If you have 3 children under the age of 12, there’s one challenge you’re probably familiar with. How do you fit all their car seats on to the back seat of the family car?


Whether you are the proud parent of triplets or have three children of different ages to accommodate, it’s important to find a way they can all fit in so they are safe and comfortable.

Best car seats which fit 3 in a row at a glance

  • Best for lightweight carrying: Joie Juva, £55
  • Best for easy installation: Nuna PIPA urbn, £300
  • Best for keeping baby cool: Uppababy Mesa i-size, £199.99
  • Best for safety: Jané Gravity i-size, £249.95
  • Best for versatility: Britax Dualfix Plus, £329.90
  • Best for naps while travelling: Joie Baby Steadi, £130
  • Best for portability: RyRy Scallop, £349
  • Best for older children: Britax Romer Discovery Plus 2, £139
  • Best for side impact protection: Graco Assure highback booster, £70
  • Best for smaller cars: Multimac Superclub Junior, £1,699

How easy is it to fit 3 car seats in a row?

While many larger families might be tempted to upgrade their car to a 7 seater, which has extra rows in the back, it is possible to fit three child’s car seats across a standard back seat in some cars. However, you do need to pick your car seats wisely – going for whichever seat takes your fancy without checking the width probably isn’t going to work. So pick a slim seat that won’t take up too much space, and check both the width of the car seat, and your vehicle's seat, before making a purchase.

There are some smaller cars that are just not designed for 3 people to sit comfortably on the back seat (even without needing car seats). The best vehicles for fitting 3 car seats in the back are cars that have 3 full-size seats – many have a slimmer space in the centre that is not as wide the two outer seats.

The best-selling new car in 2023, according to Auto Express, is the Ford Puma, which has a back seat width of 132cm, allowing for 44cm per person. And the average space in the back seat of a typical family hatchback like a Vauxhall Astra or Skoda Octavia is between 142cm and 145cm.

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The back seat width is a tricky measurement to get hold of online so the best (and quickest) way to check how much space you have in your car is likely to be to measure it yourself.

To maximise your chances of being able to fit 3 seats in a row, we’ve found the best narrow car seats on the market. All the slim seats on our list have a width of 44cm or less so they can comfortably fit in most average family cars. You'll also need to consider whether the 3 seats all have ISOFIX points (see our guidance on installation below).

What’s the widest part of a child’s car seat?

It's worth remembering that in terms of size, the widest part of an infant car seat you carry in and out of the vehicle is where the handle attaches to the seat. However, car seats for older children are usually widest at the top where side impact protection (SIP) has been added – particularly seats that meet the newer R129 standard, which have added additional protection and support for the head and neck.

At the moment, it is legal to use both older R44-standard and R129-standard car seats in the UK, but products which meet the older standard are likely to be phased out completely in the future. (Car seat laws vary by country, see our breakdown of the rules abroad).

What are the best cars for 3 car seats?

Cars with a wide back seat, preferably with 3 full-size seats, are the easiest option if you want to fit 3 car seats in a side-by-side position. If you have 3 children, you may prefer to invest in a 7-seater car where the seats are split across 3 rows with 2 in the back.

However, this article is designed to help parents who want to sit three children together in a row in their vehicle’s back seat. Popular 5-seater family cars which feature 3 full-size adult seats in the back include the Citroen C4 Picasso, Renault Scenic, Citroen C5 Aircross, Land Rover Discovery, Skoda Superb and Ford Mondeo.

But note that not all cars with 3 full-size seats will come with ISOFIX points on all of them. Many family cars will only have ISOFIX points on the 2 outer seats and not in the central one.

And not all cars advertised as having 3 ISOFIX points have them all along the back seat, so make sure you check this if you are buying a new vehicle. Some cars, like the Audi Q5 and Audi A3, come with 3 ISOFIX points but one of them is on the front passenger seat.

Cars that do include 3 ISOFIX points along the back seat include the Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport, Citroen C4 Picasso and Peugeot 308 SW. Check out our list of cars which have three ISOFIX points across one row to find more.

How do I install 3 seats in a row in my car?

This depends on the installation method for that car seat.

  • If your car has 3 ISOFIX points and the seats you are using are compatible, you can use them to install your seats in a row.
  • Another way of fitting car seats, depending on the model, is using the vehicle's seatbelt. The seat will usually include a belt guide, which you feed the seat belt through to secure it in place. You will need to check that the seats don’t cover the seatbelt receiver in a way that makes it inaccessible.
  • Only ever use 3-point seatbelts to install car seats. Very few cars in the UK come with lap belts now, although they are still legal, but they are not suitable for installing a child’s car seat.

Some car seats that use ISOFIX have built-in connectors that clip straight on to the car’s points. However, others will need to use a special base, which you may have to buy separately.

Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when it comes to installing a car seat. And if you’re in any doubt about fitting a car seat, we recommend you get it fitted by a trained car seat installation advisor (appointed by the manufacturer) if you can.

Here are the best car seats if you need to fit 3 in a row

1. Joie Juva, £55

Best for lightweight carrying

Joie Juva car seat product shot

Width: 41cm | Age suitability: Birth to 12 months | Seat weight: 3.1kg | Installation: ISOFIX with base or seatbelt | Safety standard: R44 | Rear facing: Yes to 13kg

The Joie Juva is the slimmest car seat for babies on the market right now. At just 41cm, you should have plenty of wiggle room to squeeze three of them together on a typical backseat. It is an older product than most of the seats on this list and complies with the R44 safety standard rather than the newer R129, but it does have side impact protection.

As well as being narrow, the Joie Juva is very lightweight and weighs just 3.1kg. This means it is easy to carry your baby in and out of the car and lift it on and off a travel system (it fits on to the Joie Muze and Mira pushchairs without the need for any adapters). It is even certified for use on aircraft so you can take it on a plane if you would rather your baby travel in a seat of their own.

As it is designed for babies up to 13kg, you are likely to get only 12 months of use out of the Juva. But at £55, it is very affordable for an infant car seat. Just bear in mind it will need to be replaced once your baby becomes a toddler.

Pros: Narrow and lightweight

Cons: Doesn’t meet R129 standard

Available from: Joie, Boots and Argos

2. Nuna PIPA Urbn, £300

Best for easy installation

Nuna Pipa URBN car seat with ISOfix connectors

Width: 43.5cm | Age suitability: Birth to 15 months | Seat weight: 3.3kg (without canopy and insert) | Installation: ISOFIX with integrated connectors or seatbelt| Safety standard: R129 | Rear facing: Yes until 15 months

The most groundbreaking feature of the Nuna PIPA Urbn is that it has in-built connectors which clip directly on to your vehicle’s ISOFIX points. With no chunky bases to worry about, this makes it an ideal car seat for fitting 3 across, especially if your car has 3 ISOFIX points on its back seat, although it can also be installed using the seatbelt. The quick and easy baseless installation and one-handed release also mean it is simple to use in other people’s cars, and even in taxis.

Another great plus point to the PIPA Urbn is that it is lightweight and easy to carry. Compatible with all Nuna pushchairs, it comes with a removable UPF 50+ canopy and the Dream Drape, which pulls down to offer a quiet, dark space for your baby when they are napping.

The PIPA Urbn does come with a premium price tag, but this is reflected in its stylish appearance and luxury materials. It has a luxe leatherette handle and the headrest and body insert contains Merino wool.

Pros: Fuss-free installation
Cons: High price tag

Read our full MadeForMums Nuna PIPA Urbn car seat review

Available from: Nuna Baby, Boots and John Lewis

3. Uppababy Mesa i-size, £199.99

Best for keeping baby cool

UPPAbaby Mesa i-Size tester picture

Width: 43cm | Age suitability: Birth to 14 months | Seat weight: 4.3kg | Installation: ISOFIX with base or seatbelt | Safety standard: R129 | Rear facing: Yes to 78cm

One of the things we love most about this seat is its built-in ventilation, made of perforated holes, breathable mesh and EPP foam, designed to prevent your little one getting too hot while travelling. It also comes with an extra-large integrated canopy with UPF 25+ protection to keep your baby shaded and out of the sun.

With the width of 43cm, the Uppababy Mesa i-size is one of the slimmest car seats on the market, increasing your chances of being able to fit it in as part of a 3-in-a-row set up. If you want to install it with ISOFIX, you will need to invest in a Mesa i-size base, which has an electronic indicator to show when the seat is in correctly. You can fit it using your car’s seatbelt, however. MadeforMums parent tester Katie described removing the car seat from the base as “breathtakingly simple” and loved that she only had to press a button and lift to take it out of her vehicle.

For newborn babies and infants measuring at less than 60cm, you can use the included insert to make sure they don’t get lost in the seat and are positioned correctly. One downside with the Mesa i-size is that it might not last as long as other seats if you have a long or chunky baby as it has only been safety tested for infants up to 78cm or 13kg.

Pros: Built-in ventilation, narrow width
Cons: Only suitable for younger babies

Available from: Fenwick, John Lewis and Boots

Read our full MadeforMums review of the Uppababy Mesa i-size

4. Jané Gravity i-size, £249.95

Best for safety

Jané Gravity i-size

Width: 44cm | Age suitability: Birth to 4 years | Seat weight: 15kg | Installation: ISOFIX | Safety standard: R129 | Rear facing: Yes to 105cm

If you like the idea of keeping your baby rear-facing past 15 months, the Jané Gravity could be the right choice for you. With an attached ISOFIX base and a seat that rotates in a full circle, you can choose when you want to make the move to forward facing so long as your baby is at least 76cm long. However, the Spanish car seat manufacturer recommends that the rear-facing position is used for as long as possible for safety reasons.

The rotating seat makes it easier for you to put your little one in the car but be aware that you will lose this advantage if it is in the middle position on your back seat. The Jané Gravity can be used from birth but it isn’t a lightweight seat you can carry in and out of your car or clip on to a travel system.

The seat’s headrest can be adjusted into 5 positions so it adapts as your child grows. There is also a fitted cushion insert to make sure your little one’s back is in the right position. And with 4 recline options, all of which can be used both rear and forward-facing, the Gravity is versatile as well as safety-conscious.

Pros: Rotation offers choice and easy access
Cons: Seat is too heavy to lift in and out regularly

Available from: Johnston Prams, Winstanleys Pramworld and Baby Planet

5. Britax Dualfix Plus, £329.90

Best for versatility

Britax Dualfix Plus car seat

Width: 43.5cm | Age suitability: Birth to 4 years | Seat weight: 12.5kg | Installation: ISOFIX | Safety standard: R129 | Rear facing: Yes to 105cm

One of the things we loved most about this seat is that it rotates at the push of a button. Not only does this make it easier to manoeuvre your little one into it, but switching between rear-facing and forward-facing is a doddle. The seat is designed to be used in the rear-facing position until your baby is 76cm and after that you can have them facing either way (although rear-facing is considered the safest position by car seat experts). Designed to give your little one as much leg room as possible in the rear-facing position, the seat also has padded side wings for extra protection.

Unlike the similar Dualfix M Plus, which is only suitable from 3 months plus, this model is safe to use from birth. It comes with a newborn insert to make it more comfortable and supportive for young babies with energy-absorbing foam pads. This insert also makes sure your baby is in a flatter position, which is safer for newborns, helping keep their airways open and promoting the healthy development of their hips and spine.

Like the Jané Gravity, the Britax Dualfix Plus needs ISOFIX points to be installed in your car and can’t be fitted with simply a seatbelt. This means that if you need 3 of these seats for triplets or children of a similar age, you’ll need to make sure your car has enough ISOFIX points along the back seat – many cars only have them on the two outer seats.

Pros: Rotates at push of button
Cons: Can only be used on seats with ISOFIX points

Available from: Britax and Amazon

6. Joie Baby Steadi R129, £130

Best for naps while travelling

Joie Baby Steadi R129 Car Seat

Width: 43cm | Age suitability: Birth to 4 years | Seat weight: 7.8kg | Installation: Seatbelt | Safety standard: R129 | Rear facing: Yes to 105cm

If you’re looking for an extended rear-facing car seat to go in a position that doesn’t have ISOFIX points, the Joie Baby Steadi could be the right choice for you. Unlike the Jané Gravity and the Britax Dualfix Plus, which can only be used with ISOFIX, this seat is installed using the car’s seatbelt and offers great value for money.

At 43cm, it is narrow enough that it will probably fit in the awkward middle back seat, which often doesn’t have its own ISOFIX point. And the installation isn’t as fiddly as you might think. The seat has a wide opening at the back which you feed the belt through and dual lock-off clips to hold it tightly in place.

At 7.8kg, it is also lighter than most R129-compliant extended rear-facing options. This means you could potentially bring it out of the car if your baby falls asleep, but you will probably want to leave it installed in your vehicle most of the time.

The feature we love most about the Steadi is that it has 4 recline positions, 3 which can be used when the seat is forward-facing and one when it is rear-facing. This is a godsend if your baby or toddler likes to fall asleep on long journeys and helps prevent them slumping forwards during a nap. Other plus points include the washable covers and memory foam headrest, which offers your little one both comfort and protection.

Pros: 4 recline options
Cons: Relies on seatbelt installation

Available from: John Lewis and Argos

7. RyRy Scallop, £349

Best for portability

RyRy Scallop car seat tester picture and product shot

Width: 40cm | Age suitability: 15 months to 4 years | Seat weight: 9kg | Installation: ISOFIX and seatbelt| Safety standard: R129 | Rear facing: No

The RyRy Scallop is the narrowest booster seat on our list and the slimmest car seat altogether with a width of just 40cm. Compact and portable, this is a toddler car seat you can fold up and take with you on your travels – it will even be allowed on a plane as hand luggage. At 9kg, you won’t want to carry it far but it is certainly a good option if you need a seat that can be used in taxis, on holiday and in other people’s cars as well as your own.

It has in-built ISOFIX connectors so you don’t need to worry about a separate base and once it is clicked in place, you need to either use the seatbelt or secure it with the top tether. MadeforMums group editor Gemma, who tried the seat out with her 2 year old (Myles, pictured above), did find the installation a little fiddly at first but soon got the hang of it.

A forward-facing high-back booster, the RyRy Scallop is suitable for children from 15 months up until the age of 4 or when they reach 105cm. At almost £350, it does have a high price point but if you need a narrow seat and the portability appeals to you, you might consider it a worthwhile investment.

Pros: Portable and super slim
Cons: Fiddly to install at first, expensive

Available from: Kiddies Kingdom, Pramworld and Natural Baby Shower

Read our full MadeforMums review of the RyRy Scallop

8. Britax Romer Discovery Plus 2, £139

Best for older children

Britax Romer Discovery Plus 2 car seat

Width: 44cm | Age suitability: 3.5 to 12 years | Seat weight: 5.9kg | Installation: ISOFIX and seatbelt| Safety standard: R129 | Rear facing: No

This lightweight, simple high-back booster is the latest version of the Discovery Plus by Britax and has been updated to meet the new i-Size standard and R129 regulations. At 44cm, it is not the slimmest car seat on our list but it is a lot narrower than many of the R129 seats on the market for older children. Britax also advertises it as a seat that will fit 3 in a row in a wide variety of vehicles.

The height can be adjusted from 63cm to 83cm with a movable ergonomic headrest, giving your child room to grow. It should last them until they no longer need a car seat. The backrest is also adjustable so you can change it to fit the angle of your car’s back seat, giving you a closer fit and making it more comfortable for your child.

Suitable for when your child is up to 150cm tall, this seat has a long lifespan, so it is just as well the seat cover is removable and can be popped in the washing machine if it gets mucky. We also liked the fact the seat’s ISOFIX connectors operate independently of each other, making it easier and quicker to install.

Pros: Easy to install and adjust
Cons: Not the slimmest car seat

Available from: Britax, Kiddies Kingdom and Argos

9. Graco Assure highback booster, £70

Best for side impact protection

Graco Assure highback booster car seat

Width: 42cm | Age suitability: 4 to 12 years | Seat weight: 4.06kg | Installation: Seatbelt | Safety standard: R44 | Rear facing: No

The Graco Assure has been around for years but is still widely sold and popular with parents. Slim, lightweight and simple, this high-back booster seat simply goes on to your back seat and is secured in position with the seatbelt. A no-frills option, the Assure has an affordable price tag and as the seat weighs a little over 4kg, you can easily take it in and out of vehicles. This makes it a great option for using in taxis or cars belonging to friends and family.

As an older seat, it doesn’t comply with the latest R129 safety regulations and some parents will feel uncomfortable with the fact there are no ISOFIX connectors. However, its narrow design – it is just 42cm wide – could prove to be a major selling point if you are pushed for space on the back seat and need something that will easily slot in, especially in the tricky middle position.

The Assure can be used from the age of 4 right up to 12 and the headrest can be easily adjusted using just one hand as your child gets taller. There are also two handy cupholders that fold away when you’re not using them. Although it is a R44-standard seat, it still offers side impact protection, and the safety cushions that wrap around your child as part of Graco’s Safety Surround technology contain energy-absorbing foam.

Pros: Affordable and simple
Cons: Older design, no ISOFIX option

Available from: Graco, Boots and Halfords

10. Multimac Superclub Junior, £1,699

Best for smaller cars

Multimac Superclub Junior

Width: 114cm in total (2x 35cm seats and 1x 40cm seat) | Age suitability: Birth to 12 years (children under 18 months will also need the Minimac car seat) | Seat weight: 36kg | Installation: Secured using tether straps (should be done by mechanic) | Safety standard: R44/04 | Rear facing: No (unless using Minimac seat in addition)

The Multimac Superclub Junior is a game changer if you have a smaller car that won’t accommodate three car seats in a row. Although it is an expensive option at £1,699, it may still work out considerably cheaper than upgrading to a large family car or 7 seater. What is so innovative about this product is that it fits over the top of your existing seats, giving you three forward-facing child’s seats with five-point harnesses.

The Superclub Junior is Multimac’s slimmest model, although there are wider versions and even 4-in-a-row solutions for larger families. The seats need to be secured into your car by connecting two tether straps to the existing seat belt mounting points on the floor of your car. Multimac recommends installation is done by a mechanic, although the change is not permanent and the seats can be removed to return your vehicle to its original state.

The 3 seats included in the Superclub Junior are all designed for children who are old enough to face forwards safely. But don’t worry if you have a baby to accommodate. Multimac sells a compatible rear-facing infant car seat called the Minimac, which weighs 9kg and can fit in all 3 of the seats on the Superclub Junior.

Pros: Allows 3 in a row in smaller cars
Cons: Expensive, requires mechanic to install

Available from: Multimac

Read the full MadeforMums review of the Multimac Child Car Seat


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Catherine Ball is a freelance journalist who specialises in writing about parenting and health. She has been a journalist for 20 years, writing for a wide range of regional and national publications.