Best Child Car Seats for Tesla Model 3: Fitment & Safety Explained

By Zac Ludicrous •  Updated: 10/10/22 •  15 min read
To protect your child, you have to have the best equipment. Credit: YouTube/Motor Trend.

The Tesla Model 3 makes an excellent family car. And if you have to drive your kids around to day care or school or to run errands, having the best car seat is essential to ensure that your little one is safe while on the go.

When choosing one, there are many factors to consider, such overall performance, fabric, and crash tests.

Since there are so many options out there, we’ll first figure out whether your little one needs a car seat or a booster seat, as well as the safest attachment to use, and help you narrow down your list by naming brands that other Tesla owners love.

Let’s get to it.

Car Seats vs. Booster Seats: Is There a Difference? 

Yes, there’s a difference. A booster seat uses the seat belt in the car to securely fasten a child, whereas a car seat uses its five-point harness as a restraint.

Did you know that 46% of boosters and car seats are being used incorrectly? 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that 42% of children who were unrestrained died in car accidents in 2020.

This is why it’s crucial to use the proper car seat each time a child is in the car. The NHTSA even stated that 325 kids under the age of five are saved from car accidents each year, thanks to their car safety seats.

Types of Car Seat

So how would you know whether you should get a car seat or a booster seat? You have to be familiar with the different car seats while keeping in mind your child’s age, size, and weight, as well as the size of your Tesla.

Quick Summary: Our Top Picks for Child Car Seats for Tesla Model 3
IMAGEPRODUCT
Maxi-Cosi Pria™ All-in-1 Convertible Car Seat
  • Seat pad and harness covers are machine-washable
  • Uses GCell® for side impact protection
  • Convertible car seat that grows with your child up to 100 lbs (45 kg) in booster mode
VIEW ON AMAZON →
Extend2Fit
  • Car seat can be reclined in six different ways
  • Has an extension panel that increases legroom in the backward-facing position by 5 inches
  • The headrest and harness can be adjusted in a single action with the No-Rethread Simply Safe Adjust Harness
VIEW ON AMAZON →
Peg Perego Viaggio 2-3 Shuttle Plus
  • Backrest is reinforced with aluminum and inserts for absorbing impact shock
  • Can be installed with its 3-point seat belt and ISOFIX attachment points or the vehicle’s 3-point seat belt
  • Equipped with kinetic pods below the headrest to help direct forces away from your child in the event of a side crash
CHECK BEST PRICE →

1. Rear-Facing Car Seat

These are designed with a harness for children aged one and below. In the event of a collision, it will cradle and adjust your child to lessen the strain on their delicate neck and spine.

You can choose from convertible ones or rear-facing-only car seats. 

Convertible car seats allow your child to remain in a rear-facing position for a longer period of time because it has a higher weight and height limit.

Some children can ride in a rear-facing car seat until they are three years old or until they meet the manufacturer’s recommended maximum weight and height.

Additionally, you can get an all-in-one safety seat that has a harness and tether that can also be converted into a booster seat once your child is done with his or her toddler years.

This video shows a lot about using and installing a rear-facing car seat:

It’s best to keep your child in a rear-facing car seat position longer.

2. Forward-Facing Car Seat

The NHTSA recommends the forward-facing position for children who are one to seven years old as children can sometimes exceed the weight and height limit of their car seat earlier.

You can get a convertible car seat that can switch from rear- to forward-facing, or you can go for the combination or all-in-one seat. They can also change position with a harness and tether, but it doubles as a booster.

3. Booster Seat

As the name implies, it will raise your child’s seating position to a higher level so that the lap and shoulder belt in your car can correctly fit over their chest, hips, and stronger body parts.

In general, a child can ride in a booster seat with lesser risk if they are:

The NHTSA recommends booster seats for children between the ages of four and twelve, but some can start riding in cars and using the seat belts like adults as early as eight years old.

You should also know that there are types of booster seats.

A booster seat with a high back increases your child’s height while supporting their head and neck so that the seat belt fits properly. This works well in vehicles without high headrests or seatbacks.

Backless booster seats offer the same boost but lack head and neck support because they are best used in vehicles with headrests.

The same advice is made by both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

To be clear, they are not advising you to convert to a booster seat early. They advise using the harness-style seat provided in the manual until your child reaches the height or weight restriction specified in the instructions.

Watch the video below by The Baby Cubby to know when to switch, as recommended by a Child Passenger Safety (CPS) technician:

Most parents start with an infant-only car seat.

Keep scrolling for our product recommendations that will mostly cover car seats, but we’ll also mention one booster seat that you can add to cart.

Isofix vs. Latch vs. Seat Belt: What’s the Safest Attachment? 

Per the Tesla Model 3 Owner’s Manual:

ISOFIX (International Standards Organisation Fix) is the international standard for attachment points for child safety seats in passenger cars. The system has other regional names, including LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) in the United States and LUAS (Lower Universal Anchorage System) or Canfix in Canada. It has also been called the “Universal Child Safety Seat System or UCSSS.”

Despite the similarities between ISOFIX and LATCH, they have small, subtle distinctions.

The ISOFIX attachment mechanisms are two metal anchor points that are connected by robust, rigid claw-like extenders. Additionally, it uses a tether behind the back seat and has two anchor points at the bottom.

The connectors for LATCH are open clips fastened to a strap. It uses a tether behind the back seat and two anchor points at the bottom.

This video by TeslaManuals is basically the Model 3 manual, so it’s worth checking out.

Skip to 2:42 to see how the seat belt attachment is used and to 3:20 for LATCH.

So which of these three attachments is the safest? 

All of them, assuming that the car seats are properly and securely fastened. Don’t forget to adhere to the safety guidelines specified by the car seat and vehicle manufacturers, such as the weight restriction.

So basically, there’s no safety difference between seat belts, LATCH, and ISOFIX under the right conditions.

These attachment systems were designed to make it simpler for parents to correctly install car seats. Consider it a surefire method to make sure they are put properly.

If you noticed on the Model 3 manual, Tesla offers two installation methods: belt-based restraint and ISOFIX/LATCH. They didn’t actually say that one is better than the other.

So you can use any attachment suggested for your child’s age and the particular car seat as long as you follow the rules and restrictions for both your EV and the safety seat.

Does Tesla Model 3 Have ISOFIX Points?

Yes, the Tesla Model 3’s rear outboard seats have ISOFIX or i-Size anchor bars. You can find them between the seat’s backrest and cushion. A marker on the rear seat directly above the anchor bars shows the location of each anchor bar.

Even YouTuber Bjorn Nyland praises the Tesla Model 3’s spacious interior and roomy seats.

In this video, he did a safety seat and baby stroller test to show that the Model 3 is a great family car:

At 5:19, he showed where the ISOFIX points are and how to attach a car seat’s ISOFIX base.

Is It Safe to Use Seat Belts or Seat Belt Extenders Exclusively?

The original target market for seat belt extenders was overweight teenagers and adults who have problems buckling up because the seat belt in the automobile is too short to fit across their body. People with mobility problems may also use it. However, they shouldn’t be used exclusively with booster seats and car seats.

An unfortunate example is of a six-year-old boy from Tennessee who suffered severe brain trauma when the seat belt extender holding his booster seat in place failed.

As we previously stated, it’s better to use a car seat that has a five-point harness and is secured via LATCH or ISOFIX for a longer period of time. If it’s tight enough, seat belt–restrained car seats and boosters will also function well.

However, it’s not worth the danger to use an extender to make buckling your little one easier. Using one could have detrimental safety effects by causing the seat belt to sit off-center or ride too high on the abdomen.

This guy from Mobility Engineering tells us that the only time that someone should wear a seat belt extender is if the car’s own seat belt is not long enough. He even specified the possible injuries it can cause.

The fine print on a booster seat warns against using a seat belt extender.

Best Car Seat for Tesla Model 3 Overall: Maxi-Cosi Pria™ All-in-1 Convertible Car Seat

This Maxi-Cosi car seat is the best in my opinion because it’s not only a Tesla-recommended brand but also an Amazon Choice. It makes sense since it provides your child with safety and comfort from their very first journey until they’re old enough to ride in your Model 3 on their own.

As parents, we want to give what’s best for our child while making the most of what we spend. Because of its three-position recline and suitability for infants and children up to the age of 10 (or up to 45 kg / 100 lbs), the Pria is well worth the price. Your money won’t go to waste just because of growth spurts.

Although it’s quite bulky, you’ll love this convertible car seat’s comfortable and machine-washable harness covers and seat pad, as well as the cushioned headrest with GCell® to protect your kiddo from side impact protection.

One mom even gave a review, saying,

Exactly what I needed to transition my baby to a bigger seat, super easy to adjust and rotate front to back and very comfortable.

This specific product uses the LATCH attachment system. But if you’re looking for a good Maxi-Cosi convertible car seat that has ISOFIX, check out the Pearl 360 on their website.

Suitable For:

✅ All Tesla models

Pros

✅ Seat pad and harness covers are machine-washable
✅ Uses GCell® for side impact protection
✅ Convertible car seat that grows with your child up to 100 lbs (45 kg) in booster mode

Cons

❌ Bulky

Runner-Up Tesla Model 3 Child Seat: Graco Extend2Fit 3-in-1 Car Seat

Graco is a popular brand for strollers, cribs, car seats, and more. If you don’t believe me, I think the 66,000+ people who reviewed this three-in-one car seat can persuade you.

I mentioned above that it’s best to keep your little one in a rear-facing position longer. The Graco Extend2Fit will do just that, thanks to its extension panel, which can add up to five inches of additional rear-facing legroom.

There are even six different ways to recline it to ensure that your child gets cozy and comfy during trips.

Once your kiddo reaches 50 lbs (23 kg), then it’s time to turn the car seat into a forward-facing position and, eventually, into a high-back booster that can handle up to 100 lbs (45 kg).

If you need to adjust the harness and headrest, you can do so in one move, thanks to the No-Rethread Simply Safe Adjust Harness.

Another priority for parents when choosing a car seat is that you can just remove the covers and throw them in the wash. But others said that it’s easier said than done.

Suitable For:

✅ All Tesla models

Pros

✅ Car seat can be reclined in six different ways
✅ Has an extension panel that increases legroom in the backward-facing position by 5 inches
✅ The headrest and harness can be adjusted in a single action with the No-Rethread Simply Safe Adjust Harness

Cons

❌ Some say the cover is not easy to remove

Notable Mention

While I was reviewing different car seats that can be used for years, one of the products that often pops up is Diono.

This Tesla Model 3 owner originally owned a Graco and decided to upgrade to a Diono 3RXT.

Check out this video by Tesla Family Channel to see if Diono, another well-known brand, is something you’d prefer. He even did a side-by-side comparison with their old Graco car seat to help you with your decision.

On Amazon, this product has more than 2,000 ratings, and one of the reviews said,

These seats look and feel like an upgrade from any other car seat. They are classy and sturdy with a feel of old school construction. Even their weight lets you know that your most precious cargo is safe.

Kathy

Best Booster Seat for Tesla Model 3: Peg Perego Viaggio 2-3 Shuttle Plus

If you merely need a booster seat, it’s better to use Peg Perego’s Viaggio 2-3 Shuttle Plus, which is what your Tesla manual suggests for seating bigger kids. Alternatively, if you only need the base, take the Viaggio 2-3 Shuttle.

This booster seat is suitable and approved for kids between the age of 3 and 12 or up to a weight of 79 lbs (36 kg).

It features a contemporary appearance, plush armrests, a cup holder you can set on whatever side you like, and an adjustable headrest (five positions). Even with or without the backrest, you can use it.

It offers adjustable side impact protection (ASIP) and has reinforced backrest and kinetic pods to protect your child’s head and neck in case of a side collision. These may make the car seat seem edgy instead of comfy, but it keeps your little one safe.

Let’s not forget the Surefix base with ISOFIX attachments for steady cornering. But you can also install this car seat using your vehicle’s three-point seat belt.

For bigger kids, a similar product, the Peg Perego Viaggio Shuttle Plus 120, can support up to 120 lbs of weight (54 kg) and a maximum height of 63 inches (127 cm).

A dad who liked the Peg Perego Viaggio 2-3 Shuttle Plus bought a second booster seat so that he and his wife would each have one in each of their cars for their daughter who’s “taller than the typical five-year-old.”

Suitable For:

✅ All Tesla models

Pros

✅ Backrest is reinforced with aluminum and inserts for absorbing impact shock
✅ Can be installed with its 3-point seat belt and ISOFIX attachment points or the vehicle’s 3-point seat belt
✅ Equipped with kinetic pods below the headrest to help direct forces away from your child in the event of a side crash

Cons

❌ Some parts of the car seat may look uncomfortable

Frequent Buyer Concerns

Can you fit 3 car seats in a Tesla Model 3?

Elon Musk replied to a tweet, saying that you can fit three car seats if you get the slim type. But many Tesla owners use three car seats, even the bulky ones, in their Tesla Model 3.

Just like Cody of CfTesla who showed how he fits three car seats in his Model 3. He even shared how he keeps his car from messes by using seat covers, mats, and back seat protectors.

This thorough demonstration from a Model 3 owner says it all.

Which age is perfect for moving into a booster seat?

The age four to eight is okay, but some parents allow their children to use a booster seat even before they turn four or after they turn eight. 

Even though the manufacturer of the car seat and your vehicle has recommended ages and weights, it will still depend on the age and weight of your child because not all children weigh the same at a certain age.

Can you put a car seat in the middle seat of a Tesla?

Yes, kids can use a rear-facing, forward-facing, or LATCH restraint system in the second row center seat of a Tesla.

Final Thoughts

The best car seat for a Tesla Model 3 is one that can provide safety and is worth the price because you can use it for a long time.

That’s why I recommended products or brands (which Tesla also recommends) that are ideal for both infants and older kids.

Both the Maxi-Cosi and Graco car seats are well-liked and fantastic, especially since they’re the complete package.

When looking for a car seat, it’s crucial that you adhere to the restrictions provided by the manufacturer of the product and your vehicle, regardless of the brand, product, or attachment you see online. The most important step is to make sure the car seat or booster seat is placed properly and securely.

Additionally, make sure you’re up-to-date about the local state regulations regarding child passenger safety.

Zac Ludicrous

Mechanical engineer by profession. TSLA shareholder before the hype. EV enthusiast all day long. Zac enjoys learning about the future of battery technology, autonomy, and EVs. He considers Tesla Model 3 the most important vehicle of the 21st century -- and is in a quest to improve the ownership experience of every Model 3 owner he possibly can.

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