5 Best Car Seats For Toddlers (2023 Guide) (2023)

We tested top brands to determine which toddler car seat stands out above the competition.

By: Will Moore

01/09/2023 3:34 pm

Editor’s Pick

5 Best Car Seats For Toddlers (2023 Guide) (1)

Chicco MyFit

A quality-made car seat that’s easy to install and adjust.


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Most Durable

5 Best Car Seats For Toddlers (2023 Guide) (2)

Britax Grow With You ClickTight Plus

A durable car seat with comfortable padding.


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Most Adjustable

5 Best Car Seats For Toddlers (2023 Guide) (3)

Graco Nautilus

An adjustable all-in-one car seat for young children.


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Budget Pick

5 Best Car Seats For Toddlers (2023 Guide) (4)

Evenflo Chase

A low-cost yet very safe toddler car seat.

(Video) Best Toddler Car Seat In 2023 - Top 10 Toddler Car Seats Review


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Best Booster Seat

5 Best Car Seats For Toddlers (2023 Guide) (5)

Graco Tranzitions

A mid-priced car seat for comfort and safety.


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While infants require a rear-facing car seat, the best toddler car seat is forward-facing. As toddlers grow, they’ll eventually need a booster seat configuration to ride in your car safely.

The perfect car seat for your child depends on their weight and height. We’ve researched and tested several top brands and here suggest some of the best car seats for toddlers. We’ll also explain what to look for in a car seat.

Buyers Guide: Car Seats For Toddlers

When shopping for a toddler car seat, you’ll want to consider safety, sizing, and comfort.


Safety is the most important consideration for any car seat. Luckily for U.S. customers, all car seats sold within the country must meet federal safety standards. Despite this rule, it’s still possible to buy untested car seats online. Be sure that any car seat you purchase is clearly labeled to indicate it meets federal safety standards.

You must also properly install and secure a car seat to ensure it’s safe for your child. Many hospitals offer car seat inspections to determine if you’ve properly installed your seat. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website features a useful toolfor locating the nearest child passenger safety technician.


Simply purchasing a qualifying car seat doesn’t ensure safety. You must use the right type of car seat based on your child’s height and weight. This sizing chart, developed by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA), clearly outlines the type of seat to use. Kids around toddler age typically need a forward-facing car seat like those suggested in this review.


It can be hard to know in advance if your child will find their car seat comfortable. The best way to ensure comfort is to consider the material quality. Some toddler car seats have removable padding for a more customizable ride.

Adjustable car seats can accommodate your child as they grow, so you don’t need to buy a new car seat every year. Most of the recommendations on this list have booster mode for when your child has grown beyond the toddler stage.

5 Best Car Seats For Toddlers

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  1. Editor’s Pick: Chicco MyFit
  2. Most Durable: Britax Grow With You ClickTight Plus
  3. Most Adjustable: Graco Nautilus
  4. Budget Pick: Evenflo Chase
  5. Best Booster Seat: Graco Tranzitions

The car seats above are generally recommended for children between 20.0 and 100.0 pounds and under 60.0 inches tall. Each seat meets federal crash test safety standards and performed well in our in-person testing process. While the best seat will depend on your needs and budget, these are great options to begin your search for the right toddler car seat for your little one.

#1 Editor’s Pick: Chicco MyFit

5 Best Car Seats For Toddlers (2023 Guide) (7)

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TheChicco MyFitis an easy-to-install, adjustable toddler vehicle seat made from high-quality materials. It features a deep, rigid shell, triple foam padding, and breathable mesh fabric.

Based on the ease of installation and superb craftsmanship, we believe the Chicco MyFit is the best toddler car seat. It comes at an average price for car seats of this type and features metal buckles and anchor connectors. We have everything you need to know about this car seat in our in-depth review guide.

ProsEasy to installEasy to adjustEasy-to-clean, removable paddingHigh-quality straps and buckles

ConsCup holders placed far from child

Key Features

  • Cost: Around $175
  • Child weight range:25.0 to 100.0 pounds
  • Child height range:Up to 57.0 inches
  • Car seat weight:25.0 pounds
  • Machine-washable padding

Our Experience

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This was the easiest to install among the car seats we tested. The anchor and top strap clip in seamlessly, and it’s simple to adjust the position of the Chicco MyFit to be level with the ground (aided by a built-in bubble level). Every adjustable lever and button is easy to find and use.

Removing the seat from the car was just as straightforward as installation. The instructions aren’t hard to follow, and explanatory stickers attached to this car seat help ensure you have it situated properly for your child.

Our Rating4.7 out of 5
Ease of Installation5 out of 5
Adjustability4 out of 5
Quality of Materials5 out of 5
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What Customers Are Saying

Amazon Review Score: 4.8 out of 5 based on over 5,600 ratings

A few customers have experienced wrecks with this car seat and say the Chicco MyFit kept their child safe, so they plan to repurchase the same model car seat. Other customer praises highlight the sturdy quality of the seat materials, the light weight (which makes for easy installation), and the substantial headrest padding. Many users are also happy with how easy it is to adjust the MyFit’s straps and positioning.

“My oldest has had her [MyFit] for 3 yearsand at a very petite age 6.5, she has a few moreyears of fitting in the harness. They are slim, easy to fit 3 across in our Ford Expedition and my kids love them.” – Stewartt via Amazon

Some negative reviews claim this seat doesn’t work as well with larger children. If your children are growing out of the toddler stage, a bigger car seat may be necessary. One reviewer complains that the cupholders were too far from the back of the seat and their toddler couldn’t reach them.

#2 Most Durable: Britax Grow With You ClickTight Plus

5 Best Car Seats For Toddlers (2023 Guide) (9)

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Accommodating children between 25.0 and 120.0 pounds, theBritax Grow With You ClickTight Plusis a solidly-built toddler car seat. It features a strong steel frame, nine-position headrest, and machine-washable fabrics. It can transform into a backless booster car seat to accommodate your child for several years, even as they grow past the toddler stage.

We believe the Grow With You is a solid pick if you’re looking for a durable car seat that won’t need replacing after a couple of years. Packed with safety features such as flame-retardant materials and three layers of side-impact protection, it’s a reliable and safe toddler car seat.

ProsDurableComfortableEasy-to-clean, removable paddingHigh-quality straps and buckles

ConsHarder to installDifficult to adjust straps

Key Features

  • Cost: Around $280
  • Child weight range:25.0 to 120.0 pounds
  • Child height range:34.0 to 64.0 inches
  • Car seat weight:26.5 pounds
  • Machine-washable padding

Our Experience

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We were most impressed with the high quality of the straps and buckles on the Grow With You. While the steel construction makes the car seat a little heavy, it also gives this seat a solid and safe feel.

We had some difficulty installing this car seat compared to the others we tested. The instructions aren’t especially clear, and it took us a bit to figure out how to deploy the anchor straps. However, installation isn’t impossible or even frustrating. It’s just not as easy as some of the other best car seats for toddlers.

Our biggest complaint (and it’s a minor one) is that the straps are difficult to tighten. However, you can easily adjust the Grow With You seat to accommodate children of various sizes.

Our Rating4.3 out of 5
Ease of Installation3.5 out of 5
Adjustability4.5 out of 5
Quality of Materials5 out of 5

What Customers Are Saying

Amazon Review Score: 4.8 out of 5 based on over 4,400 ratings

Most people who rate the Grow With You highly say that they like this car seat for its many safety features. The sturdy construction seems to provide peace of mind to parents. Children enjoy this car seat too, as many parents say their kids find it comfortable for long drives.

“When it comes to finding a car seat for long road trips, this is a gem. There are zero complaints riding and sleeping in this for hours” – Red Roadster via Amazon

One recurring complaint is that the straps are difficult to adjust and tighten. Also, some less-than-positive reviews say the instructions are unclear and that the seat takes time to install.

Based on our experience, we can see why some people are frustrated with the installation process. It didn’t take us more than 15 minutes to install the Britax, but we found the straps harder to adjust than other toddler car seats.

#3 Most Adjustable: Graco Nautilus

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TheGraco Nautilus is installable in three configurations: as a five-point harness booster car seat, a high-back belt-positioning booster, or a backless belt-positioning booster. These multiple configurations allow the Nautilus to accommodate children up to 120.0 pounds and a height limit of 57.0 inches.

This seat is further adjustable through the five-position headrest and four-position adjustable base. As with all the best car seats for toddlers, the Nautilus is safe, featuring extra side-impact protection.

Pros3 seat configurationsDurable constructionEasy-to-clean, removable padding

ConsHarness strap can be hard to adjust

Key Features

  • Cost: Around $140
  • Child weight range:22.0 to 120.0 pounds
  • Child height range:Up to 57.0 inches
  • Car seat weight:21.8 pounds
  • Machine-washable padding

Our Experience

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While the cushion materials aren’t quite as soft and well-stitched as the Britax Grow With You or the Chicco MyFit, the straps are of the strongest quality. Installing the Graco Nautilus is fairly easy, in part because of the no-rethread harness. On the downside, the lower anchors can be finicky to attach.

(Video) Top 5 Best Baby Car Seat Review in 2023

Most notable when handling the Nautilus during our test installation was the car seat’s adjustability. The product has a broad range of configurations, though adjusting between each could be a little easier. Some of the adjustment levels don’t click perfectly into place.

Our Rating4.3 out of 5
Ease of Installation4 out of 5
Adjustability5 out of 5
Quality of Materials4 out of 5

What Customers Are Saying

Amazon Review Score: 4.8 out of 5 based on over 5,500 ratings

Many users praise the Nautilus toddler car seat for its comfortable seat pad and sturdy design. Adjustability is also a selling point, and many reviewers used this seat for several years as their child grew.

“We have had one for our older child for a fewyears now and I love how easy it is to adjust the headrest/harness strap height as she grows. I love it so much I just bought one for my younger child, too.” – Leah S. via Amazon

One semi-frequent complaint concerns the strap’s ability to adjust the seat belt restraints. Several users say it’s difficult to adjust, but we didn’t have any issues with this strap during our testing. Another common complaint pertains to the anchor straps. While we didn’t have difficulty attaching the anchor tether, we did notice the design of the clips isn’t as user-friendly as other car seats.

#4 Budget Pick: Evenflo Chase

5 Best Car Seats For Toddlers (2023 Guide) (13)

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Despite being a low-priced toddler car seat, theEvenflo Chasesports modern safety features such as side-impact cushions and a reinforced metal frame.

The light weight of this car seat makes it easy to install and handle. Like many of our recommended best car seats for toddlers, the Evenflo Chase can also serve as a front-facing booster seat, making it both a toddler and a youth car seat. Even at the seat’s low cost, customers can expect to use it for several years.

ProsInexpensiveDurable constructionLightweight and easy to maneuverEasy-to-clean, removable padding

ConsLess comfortable than other modelsFewer recline positions

Key Features

  • Cost: Around $75
  • Child weight range:22.0 to 110.0 pounds
  • Child height range:28.0 to 57.0 inches
  • Car seat weight:11.0 pounds
  • Machine-washable padding

Our Experience

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At only 11.0 pounds, the Evenflo Chase is easy to handle. Despite its low cost, this car seat comes with quality materials: sturdy nylon straps and strong metal clasps secure your toddler.

Even so, the materials aren’t quite as soft and comfortable as more expensive car seats, so this may not be the best car seat for long journeys. The Chase also uses the harder-to-install metal clamp style of anchor clamp.

Our Rating3.8 out of 5
Ease of Installation4 out of 5
Adjustability4 out of 5
Quality of Materials3.5 out of 5

What Customers Are Saying

Amazon Review Score: 4.6 out of 5 based on over 10,900 ratings

Most users laud the Chase for its durability and ease of use. Some reviews come from people who were involved in a crash while using this seat, and in these cases, the seat protected their toddler. Other positive comments mention the seat being easy to install and adjust.

“I purchased four of these car seats for twins, for two vehicles threeyearsago. The twins are now 5years old and are still using the harness system, haven’t even made it to the belted feature yet.” – Laura M. via Amazon

Some reviewers say the Evenflo is less comfortable than more expensive alternatives, and others claim the angle of the seat (upright with little to no recline) can be uncomfortable for children after a period of time in the car.

#5 Best Booster Seat: Graco Tranzitions

5 Best Car Seats For Toddlers (2023 Guide) (15)

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TheGraco Tranzitions 3-in-1 harness booster seatis an all-in-one lightweight car seat with eight adjustable height positions. It has two cup holders and machine-washable padding. This forward-facing car seat is adjustable and comfortable, designed to work as a toddler car seat and a highback booster seat.

We believe the Tranzitions is one of the best booster seats (once your child is old enough for that configuration). The open-loop belt helps guide your car’s seat belt to the perfect position for safety and comfort.

ProsDurableEasy-to-clean, removable paddingLightweightComfortable

ConsStraps can be challenging to tightenHarder to install

Key Features

  • Cost: Around $100
  • Child weight range:22.0 to 100.0 pounds
  • Child height range:Up to 57.0 inches
  • Car seat weight:17.3 pounds
  • Machine-washable padding

Our Experience

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While some of the other car seats we tested impressed us more when it came to quality of materials and ease of installation, the Graco Tranzitions is nonetheless an excellent toddler car seat.

(Video) Best Car Seats for 6 Years Old Buying Guide - Top 5 Review [2023]

We had few problems installing the Tranzitions, though tightening the straps is somewhat of a hassle. Compared to other strap systems, the Tranzitions is not the smoothest to install. Once you’ve installed it, though, the Tranzitions is quite adjustable, and the padding material is plush and soft. For more on our experience with this seat, check out our dedicated review page here.

Our Rating4 out of 5
Ease of Installation4 out of 5
Adjustability4 out of 5
Quality of Materials4 out of 5

What Customers Are Saying

Amazon ReviewScore: 4.8 out of 5 based on over 37,000 ratings

Several users who crashed while using this car seat say the seat protected their child, working as intended. Customers are generally happy with the quality of the car seat at its price range (which is around average for a car seat).

“Seat material holds up so good[…] This is my second one. The first one is well over a year old and it still looks new.” – LB MCA via Amazon

Like us, several users experience difficulty tightening the straps on the Graco Tranzitions seat. Some users don’t like the anchor latch system, which can be hard to secure.

How Do I Know If A Car Seat Is Safe?

If you want to know if a car seat is safe, look for a label or notice saying it complies with federal car seat safety standards. To see if you’ve installed your car seat correctly (therefore, making it safe), you may want a professional to inspect it. See the NHTSA website for a locator to find the nearest car seat inspection site.

When considering any car seat, safety should be a top priority. Various experts and researchers in the automotive industry are responsible for ensuring that car seats go through rigorous testing and multiple stages of approval prior to being put on the market for the public.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

The NHTSA is dedicated to making the roads safer for drivers, workers, pedestrians, and children. They offer various resources to inform parents on car seat safety including an easy way to check for potential car seat safety issues and recalls that can occur at any time.

The NHTSA also has various test dummies, ranging from an adult male to a newborn infant. Through the use of crash and car seat testing, they are able to better evaluate how safe car seats and vehicles are. This allows the NHTSA to provide reliable and honest information as well as recommendations for the best car seats that will fit your child, vehicle, and most importantly, keep your toddler safe.

One of the NHTSA’s most useful resources for parents in the market for a car seat provides information on car and booster seats. This informational page includes how to correctly install a car seat, different types of seats for children, selecting the right car seat, and provides the opportunity for certified technicians to check the safety of your car seat prior to personal use.

Federal Aviation Administration

The FAA covers all information or concerns you could have in regards to air travel. The FAA’s goal is to provide a safe, functional, and efficient way to travel by air. With the goal of safety, one has to consider traveling with infants and children. The FAA has information on flying with children. This covers information including at what age children need or do not need to fly with a car seat, as well as guidance on installing a child restraint system (CRS) if your child is under two years of age.

The FAA does recommend that children who are still required to sit in a booster seat should have a car seat as an added safety precaution in case of turbulence or unexpected runway incidents that are rare, but can occur.

National Child Passenger Safety Certification

The National Child Passenger Safety Certification Training Program (CPS certification program) is an organization of technicians who certify individuals to become child passenger safety technicians and instructors. As a group of experts, the CPS certification program is designed to educate, support, and guide parents and others interested in taking part in the program on seat belt and car seat safety.

Their website also offers an abundance of information regarding car seat safety and choosing the right car seat for your child. From giving information on buying, installing, finding the right fit, and even knowing when it is time to change to a larger seat, this company works to make car seat safety easier and understandable for all parents.

When Should I Switch To A Toddler Car Seat?

Your car seat choice should be dependent on your child’s size and weight, and you should switch to a toddler car seat after your infant outgrows a rear-facing car seat. Any car seat will list maximum height and weight recommendations. Once your child outgrows these limits, it’s time to switch.

For children between the ages of two and seven, forward-facing car seats are typically the most appropriate. Some all-in-one car seats can be installed in both forward- and rear-facing positions, making them suitable for infants as well as toddlers.

Best Toddler Car Seat: FAQ

How We Tested

The car seats in this article went through two rounds of reviews. We scoured Amazon for top products, looking at customer ratings, Amazon superlatives, and prices.

For testing purposes, our product review team ordered the five toddler car seats that scored highest in these categories. A team member installed each seat, noting the quality of materials and adjustability. We carefully inspected each strap, latch, and lever.

Every car seat we recommend complies with United States Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. To determine our rankings, we focused on ease of installation, adjustability, and quality of materials. We also considered customer opinions as represented by reviews on websites such as Amazon.

Ease Of Installation

To be sold within the U.S., a car seat must pass federal safety standards. However, even the best-designed car seat is unsafe if installed improperly. For this reason, the simplicity or difficulty of installing a car seat is an important consideration when selecting the right product.

The design of a car seat’s anchor clasps can make a big difference in ease of installation. We noticed two types of anchor clasps during our testing process: a plain metal anchor and a buckle anchor (both displayed below). The buckle anchor is easier to attach and release. Seats with this type of anchor scored higher for ease of use.

Plain Metal Anchor

5 Best Car Seats For Toddlers (2023 Guide) (17)

Buckle Anchor

5 Best Car Seats For Toddlers (2023 Guide) (18)


Toddlers develop quickly, so it’s important that a quality car seat be adjustable in order to comfortably accommodate children as they grow. This is not only a comfort, but it’s a safety consideration. Some toddlers may require a booster seat configuration while others don’t.

Quality Of Materials

The best car seats for toddlers each include strong and secure straps for safety. However, some car seats have more adjustable straps and more robust buckles. Fine construction and durable materials are not only safer, but they last longer. Seats that scored highest in this category feature metal (rather than plastic) buckles and easy-to-use cinching mechanisms.

Car Seats For Toddlers Testing Process

To test each toddler car seat, our review team installed each product into the back seat of a sedan. In addition to inspecting the materials of each seat in person, we noted how easy each seat was to install.

We attached the car seats by using the car’s built-in infant seat anchors or the seatbelt. We then adjusted each seat to its multiple configurations. Our review team gave the highest marks to car seats that featured intuitive design elements and durable materials.

Why You Can Trust Us

Each year, we test over 350 auto products on vehicles and in our testing lab. A team of product testers thoroughly researches top products, unboxes and puts our hands on each component, and tests the items on real vehicles before making recommendations to readers.

We publish hundreds of product and service reviews to bring car enthusiasts detailed guides on automotive tools, detailing kits, car seats, pet products, and much more. For more information on our testing methodology and how we evaluate every product, check out our methodology page here.

*Data accurate at time of publication.


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