Radian line of convertible car seats is beloved for their generous weight ranges. The RadianRXT accommodates children from 5 to 120 pounds (to 45 pounds and 44 inches rear-facing, making this a great bet for extended rear-facing for taller kids) and is just 17 inches wide — narrower than Diono’s newest line of convertible/boosters; the Cambria, Pacifica and Rainier are all 18 inches wide. As we mentioned above, parents can generally fit 3 Diono Radian seats in the backseat — triplet and twin parents, try this seat out. (Toysrus, $287.99)
Diono Radian R100: Thought it has a slightly less astonishing weight range than the Radian RXT (5 to 100 pounds; 5 to 40 pounds and 44 inches rear-facing), the Diono Radian R100 Convertible Plus Booster Seat is just as skinny as the RXT at 17 inches wide, accommodates all but the tallest/heaviest kids rear-facing through age 4, and is $60 cheaper to boot. Like other Radians, 3 Radian R100s will fit in many backseats. (Target, $223.99)
Diono Radian R120: As you might expect from the name, the Diono Radian R120 Convertible Car Seat caps maximum weight at 120 pounds. It holds children rear-facing from 5-45 pounds, and up to 44 inches so it’s a great extended rear-facing bet for even the tallest kids (and was featured in our story 15 great convertible seats for tall babies and big toddlers). Like the other Diono Radians, the R120 is 17 inches wide. Triplet and twin parents should not that 3 Radian R120s will fit in many backseats. (Albeebaby, $240.99)
Diono Rainier: A newer model than any of the Radian seats, this nice-looking convertible + booster is almost as narrow as its sister seats at 18 inches (so it won’t fit 3-across in compact cars and many sedans), but has such high rear-facing height-weight limits (44 inches and 50 pounds, respectively; the seat holds children in booster mode up to 120 pounds and harness mode to 90 pounds) that it’ll keep keep even tall/heavy kids rear-facing until they’re well into their preschool years. Professional car seat installers note that Diono’s newer seats — the Rainier, Pacifica, and Olympia — aren’t as straight-up-and-down narrow as the Radian seats; they’re wider at the top than at the base. This makes them more difficult to “puzzle” next to other car seats than the Radians, though many experts opine that the enhanced side impact protection on the newer seats is worth it. The Rainier is the most expensive of the newer Diono seats, with headwings that offer the most side-impact protection in the new Diono line; they may also be harder to find in stores as they frequently sell out. (Albeebaby, $259.99)
Diono Pacifica: Introduced at the same time as the similar Diono Rainier, the robust Pacifica seats children rear-facing from 5 to 50 pounds (and 44 inches), forward-facing from 20 to 90 pounds in 5-point harness mode, and then converts to a booster for children between 50 and 120 lbs or up to 57 inches tall. Like the Rainier, it’s 18 inches wide. It doesn’t have the Rainier’s headwings for extra side-impact protection so in stores it’s about $40 to $50 less expensive and often easier to find than the Rainier. At press time, however, we were able to find the Rainier cheaper online than the Pacifica. (Diapers.com, $271.99)
Diono Olympia: Like the Pacifica and Rainier, the Olympia is 18 inches wide, but has slightly lower weight maximums (though the same height limits) in both rear- and forward-facing mode: 5 to 45 pounds and 44 inches rear-facing, 20 to 70 pounds forward-facing with a 5-point harness, and 50 to 110 pounds and up to 57 inches tall in booster mode. The average 4-year-old tops out at about 39 pounds and 41 inches; the average 8-year-old at 64 pounds and 52 inches — the Olympia’s weight and height limits are still (wonderfully safe) overkill for most kids, even though they’re lower than those of other Diono seats. (Target, $239.99)
Safety 1st Guide 65: Rated rear-facing from 5 to 40 pounds and 40 inches; forward-facing from 22 to 65 pounds and 52 inches, this bargain-priced popular-with-parents convertible seat is so lightweight — just 11.5 pounds! — that many recommend it for flights, too. It’s 18 inches wide, inexpensive, and has a narrow profile, but it’s not the easiest seat to install rear-facing in some vehicles — Car Seats for the Littles has great installation tips for the Guide 65. (Kmart, $84.99)
Graco MyRide 65: This popular Graco convertible seat is a little wider than most in this slide show — almost 21 inches at its widest point. But since the base is narrow and the widest part of the seat is at cupholder-level, it may fit comfortably next to other seats without armrests, such as the Radians. (Walmart, $99.88)
Evenflo SureRide DLX Convertible Car Seat: Another lightweight — 10.5 pounds — convertible seat popular with travelers, the SureRide is only 18.5 inches wide but packs hefty weight/height limits into its small frame. It’s a great inexpensive bet for extended rear-facing (we named it one of 15 great convertible car seats for tall babies and big toddlers), holding children rear-facing to 40 pounds and 40 inches, and forward-facing to 65 pounds and 54 inches, which should hold all but the lankiest of kids safely until they’re out of the harness years. (Target, $75.60)
Britax Marathon ClickTight: Britax has many fans for a reason: their seats are high-quality comfort. The sleek Marathon convertible car seat is 18.5 inches at its widest, and a narrow 23.5 inches from front-to-back, so passengers in front of the Marathon won’t have to pull their seat up. The 2015 version of the Marathon CT is extraordinarily easy to install using a seatbelt and it carries kids rear-facing from 5 to 40 pounds and 49 inches and forward-facing from 20 to 65 pounds and 49 inches. (Rightstart, $247.49)
Britax Parkway SG: At a slim 18 inches at its widest point, this popular Britax booster boasts the SecureGuard clip, which keeps children from sliding down in the event of a crash. It’s also great for tall kids, handling heights of up to 63 inches (5’3″!) and 120 pounds. (Bambibaby, $104)
Britax Parkway SGL: Very similar to the Parkway SG, the 18-inch-wide SGL adds in a LATCH connection system that secures the booster to your car so it doesn’t become a projectile if you crash. It holds kids safely to 120 pounds and 63 inches. (Walmart, $119.99)
BubbleBum: In less than a minute, the blow-up BubbleBum booster transforms from a tiny pouch to a handy height-provider for kids aged 4 and up who are 40 to 100 pounds and 40 to 57 inches tall. It’s a miniscule 13 inches across and it doesn’t latch into place, so it’s extraordinarily easy to move around for playdates, carpools, or travel. Bubblebums tend to work very well in the center seat of your 3-across installation even when nothing else will fit. (Target, $29.99)
Cybex Solution X-Fix: This absolutely gorgeous 18.5-inch-wide booster has LATCH connectors like the SGL that keep it secured to the vehicle when not in use. It also has a patented headrest that reclines to keep sleeping kids from falling forward. It also has enhanced side-impact protection and fits riders from 3 years, 33-100 lbs and 38 to 60 inches tall. The back cannot be removed; the Solution X-Fix is a highback, not a backless, booster only. The seat contours make this one a good bet for kids with wider hips or a bigger bum. (Pishposhbaby, $169.95)
Harmony Defender 360 3-in-1: This skinny — 17.5 inches — and versatile booster seat is what’s known as a 3-in-1: it converts from a seat with a five-point harness to a high-backed booster to a backless booster and handles riders forward-facing only: 22 to 65 pounds and 27 to 57 inches in five-point harness mode, 30 to 110 pounds and 34 to 57 inches using the seat belt. (Burlingtoncoatfactory, $99.99)
Recaro Performance Sport: Engineered by a German company with an expertise in race car and airplane seats, this harness-to-booster seat has a headrest that’s ridiculously easy to adjust and a machine-washable fabric cover that’s a cinch to get on and off. It’s a “combination” seat, so only holds children in forward-facing mode with a five-point harness, before converting to a belt-positioning booster. In harness mode it holds riders 27 to 50 inches and 20 to 90 pounds; as a booster it works for children 37-59″ and 30 to 120 pounds. At 19 inches at its widest part it’s not the narrowest combination seat out there, but it’s nicely made and feature-rich. (Target, $237.50)
Britax Pioneer: One of the more reasonably priced amongst Britax’s harness-to-booster models, Pioneer is 19 inches wide at its widest point — the shoulders — and holds children front-facing only. It can be used in five-point harness mode for kids from 25 to 70 pounds and 30 to 56 inches and then as a booster from 40 to 110 pounds and 45 to 60 inches. (Diapers.com, $172.49)
Britax Frontier ClickTight: Similar to the Pioneer but with a higher weight limit, the Frontier has extra-soft fabrics, enhanced padding, and is 19 inches wide at its widest point. BabyCenter moms love it — it won 3 different Moms’ Pick awards in 2014. It holds children front-facing only — in five-point harness mode from 25 to 90 pounds and 30 to 58 inches and as a booster from 40 to 120 pounds and 45 to 62 inches. (Mbeans, $249.49)
IMMI GO: This folding travel seat isn’t very well-known in the U.S. — but with Uber using IMMI GOs for customers who need a car seat, that might change. The lightweight (10 pounds) IMMI GO is 16.5 inches at its widest and holds children forward-facing from 31 to 52 inches and 22 to 65 pounds; $200.
Maxi-Cosi RodiFix: Once your child moves into booster-seat territory, fitting seats in typically becomes much easier. But a narrower booster like the RodiFix, just 12 inches wide at its base (though 19.5 inches at its widest point), can give younger sibling seats a little wiggle room. The “fix” in the title are LATCH connectors that hold the seat in place even when your child gets out; parents often don’t realize that unsecured booster seats can instantly turn into a projectile (see 7 deadly car seat mistakes even experienced parents make for more info on that). Note: Your child is secured by a seatbelt, the LATCH is just to hold the seat where it is. The RodiFix is quite expensive compared to most boosters, but offers enhanced head protection — these are the “wings” you see — and doesn’t have arm rests, so it fits beautifully next to wider seats. (Bedbathandbyond, $249.99)
Maxi-Cosi Rodi AP: With measurements very similar to the RodiFix (12-inch base, 18 inches at its widest point), the Rodi AP is cheaper but lacks RodiFix’s IsoFix LATCH system that keeps the seat safely in place even when there’s no one sitting there. (Toysrus, $159.99)
Harmony Dreamtime 2.0 Deluxe Comfort Booster: From a lesser-known car seat brand, this easy-to-use and simple booster is a narrow highback booster, an increasing rarity these days when highbacks seem to be swelling in width. It can also be used as a backless booster. It holds children from 30 to 110 pounds and 34 to 57 inches in either mode. Only 16.5 inches wide at its widest point, the Dreamtime is an easygoing and inexpensive choice. (Target, $39.99)
Evenflo Amp Belt Positioning Booster: A popular choice with parents who want the beefed-up safety of a highback booster but also want something simple and lightweight that can easily be moved from car to car (read: carpool). The Amp is comfy, a snap to install, and just 16.5 inches at its widest part; it holds children from 30 to 110 pounds and up to 57 inches and can be easily converted to a backless booster. (Walmart, $36.54)
Graco Highback TurboBooster with Safety Surround: Just 16.5 inches wide, the TurboBooster is a highback booster that holds riders from 30 to 100 pounds and fits into small spaces. The cup holders fold into the seat when you need extra room, and easy-to-use loops hold your car’s seatbelt right where it needs to be. It converts into a backless booster when needed. (Albeebaby, $39.99)
More on carseats
* Got a small car? 8 compact car seats sure to fit
* LATCH hard to use in 97 percent of cars — how does yours rank?
* No excuses: 5 reasons NOT to turn that car seat around
* 7 deadly car seat mistakes even experienced parents make