Got a small car? Here are 5 best car seats for small cars

If you drive something with oceans of head and leg room and a big, wide back seat, then you never have to worry whether a car seat will fit in your car. Therefore you can buy any car seat according to your taste, and you’ll be guaranteed that your vehicle will hold it.

However, if you have a small vehicle, you will have limited options when it comes to choosing the type of car seat. For example, the Dodge Grand Caravan boasts approximately 63 inches of room in its rear seat while Honda Fit comes with just under 50 inches of backseat spacing. Most convertible and infant car seats are 23 to 18 inches wide.

Buying a compact car seat as compact as your car is very important, but again it is easier said than done. Have you ever discovered that finding the right dimensions regarding weight and height can be very challenging?

Most car seat manufacturers provide these dimensions (weight/height) limit online or on the delivery box, but finding exactly how tall or wide these seats are is another challenge.

Add all these to the installation challenges you can run into with any given vehicle, and the right installation angle and what you have here is a complex puzzle that makes you want to pull your hair out.

We cannot tell you exactly what you should buy, but in this article, we offer you with the detailed information on the best car seats ideal your small car.

Ensure to check on this one very carefully. One baby car seat will be right for one child and not for the other. Babies grow and what one baby will use now will not be perfect for another.

Rear-facing seats or a forward-facing seat are suitable for babies under the age of six months. Rear-facing seats or a forward facing restraint seat will be perfect for babies’ ages between 6 months and four years. Forward facing restraint or a booster seat will be ideal for children between the ages of 4 years and seven years.

You will also need to ensure that you check your baby’s height before purchasing a car seat for him or her. Most current baby car seats come with a feature known as shoulder height maker. This feature allows you to determine your baby’s ideal position.

To ensure you are using the function correctly, the child must remain in a rear-facing seat or position until their shoulders become in-line or above the height maker facing forward.

This is an essential feature in baby’s car seat. One needs to accurately know how to adjust the tackles and the straps in position.

This will ensure that your child is safe and secure at all times while driving. Ensure you properly test the harnesses and traps before your purchase the seat. Check out for this feature keenly at all times.

Another important feature you should keenly check is if the baby car seat you are purchasing has been sufficiently tested. In the event of an accident, babies are using very vulnerable, so you need to ensure that the seat you are buying is suited for such an event.

In some countries it is illegal to purchase a car seat that has not undergone the necessary safety checks. In addition, the baby’s car seat should have a detailed manual of how to use the product. A good baby car seat should have a well documented return policy should it not work or please you.

Always go for a baby’s car seat that is easy to install and fit. For instance, infant car seats are easy to fit in the car.

They can use the LATCH system or the car’s seat belts to offer maximum stability. Some seats will be easy to fit will other will be hard to fit depending on the method one is using.

A baby’s car seat requires being fitted in proper position to guarantee protection to the baby. So for it to be a safe car seat to use it needs to have secure harnesses and straps. But what is important is that they need to be easy to adjust at any given point.

The harness and straps should be made in such a manner that the baby cannot undo them but easy for the parent to use without much hassle.

The baby’s car seats are made from different materials with different textures and colors. It is always important to clean the seats after use so that the chances of the baby getting an infection are less.

So check out for the material used. Is it washable by just wiping? Or it requires thorough washing with detergent and water? Seats that are made of absorbent fabric will be hard to wipe clean compared to those made of smooth materials. For washing instructions always read the manual keenly to know how to wash the baby car seats.

Cars are different regarding sizes and general interior designs. So before purchasing any baby car seat first look closely how your car is on the inside and then match that to the available baby seats. Do not buy a baby car seat only to discover it does not fit in your car.

Some baby car seats can be fitted permanently in the car, and you just need to bring your baby when you’re stepping out. For other models or for some people they would prefer to be carrying the baby and the seats together. So in case you want to do that, then go for a baby seat that is light enough.

This will not give you extra train while carrying the baby in it. Check on this carefully because you do not want to have your walking impaired due to heaviness.

Canopy offers protection from the sun, so this is an extra feature you need to check out for before purchasing. You need to check if the canopy is strong enough to withstand the tugging f small feet and hands.

Not all vehicles are the same and not all baby car seats will be perfect for your car. So you need to purchase the correct one that matches your needs and that of your car’s specifications.

So its there are a lot that comes in before you set out to choose for your baby the perfect car seat. The above should offer you an excellent guide to making an ideal choice. It is always imperative to go for a product that meets your needs and is within your budget.

Top Pick: Britax G1.1 Frontier Clicktight

Of all the small car seats for small car reviewed in this piece of article, Britax G1.1 takes the first place. Its compact design makes it simpler to fit in any small car and above all offer maximum safety and comfort to your child.

Installing Britax G1.1 is easy, and the seat can be carried around thanks to its weight. It is FAA Approved.

Given its unique features and the price tag, Britax is the best car seat for your small or medium sized car.

best car seats for small cars
Graco4Ever Car Seat
  • Comes equipped with an EPS energy-absorbing liner that protects your child from serious injuries during a crash.
  • With the integrated harness, you won’t need those annoying belts and straps again when using the seat in the booster mode.
  • Broad weight limits, from 4 pounds to 120 pounds. So if you’re a preemie, mom/dad, this is the best car seat for your compact car.
  • Available in only two colors.
  • Even though small, it is heavy due to its frame steel.

Graco has an excellent reputation in manufacturing car seats that meet the safety standards stipulated in the traffic laws of every county here in the United States.

Graco 4Ever features the dimensions for an all in one car seat sitting on a 20 inches wide base, 21.5 inches front-to-back and 24 inches tall and the best part; it doesn’t take up plenty of front seat leg room when you install it rear facing.

It is an all in one seat rated for children weighing from 4-120 pounds, performs in four modes, front-and-rear-facing.

  • Despite its weight and size, it is the very secure seat and one of the best car seats for small cars.
  • It’s equipped with a LATCH system for ease of installation.
  • It’s a good car seat for small cars and one of the most affordable car seats for the features it provides.
  • Uses Flextech Construction that releases kinetic energy during a car crash thus providing maximum safety to your child.
  • Unlike other baby car seats, Maxi Cosi cannot be used as a booster seat.
  • A fast-growing child might outgrow this car seat pretty fast.

The Maxi-Cosi Pria measures 19.5 inches wide, 26 inches tall and is also small front-to-back at 21 inches and perfectly fits in the small car very nicely especially when installing at upright angles for older kids.

However if you have a newborn and some more leg room, then the Tiny Fit padding system (that will cost you $40 extra) is worth it even parents of premature babies, and small babies are happy about how well the Tiny Fit padding system works perfectly for them.

  • The sports version of the Safety 1st Guide is well padded thus guarantying comfort and safety to your baby.
  • You can keep your child in rear facing and forward facing for long as the car seat can comfortably accommodate weights from 5 pounds to 52 pounds.
  • Ideal for small cars, thanks to its compact design.
  • The three buckle positions, anti-rebound bolsters, and the five position harness provides greater safety.
  • Being a small car seat, Safety 1st Guide 65 can fit three across your car back seat with little interference with the recline of the front seats.
  • Installation can be tricky especially on old cars but quite easy on newer cars that come with a LATCH.

This is one of the smallest car sea and one of the best car seats for compact cars. It has been designed for a small car; it is small in size, lightweight and yet maintains highest safety standards and the quality that can only be compared to the 1st range of car seats.

The safety 1st Guide 65 measures 18 inches wide, 20 inches front to back and 24 inches tall and the weight and height limits are much higher than the Coccoro: 40 inches and 40 pounds rear facing.

Even though some of the verified amazon buyers claim that the Safety 1st is not the easiest baby car seat to install especially when rear facing, you have to admit that the car seat is worth the price tag.

  • It’s lightweight, so you can easily carry from one car to another, from your house to your car or from your car to a baby stroller.
  • It’s made by Graco, one of the most trusted companies when it comes to designing and producing car seats.
  • Fitted with a click connect technology, so you can rest assured its safely and securely installed in your car or the baby stroller.
  • It easily attaches to all Graco strollers
  • It’s noisy especially when adjusting the sunshade.
  • No body pillows available but you can always buy them even though you do not really need them.
  • The maximum weight allowed for this car seat is 35 pounds, therefore if you want your child to be in the seat for long, you’d better buy another seat that takes more weight.

Grace SnugRide is one of the best infant convertible car seats for small cars you can find in the market. What makes this car seat so popular is the fact that it is ultra-light and can fit nicely in the rear seat of most small and medium-size cars.

Additionally, the SnugRide is one of the best car seats for your newborn baby you can find in the market. It is easier to install and comes with a LATCH which offers maximum protection and safety.

  • It comes with a Clicktight and safe cell system for enhanced safety and ease of installation.
  • The angle recline bubble and safe snug harness indicator ensure that you install the seat in the most comfortable and safest position as possible.
  • Combines a steel frame and an impact absorbing base for enhanced protection of your child.
  • Boasts 14 different adjust positions; therefore your kid can ride in both forward facing and rear facing modes for a very long time.
  • Somehow expensive compared to other similar car seats.
  • If you are not familiar with the LATCH system, you might find it challenging when installing.

The Britax Clicktight has made a reputation for itself here in the United States as one of the safest and best car seats for small cars.

Clicktight is a small car seat that you can use in both forward and rear-facing mode. Given a large amount of space rear-facing car seats consume, the Britax is one of the best compact car seats that leave a large leg room even when installed in the rear-facing mode. Front legroom can even be increased with the adjustment of the seat recline.

4 Benefits of Best Car Seats for Small Cars

There are lots of benefits you gain by purchasing a compact car seat if you have a medium sized or small car.

  • A small car seat does not occupy large space in your car meaning you can have enough space for your shopping, your grocery or anything else you need to carry in your car on a regular basis.
  • The best convertible small car seats leave big space for your partner or any other passengers. Small car seats leave big legroom thus ensuring that your passengers are comfortable.
  • Small car seats are compact and lightweight thus making it easier to carry them around. This is ideal especially if you more around often from one car to another.
  • With small car seats, you can fit more car seats into the backseat, making it easy to carry two or three children safely.


Children safety while driving is of paramount importance. According to CDC records, road traffic accidents are the leading cause of deaths among children. In 2014 alone, 458 children aged 14 years and below were injured in car accidents according to records of the National Highway Traffic Safety.

Many of these children suffered severe injuries to the spine, head, chest and lower extremities. Further records show that on an average three children dies as a result of road traffic accidents daily.

These deaths could be easily prevented if proper car safety procedures for the kids could be followed keenly. This article will examine various safety precautions and tips that parents show always follow to ensure their children are safe in the car.

Why are Baby Car Seats Important?

Car crashes have been seen to be the leading cause of injuries and deaths to children. Many parents fail to adhere to child car safety rules and regulations leading to numerous fatalities on the roads. But with proper baby car seats, a child’s injury risk level is significantly reduced by 80%.

It is essential that all car occupants including the kids should be safely restrained with approved restraints baby seats or car safety belts. The car seats and car safety belts help to spread the forces of the crash over a more extensive body area, slows the body movement and help reduce the injury risks to the head and spine areas.

What makes a bay’s car seat safe?

There are various elements that one should always check out for to ensure that a baby’s car seat is still safe. These include;

  • The car seat should be the right size for your baby height, weight, and age
  • Should be fitted properly and tight to allow for no movement while driving. If it moves rapidly, then it can make the baby become disoriented.
  • The seat should be reclined to safe angle preferably backward so that the baby’s head does not fall forwards.
  • The harness straps should be well positioned at all times and tight enough to secure the baby in position.

Positioning Tips for using baby car seats

When using baby car seats placing and proper fitting is essential. This is what guarantees excellent protection to the baby while driving. So you need to get it right at all times when using the baby car seats. Within the car, the safest position has been known to in the back, middle seat.

Below are some of the positioning tips you need to adhere to at all times.

  • Do not place your child’s car seat on the front seat of the car. Should you do this ensure that the airbag system is turned off.
  • Any child younger than 13 years should not seat in the front seat of the car.
  • If you are using the rear facing baby seat always ensure that it is reclined at an angle so that the baby’s head does not tilt forwards.
  • Straps and harnesses should be in proper positions at all times.
  • Do not put your baby to sleep inside a car and on the car seat. He or she might roll and fall mainly while driving. Tuck the baby safely in the baby’s car seat.
  • Ensure you minimize any form of movement of the baby to avoid any seat ejection in case of braking.

Important Safety Tips for Keeping Babies Safe while in the car

Owing to the number of children dying as a result of car crashes some rules and regulations have been put in place. These rules will see that children are protected when they are in vehicles. So below is a brief outline of some of the basic rules and regulations that have been put in place.

Here are some important that parents can make use of any time they are driving with their babies.

  • Ensure that kids between the ages of 0 months and 12 years should always ride in the back seats.
  • Kids should make use of the baby car seat or booster seats until they can be able to use the seat belt.
  • In case you place a rear-facing frontal baby car seat in the front car seat then ensure that the frontal airbag system is deactivated. But this should be strongly discouraged.
  • Ensure that the baby car seat you purchase had the mark of quality and been passed through the government standard safety checks.
  • Always select a baby car seat that perfectly suits your baby, your car, and your budget.
  • There are different baby car seats in the market with various features. Ensure that you choose the one with the features you are comfortable using correctly.
  • Thoroughly read the product manuals at all times as they contain essential information that you could use.
  • Check out for the return policy always so that you can return it in case it does not work correctly, or you do not like it.
  • In case you purchase a second-hand baby car seat, then ensure that it is properly checked by a technician to ascertain all parts are functioning correctly.
  • Lastly, ensure that you drive safely at all times and observe all the road rules. This will keep you and your baby safe.

Routine Maintenance Checks for Baby car seats

Before using any baby car seats, you need to perform regular checks to ensure that it is working correctly. Below are some of the routine maintenance checks you need to run at before use.

  • Ensure that the harness and straps are not loose and are correctly fitted in position.
  • Ensure all bolt and nuts are tight enough
  • Keep the baby car seats clean at all times before and after use.
  • Repair or replace any broken parts immediately.
  • Any moving parts should be well oiled.
  • Worn out parts should be replaced.

Adhering to proper driving safety procedures will ensure that both the children and the parents are safe while driving. Reckless driving has been blamed for the many children deaths and medical conditions. It is always imperative for you to ensure that the baby car seats are positioned well enough at all times. Also, routine maintenance checks need to be run daily on the baby car seats to ensure they are working correctly.


It is best to avoid this practice, but in case you are tied then ensure that all children aged below 13 years should always seat in the back seats. Ensure that the airbag is also deactivated at all times. Also make sure that all occupants of the car tie their safety seat belts.

This is crucial because the other person might not be aware of how you place your child in the car. If this is the case ensure that you instruct them properly on how to do it.

Also, ensure that in case the car has its baby seats, check to see if it is appropriate for your child. If it is not, you can request to use your baby seat this way you will guarantee your child’s safety.

If you come across any issue with the seat, you have purchased ensure that you immediately contact your manufacturer and ask them for a change. This will be made more accessible if the product had a return policy on it. If it does not have a return policy, then ensure you seek the services of a car seat expert to have, the problem fixed.

Yes, it is possible to buy or use a second-hand seat, but this is highly discouraged. A second-hand seat is considered less valid regarding reliability and crash performances. Should you opt to buy a second-hand seat ensure you check its history, product manual and the functioning of each of the seat’s parts.