We’re in the early stages of an exciting project we’re calling “2-Together & 3-Across Recipes”. Rather than telling you to order a bunch of narrow car seats from Amazon and try a dozen out, only to return them in a fit of rage after spending days in your driveway installing and uninstalling car seats with nothing seeming to work for 3-across in your car… we’ve decided to do the leg work for you. Even if you only have one kid, this project can help you choose seats and cars which might fit your growing family’s needs in the future.
We’re taking late model vehicles (minivans, SUVs, sedans, and wagons) and spending many hours in the back seat trying out several dozen different car seats to give you specific “recipes” for 3-across in these vehicles. We’ll tell you which seats fit where – and even whether you should install with seat belt or lower anchors.
This is a 100% independent project (like everything else that we do). The vehicle and car seat manufacturers have no influence on the vehicles or car seats that we choose, nor have they paid us in any way for the time or effort spent in this 3-across project. We receive the vehicles (for a few days at a time… sadly not to keep) and the car seats (to keep – as we’ll use them in the future for other projects, and when we’re done with them donate to families who can’t afford a seat or to instructors to use for teaching) free from the manufacturers – but all of the vehicles and car seats are received because we have asked for them – not because a manufacturer asks us to highlight their vehicle or car seat.
We’ve tried to select seats that are narrow on the outside yet wide on the inside and offer a high capacity in their respective mode so that if a 3-across works with this seat, you won’t have to redo the 3-across for another few years hopefully.
Because some seats work better in one mode than another – perhaps better rear-facing than forward-facing – you may notice that a particular seat only makes it onto our list in one of the modes it offers rather than all of them.
We do not have any control over the prices of the seats. Many of the narrowest seats are also on the more expensive side. We’ve tried to select seats from as many price points as possible. For the expensive seats, we’ve focused on value – meaning that they must last a long time (high height and weight capacity) so you aren’t buying a new $300 seat every year. The Nuna Rava has a lower capacity than we’d prefer, but it takes up less room into the front seat than other rear-facing seats.
We encourage you to learn more about the features of each of these seats on our narrowest car seats + boosters page here.
Note: Since we started the 3-across project in 2017 new seats have come on the market, and new testing results have come out. With the introduction of the Clek Liing in early 2019, we’ve stopped using the Cybex Aton2 for the most part as the Liing takes up very little room into the front seat (like the Aton2) while the Liing fits newborns better and the straps pull smoothly and don’t twist (they are hard to tighten and twist horribly on the Aton2). You’ll still see the Aton2 in the vehicles we did in 2017 & 2018.
You’ll also see the Nuna Pipa in some of the vehicles we did earlier on. With BabyGearLab recently releasing crash test data on Pipa and 13 other infant seats, coupled with crash test data showing that the Clek Liing (installed with rigid LATCH + load leg) is outperforming every infant seat in the US in crash testing, you’ll notice a shift in the seats we’re using in this project.
2019-2020 Acura RDX (coming soon)
2017-2020 Honda CR-V (coming soon)
2019-2020 Toyota RAV4 (coming soon)
2018-2020 Honda Accord (coming soon)
2015-2019 Subaru Legacy (coming soon)
2019-2020 Toyota Camry (coming soon)
2019-2020 Toyota Prius (coming soon)
FTC Disclosure: Affiliate links are included in this page. No monetary compensation was provided, however, a few 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.