Traveling with a toddler is no easy task. Choosing a car seat to keep your toddler comfortable and safe is even harder. There are so many options available that choosing can seem overwhelming. What features do I need? What style should I choose? Which is the safest for my child?
Every parent wants a lightweight car seat that doesn’t compromise their child’s safety and comfort. Easy installation is another great component to have, along with a narrow frame for extra space in the car. Many car seat models sacrifice one aspect for the other, with few having all of these elements combined.
To save you some time, we’ve researched and selected the best car seats available today. You will love the lightweight nature and easy usage of these models. Your toddler will love the added features and comfort. Both of you will enjoy the safety these seats provide. Let’s explore these top-of-the-line car seats!
Cosco Scenera NEXT Car Seat
Number 1 Pick!
This car seat is an affordable, safe and lightweight seat that is great for traveling! Seating children less than 40 pounds, the Cosco Scenera NEXT is compact enough to easily take on planes. At only 17.5 inches in width, it saves you a ton of space in the car, too. In an average vehicle, this car seat fits three across the back seat. The Cosco Scenera NEXT also includes side impact protection for safety and has back-facing capabilities for infants. Installation can be done with the LATCH connectors or your car’s seatbelt. On top of this, a removable cup holder and machine-washable seat pad seal the deal for this great product.
- The most lightweight at 10.4 lbs
- Narrow, at 17.5 inches wide
- Lasts all the way through toddlerhood
- Long plane rides might be slightly uncomfortable in tighter airplanes
- Sometimes there are sizing issues
- The seat cover is thin
Safety 1st Guide 65 Convertible Car Seat
This car seat is a narrow and light, being only 19 inches wide and weighing 15 pounds. The Safety 1st Guide 65 Convertible car seat can fit three across in your average vehicle’s backseat, too. Incredibly affordable and safe, this car seat fits children 5-4o pounds rear-facing, and 22-65 pounds forward. This car seat also comes with a removable body pillow and cup holder, as well as an adjustable headrest. With a five harness height, this seat can last for years. Not only this, but the seat is very safe with side impact protection.
- Easily adjustable harness
- Lightweight at 15 lbs
- Narrow, at 19 inches wide
- Adjustable and removable parts for toddler’s comfort
- Difficult installation
- Issues with reclining sometimes occur
Combi Coccoro Convertible Car Seat
This is another great, compact car seat suitable for traveling via airplane or tight cars. Facing forward, it’s great for toddlers between 20 and 40 pounds. Infants can also use this seat, weighing 3-33 pounds, rear-facing. With four separate harness heights, this product also comes with a color indicator tells you when the harness is secure. This car seat also has great safety features, with Tru-Safe side impact protection for energy absorption. This car seat has an easy to remove cover for washing, too.
- Compact, at only 15.5 inches wide
- Lightweight at 14.3 lbs
- Color indicators for secure harnessing
- Machine washable
- A bit expensive
- Slightly difficult to install with the LATCH system
- Styrofoam interior may not be durable
Evenflo SureRide Convertible Car Seat
This lightweight car seat is a great option, weighing only 11 pounds! With rear and forward-facing use, this car seat is suitable for children 5-65 pounds in weight. This car seat also has a broad adjustment range with six harness convertibles. For protection, three layers of energy-absorbing foam is included, reducing crash forces by 50%. The Evenflo SureRide car seat naturally comes with a cup holder, except this one can fold down for more room.
- Very lightweight at 11 lbs
- Narrow width at 19 inches
- Many convertible straps for a growing child
- Machine-washable seat pad
- Installation can be difficult
- Sometimes oversized for smaller vehicles
- Straps can be difficult to tighten
- Tall shell that makes maneuvering a little difficult
Graco Contender 65 Convertible Car Seat
The Graco Contender 65 Convertible car seat is great for toddler travel, protecting 22-65 pound forward-facing children. This car seat also protects infants 5-40 pounds, making it a great option if you are planning for future trips. The seat weighs only 15.22 pounds, making it much lighter than other car seats on the market. This seat has great protection with energy-absorbing foam, in case of an accident. For your toddler’s comfort, the seat comes with removable head and body support and a cup holder. This car seat is also on the smaller side, being only 20.75 inches wide and 26 inches tall. You’ll still have room in the car for all your other travel gear.
- Lightweight at 15.22 lbs
- Removable head and body support
- Seatbelt or LATCH system installation
- Seat cushion is machine washable
- Maybe a little warm for summer use
- Sometimes difficult to tighten straps
- Achieving proper angles can be difficult in some vehicles
- Size would make it difficult to bring to an airport or on an airplane
Choosing a car seat to meet you and your child’s travel needs can be a difficult process. The great news is that there are tons of options out there, meeting a wide variety of family needs. No two car seats are the same, just as no two toddlers are the same!
To save you countless hours of internet searching, we reviewed the best travel car seats so you don’t have to! Depending on your family’s needs, you can select the best car seat for your active toddler!
The perfect car seat is out there, waiting to carry your child safely from destination to destination. We hope our list helped you find the perfect addition for your travels!
Keren Simanova is a busy mommy by day and a passionate writer by night. While spending countless hours researching car seats for her children, she created an educational car seat blog, CarSeatsMom.com to educate other mothers about the importance of car seats.
Further, along the way, the blog became an invaluable source for research of a variety of car seat brands, unique features, and mommies’ reviews.