Best Car Seat For A Toddler

What Is The Best Car Seat For A Toddler? [Top 3 Picks for 2018!]

Travelling with young children can be incredibly rewarding, but it also isn’t without its challenges! One of the most fundamentally important things when you’re on the move with young children is ensuring that they are both comfortable and safe while you’re on the move. This is important no matter what kind of travelling you’re doing – be it doing the day to day school drop off and pick up or long summer holiday travelling! The safety and comfort of your child is the most important function of a car seat. We’re delighted to be able to present you with the three best car seats for toddlers on the market right now.

Choosing car seats for toddlers presents its own unique set of challenges. Children are at their most rapid growth period when they’re toddlers, so you want to be sure that whatever design you go for has the ability to accommodate for its small passengers as they develop. Thanks to decades of design, research and develop, there is a whole array of brilliant different models out there on the market. In this article we’ve been hard at work selecting just what is the best car seat for a toddler.  In order to select the very best of all of the hundreds of designs out there, we have selected four key features by which to assess the quality of the car seat. These features are: safety features, adaptable design, ability to clean, and age range served. We’ve then weighed each of these individual features to form an individual overall score for each car seat. Drawing on our hours of research, we are delighted to tell you that the three best seats are the Safety 1st Grow-and-Go, Graco Milestone All-in-1, and the Brittax Frontier seats.

Safety 1st Grow-and-Go Review | £££

Best Car Seat For A Toddler

Features

The Safety 1st Grow-and-Go measures 24.5 x 19 x 24.2 inches, making it an wonderful option for children weighing all the way from 4 to 100 pounds. The actual car seat itself weighs about 19 pounds, which is a little heavy for a car seat. The seat is convertible, with three separate settings: rear-facing, front-facing, and booster. What this means in more practical terms is that the seat can be adapted according to the best safety recommendations for the child’s age as they grow and develop. It’s recommended to be used in a rear-facing position from 5-40 pounds, and in front facing position from 40 to 65 pounds, and in booster position from 65 to 100 pounds. The seat features a Quick Fit safety strap harness when it’s in both forward and rear facing mode, allowing for maximum safety. The LATCH system also means that you’re able to get the child in question in and out of the harness easily.

Review

Pros

  • Its innovative design can be used at three different stages of child development, accommodating for both the early and late stages of toddler development
  • The Grow-and-Go also features a height-adjustable feature, allowing you to ensure that your small passenger is as comfortable as possible
  • Features two grow-with-child pillows on the seat to keep your toddler as comfortable and safe as possible
  • Three different recline settings
  • Side impacted tested in addition to exceeding all applicable safety standards
  • Selected as an Amazon’s Top Choice
  • Available in a range of different colours
  • Machine washable seat
  • Two integrated cup holders for snacks and drinks!
  • Machine washable and drier safe

Cons

  • Some parent reviews indicate that the straps are sometimes difficult to tighten
  • Other reviews also indicated that installation of the seat can be challenging
  • The seats’ physically bulky size can be a problem when it comes to smaller-size cars. Parents indicated that this was a particular problem when having toddlers ride in the rear-facing position
  • Structure of seat doesn’t appear to be as sturdy as higher-price seats, although the seat does still have an excellent safety record
  • Reviews also indicate that installation is not always straightforward, and instructions can be confusing
  • No accessories currently available

Rating

Age range that can be served: 5/5

Adaptable Design: 4/5

Ability to clean: 5/5

Safety features: 4/5

Overall: 18/20

Graco Milestone All-in-1 Review|££

Best Car Seat For A Toddler

Features

Much like the Safety1st, Graco’s Milestone convertible car seat has a three-in one design that allows it to accommodate for toddlers of all varities of sizes. It features a Simply Safe Adjust harness system that allows parents to adjust the harness system easily to match the physical size of your child. The seat measures 24 x 21.5 x 23 inches, which makes it perfect for smaller vehicles as well as larger ones.  The seat itself weighs 20 pounds, which is a little on the heavier end for a car seat.  Its breathable fabric allows for good temperature control on hot days. It has adjustable shoulder pads, alongside body inserts for infants to ensure maximum safety. It also features four different reclining positions, all of which can be used in a rear facing position.

Review

Pros

  • Four different reclining positions, which is more than many of its other peers, which largely only feature three
  • Graco’s exclusive InRight LATCH attachment gives parents and guardians an easy one-second click attachment with an audio cue – so you know that the child in question is secure!
  • Flexible design allows for adjustment to child’s specific size, including removable shoulder pads which are particularly helpful for infants
  • Five-point harness for maximum safety
  • A handy and easily accessible cup-holder, perfect for bottles and snacks!
  • An Amazon top choice
  • The minimum weight recommended is 5 pounds, which means that the seat can be used right from birth!
  • Side-impacted tested
  • Safe Seat engineered, allowing for maximum safety for collisions from all directions

Cons

  • Reviews indicate that larger children are occasionally able to loosen the straps themselves
  • The fabric the seat has been out of can occasionally cause allergy issues for children – consulting a doctor to assess fabric allergies is recommended
  • Not machine washable – must be hand washed with cool water and soap
  • Reviews indicated that the installation is not always straightforward and can be challenging in particular in smaller cars

Rating

Age range that can be served: 5/5

Adaptable Design: 4/5

Ability to clean: 3/5

Safety features: 4/5

Overall: 15/20

Brittax Frontier Review | £££

Best Car Seat For A Toddler

Features

Brittax is a highly trusted brand in the world of child transportation, with more than thirty years of experience. Coming in at 25 pounds and weighing 21x18x28 inches, the Fronteir seat packs a lot of punch. Much like the Graco and the Safety 1st, it also takes a three-stage convertible seat design for children aged 2 and older. The seat is designed to be used in front-facing position and then into a booster seat. The seat also features a 9-position harness that grows alongside your toddler. As for safety, the Frontier has a steel frame with an energy-absorbing base that’d been designed for maximum safety and security.

Review

Pros

  • Two different modes, allowing children to use the one seat from 25 to 120lbs, giving it a wide age range
  • Features an adjustable three-position recline in rear-riding position for the youngest travellers
  • Has a 9-position harness adjustment system that can grow and adapt with your child and be customised to their particular physical specifications
  • Two layers of side protection which allows for additional crash protection
  • Steel frame with an energy absorbing base, allowing for stability even in the most intense collisions
  • Simple installation thanks to the Brittax ClickTight installation system
  • LATCH belt positioning clip, which allows for the safest harness security
  • QuickFit headrest which allows for easy comfort and harness adjustment
  • Cushions are machine washable
  • Two integrated cup holders, making enough room for all the snacks!
  • An Amazon Top Choice
  • Machine washable

Cons

  • The seat itself weighs close to 30 pounds, making it heavy even for a toddler car seat
  • The age range isn’t as wide as some of the other models on the market
  • Additionally, the bulky size of the seat means that it is only suitable for vehicles of certain sizes. We recommend doing your research first!
  • In addition to the size of the seat being a problem in the car, the installation system itself is not designed to be compatible to all car types, either. Brittax do provide a list of cars which it will fit, so we recommend referencing that first

Rating

Age range that can be served: 4/5

Adaptable Design: 3/5

Ability to clean: 3/5

Safety features: 4/5

Overall: 14/20

Summary

As an overall solution to the difficulties faced by parents in their quest for the best car seat for a toddler, the Safety 1st Grow-and-Go offers the best comprehensive value for cost.  Although it is a little more expensive than the Graco Milestone, it compensates for it with its highly customizable design and ability to cater for toddlers of all different sizes while still remaining incredibly safe. One of the most essential things parents have to consider when selecting a car seat for their toddler is if the seat is going to be able to grow alongside their children. Well, the clue here is in the name, but it still holds true! Although the Graco has a similar age range, the small extra-value touches such as the grow-with-baby cushions (which are still appropriate for toddlers), that elevate the Safety 1st Grow-and-Go.

While we were very impressed by Brittax’s steel-reinforced frame, the seat doesn’t accommodate for the widest age range, nor does it have the most adaptable design. The Safety 1st has also been through vigorous side-impact testing while also featuring additional features such as snack holders that makes it more appropriate for toddlers in particular. As another critical point for parents, thanks to its machine-washable design, you can quickly clean up any messes that occur! When you’re busy bringing up a toddler, the last thing you need is a car seat that takes up valuable time to clean. In the Grow-and-Go, you have a brilliant overall solution which is built to last and protect your child as they develop.

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