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Narrowest Boosters

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The Car Seat Lady’s Top Picks for Narrow Boosters

High Back boosters

We know that these high back boosters are not budget friendly, but if you have a narrow spot where you need to fit a high back booster, you don’t have many options. Having done hundreds of 3-across scenarios, the Rodifix is simply the most likely high back booster to fit – and if the Rodifix doesn’t fit, there is literally NO other high back booster that will. 

  • Maxi Cosi RodiFix (shop family-owned / shop Amazon) 
    • To say we love this booster, would be an understatement. It is the most versatile booster we’ve found (and we’ve tried them all).
    • It fits where literally no other high back booster does. It has the narrowest footprint and flexible side wings which allow it to squish in next to another seat when needed. If the Rodifix doesn’t fit, there is literally no other high back booster in the US that will fit in that seating position.
    • It fits skinny kids and wide kids fabulously.
    • By design, it has eliminated the most common, and most serious, misuse of all boosters which is where someone accidentally puts the lap belt over one or both of the arm rests (which then puts the lap belt across the child’s belly which is super dangerous) – so by designing this booster without arm rests, you can’t make this mistake when buckling up. The lack of arm rests also makes it easier for a child to see the buckle and to get their hand in to buckle and unbuckle themselves independently.
    • The head rest is so well designed on this we’d love to use it on planes for ourselves! It captures the head perfectly so your kid’s head won’t be bobbing around during sleep. Keeping the head well positioned during sleep is an important part of keeping the whole body properly positioned in the seat belt – because if the head falls, sometimes the torso starts to fall forward or slump sideways, both of which are dangerous as the seat belt won’t be on the proper part of the child’s body.
    • This seat is only a high back booster
    • The back of this booster is rigid enough to support the child’s head and does not need the vehicle seat back to come up to the child’s ears for whiplash protection. It also handles vehicle head rests that protrude better than most other boosters.
    • This booster can be secured to the vehicle using rigid lower anchor connectors (rigid LATCH). Note – it is NEVER required to secure this or any other booster to the lower anchors.
    • Most kids will fit in this booster until 8-10 years old before becoming too tall for it. 

  • Peg Perego Shuttle Plus 120 (shop family-owned / shop Amazon)
    • For a booster that accommodates the tallest child of any high back booster in the US market, it is surprisingly slim on the outside compared to most others (but definitely wider than the Rodifix).
    • This booster has the highest capacity for both height and weight of any high back booster in the US. If you have a child with a very tall torso, they will fit in this high back booster longer than any other.
    • In addition to the height of the back rest being adjustable, the side panels are also adjustable in width – which can help for keeping this on the narrower side when there isn’t much room in the vehicle.
    • While there are arm rests on this booster, they are spaced far enough apart that many wider kids should be comfortable but narrow enough that it fits where a lot of other boosters don’t.
    • The back of this booster is rigid enough to support the child’s head and does not need the vehicle seat back to come up to the child’s ears for whiplash protection.
    • The back can be removed to turn this into a backless booster
    • This booster can be secured to the vehicle using rigid lower anchor connectors (rigid LATCH). Note – it is NEVER required to secure this or any other booster to the lower anchors.
    • Most kids will fit in this booster until 8-10 years old before becoming too tall for it. 
  • Graco Turbo TakeAlong High Back (shop Amazon/ shop Walmart)
    • Of the less expensive high back boosters, this is the one that is most likely to fit in a narrow spot 
    • However, it is also the soonest to be outgrown as a high back booster – as the top setting for the shoulder belt is quite low compared to other boosters (and all kids are too tall long before too heavy for a high back booster usually). 
    • It will often be very difficult to get your hand in to buckle the child in this booster when used in a narrow spot. 
    • The back can be removed to turn this into a backless booster – however, one of the narrow backless boosters below would be a much better option than this in backless mode if you don’t have a lot of room in the vehicle.

Backless boosters

Remember: In order to use a backless booster, you need to make sure the vehicle seat back comes up to at least the top of the child’s ears in order to provide adequate head support. If the vehicle seat back does NOT come up to at least the top of the ears, then you need to use a high back booster.

  • Graco Rightguide (shop Target / shop Walmart)
    • No exaggeration, the RightGuide is the best thing we’ve ever seen in the category of backless boosters.
    • It has the narrowest footprint of any booster (highback or backless) – meaning it is great for fitting in narrow centers or next to another car seat where other boosters didn’t fit.
    • The Rightguide fits both skinny and wider kids very well due to the lateral flexibility in the red belt guides. It has a slight upwards slant at the knees which not only enhances the comfort, but also the safety as it helps prevent kids from wanting to slouch (slouching puts the lap belt on the belly, which is dangerous!).
    • This is also a fabulous booster seat for travel, playdates, etc as it weighs just 1.8 pounds and easily slides into a child’s backpack and many purses, diaper bags, etc. The red belt guides tuck flush with the underside of the booster to make it super compact for carrying around when you aren’t in a car.
    • This booster has not yet been evaluated by IIHS… but in our informal testing of it with a variety of kids in lots of cars it offers great belt fit.

  • Graco Turbo Go (shop Target / shop Amazon)
    • This booster has two design features that make it ideal for wider kids.
      • First, it is generous in width and has a longer-than-average seat depth for the longer legs. However, the longer seat depth is a problem for the younger kids as their knees may not bend naturally over the edge without slouching. 
      • Second, the lap belt guides are very high and completely vertical – rather than tapered in like many others – which allows them to be higher than the child’s thighs and not pushing into the thighs compared to many other booster designs.
    • This booster weighs 4 pounds and folds to allow it to fit in a large backpack.
    • This seat boosts the child up a fair amount (more so than the RightGuide) which is great for shorter kids but can be an issue for taller kids if their head starts getting too close to the roof of the car or their head is not supported by the vehicle seat back or vehicle head restraint.
  • Cosco Rise (shop Walmart) & Harmony Youth (shop Walmart)
    • These are both very lightweight and inexpensive backless boosters that are quite narrow. Due to differences in their contouring, one might fit better than the other in a specific narrow spot in your car. 
    • The Rise has a shallower seat depth than the Youth – so the Rise is better for the shorter kids and won’t fit the taller kids as well.

Can’t get your hand in to buckle the booster?

Try having the child climb in/out without unbuckling the seat belt.

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FTC Disclosure: Affiliate links are included in this page. No monetary compensation was provided, however, some of the reviewed products were supplied by the manufacturer or distributor to help facilitate the review. All opinions are those of The Car Seat Lady LLC. 

48 Responses to “Narrowest Boosters”

  1. Amanda says:

    Is it safe to put children between 30 and 40 lbs in a Ride Safer Vest instead of a 5-point harness? We have a trip coming up and it sure would make life easier. They are almost 3 and almost 5, and both weigh about 32 lbs. thanks in advance.
    Amanda

    • Amanda – the Ride Safer Vest functions like a booster seat in that the seat belt is restraining the child and the vest is simply helping to keep the seat belt on the proper parts of the child’s body. We recommend waiting to start boosters until kids are at least 4 AND at least 40 pounds AND mature enough to sit properly in the booster (or vest in this case). My recommendation would be to use a 5 point harness for these 32 pound children.

  2. DM says:

    The Harmony Cruz carpooler states it can be used for 30 lbs and up, but your guidance says boosters are for 40 and up. Can you clarify? Is there something about the Harmony that makes it suitable for lower weights/younger children?

    • Our website is trying to give out the best practice guidelines. Unfortunately many car seats are labeled for children who are way too young/small to be well protected in those seats. Another example is seats that allow 20 pound kids to ride forward-facing, when we know that those kids are at increased risk of brain and spinal cord injuries when forward-facing before age 2.

  3. Melissa says:

    I have six children, 13 year old (no car seat), 9 (booster), 8 (booster), 7 year old twins (boosted), and a 1 yr old who will be rear facing in a britax boulevard clicktight. We are purchasing a Yukon XL and i would like to know if you have any recommendation for boosters as far a a fitting in the Yukon. (We currently drive two vehicles when we go anywhere together). We have an f 150 which we are keeping, and a Nissan murano that we are trading in. I currently have two grace high back boosters and two safety first high back boosters, and one backless booster. I am pretty sure I will need to purchase new boosters however.

    • This vehicle lacks head rests in the center seats of both rows and is NOT a vehicle I would recommend for a family of 6. I would recommend a Honda Odyssey where you have head rests in all 6 positions.

  4. Valerie says:

    We have a 2014 Honda Odyssey, do you have any high back booster reccomendations for the middle seat in the 2nd row? I found our Britax Frontier to be too wide and seems to cover the female seat belt buckle

  5. Nicole Thompson says:

    You mention above that high-back boosters with rigid backs are needed for center seats without headrests. How would I determine which ones are rigid? Also, are top tethers used in high-back booster mode?

    We’re looking for harnessed to high-back boosters for our two vehicles:

    1. 2009 Toyota Sienna: We think the Britax Frontier 90 Click Tight is a good fit in this vehicle. It has several positions with adjustable vehicle headrests and top tethers.

    2. 2012 Chevrolet Traverse: This one is tricky. Headrests are stationary so we’re having trouble finding a harnessed to high-back booster that fits in the seats. The large, stationary vehicle headrests seem to make the carseats not sit flush on the vehicle seats. 2nd and 3rd row center seats also do not have headrests.

    We have two kids who will be harnessed FF and one kid who will be RF. We’re really struggling with seats and positioning in the Traverse.

    • Nicole Thompson says:

      If it is possible, we would be interested in having the flexibility to have all three kids in the second row of both vehicles, but finding a good carseat fit to vehicle and child is most important. Thank you!

  6. Chris says:

    Hi,

    We just bought a Tesla Model S. Because of the shape of the “next generation” seats, the width of the back seats is very narrow. We have a Graco Turboride and Britax Parkway SGL, and both of them completely obscure the seat belt receptacles, which makes it impossible for our 5-year old daughter to buckle herself in.

    Also, the seats are bucket-like, with fixed headrests that protrude. This means that most high-backed boosters don’t touch the seat of the car, except at the base and at the headrest. I know that only certain booster seats allow this from a safety perspective.

    Should we just get a backless booster and see if that works? I read that the Clek Ozzi is narrow (12.75″ at base) and I think she could easily buckle herself that way. This post over at the Car Seat blog suggests that backless boosters are just as safe as boosters with backs. http://carseatblog.com/8243/to-backless-or-not-to-backless-that-is-the-question/

    On the other hand, I’ve read that it’s better for young kids to have a booster with a back and even a 5-point harness because the shoulder belt is more likely to be in the wrong position with a backless booster. Our daughter is tall for her age (46 inches), and she really wants to be able to use a seat belt. Once we switched her to a booster in one of our cars, she literally would not get in the car seat that we still had in the other car, since it’s “for babies”. She has an iron will and we don’t want to battle her every time we get in the car.

    What would you suggest? Thanks.

    • You may be interested in our post on the Model X – as the 2nd row seats are very similar and have issues like you are encountering in your Model S. thecarseatlady.com/tesla-model-x

  7. James Maxwell says:

    Hi CSL,
    Thanks for all of the great research/intel! Have you previously weighed in/reasearched seat belt extenders. More specifically, are they safe and where should the extension buckle reside when child is buckled.

    We are 3 across in a Ford Edge. 1 x rear facing, 1 x 5-pt harness front facing, and 1 x booster. The booster was such a struggle to buckle because the buckle sits down in the seat, essentially behind the booster. So, we’re using the seat belt extender for the middle seat booster, but it is buckling into the female portion of the side seat (available because of latch system for the rear facing seat).

    are we better off using the slide in/slide out method you showed in your video? essentially not unbuckling, but pulling slack into the belt when climbing in and out?

    Thanks for your thoughts when life allows!

  8. Justine Boudette says:

    Hi. Im needing a narrow high back booster for a 1998 Tahoe. It does not have any added feathers and headrests are not high. Thank you

  9. Kali says:

    Hi! Thanks for this info!

    We need the narrowest high back booster, and we noticed the Harmony V6 is no longer available, is there another? We do have a headrest. Thanks!

  10. Kali says:

    Thank for the response! There is no way we could afford is there another option? I thought you only needed that one if you do not have a headrest in the car, we do. 🙂

    • You asked for the narrowest high back booster. The RodiFix is the narrowest high back booster currently in the US. The Evenflo Right Fit is perhaps the next narrowest.

  11. Millie says:

    What if you have an 80 Lbs child, but they still do not know how to sit still and they wiggle? Are there booster seats with 5 point harnesses? Do you have a recommended model or brand?

  12. Momma says:

    They are a family of 8. They won’t fit in an Odessy…

  13. Kassie says:

    My daughter is almost 4 years old and is 40 inches tall and weighs 40 lbs. I was driving a Ford Expedition and she was in the back middle seat in a Britax Pioneer which I love). I just bought a new car 2016 Ford Explorer) and the Pioneer car seat doesn’t leave much room for back seat adult passengers. Can you please suggest a car seat that might leave a little more space for the adult passengers in the back seat? I will only have passengers maybe once a week, but I don’t want them to be uncomfortable. I don’t have a price limit.

  14. Toni says:

    Hi,
    We have a 7 seat 2015 highlander, and just welcomed our 3rd baby. We assumed getting my 6yo in the 3rd row with a booster would be no problem, but it’s proving challenging. She is in a Chicco KidFit Booster and non of the positions in the 3rd row are working very well. The center position is almost impossible for her to buckle herself and negates all storage. The side positions are OK, but she feels really crammed in back there. Any advice on a better booster (vs. a new vehicle)?

    • The Kid Fit is likely too wide for the narrow 3rd row center. Try a Maxi Cosi RodiFix in the 3rd row center. Sadly this vehicle (and most SUV’s) are not well suited for kids in the 3rd row.

  15. Chriatianne says:

    We need to put 3 across in a 2015 Honda Cr-V. I need an infant carrier as I am expecting our third child this month. I also need two boosters. My other children are 5 and 6 and both weigh a little over 50 pounds. They are both fine with backless boosters but I think we need to get 3 new seats to accommodate the 3 children in the back. What do you recommend?

  16. Patrick says:

    Is it a requirement (or do you strongly recommend) to use a top tether with a high-back booster? My oldest two sons are approaching the point where they’ll outgrow their 5-point harness seats, and our 2015 kia sedona only has top tethers right next to each other in the 3rd row (4 kids total means the big guys in the 3rd row), meaning if boosters had to be top tethered it would be difficult to buckle in and out of one of the boosters. Maybe your no-unbuckling method will be the answer.

    • A high back booster means that the child uses the vehicle’s seat belt across them as their restraint – NOT a 5 point harness (a 5 point harness is the definition of a car seat). If the kids are using a high back booster, you do not need to tether it. However, if the booster is not in some way connected to the vehicle (tether, or lower anchors – if the booster manufacturer allows for this) you must keep the booster buckled in when the child is NOT in the car – as otherwise it can fly around and hit someone in a crash when it is unoccupied.

  17. JayCee says:

    Hi from Canada! We just purchased a 2012 Chrysler Town and Country. We have 5 kids: a rear facing infant in a second row captain seat, a rear facing toddler in a 5 point in the other captain seaf. The 3rd row is tricky! Our almost 8 year old ia in a booster outboard, 4 year old in 5 point Diono Radian txt, and an almost 10 year old in the seatbelt. Folks up here are recently saying the 9 year old should go back into a booster as well. I can’t find the Rodifix up here….any wisdom for this Canadian Mama?

    • The almost 10 year old needs a booster until the child can pass the 5 step test – thecarseatlady.com/5steptest

      If the 3rd row needs to fit 3 kids all in some type of a seat, things are VERY challenging. If you put a rear-facing Clek Foonf in the 3rd row driver’s seat installed with the seat belt (recline the vehicle seat back, install the Foonf so that it is touching the wall of the vehicle, sit the vehicle seat back upright to further tighten the foonf) you will have just enough room to wedge the Trunki Boostapak into the 3rd row center (you will need to get a Boostapak shipped from Europe) – I haven’t found any other booster sold in the US or Canada that is narrow enough to fit.

  18. -M says:

    Assuming you have to do 3 in a row, would you put a Rodifix in the center (and not be able to use the rigid LATCH) or on the side and use a seatbelt install for a convertible seat (whether RFing or FFing). I know usually the least protected passenger should ride in the middle. Thanks!

    • It depends on the vehicle and whether it can even accommodate 3-across, and in what configuration using which particular car seats you can achieve 3-across. Assuming anything is possible, this is a safe arrangement – but it may become unsafe as the Rodifix can block the driver’s view out the rear window as the child gets taller and the Rodifix head rest goes up. It can also be hard to buckle the child in the booster with it in between two other car seats.

  19. Cristina says:

    Hi there,
    I have a BMW 320i, and my 6 year old child is currently in a roundabout 55, which she has just about outgrown by height. She is barely 40 lbs though so I would prefer her to be in a harnessed booster. We have a Britax Frontier 85 in our SUV, but there is no way this would fit in my 3 series sedan. Do you have a recommendation for a narrow harnessed booster? I know for narrower boosters without a harness you recommend the Cosi RodiFix or the Evenflo Rightfit. If I have to go this route, is either of these better knowing my daughter’s petite size? Thanks!!

  20. Danielle says:

    Hello!

    I have a 2013 Toyota Highlander. Currently have a 2yr5mo and a 4yr9mo in Diono carseats. I have a 7year old in a booster seat but can’t seem to find a back booster seat that can fit between the 2 Diono car seats that will allow my son to buckle himself in. So, in the meantime I have him in his booster in one of the seats in the 3rd row. He is getting so tall so it is difficult for him to fit back there. Can you suggest a booster seat that would work for us? Thank you!

  21. Cristina says:

    Hi there!

    I was hoping you can give me a suggestion for my 40 lb 6 year old. She is about 43 inches tall. She is currently still in a Britax Roundabout 55, and has just about outgrown it in the shuldger straps. I have a BMW 320i, and am looking for a harnessed booster for her that will fit. We have a Britax Frontier 85 in our pathfinder, but there is no way that will fit in my little car. Any advice you can give me would be awesome!!! Thanks!!

    • If your daughter is able to sit properly in a booster for the duration of the trip (no slouching/leaning over/messing with the seat belt) I’m very happy to see a 6 year old in a high back booster and don’t think they need to be in a 5 point harness. The Maxi Cosi RodiFix booster would work well for her for many years to come. The Frontier ClickTight (the newer version to the Frontier 85) would work in your 3 series (as would the Frontier 85, so long as it hasn’t expired).

  22. Ellie says:

    Hi there,
    I’m in Canada and just purchased a 2019 Honda Odyssey. On your guide for 3rd row seating solutions, you show a picture of 1 FF car seat (Diono Radian) in 3C and 2 boosters (Maxi Cosi RodiFix) in 3D and 3P. It’s not clear to me whether the Rodi boosters need to be permanently seat belted in and the child has to use your climb in/out trick, or whether, with the Diono in 3C, the kids in 3D and 3P have enough space to buckle themselves in/out of the Rodis.
    Thanks in advance for clarifying and thank you for your amazingly helpful website!

    • The 3rd row of the odyssey is REALLY tight with 3-across. You’ll definitely need to keep 3D buckled and have the child climb in/out with it buckled. It depends on you and the child whether you have the child climb into a buckled booster in 3P. This trick will also help for 3P if you choose to have them buckle and unbuckle each time – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mzTS9AqMe18

  23. Jesse says:

    Hi. Love all of your quality information. Thank you. Can you please tell me if there are any options for seating in the middle seat (the removable seat) in a 2015 Toyota sienna. I am looking for a high back booster or just booster option. I have a clek and a flo on either side. The middle would be for a 7 year old. We have a britax frontier for her in rear but she enjoys sitting between her siblings. I would love to keep things in the clek family but I am open to good options that could fill this tricky no latch no tether narrow spot.

  24. Kelly says:

    Hi there. What is the narrowest and safest backless booster that is not inflatable, please? Thank you!!

    • The narrowest backless booster is the Trunki Boostapak (sadly no longer available in the US – but is throughout Europe). Of the ones in the US, the Harmony Youth booster & Cosco Rise are the narrowest with the Graco Turbo TakeAlong coming in a very close 3rd. Depending on your vehicle, sometimes one will be narrower than another just due to the contours of your vehicle – and if putting several side by side it is often best to see if a combination of seats rather than 2 or 3 identical ones will fit best. All of these should be very similar in terms of safety as they all offer good belt fit.