Parenting

These High-Rated Toddler Car Seats Will Keep Your Baby Safe Through The Years

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The best baby and toddler car seats keep your little one safe and comfy so everyone’s happy. Whether you’re searching for an infant to toddler car seat, a convertible toddler booster seat, or a portable travel seat that can go from one car to another, we’ve got you covered. But first thing’s first: A safe car seat is one of — if not the — most important items you will add to your baby registry. (As difficult as it may be to resist, the trick to this major purchase is to not get too caught up in the Pinterest-perfect aesthetic like you might with a baby carrier or diaper bag.) At the end of the day, the number one purpose of a car seat is to protect your precious cargo, and you (typically) always get what you pay for. But while safety comes first, comfort comes at a close second (because if Baby isn’t comfortable, trust us, you won’t be either). Once those must-haves are met, it’s up to you to decide what features you feel are necessary for both your baby’s safety and your family’s lifestyle.

What is the safest car seat on the market?

“Car seats are regulated by the federal government. They all meet the same safety regulations,” says professional baby planner and baby gear expert, Abby Kalter. Kalter is the founder of Prepping for Peanut, a baby prep concierge that helps expectant families find the right baby products for them. She knows the ins and outs of all baby gear, including car seats.

“It’s worth paying attention to companies who publish their own crash testing results and incorporate extra safety features like load legs, anti-rebound bars, easier installs, and flame-retardant free,” Kalter explains. “60% of seats aren’t used or installed properly so ease of use features are important here.”

Kalter also recommends that parents have a Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST) inspect their car seat and review proper harnessing. “No, the nurses at the hospital and the fire department can’t do this for you,” she adds.

She also notes that the least important feature in a car seat is cup holders, so feel free to skip that feature and focus on the others.

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Whether you’re looking for an infant car seat that’s stroller-compatible, a convertible car seat that transitions for toddlers and bigger kids, one with easy-wash car seat covers, or just a simple booster. Perhaps you’d rather stick to reputable brands like Britax, Graco, Evenflo, and Chicco. In any case, scroll on, because we’ve got you covered. It’s not an easy decision to make, but to help spare you some research, we’ve listed 12 of the best car seats on the market. Check out our top picks!

Best Baby & Toddler Car Seats

Best Toddler Booster Car Seats

Chicco NextFit Max ClearTex Convertible Car Seat

Oh Chicco, you never let us down. As if we didn’t love the safe, affordable brand enough, Chicco now has a ClearTex line that features GREENGUARD Gold Certified fabrics with no added chemicals, meaning safety for Baby all-around. One of the models in this greener line is the NextFit Max, a convertible car seat that’s suitable for passengers up to 65 pounds. It transitions from rear-facing to front-facing positions to grow with your child (it accommodates 9 positions in all) and features head and torso protection, energy-absorbing foam, and extra legroom (because comfort is not to be underrated). It’s also easy to install and can be adjusted with just one hand.Though this product is newer to the Chicco family, it’s already amassed over 2,200 reviews and a near-perfect rating on Amazon. One dad says they initially bought a different brand car seat that had “cute colors” and was $100 cheaper, but it was difficult to use and left their toddler feeling cramped. So, they bought the Chicco NextFit Max ClearTex, and it was a worthy upgrade for their family. “I was amazed at how easy it was to install — it took literally seconds, no instructions required,” he explains. “With nine levels of adjustment, the seat has a bubble level to verify that it falls within recommended tolerances — no level line needed. My daughter sat comfortably rear-facing without having to fold her legs, and the straps were easy to tighten and loosen. […] The Chicco’s easy installation, multiple configurations, along with a moveable cup holder and three storage compartments, make it the winner by far, and worth the extra expense.”

$279.99

Best Portable Baby & Toddler Car Seats

SHOP THE STORY

Chicco NextFit Max ClearTex Convertible Car Seat

Oh Chicco, you never let us down. As if we didn’t love the safe, affordable brand enough, Chicco now has a ClearTex line that features GREENGUARD Gold Certified fabrics with no added chemicals, meaning safety for Baby all-around. One of the models in this greener line is the NextFit Max, a convertible car seat that’s suitable for passengers up to 65 pounds. It transitions from rear-facing to front-facing positions to grow with your child (it accommodates 9 positions in all) and features head and torso protection, energy-absorbing foam, and extra legroom (because comfort is not to be underrated). It’s also easy to install and can be adjusted with just one hand. Though this product is newer to the Chicco family, it’s already amassed over 2,200 reviews and a near-perfect rating on Amazon. One dad says they initially bought a different brand car seat that had “cute colors” and was $100 cheaper, but it was difficult to use and left their toddler feeling cramped. So, they bought the Chicco NextFit Max ClearTex, and it was a worthy upgrade for their family. “I was amazed at how easy it was to install — it took literally seconds, no instructions required,” he explains. “With nine levels of adjustment, the seat has a bubble level to verify that it falls within recommended tolerances — no level line needed. My daughter sat comfortably rear-facing without having to fold her legs, and the straps were easy to tighten and loosen. […] The Chicco’s easy installation, multiple configurations, along with a moveable cup holder and three storage compartments, make it the winner by far, and worth the extra expense.”

$279.99

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