Are you driving carpool this year and wondering how you are going to fit 3 boosters across the back of your car? Trying to fit multiple car seats & boosters can be a challenge – even in a big vehicle like a minivan. Wondering which booster is the narrowest?
The Bubble Bum is the narrowest of all at just 12.5 inches – and also has no arm rests (which are the parts that tend to interfere most with placing a booster next to another car seat or booster). The Bubble Bum is an inflatable booster that passes the US and European crash tests required of all boosters – not only that, it passes the crash tests in the inflated AND deflated states – so should the worst case scenario happen (the booster deflates) it will still work to keep your child safe.
The Harmony Cruz / Carpooler (same seat) is the next narrowest – it is just 9.5 inches at the narrowest part and 17 inches at its widest – but it is narrow where it most counts, so tends to fit well next to other seats. If you need a high back booster (especially if the vehicle seat back does not come up to support to at least the top of the child’s ears), the V6 is the high back version of the Cruz/Carpooler.
If you need a narrow high back booster for the center seat (with a back that is rigid… so it does not require the vehicle seat back to support up to the top of the child’s ears – making it great for center seats that do not have a head rest) the Maxi Cosi RodiFix is an excellent option. Due to the absence of arm rests, it is also easier to get a child buckled in/out than with other boosters.
Before you rush to buy a booster for carpool…
If you can check “Yes” to all the statements below, your child is okay to use a booster:
[ ] [ ] There is a shoulder AND lap belt where the child sits (boosters need shoulder belts)
[ ] [ ] The child is at least 40 pounds (kids under 40 pounds are safer in a 5-point harness)
[ ] [ ] The child is at least 4 years old
[ ] [ ] The child can sit properly the entire trip without leaning forward, slouching, sitting on their knees, playing with the shoulder belt, etc
Are you having trouble getting your hand in to buckle/unbuckle the booster?
Do you need something EVEN NARROWER?
One option would be to use a 5-point harness car seat with a high-weight-harness (a harness that accommodates kids who weigh more than 40 pounds) – of which there are MANY.
- The boosters shown above, except the RodiFix & V6, are BACKLESS boosters. In order to use a backless booster, or the Ride Safer Travel Vest, or the Harmony V6 (as the back is not rigid) you need to make sure that 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.