Car Seats that Fit Three Across 

My sister and I both drive five seat cars, and between the two of us we have three kids. Two moms, three kids, five seats. 

Except when we go anywhere, we usually need to take two cars. 

Nothing is more frustrating than realizing that carpooling isn't an option, simply because you're still in the car seat stage. 

In some circles, when you bring up the topic, the immediate answer is that you need a minivan or an SUV with three rows if you plan on taking more than two children anywhere.  But that isn't always in the cards. Right now we're planning on keeping my "mom car" until we can trust that the kids won't make a huge mess, and that means we might need to get creative with car seats. 

For those who may need to fit three car seats in a single back row, it's not impossible.  It involves a little more preparation, and you need to decide whether you're making a commitment to keep three seats across (and invest a little more) or if you just want the option for carpooling on occasion. You also need to make sure you're working with an accurate measurement of your backseat. Most sedans run 52-56 inches across, but some compact cars may give you a mere 48 inches to work with. Once you know what you're working with, you can figure out the right combination. In addition, many baby stores will let you try out a floor model to make sure that the seat fits. 

But if you need to order online, here are some options that should work! The measurements given are at the seat's widest point. They are at a variety of price points, and with a little effort, you should be able to travel with three kids in a backseat without sacrificing safety!   

13 inch seats 

  • BubbleBum:  In less than a minute, you can blow up the BubbleBum from a tiny pouch to a booster seat for kids over 4 years old, 40 lb and 40 inches. It'll fit in the center seat when it feels like nothing else will. 

16 inch seats 

  • Combi Coccoro Convertible (15.5) 
  • Maxi-Cosi Mico Max 30 infant seat 
17 inch seats 

  • Phil&Teds Alpha infant seat (added benefit of being only 8 lb AND small front to back, so the front seats don't need to pull as far forward) 
  • IMMI GO (16.5) It's a folding forward facing harness seat. Uber is using these for customers who need a car seat. 
  • Harmony Dreamtime 2.0 Deluxe Comfort Booster (16.5) 
  • Evenflo Amp Booster (16.5) 
  • Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant Carrier 
  • Clek Foonf Convertible 
  • Clek Fllo Convertible seats (can also be used for newborn with an insert) 
  • Diono Radian R100 convertible 
  • Diono RadianRXT Convertible 
  • Combi Shuttle infant seat 
  • GB Asana 35 infant seat 
  • Cybex Aton Q infant seat (another narrow base, great for pairing with combo seats) 
  • Uppababy MESA infant seat (the base is only 14 inches, so it plays very well with other combo seats that are wider at the base and narrower up top) 
18 inch seats 

  • Evenflo Platinum LiteMax 35 infant seat 
  • Harmony Defender 360 3-in-1 (17.5):  This seat goes from a five point harness to a high back booster to a backless booster. 
  • Britax Parkway SG booster (great for tall kids who still need the security of the booster) 
  • Safety 1st Guide 65 Convertible seat (incredibly light at 11.5 lb) 
  • Cybex Aton 2 infant seat Evenflo ADVANCED SensorSafe Embrace DLX infant seat: This seat sends you a reminder when you turn off the car that the infant seat is attached!   
Once you really start looking, there are many options out there to safely fit three car seats across the backseat. Some of the seats may be a bit on the pricey side, but definitely less than a new car!

About the Author: Meredith Napolitano blogs at, where she writes about raising kids while keeping her own identity as well! From kids's activities to organizational products, from parenting tips to suggestions for Mom's Night Out, she's got you covered! Follow her on Facebook!

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