Best Car Seats for 2 Year Old Toddlers
Your two-year-old toddler is in the middle of many different transitions. They might be learning how to use the toilet, getting ready to go to preschool for the first time, or learning how to speak in full sentences. Another transition your two-year-old may go through is moving to a different car seat. It might be time to find a car seat that will last for the rest of their car seat days or find one that accommodates more forward-facing options. Read more about how to select the best car seat for two-year-old toddlers.
|Name||Image||Weight (lbs)||Orientation/Capacity||My Rating|
|Graco 4Ever||22.75||Rear facing 4-40 lbs/ Forward facing 20-65 lbs/ High back booster 30-100 lbs/ Booster 40-120 pounds||4.7|
|Diono Rainier||23||Rear facing 5-50 lbs/Forward facing 20-90lbs/Booster up to 120 lbs||5|
|Evenflo Sonus Convertible Car Seat||15||Rear facing 5-40 lbs/ Forward facing 22-50 lbs||4.8|
|Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat||24||Rear facing 4-50 lbs/ Forward facing 22-65 lbs||4.8|
|Britax Pioneer Combination Harness-2-Booster Car Seat||21||Forward Facing Harness 25-70 pounds/ High Back Booster 40-110 pounds||5|
Different Types of Car Seats for Two-Year-Old Toddlers
- 1 Different Types of Car Seats for Two-Year-Old Toddlers
- 2 What You Should Consider When Looking for a Car Seat for Two Year Olds
- 3 Recommended Car Seats for 2 Year Olds
- 4 Conclusion
Two-year-old toddlers are too big and mature to sit in an infant car seat. However, research suggests toddlers should sit rear-facing as long as possible. So, you should buy a car seat with a rear-facing option for a child who has recently turned two. Many children eventually progress to facing forward by the time they reach their third birthday, so you may only need a forward-facing seat for an older two-year-old. Below are the types of car seats you can purchase.
Convertible Car Seats
Convertible car seats can be placed rear-facing or forward-facing and are usually made to accommodate children between the ages of six months and four years. Some accommodate even older children, depending on their features. Some also accommodate younger babies with infant inserts or body pillows. Convertible car seats always hold your child in a five-point harness. These seats usually hold rear-facing children up to at least 40 pounds and forward-facing children up to at least 65 pounds.
Convertible car seats give you the option to keep your child rear-facing as long as possible. Rear-facing seats distribute crash forces more equally throughout the seat and keep your child’s head and spine aligned in a car accident. Examples of a convertible car seat include the EvenFlo Sonus, Diono Radian R100, and the Graco Extend2Fit.
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 with a five-point harness. They also come with an additional booster mode for older children who only need a high-back booster. The high back booster uses your vehicle’s seat belts instead of a five-point harness. All-in-one car seats are ideal for families who need a car seat for a toddler to last them into their preschool years. They give you the option to keep your child rear-facing as long as possible, but also give you multiple forward-facing options. Examples of all-in-one car seats include the Graco 4Ever and Diono Rainier.
Combination Car Seats
- A forward-facing option with a five-point harness
- A high-back booster option using the vehicle’s seat belts
- A backless booster option using the vehicle’s seat belt (Not all have this option.)
The seat is designed to fit the needs of a preschool aged child or older. They have height and weight limits similar to that of all-in-one or convertible car seats. The main difference is that combination seats are only forward-facing and come with extra booster settings. This seat is likely not the best choice for a two-year-old unless your two-year-old is about to turn three or is large for their age. Examples of combination car seats include the Britax Pioneer and the Graco Nautilus.
What You Should Consider When Looking for a Car Seat for Two Year Olds
You may be most concerned about safety when selecting a car seat for your child. While safety is important, all car seats must pass the same safety tests 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.
When purchasing a car seat for your two-year-old, you should think about:
- How long it will last
- Rear-facing accommodations
- Ease of installation
- Comfort features like cup holders
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. Some car seats are narrower than others, allowing you to have multiple car seats in the back seat.
Car seats vary in how long they take to expire. Some expire after only five or six years, while others can last a decade. If your child has a sibling using the car seat, you should consider buying something that will last through multiple children. Car seats that can hold more weight will last your toddler longer. Also, seats designed to comfortably fit a toddler through the rest of their car seat years will mean less money spent on buying car seats over time.
Because your two-year-old is safest when rear-facing, you should look for a car seat that will allow them to rear-face as long as possible. Some car seats have higher rear-facing weight limits than others. Some car seats also have extension panels that give your rear-facing child more leg room, keeping them comfortable in that position.
Car seats are only safe if you install them properly. You can give yourself some peace of mind by buying a car seat that you know you can install properly. 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.
Finally, your toddler is learning about the world and sometimes needs ways to settle down in the car. They may enjoy a snack in the car, so having a seat with one or two cup holders attached is useful. Some seats come with armrests that can help your child relax or keep their hands to themselves. Some car seats also come with storage compartments for your children to keep toys in.
Recommended Car Seats for 2 Year Olds
Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat
The Graco Extend2Fit convertible car seat allows your child to sit rear-facing up to 50 pounds and forward-facing up to 65 pounds. This affordable car seat comes with a way to adjust the extension panel so you can give your child an extra 5 inches of leg space. This allows your child to sit rear-facing longer without becoming uncomfortable. The extra leg room is also helpful for giving children more space in smaller vehicles.
This convertible car seat is installed with an easy-to-use latch system. The harness system allows you to adjust the height of the harness and the headrest in one motion. You will never have to constantly re-thread the seat belts. This car seat comes with two cup holders, convenient for storing snacks and drinks. It is also covered in breathable fabrics, so your little one will not get too warm in it on a hot day. The Extend2Fit lasts up to 10 years, so your child will grow out of it before it expires. It could even be handed down to a sibling for further use.
Diono Rainier All-In-One Convertible Car Seat
The Diono Rainier all-in-one convertible car seat gives you multiple seating options and 10 years of use. This car seat allows you to 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. It also has one of the narrowest frames on the market. Because it is so slender, it is one of the only car seats that can be placed side-by-side in the back seat. Most vehicles can fit three Diono Rainier car seats across the back seat.
The Diono Rainier has a 12-position head support to give your child the best and most comfortable fit. The interior of the seat is spacious and padded with plush materials. This car 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. The Rainier comes with infant body support cushions and memory foam, allowing you to use it from birth through childhood. With its multiple seating modes and long life span, this seat might be the only one you’ll ever have to buy.
EvenFlo Sonus Convertible Car Seat
The EvenFlo Sonus convertible car seat holds a rear-facing child up to 40 pounds and forward-facing child up to 50 pounds. This affordable car seat is lightweight and simple to install. While it is not as expensive as many other convertible car seats on the market, it provides plenty of protection. The Sonus does more than meet federal guidelines – it is designed and tested to withstand energy levels twice that of the federal crash test standard. It is also designed to withstand side impact and vehicle rollover. The shoulder straps come with five positions, so you can find the most comfortable and secure fit for your child.
The EvenFlo Sonus comes with two attachable cup holders so your child can have a drink or snack in the car. 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. This car seat also comes with a head pillow for extra support. The EvenFlo Sonus is FAA approved, allowing your child to sit in it on an airplane. With a six-year expiration date and 18-inch top harness slot, you child should be able to use the EvenFlo Sonus for all of their harnessed car seat days.
Finding the right car seat for your two-year-old will largely depend on how much longer you plan to seat them rear-facing in your vehicle, and how long you need the car seat to last. By looking at rear-facing weight limits and seat expiration dates, you will be able to find the right car seat for your toddler.
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