Parents often turn to booster seats as soon as their kids reach the bottom age limit for it. The reason behind it is the narrow booster design that takes up very little space and can be easily installed.
I have a problem with it, though.
Firstly, official recommendations are pretty general, and since kids differ, it doesn't mean your child is ready for a booster at four. Also, it is recommendable to keep your child in a harness as long as possible, so instead of rushing your child into a booster, you could do the following.
Once your child completely outgrows the upper height limit for a convertible, you can look for a harnessed booster, then a high-back one, and only then a backless booster.
If you're looking for some space-saving solutions, look at my list of the 8 best narrow booster seats for travel with kids.
Table of Contents
- Best Narrow Booster Seats On The Market: My Top 8 Choices
- #1. Graco Tranzitions 3 In 1 Harness Booster - Top Pick Convertible Booster Seat
- #2. Maxi-Cosi Rodifix Booster - Parent's Favorite Narrow Car Seat
- #3. Diono Everett NXT Rigid Latch - The Most Advanced Narrow Booster Seat
- #4. Evenflo Big Kid LX High Back Booster - The Most Portable High-Back Booster Seat
- #5. hiccapop UberBoost Inflatable Booster - Runner-Up Inflatable Narrow Booster Seat
- #6. BubbleBum Inflatable Backless Booster - Top Pick Inflatable Booster
- #7. Cosco Topside Backless Booster - Extra Plush Narrow Booster Seat
- #8. Chicco GoFit Backless Booster Car Seat - The Most Optimized No-Back Booster Seat
- Buyer's Guide For Narrow Booster Seats
- Tips That Save Lives
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Final Thoughts
Best Narrow Booster Seats On The Market: My Top 8 Choices
The 8 narrowest booster seat options below will include 4 high-back boosters and 4 backless boosters. Follow each product to see why they are the narrowest booster seat models voted best for 2021.
The next booster seat is the best convertible car seat for older children you can find. Graco Tranzitions 3in1 is an all-encompassing, narrow but super-safe car seat intended for children from 22 to 100 pounds.
Wherever you look for official recommendations, you'll see that the safest way to move your child from a forward-facing seat to a booster is by using a harnessed booster before the belt-positioning one.
This car seat from Graco grows with your child, allowing a smooth transition that maintains the highest level of safety until your child is ready for a seat-belt.
Graco Tranzitions includes the patented SimplySafe Adjust system that allows harness modifications without rethreading. What is more, you can adjust the headrest among eight different positions.
When your child gains over 65 pounds, remove the harness, adjust the headrest and use two belt-positioning loops to convert the seat into a high-back booster. The best thing about it is that the child still has side-impact protection and proper head support.
Only when your child no longer fits the high-back booster you can remove the back and transform the seat into a no-back booster only 17.4 inches wide.
This car seat is available in a wide variety of colors and two styles. The first model is the one we talked about, and the second one includes the SnugLock technology that provides even a higher level of safety due to the LATCH system of installation, ProtectPlus technology, and a higher number of headrest positions.
Both models have machine-washable covers and breathable materials for your child's convenience. To my mind, whichever model you choose, you can't go wrong because they really are the most advanced booster seats on the market that safely follow your child's growth.
Another slim booster seat you'll find on countless parent forums is definitely the Maxi-Cosi Rodifix car booster. Now, before we dive deep into details, I'd like to say that this is a bit of a luxurious booster seat, yet incredibly advanced and optimized to provide maximum safety.
First of all, this is a high-back seat option, available in one size, suitable for children between 40 and 120 pounds. This is the highest weight limit on the market, eliminating the need for premature seat belt use while making sure your child grows safely buckled-up.
Rodifix booster includes a rigid LATCH installation system, allowing a quick, effortless setup. This is a significant advantage of this seat since most backless boosters and even high-back boosters do not have a LATCH, so they are not as stable as the Rodifix booster is.
To make sure the seat will indeed grow with your child, Maxi Cosi included twelve headrest positions and a front-access recline system. Thanks to these features, which allow customized fit, you can use a booster such as Rodifix for many years without questioning the safety.
Since I mentioned safety, I'd like to point out that Rodifix booster includes patented Air Protect technology and side-impact protection for unmatched security.
On top of everything, Maxi Cosi Rodifix booster has premium cushioning for superior comfortability and convenient rides. Also, the covers are removable and machine-washable, so you can make sure the seat is clean at all times.
Finally, the seat supports children up to 57 inches in height, and it's one of the narrowest booster seats on the market, being only 17.75 inches wide.
All in all, If I could choose 1 belt-positioning booster to recommend as the most advanced and convenient, it would be this one.
Diono, for years, manages to maintain its reputation as one of the most advanced car seat manufacturers. Innovation is a word Diono engineers are well familiar with, so it's often the case that their car seats feature a lightweight design combined with impeccable safety features. This is definitely the case with Diono Everett NXT.
This belt-positioning booster seat was designed as a slim fit model, perfect for any vehicle seat and very convenient for carpooling as well as traveling. It weighs 8.9 pounds, so it's not that heavy either, allowing effortless transport from one vehicle to another.
Diono Everett supports children from forty to a hundred and twenty pounds and between thirty-eight and sixty-three inches high. With that in mind, this seat will comfortably accommodate your child for eight years.
Although the seat features a slim-fit design, that doesn't compromise safety or comfortability in any way. Namely, it has an ergonomic design with thick padding and side-impact protection. You can tell it's high-quality, given that it won the IIHS's best bet booster award.
Another fantastic advantage is the easy-click rigid LATCH connectors that allow effortless installation and stability. Plus, the back design features a buckle-friendly fit customized for the vehicle's seat belt.
You can rest assured this seat will grow with your child thanks to the eight headrest positions, which allow customized fit and proper impact protection.
Besides being the most expensive commercial booster seat on the market, it's very popular and highly rated. Of course, it's not as expensive as some high-end models, but compared to other seats on this list, it's very pricey.
You can order it in black, blue, red, and plum color, and it looks very elegant, complementing your car upholstery perfectly.
The next product for today is the narrowest booster seat with back support, coming from Evenflo and measuring only fifteen inches in width. It's a convertible car seat, transforming from a high-back booster to a backless booster car seat.
The Big Kid booster seat features a narrow design that fits any vehicle's seat and allows you to fit three across. It doesn't weigh too much, thus presenting a perfect solution for families on the go, who often change vehicles and need to transport the booster from one car to another.
Just like the other booster seats I reviewed, it accommodates children from forty to a hundred and ten pounds, which is up to 57 inches tall. As your child grows, you can adjust it between six height positions; plus, the system is so optimized that you can do it one-handedly.
When you decide your child is ready for a seat belt, remove the back support, and transform the Evenflo Big Kid booster into a compact booster seat with no back. The weight limitations for the backless booster are the same as for the high-back booster.
When it comes to comfort, this seat is incredibly well designed. It features an energy-absorbing foam liner and thick padding to provide a perfect blend of comfort and safety. Plus, it's contoured and breathable, preventing heat retention.
In addition to this, there are two elastic cup holders, perfect for drinks and snacks, and two belt guides for safe installation and buckling.
This seat is tested for structural integrity, side-impact tested, and crash tested to provide unmatched safety and performance. It's even tested in rollover crashes, so you don't have to worry for a second.
hiccapop is an inflatable backless booster seat for children between four and eleven years, that is forty and one hundred and ten pounds. Without any dramatization, I can say this is one of the narrowest car seats on the market.
The seat measures 14.5 inches x 14.5 inches x 4.5 inches. Therefore, it's effortless to fit three across the back seat or hiccapop between two regular child restraint systems of any kind.
Why should you buy the hiccapop inflatable booster?
One thing that is indisputably the biggest strength of this booster is the functionality. It's extremely narrow, very easy to install, portable, and great for storage. It will take a few seconds to inflate the seat and just as many to deflate it. When you no longer need it, fold it down, and put it in your backpack, bag, sack, or suitcase.
Although very lightweight, this booster is made of heavy-duty materials. Namely, it includes double-thick vinyl, a high-quality zipper, and a cloth cover that is removable and machine-washable. It also incorporates the metal belt loop for all types of 3-point seat belt systems.
In addition to this, the booster has a non-skid bottom, adapted for all sorts of materials: leather, cloth, vinyl, polyester. Therefore, it won't slide off the seat yet won't damage the car upholstery either.
Now, the seat is effortless to inflate. It includes a leak-proof valve adapted for your mouth, so no inflator is needed; you can do it by yourself.
All this is cool, but there's one concern. Is this seat actually designed to fulfill its initial purpose, that is, safety? Yes, the seat meets or exceeds all federal safety standards. But 3% of the customers on Amazon who bought it reported air-leaking, which leads to sudden deflating.
Here we have a multiple-award winner and officially the most portable inflatable backless booster seat- The Bubble Bum. It's an innovative product, taking up minimal space while providing a 100% safe ride to your child.
This backless booster is the perfect solution for families on the go, carpooling, soccer moms, and large families. It's the lightest booster car seat on the market, weighing only 500g and measuring 11 x 4.5 x 11 inches.
BubbleBum is recommended for kids between forty and one hundred pounds, that is, four and eleven years. The seat is available in a wide palette of colors and designs, so it's pretty easy to find the one that fits your upholstery perfectly.
Although an inflatable booster, this seat is very durable. It incorporates a material that is similar to the one life vests are made of. It won't rip off easily and wear off quickly, so you can rest assured it won't fail to deliver.
There is another popular inflatable backless booster, the hiccapop. Yet, parents have been complaining about the sudden deflating of the hiccapop booster. With BubbleBum, even if this happens, there is a layer of memory foam placed to support the structural integrity, even when the seat is deflated.
It's important to mention that this seat has passed rigorous crash testing, both inflated and deflated, plus it meets or exceeds both European and American safety standards.
The only detail that bubblegum could improve is the seat belt clip. There are actually two clips to thread a seat belt through. If you were in an emergency situation or a collision, it would be hard to unbuckle the child quickly, leading to potential injuries. So, this is something that BubbleBum could upgrade.
Choosing a narrow car seat doesn't mean compromising comfortability, at least not in the case of the Cosco Topside booster. This seat is extra-plush, specifically designed to provide comfort and protect your child.
It supports children from 40 to 57 inches tall and between 40 and 100 pounds in weight. This car seat was designed to take up as little space as possible yet still provide all the necessary comfort and protection to your kid. How?
You can notice that the Cosco Topside includes covered armrests, which is unusual for a backless booster, yet Cosco implemented them to increase the convenience of use. Furthermore, as I already mentioned, the seat features an extra-plush design, which is way more comfortable for kids than the flat car seat.
This is a perfect car seat for families on the go because it weighs very little, so you can easily take it from one car to another. It's perfect for traveling, taxis, and rent-a-car, when your child is still not ready for a seat belt, so you want to provide that extra height and buckle him/her up correctly.
Cosco made this seat with a seat-safe design. What this means is that the combination of materials won't harm your car upholstery. Also, the cover of the seat can be washed, yet only manually.
If you're wondering how exactly small this seat is, let me tell you. It measures only fifteen inches in width, sixteen inches in length, but three inches in height. It's thicker than the memory foam cushions you can buy for adults.
Importantly, Cosco Topside backless booster has been tested to exceed the federal safety standards, so your child will be safe throughout the entire journey.
Since it's the indisputable commercial leader on the car seat market, it would be strange for Chicco not to have a horse in this race. As always, it's a highly advanced, super-comfortable, and safe seat, yet this time, compactly designed.
What we have here is one upgraded backless booster seat for kids from forty to hundred and ten pounds. It's ergonomically designed to provide nothing but comfort and safety, even though it has no back support or side impact protection. How so, you may wonder.
The secret lies in an innovative design. Namely, Chicco GoFit includes contoured double-foam padding that provides support in all the right places. Besides that, it incorporates two armrests, also padded for your child's convenience.
Materials are very pleasant and breathable, allowing normal air circulation, thus preventing excessive sweating and feeling of discomfort in the summer.
If you're taking your child to practice, no problem. Two retractable cup holders come in handy for their water and sports drinks. When you need to fit three across, simply retract them in, and you have the extra space.
The entire booster measures 15 x 17 x 5 inches, being perfect for carpooling and traveling. It's exquisitely portable, especially because it has a built-in handle for effortless carrying.
Like all Chicco seats, this one meets all safety standards too.
However, if you're not hesitant to spend an extra buck, there is an even more advanced version of this seat - the Chicco Go Fit Plus. The Plus version includes the LATCH system, letting you safely secure the seat and prevent it from slipping off in the case of collision. It's a bit more expensive, but when you think about it, it's the price you pay for your child's safety.
Buyer's Guide For Narrow Booster Seats
Every parent knows about different types of car seats, but do you know when the right time for a transition is?
Statistics show most parents are not 100% sure when the right time for a booster is, especially because some children grow more rapidly than others, and they outgrow their forward-facing seats earlier.
Basically, once your child reaches the upper weight/height limit of the forward-facing seat you're using, and the tip of their ears goes above the headrest, it's the right time for a booster.
By law, the transition from a forward-facing seat to a booster must not happen before they're four years old and 40 pounds in weight. But is it safe to use a belt-positioning booster, even then?
According to the specialists, most children are not ready for a booster seat at four years. These seats are designed to lift your child so that he/she can be appropriately restrained with a seat belt.
But four-year-olds do not feel comfortable in seat belts, and they tend to move them, impeding their safety. Moreover, their bodies are still too small for a seat belt. So, the manufacturers made three types of booster seats:
- 1Harnessed booster seats
- 2High-back booster seats
- 3Backless booster seats
Harnessed booster seats are larger than forward-facing booster seats, but they still have the 5-point harness system that allows safe protection to kids who are not ready for a seat belt. It is recommendable to move your child from a forward-facing car seat to a harnessed booster first before using a belt-positioning booster. The harnessed booster can be used for kids from twenty-two to sixty-five pounds in weight.
A high-back booster seat is a belt-positioning booster that still provides side impact protection and supports the back and the head of your child. It can be used for kids from forty to one hundred pounds. It's much safer than a backless booster because it usually includes impact protection that deflects the forces away from your child in crashes, protecting him/her.
A backless booster seat is basically a cushion that lifts your child so that he/she can use the seat belt correctly and fit the car seat comfortably. It offers no impact protection and no back support. Children between forty and one hundred pounds can use a no-back booster, but it is way safer to keep a child in a high-back booster. Still, there are many backless booster seats that performed remarkably in crash testing, so they are not unsafe if your kid is big enough to use a seat belt.
In this video, the safety of different booster seats is discussed, so you can watch it to understand better how to choose the best one for your child.
So, to sum everything up, once your child outgrows the forward-facing seat, it is best to find a booster with:
You know it's the right time for a backless booster car seat when your child, sitting on it, can rest his head on the car seat's headrest, and the headrest offers head support to at least the top of the child's ears.
Tips That Save Lives
When you're using a belt-positioning high-back booster seat, the vital thing is to position the seat belt correctly. To do so, follow these two critical steps:
- 1Ensure the lap belt lies flat across the top of the thighs/hips, not the abdomen.
- 2Make sure the seat belt fits snugly across the center of the shoulder, not the arms or the neck.
If the seat belt lies across the stomach, there is an incredibly high risk that the seat belt will damage the internal organs in the case of an accident. The same could happen if your child wears bulky clothes, preventing the proper positioning of the lap belt.
On the other hand, if the seat belt is placed over the arm or under it, your child's head and neck are thrown forward in the case of a collision, and your child could suffer serious injuries to the neck and head.
Here is an incredibly well-produced illustration of these scenarios that everyone should see.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which booster seat is the narrowest?
The narrowest high-back booster seat is one low key model, the Big Kid LX High Back Booster. The seat is almost as narrow as the compact backless boosters, measuring only fifteen inches in width.
What is the narrowest backless booster seat?
BubbleBum backless booster seat is one ultra- narrow booster seat, the most space-efficient seat on the market, measuring only thirteen inches in width.
Can you put a booster in the middle seat?
Yes, you can. If the middle seat of your vehicle has a lap-positioning and a shoulder belt, you can install the booster seat safely.
Does a booster seat need to be anchored?
It depends on the type of booster. High-back booster seats usually come with a LATCH installation system, and they should be anchored, while this is not the case with backless boosters.
What height does a child need to be for a booster seat?
It's hard to determine the exact height, but if you follow the simple rules, your child is ready for a booster when his shoulders are above the top harness slots on his forward-facing seat, the top of the ears reach the top of the seat, and he reaches the top height limit of the forward-facing seat.
That was all about the best narrow booster seats. I hope you found the information I shared useful, and you won't rush into buying a booster car seat before your child really needs it. Once that time comes, look at some of the narrow booster seats I found since they are truly the creme-de-la-creme.
The best narrow booster seat to my mind is Graco Tranzitions 3 In 1 Harness Booster.
It's a three-in-one model, one of the narrowest booster seats you can find with an adjustable design and incredible safety features.
- 3-in-1 harness booster helps protect your child, from toddler to youth
- Grows with your child from forward-facing harness (22-65 pounds) to highback booster (40-100 pounds) to backless booster (40-100 pounds) to continue to meet industry standards, we have increased the...
- No-rethread simply safe adjust harness system allows the headrest and harness to adjust together in one motion
- Lightweight, portable seat is ideal for busy, active parents
- One-hand, 8-position adjustable headrest grows with your child