For families with small cars, convertible car seats are recommended. Of course, you cannot install big ones when you have a small car! Interestingly, there are these convertible car seats and these types of cars eats might actually work for you. In 2003, almost 350 children including infants were saved by convertible car seats. In this article, you will find out the best car seats that are worth the buy.
How to Choose the Best Convertible Car Seats for Small Cars
Picking out a car seat is not that easy as there are many things, including safety, to be considered. Here below are some guides for you when buying one:
Ask yourself: how often will I use this car seat? If you are looking for everyday car seat, you might want to go for those car seats that can be installed for a long period of time.
Of course, it is important for you to keep in mind that the car seat which you will buy should be easy to maintain. You cannot avoid spoilage inside your car so you might actually go for those easy to clean ones.
Always choose the car seats that are easy to install. If you are using the car seat for occasional use, you might want to go for those light and foldable ones. Additionally, if your car is small, you have to go for those easy to install ones as it can be frustrating to assemble something on a smaller space.
Ease of Removal
In here, we are talking about the buckles. If you have a small car, it is better to go for those clickable buckles. Additionally, easy to remove buckles allows a child to breath comfortably.
Car Seat Width
If your car is small, you have to choose the car seats with small width. To find the perfect match, you have to check your car’s dimensions as this will allow you to give more space for your passengers at the back of the car. Having able to choose the car seat based on its width in relevance to your small car provide a better and comfortable experience to a child.
Front to Back Space
If a car seat takes a lot of space from front to back, your little passenger will have a small room for his or her feet. For this reason, you have to take into consideration about your baby’s size.
Car seats come with different comfort features such as head support, padded harness, and cup holder. Although more fancy features mean higher price, if you use that car seat daily, it will surely be worth your buy.
Best Infant Convertible Car Seats for Small Cars
1. Chicco Key Fit Zip 30
This compact and lightweight car seat is perfect for any infant! It comes with complete set of safety features and at the same time, it does not take a lot of backseat space. It comes with Latch straps and the width is very narrow.
|Comes with latch strapsLightweightCompactComes with a bubble levelEasy to install||Only compatible for Chicco strollers|
2. Combi Coccoro Convertible Car Seat
In Japan, small cars are common and this kind of car seat is being used by them. Interestingly, this product has a compact and lightweight US version. This car seat can be installed rear-facing or forward-facing and no matter what you choose, you will be assured that it will not take a lot of space. This car seat is actually perfect for preemies as it can carry a baby who weighs at least 3 pounds.
|Comfy to useProvides side-impact protectionSupport baby’s head, neck, and spineHarness is paddedHarness is adjustableEasy to installComes with a built-in vehicle belt lock-offsFAA certified||Cannot be used when a child turn into a toddler|
3. Baby Trend EZ Flex Loc
If you are looking for an affordable version of Chicco Key Fit 30, this car seat might be what you are looking for. This one is a bucket-style infant seat that is perfect for small cars. Some reviews say that it is more compact compare to the Chicco Key Fit 30. However, it does not offer the complete features of the Key Fit.
|More compactBudget-friendlySmooth-carrying handle||Rear-facing only|
4. Clek Liing Infant Car Seat
This one is a high quality, modern car seat but it is kind of pricey. So, if you have a bigger budget, you might want to consider this. The base offers a secure-fit feature as it is designed with Rigid Latch and belt-tensioning system. Additionally, it can be attached to most strollers that is why even if it is pricey, it is worthy.
|Can be attached to most of the strollersSafe to useNarrow car seat||Kind of priceyThe unit is heavy|
5. Chicco Fit 2 Air Infant and Toffler Car Seat
This car seat is one of the best narrow car seats available on the market. It is actually perfect for toddlers and infants and it supports weights up to 35 pounds. Although it is kind of pricey, it lasts up to 3 years old and this makes it worth your buy.
|Super narrow car seatEasy to installCan be used by infants and kids up to 3 years old||Kind of pricey|
6. Graco 4Ever DLX 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat
Buying this car seat is like buying a lifetime product for your little one. Your child can use this car seat from infancy up until the age where he or she will no longer need to sit in a car seat. This car seat can be converted into a booster seat and a backless booster seat.
|Ten-position headrestFive-point harnessSteel-reinforced frameComes with a cup holderRemoval of cover does not need uninstallation of the car seat||Hard to install for sedan cars|
7. Cybex Aton 2 Sensor Safe
This car seat may not be as compact as the Key Fit but it has unique features that others do not have. It has a load leg that distributes force during collision it transfers impact into the seat’s shell away from your baby. Additionally, you can actually connect it with a smart app where alerts will be sent to you in case of emergency.
|Comes with a leg loadAlerts can be sent on your phone||Rear facing only|
8. Evenflo Advance Sensor Safe Secure Max
Each year, almost 40 children die from heatstroke after being left in the vehicle due to being forgotten by parents. This car seat comes with a sensor technology that tells the parent that their passenger is at the back seat when they reach their destination. It is also affordable and there is no reason for you not to get it.
|AffordableComes with a sensor technology||Only for infants|
Best Toddler Convertible Car Seats for Small Cars
9. Diono Radian 3RXT Convertible Car Seat
This car seat actually allows you to install 3 of them. It takes up a little space and at the same time, it gives comfort to the passengers. It can be installed rear-facing or forward-facing. Kids who weigh from 5 to 45 pounds can use this car seat and if your little one is not inside your car, he or she can actually use it as his or her booster seat! If you are going to use it as a booster seat, take note that a child who weighs up to 120 pounds can enjoy this seat! If you love traveling, this car seat can be your friend.
|Can be installed rear-facing or forward-facingCan be used as a booster seatCan be used by kids who weighs up to 120 poundsComes with different colorsHarness and seat are adjustableFoldableCan be used on airplanes (FAA approved)Uses EPS energy-absorbing foamExpandable leg restsNon-slip rubber base||The unit is heavy as it is made of steel alloy frameIt does not have armrests|
10. Evenflo Big Kid Booster Seat
Although this car seat is for bigger kids, it is still perfect for small cars. It is a narrow car seat and its backseat can be removed and can turn into backless booster seat. For parents with tight budget, this car seat is the best option for you.
|AffordableLightweightEasy to install||More of a booster seat|
11. Evenflo Tribute LX Convertible Car Seat
This Evenflo car seat is affordable compared to the one above. It can be installed rear-facing or forward-facing and it can accommodate up to 40 pounds. Its cushion is very comfy for kids and its head pillow is removable.
|AffordableComfy to useHead pillow is removableCam be installed rear-facing and forward-facingAdjustable front harnessComes with a storage bag||This unit is a little bit heavy|
12. Maxi Cosi Magellan XP
This model adapts in every stage of your child’s development. It can be installed rear-facing or forward-facing and it can also be used as a booster. It is also a narrow car seat and its seat features comes with 5 modes.
|Unique 5-in-1 designAdjustableEast to installFunctionalSafe and comfy to useEasy to clean (no need to uninstall the car seat when cleaning)Hideaway harness||Simple design but this can be great for minimalist parents|
13. ClekFoonf Convertible Car Seat
This is a luxurious car seat and although it is pricey, it offers a lot of wonderful features. It is not just beautiful in appearance but it is also comfy and super safe to use. It has a unique safety react system that uses energy-absorbing technology to protect you little ones during unexpected car crashes. It also has an insulation feature which keeps your child on right temperature whether it is winter or summer.
|Can be used in airplanesMade from luxurious materialsEasy to installNo flame retardantsMade from 100% merino wool||Super expensive|
14. Diono 2020 Radian 3R
This car seat is another Diono Radian model but this one is the cheaper version. It can be installed rear-facing and forward-facing and it can carry up to 50 pounds. It provides a stable base and you actually install three of this in the backseat of your small car. It comes with air protection and memory comfort that is why your child is super secured in case of collisions.
|Safe and comfy to useCan be used in 4 stagesFoldableAdjustableEasy and fast to install||No infant insert|
Best Convertible Car Seats with Reclining Positions for Small Cars
15. Maxi-Cosi Pria 85 Convertible Car Seat
If you are looking for a comfortable, convertible car seat, this specific product is what I can recommend to you. This car seat can be installed rear-facing or forward-facing. However, it can only be used by children who weighs at least 14 pounds. Interestingly, it provides a side-impact protection (FlexTech System) and its harness gives a great fit.
|Comes with different colorsEasy to clean and washCan be placed in a dryerEasy to buckleComfortable to useThe material do not collect sweats or dirtBuilt-in harness strap holdersCan be installed rear-facing or forward-facing||Not suitable for newbornsNot that comfy for taller kids|
16. Graco Extend 2 Fit Convertible Car Seat
Some parents say that Graco products always dominate the market particularly on Amazon. This car seat comes with great quality and functional design. It is a compact and adjustable car seat. It comes with six reclining positions and ten headrest positions which will make it more comfy for your little ones.
|Safe to useSix reclining positionsSupports the headAffordable||No booster mode|
17. Peg Perego Primo Viaggio Convertible Car Seat
This convertible car seat is very high-end and it can be used by kids who weigh up to 50 pounds. It can be installed rear-facing or forward-facing. It is also aircraft-certified and the head and body inserts are removable.
|SturdyEasy to cleanEasy to installComes with retractable cup holders||Kind of pricey|
18. Chicco Next Fit Zip Max Convertible Car Seat
This product comes with a bubble level feature and it is easy to install. It has 9 reclining positions and its zip-off seat pad can be cleaned using your home washing machine.
|Super easy to use and installEasy to cleanComes with a bubble level feature||Has high sides which makes it harder when there is a need to lift a child|
19. Cybex Sirona S Sensor Safe Convertible Car Seat
This reclining car seat is a rotating car seat and it has a load leg that provides extra stability. It comes with a sensor alert that tells you when your child is unbuckled or when the temperature is too warm. It can be installed rear-facing or forward-facing.
|Comes with sensor alertRotating car seatComes with load leg||Not that innovative|
Best Convertible Lightweight Car Seats for Small Cars
20. Cosco Mighty Fit 65 DX Convertible Car Seat
This car seat is really worth your buy. It has a simple aesthetic design and it will surely keep your child comfortable during your whole trip. Its headrest is adjustable and it also comes with a cup holder. Additionally, this cup holder can be removed. It can be installed rear-facing r forward-facing and it can be used by little ones who weigh at least 5 pounds.
|Five point harness systemAdjustable harnessComfortable to use by all agesSide-impact protectionEasy to cleanAffordableCan be used on airplanes||No booster mode|
21. Cosco Scenera Next Convertible Car Seat
Aside from being a lightweight car seat, this one is an aircraft-certified seat. It also can be installed rear-facing or forward-facing. When it comes to its adjustment, this one is easy to adjust and is Latch equipped.
|Comes with different colorsCan be installed rear-facing or forward-facingEasy to adjustPerfect for flightsLatch equipped||Can only carry up to 40 pounds|
22. Britax One4Life Click Tight Compact Convertible Car Seat
This car seat is an all-in-one compact product. In fact, it can fit even the smallest cars. It can be used from infancy up until when your child no longer needs to sit in a car seat. It can carry a child who weighs up to 65 pounds and it provides two layers of impact protection. It absorbs energy during crashes and it comes with a quick-push technology.
|Includes booster seatSafe to useAdjustableEasy to installBreathableCan be used in airplanes||This unit is kind of heavy|
Best 3-in1- Convertible Car Seats for Small Cars
23. Graco Slim Fit 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat
This convertible car seat may not be that narrow for small cars. However, this seat can be used from infancy until the day a child no longer needs to sit in a car seat.
|Can be used by infantsCan be used as a booster seatCan be installed rear-facing or forward-facingPassed and exceeds US Safety StandardsComes with side-impact protectionFive point harness systemCrash protection engineeredCan stand extreme temperaturesEasy to installComes with rotating cup holder||Not that narrow for small carsNot for airplane use (Not FAA Approved)|
24. Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat
This car seat can be installed rear-facing or forward-facing. It comes with a belt-adjusting booster and it also comes with three reclining positions. Additionally, it comes with a headrest which can support your baby’s head. The seat pad is easy to remove and everything is easy to clean.
|Comes with three reclining positionsEasy to cleanMachine-washableAdjustable harnessLightweightEasy to clean||Headrest is not that high|
25. Graco Trio Grow Snug Lock 3-in-1
This amazing product can be used during infancy up to the day where your child no longer needs the car seat. It comes with a snug lock feature which makes it easy to install. It comes with 6 reclining positions and it is also easy to clean.
|Easy to cleanEasy to installSafe and comfy to use||Kind of pricey|
Picking a car seat is not that easy as the one that will choose will stay with you for a lifetime. If you have not able to choose one yet, here are some of my recommendations: If you are looking for a budget-friendly car seat for infants, I recommend Baby Trend EZ Flex Loc. However, if you have that extra budget, go for Evenflo Gold Sensor Safe as I really find it innovative and safe to use. For toddler car seat, I will for Diono Radian 3 RXT as it offers a lot of features which you will really appreciate. Lastly, if you want to optimize your money, the all-in-one product I can recommend is .
Are convertible car seats safe?
Convertible car seats are generally safe to use especially for the newborns. To make it safer, you have to consider the seat’s minimum weight.
How long can you use a convertible car seat?
Convertible car seats can be used by children of ages 2 years and more. Buying a convertible car seat is an investment especially when that car seat grows with your child.
What is the difference between convertible car seat and booster car seat?
The difference is the harness. Convertible car seat comes with a harness will booster car seat do not. Instead, booster car seat uses the vehicle seatbelt.
 Starnes, Marc. Lives Saved Calculations for Infants and Toddlers. NHTSA’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis, 2005.
 Elinder, Eric, and Jaquline Hultman. “Child Restraint System for Shared Mobility: Development of a Mobile, Rear-facing and Safe Car Seat for the Car Travels of the Future.” (2020).
 Merchant, Jennifer R., et al. “Respiratory instability of term and near-term healthy newborn infants in car safety seats.” Pediatrics 108.3 (2001): 647-652.
 Kamp, Irene. “The influence of car-seat design on its character experience.” Applied ergonomics 43.2 (2012): 329-335.
 Breitfeld, Erika. “Hot-Car Deaths and Forgotten-Baby Syndrome: A Case Against Prosecution.” Berkeley J. Crim. L. 25 (2020): 72.