Best Car Seat for One Year Old
As babies move closer to their first birthday, they tend to outgrow typical infant car seats. You may find yourself overwhelmed with the number of car seat options available, though. What car seat should a 1 year old be in? Read more to learn about the types of car seats available and how to select the best one for your growing baby.
Different Types of Car Seats for One-Year-Olds
- 1 Different Types of Car Seats for One-Year-Olds
- 2 What You Should Consider In Selecting a Car Seat for a One Year Old?
- 3 Best Car Seats for One Year Olds
- 4 Conclusion
Infant Car Seats
One-year-old children should always sit rear-facing in your vehicle, and multiple safety studies have concluded that children should sit rear-facing as long as possible. There are three types of car seats suitable for a one-year-old: infant, convertible, and all-in-one. These are the only types of car seats that allow your child to sit rear-facing.
Infant car seats can only be used rear-facing in your vehicle. They usually click or connect into a car seat base you install in the backseat. Most will hold up to at least 30 pounds. Examples of the infant car seat include the Graco SnugRide, Chicco KeyFit, and the Evenflo Embrace.
Children who exceed the weight limit or whose heads come within an inch of the top of the car seat are too big for an infant car seat. Even though many one-year-olds are small enough to continue using their infant car seat past their first birthday, they become less comfortable in it over time.
Convertible Car Seats
Convertible car seats can be placed rear-facing or forward-facing. These seats usually hold rear-facing children up to at least 40 pounds and forward-facing children up to at least 65 pounds. Examples of a convertible car seat include the Britax Marathon and the Chicco Nextfit.
Many young babies can use a convertible car seat with extra padding or a newborn insert. They can then grow with the seat and continue using it well into their toddler years. Convertible car seats are heavier than infant car seats and must be installed directly into the vehicle. Therefore, they cannot be used to carry your child around. Some experts believe infant car seats are safer and more comfortable for young babies, while convertible car seats are more comfortable for older babies and toddlers.
All-in-One Car Seats
All-in-one car seats are similar to convertible car seats in that children can sit rear-facing or forward-facing. They also come with an additional booster mode for older children who only need a high-back booster. Examples of all-in-one car seats include the Safety 1st Grow and Go and the Graco 4Ever.
While all-in-one car seats are made to ideally fit your child from infancy through their toddler years, many all-in-one car seats do not have the proper infant padding for small babies. Like convertible car seats, they must be installed directly into the vehicle and cannot be used to carry your child around.
What You Should Consider In Selecting a Car Seat for a One Year Old?
When purchasing a car seat for your one-year-old, you should think about:
- How long it will last
- Ease of installation
- Potential airplane travel
While safety is important, all car seats must pass the same safety test before they can be sold. So, while prices among car seats vary, there are no unsafe car seats on the market. Some seats, however, may be made of more durable material than others.
Let’s take a closer look at these 4 factors:
If you drive a smaller vehicle or have multiple children in car seats, car seat size matters a great deal. You will want to find something compact, especially if you need to have car seats sitting side-by-side.
How Long Will it Last?
Car seats vary in how long they take to expire. Some expire after only five or six years, while others can last a decade. Car seats that can hold more weight will last your toddler longer. Also, seats designed to comfortably fit a small baby through their toddler years will mean less money spent on buying a car seats over time.
Ease of Installation
Some car seats are easier to install than others. Often times, you can find out how easy it is to install a particular car seat by reading customer reviews. It is absolutely essential to your child’s safety that the car seat is installed properly. So, finding one you feel confident in installing is important.
Potential Airplane Travel
Finally, if you travel frequently, you may want to check if your car seat is approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Children ages two and under cannot sit in their own seat on an airplane without a car seat, and car seats that are not FAA approved cannot be used. Parents often find it convenient to allow their toddlers to ride in their car seats on an airplane, as opposed to sitting on their laps. It gives them their own space and a sense of familiarity.
Best Car Seats for One Year Olds
Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat
The Graco Extend2Fit car seat allows your child to sit rear-facing up to 50 pounds and forward-facing up to 65 pounds. The seat comes with a way to adjust the extension panel so you can give your child an extra 5 inches of leg space. This can give you the ability to keep your child rear-facing longer without them becoming uncomfortable. The extra leg room is also helpful for giving children more space in smaller vehicles. The seat lasts up to 10 years, so your child will grow out of it before it expires.
EvenFlo Sonus Convertible Car Seat
This affordable car seat allows your child to sit rear-facing up to 40 pounds and sit forward-facing up to 50 pounds. This lightweight seat is easy to carry around simple to install. It is also FAA approved so your child can use it on an airplane.
The seat comes with an attachable cup holder so your child can have a drink or snack in the car. If you are looking for a less expensive travel option, this seat will meet your needs. It also comes with an air flow ventilation system to regulate the temperature of the seat so it never gets too hot or too cold.
Diono Rainier All in One Convertible Car Seat
The Diono Rainier car seat also gives you multiple seating options and 10 years of use. This seat allows you rear-face your child up to 50 pounds and forward-face them in a five-point harness up to 90 pounds. It converts to a high-back booster that can hold a child up to 120 pounds. This seat has a full steel frame, making it one of the most durable car seats you can have. The slender frame gives you the ability to put them side-by-side in your vehicle. Many vehicles are able to hold three Diono Rainier car seats in the backseat, a feature not found with most car seats. The seat conveniently folds flat and is easy to travel with or carry around. It is also approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for flying, so your child can ride in it on an airplane. It comes with infant body support cushions and memory foam, allowing you to use it from birth through childhood. With a 10-year life span, this seat might be the only one you’ll ever have to buy.
While there are many options to choose from, selecting a car seat for your child mostly depends on how long and the type of travel you need it for. Focus on what is important to you, whether it is size, amenities, or price. By doing this, you will be able to hone in on the car seat that is best for your child.
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