15 answers

Car Seat for Compact Car

I have a 9month old and another baby on the way. I drive a honda civic. I will need to get my 9 month old a front facing car seat when he turns 1 year, and then the new baby will ride in the baby carseat (rear facing) when he/she are born. The baby carseat ONLY fits in the middle seat, and so I will need to get a FRONT facing carseat that can fit next to the baby carseat. Since my honda is pretty compact, I need a front facing carseat that will fit this tight area.

So does anybody know of a front facing carseat that fits well into compact cars?

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Hi! We have the Sunshine Radian in the back of my husbands 2 door car, it works great!! It is super narrow and I love the fact that my son can be in a 5 point harness for so long, well worth the money.

More Answers

Based on the advice you've received so far, it sounds like the SunshineKids carseat is the way to go. I wanted to weigh in on the comments about Britax. I have two Britax Marathon carseats and I absolutely love them, but I drive an Audi A4 and they barely fit. When my youngest was rear-facing, the carseat could only fit behind the driver's side (my side) because it left absolutely no leg room for a front passenger...good thing I have short legs!
Some stores, like Right Start, will let you take the floor models out to your car for a test fit. Strollers too!

1 mom found this helpful

The booster someone mentioned won't help you- they're only for kids over 4 and 40 lbs. Why will the baby seat only fit in the middle? That doesn't make any sense to me, and with that small of a car (I drive a bug, so I feel your pain!) I can't imagine fitting a toddler seat on the side- there isn't one that's that small because they have to be large enough to wrap around the child. But the Graco one is one of the least bulky (and cheaper, and just as safe). I would check out if there is a way to put the infant seat on one side- we don't use the base on ours, and it makes it fit on the side better. We just buckle it into the shoulder belt and lock the belt (like the directions say!)

Hi! We have the Sunshine Radian in the back of my husbands 2 door car, it works great!! It is super narrow and I love the fact that my son can be in a 5 point harness for so long, well worth the money.

When I was looking to buy car seats for my daycare I looked for the most narrow dimensions I could find. 17 inches in the most narrow I could find. Measure your car to see if that will fit. I found these two. I bought the cheaper one and its fine. Works well in my van where I needed to have three car seats in a row. I was worried about the lack of padding on it, but it doesn't seem to bother the kids. However, I only have the kids in the seat for short trips to the library, etc. The second seat is a little more pricey, but maybe more comfortable.


Keep your children rear facing as long as possible, well after they are a year old, MUCH safer. Look online you'll find videos of what happens front facing... MOST carseats are designed to be rear facing till about 100lbs. Drive safe.

Does the existing seat only fit in the center because that is where the LATCH hooks are located? If so, just know that you can also use the normal seatbelt to secure that seat without the LATCH hooks and it is just as, if not more, secure that way. Using the normal seatbelt would allow you to move the existing seat to one side, and install the new seat on the other side. Check the booklet that came with your carseat. It should give you information on installing the seat without LATCH restraint systems. Good luck!

I don't know about compacts, as I drive a mini van. Based on what I read of Natalie's response, I think the Sunshine Kids seat looks like a great investment for your needs. It will allow your baby so stay in 5pt harness to 80 lbs. That is FANTASTIC!

I don't know if you have a petite girl, or a tall well proportioned kid like mine. My kid had outgrown the 40 max convertable at 24 months. He was also 40" tall. A LOT of the forward facing seats only use 5pts to 40 lbs, then you are supposed to use "belt positioning" part of the booster. At TWO, I was not ready to trust him with a regular seatbelt. We bought a very large seat by Britax that uses 5pts to 80 lbs. I would in most cases recomend it to everyone, but with your limited space, it wouldn't work.

If the Sunshine Kids seat will fit in your car, I think the long term investment is WELL worth while for your child. If you want info on more seats, this site has every US available seat, approx $$, and weight limits. http://www.aap.org/family/carseatguide.htm

Wanted to add, I see a lot of people chiming in about "A car seat can fit anywhere in the back seat..." I know for us, when our son was born, and I had a Contour, we HAD to put him in the middle if anybody was going to be in the front seat. There just wasn't enough leg room left if he was on the passanger side, and Hubby COULDN'T fit in the driver seat if we put the baby behind him. So, I totally get how the baby needs to be in the middle.

Hope you find what you need!

Here is a video that caused me to wait on the front-facing car seat. Just something to think about....


Best wishes,


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