Best Car Seats for Toddlers

Protecting your children is a parent’s top priority. From newborn to teen, you are constantly on guard to make sure your kids are safe. That includes using car seats, toddler seats and booster seats.

The Best Car Seats for Toddlers

If you have a toddler, you have several options in booster seats and toddler seats. It just depends on how tall and how heavy your kid is. So what are the best car seats for toddlers? Do you go with a booster seat, or do you continue to use a car seat?

The Graco 4ever All-in-One Convertible Car Seat and the Evenflo Big Kid AMP Booster Car Seat both represent two of the most popular car seat manufacturers, as well as their most popular car seats for toddlers.

Both of these models are convertible, meaning that the next car seat up that you will need is already built into these seats. That is a serious financial advantage over buying a new car seat for each stage of development. Plus, you will spend less time searching for car seats and less time in stores and online trying to pick out the best one.

Best Overall Car Seat for Toddlers

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Graco 4ever All-in-One Convertible Car Seat

New car seat studies suggest that you should keep your child rear-facing until preschool age. That means that even toddlers should probably stay rear-facing. That does complicate things if you have a very long-legged toddler in a very short car seat.

Additionally, the Graco model allows your child to remain rear-facing as long as you want. Each of the padded inserts in the car seat can be removed as your newborn grows into a kindergartener. Turn the seat around any time you want.

The Graco model is never meant to leave your vehicle once you install it, but you also never have to buy another car seat or booster seat ever again.

Pros
  • Lots of padding to protect your baby/toddler from harm in an accident
  • Four-point LATCH system secures your child up to 120 lbs, so even beyond grade school this would work
  • Straps adjust easily
  • Seat pivots into a full upright position when your baby graduates to toddlerhood and toddler to child
  • Twin cupholders on the arm rests for juice, bottles and snack cups
  • Crash-tested to withstand 2x the required force strength
  • Steel reinforced frame–only Baby Superman could damage this!
Cons
  • You need a separate car seat to transport infants in and out of your vehicle
  • The price may make you think twice, regardless of the value
  • It’s not exactly the prettiest car seat, and they don’t exactly offer a girly version either

Best Budget Car Seat for Toddlers

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Evenflo Big Kid AMP Booster Car Seat

Booster car seats like this one are convertible, but they only convert one time–between toddler and child. Still, if you already have an infant seat, and you do not want to buy two more seats, this is a real budget deal.

The Evenflo booster seat comes with a detachable back seat to brace and protect your toddler’s head, shoulders, neck and back in an accident.

When you remove the back portion, it becomes a booster seat for older children who are still too short and/or too lightweight to sit on your car’s bare seats.

Pros
  • The price is definitely nice.
  • The seat adjusts to six different heights, in case your child gets really tall really fast.
  • A singular chair pad covers the whole seat and it is machine washable- a plus for messy kids.
  • Twin cup holders are down below the arm rests so busy arms and hands cannot knock things over and spill them.
  • It comes in a “girls” pattern/version, if you do not like the electric blue and black version.
Cons
  • The elastic straps that hold the padding on can snap or come loose.
  • It does not look like it has enough padding to protect anyone, let alone a toddler.
  • You cannot use it for any child under 18 months of age.

Value of Finding the Best Car Seat for Toddlers

This is really a no-brainer. The best car seat for toddlers is the one that protects them, keeps them safe, prevents injury and will never break or come loose in a crash or rollover. The sole purpose of car seats is safety, but finding one that goes above and beyond that to protect the life of your child through several ages and stages is priceless.

Everybody will have an opinion of which car seat is best, but ultimately it boils down to what the seat is capable of and how well it holds up to its promises. Price should be no object, since the precious cargo the seat holds and protects is priceless to you.

If you really want, you can ask your pediatrician, your hospital nurses and even the baby equipment store employees, but this is a product you should make an educated decision about for yourself (and preferably before your baby arrives).

Summary

Overall, the Graco 4ever All-in-One Car seat is the best one out there. It does everything you will need it to do for the next EIGHT years, and when you divide the purchase price by the number of years, there is no way you could get a better value than that from any other car seat. While it is not law yet to make your toddler stay rear-facing, it could become law soon enough. If that happens after you have purchased a different car seat that will not keep your toddler rear-facing, you would have to buy this seat anyway.