We love baby products that pull double duty and grow with our kids, which is why convertible car seats have become a sensible pick for parents looking to maximize the use of every item. Squeezing these bad boys in a tiny vehicle, however, can prove challenging. Here are our favorite slim-profile convertible car seats that go from rear to forward-facing without batting an eye (and without taking over your whole backseat!).
We love the weight span, high-tech safety features and the ease of adjustments, but the wide headrest presents a challenge when rear-facing in the middle of cars that have front chairs close together, or when forward-facing next to another toddler. We recommend this as a long-lasting seat for parents planning to have no more than 2 children in car seats at once.
The Scenera is extremely light with minimal padding. While it's lacking some extras and easy installation features, its low price and thin headrest area (an almost uniform 17-inch width from base to top) make it a versatile seat ideal for a second car or travel. As one of the few convertible seats to snag an “excellent” crash test rating from Consumer Reports, this is an obvious choice for safety on a budget.
A long-time parent fave, the Marathon comes in at 18.5 inches wide. Not the thinnest around, but this one excels in plush padding, added features and compact depth. It's easy for rear-facing in smaller vehicles, taking up less space than many infant-only seats. The no-rethread harness makes it really easy to adjust as baby grows, from 5 to 70 pounds.
By far the most compact and lightweight convertible we’ve seen, the Coccoro is perfect for parents needing to fit three car seats in back without losing any legroom up front. These come in rad pastel colors and they’re easy to transport at just 11.5 pounds, but kids will need to move up to a different seat at 40 pounds.
With a steel alloy frame and reinforced side walls, Diono’s seats are synonymous with top-of-the-line safety. This hefty convertible takes up a bit of space front-to-back when rear-facing, but it’s thin enough that the top easily fits between two front seats without impeding driver or passenger (and the back middle IS the safest spot for baby). We love its thin 17-inch profile, foldability and SuperLATCH for easy transport and longevity on up to 120 pounds.
This basic car seat is a budget-friendly option without any bells or whistles. Minimal padding means it isn’t ideal for long-rides with fussy babies, but it’s lightweight, easy to install and easy to get the little ones in and out of. Fits 5- to 40-pound children.
Just 13 inches wide at the base and 17 inches at its widest point, the Foonf boasts an impressively small footprint both rear- and forward-facing. Eco-lovers will enjoy the fact that it’s 100 percent recyclable. It wins major safety points and fits kids from 14 to 65 pounds, but it packs a hefty price tag.