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  • Baby and kid

The Best Travel Car Seats

Three of our top picks for the best travel car seats, shown side by side.

Let’s face it: Traveling with little kids can be a slog. But a lightweight, compact, easy-to-install travel car seat is one tool that can make trips a bit easier.

We’ve tested 17 travel car seats for infants and up, and we examined how they performed in various circumstances, including during air travel and in rental cars. The Chicco KeyFit 35 , one of our picks for the best infant car seats , is an excellent choice for both travel and everyday use. For an affordable and easy-to-use convertible car seat for toddlers and preschoolers, we recommend traveling with the Cosco Scenera Next , which fits kids up to 40 inches tall for rear-facing or 43 inches for forward-facing. For kids bigger than that who still need a seat with a five-point harness, we recommend the Cosco Finale 2-in-1 , which also converts to a high-back booster. The backless, lightweight Cosco Rise is great for booster-age kids.

If you’ll be hopping in and out of taxis or ride shares with a baby, the Doona is a unique but expensive infant car seat that converts to a stroller. And instead of purchasing a dedicated convertible car seat for travel, another option is to bring yours along with the Britax Travel Cart .

Everything we recommend

travel car seat for infant

Chicco KeyFit 35 ClearTex

The best infant car seat for travel.

If you’re a frequent traveler, the Chicco KeyFit 35 is easier than most infant car seats to install securely without its base.

Buying Options

travel car seat for infant

An infant car seat and stroller in one

This unusual car seat has integrated wheels that pop out to turn it into a stroller. It’s best for parents who frequently need to move their car seat in and out of different vehicles.

travel car seat for infant

Cosco Scenera Next

The best convertible car seat for travel.

This affordable and easy-to-use car seat weighs 6.8 pounds and can be used rear- and forward-facing. But kids can outgrow it quickly.

travel car seat for infant

Cosco Finale 2-in-1 Booster Car Seat

The best harness booster car seat for travel.

This no-frills seat converts from a forward-facing five-point harness to a high-back booster. It weighs just 12 pounds.

travel car seat for infant

Britax Travel Cart

A travel cart for lugging your own seat through the airport.

This sturdy, smooth-rolling travel cart helps you transport your own convertible car seat—and avoid buying a standalone travel seat. You can even strap your child into their seat and use it like a stroller.

travel car seat for infant

The best backless booster seat for travel

This basic booster seat weighs only 2.2 pounds and can work for children as small as 40 pounds. But it has a rather large footprint and will be too big to fit in most carry-ons.

How we picked

A seat that’s lightweight is more manageable to carry between multiple locations. A more compact seat is also easier to pack.

We considered the seat’s comfort and ability to adjust straps and buckles.

Ease of installation is paramount, as the easier it is to do, the more likely it will be done properly.

We looked at crash-testing scores and ease-of-use ratings. Our infant, convertible, and harness booster picks are FAA-approved for use on a plane.

The Chicco KeyFit 35 is a great all-around infant car seat—and one of the ones we recommend for everyday use. But for travel it stands out: It has a European belt path that makes it easier to get a secure install without the base than for many car seats, and it’s cheaper than other seats that have this belt routing option.

Weight of seat: 10 pounds Orientation: rear-facing only Weight range: 4 to 35 pounds Height limit: 32 inches

Parents who can’t leave their infant seat base installed in a specific car but instead need to travel by taxi or rideshare frequently may find the innovative Doona to be a convenient option. This sleek infant car seat has integrated wheels and converts to a stroller that maneuvers easily, plus the seat is FAA-approved for use on an airplane. But the versatile Doona is much heavier and more expensive than a regular infant car seat.

Weight of seat: 14.3 pounds Orientation: rear-facing only Weight range: 4 to 35 pounds Height limit: 32 inches

The Cosco Scenera Next is a notably lightweight, affordable convertible car seat that is simple to install and carry on an airplane. It receives strong safety ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and is FAA-approved for use on a plane. But many kids will outgrow it before they reach the height or weight limit because of the low position of the shoulder straps.

Weight of seat: 6.8 pounds Orientation: rear- or forward-facing Weight range: 5 to 40 pounds rear-facing; 22-40 pounds forward-facing Height range: 19-40 inches rear-facing; 29-43 inches forward-facing

For children using a forward-facing five-point harness, the Cosco Finale 2-in-1 is a lightweight and affordable travel option that is FAA-approved for use on a plane (in harness mode only). It also converts to a high-back booster. However, it has lower height limits than some boosters, so kids may not get as many years of use from it, in comparison with pricier options.

Weight of seat: 12 pounds Orientation: forward-facing only Weight range: 30 to 65 pounds for harness mode; 40 to 100 pounds for high-back mode Height range: 32 to 49 inches for harness mode; 43 to 52 inches for high-back mode

Bringing your own car seat to the airport has one big advantage—you don’t have to learn how to install yet another seat. But your own convertible car seat is likely to be heavy (our picks in our guide to convertible car seats range from 19 to 33 pounds). The Britax Travel Cart is compatible with most convertible seats, and when your car seat is secured to it with LATCH, you can use it like a stroller to push your toddler through the airport. The cart can then be stored in an overhead bin during your flight.

Weight of cart: 7.6 pounds

If you need a cheap, no-frills booster seat, we recommend the Cosco Rise . It’s a bit too large to fit into a carry-on suitcase or backpack, but it’s easy to attach with a bungee cord to a carry-on for plane travel. It’s also a great option if you just need a spare booster for carpools or to order ahead for use at the grandparents' house.

Weight of seat: 2.2 pounds Weight range: 40 to 100 pounds Height range: 43 to 57 inches

The research

Why you should trust us, who should get this, the best infant car seat for travel: chicco keyfit 35, an infant seat and stroller in one: doona, the best convertible car seat for travel: cosco scenera next, the best harness booster seat for travel: cosco finale 2-in-1, a great car seat caddy: britax travel cart, the best booster seat for travel: cosco rise, other good travel car seats, should a kid sit in a car seat on the airplane, what about checking a car seat, the competition, care, use, and maintenance.

The authors of this guide have collectively interviewed 40 industry experts, safety authorities, and physicians. Among them were certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians (CPSTs) such as Lani Harrison, who installs more than 300 car seats each year; Dr. Aditya Belwadi, a biomechanics research scientist who previously led the child passenger safety research team at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and now works at Tesla in Crash, Safety, and Occupant Protection/Biomechanics; and Bill Horn, head sled testing engineer at Calspan , one of the country’s top crash-testing facilities. The authors also talked with dozens of parents and representatives from leading car seat manufacturers.

The original version of this guide was written by Rebecca Gale, whose reporting on policy and parenting has appeared in outlets including The New York Times, Slate, and The Washington Post. Rebecca has also been certified as a CPST, completing a 40-hour training program through the Safe Kids Worldwide organization.

In 2022 and 2023, this guide was updated by Christina Szalinski, a science writer whose reporting on health and parenting has appeared in The Atlantic and Kaiser Health News . In addition to writing the most recent versions of Wirecutter’s infant and convertible car seat guides, Christina is responsible for Wirecutter’s guides to the Best Baby Formula and kids face masks .

Few people strictly need a separate car seat for travel as you can gate- or baggage-check any car seat for free with most airlines. But lugging your regular (likely heavy and bulky) seat in and out of the car and through the airport can be a major hassle. Investing in a smaller, lighter-weight option may be worthwhile, especially if you fly or use ridesharing services or taxis frequently.

Infant car seats for travel

If you’re traveling with an infant or baby, bringing along your usual infant car seat without its base (to cut down on weight and heft) is typically the best option. Our top infant car seat pick, the Graco SnugRide SnugFit 35 DLX , is relatively lightweight and, like other infant car seats, can be safely strapped in with a seatbelt only and no base.

There are two possible ways to install an infant car seat without a base: either with the belt directly across the top, called “American routing,” or with the shoulder belt placed around the back of the seat in addition to the top, called “European routing.” It’s easier to get a secure fit with European routing, and two seats we recommend in our guide to infant car seats, the Chicco KeyFit 35 and the Clek Liing , are designed to allow for that type of install. If you know you’ll be traveling with your infant often, it may be worthwhile to choose one of these as your baby’s first car seat.

Many infant car seats are compatible with easy-to-fold stroller frames, such as the Chicco KeyFit Caddy , which turns an infant car seat into a stroller and can be convenient for travel. Most infant seats are FAA-approved for airplane use, should you decide to purchase an airplane seat for your infant.

Convertible car seats for travel

When your child has outgrown their infant car seat, deciding on a car seat for travel can be trickier. Alisa Baer, a pediatrician, CPST, and co-founder of the website The Car Seat Lady , recommends bringing your own convertible car seat and using a travel cart . That way you have a seat that you’re already comfortable installing. But some people will prefer a dedicated travel car seat, as they can be significantly lighter than regular seats—as little as 7 pounds versus 20 to 30 pounds.

If you do buy a dedicated travel seat, it’s a good idea to practice installing it before your trip—you don’t want to be figuring it out for the first time when you, and your kid, are potentially jet lagged and feeling extra cranky. Installation can be the most time-consuming and frustrating part of using a car seat—and particularly a convertible car seat—and is often the point of failure for using a car seat correctly.

Booster seats for travel

If your everyday booster seat has a removable back (as with our top pick and runner-up pick, the Chicco KidFit ClearTex Plus and the Graco TurboBooster LX ), you may prefer to simply bring that seat for travel, leaving the bulky back at home. But like with convertible seats, it’s also an option to get a dedicated travel booster that may be significantly lighter and smaller than the one you rely on every day.

Jessica Jermakian, vice president for vehicle research at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, offered several tips for bringing along a backless booster, especially if it’s not one that’s compact: “I bungee cord them to my luggage while traversing the airport. On most flights, my kids could shove them under the seat in front of them and still have room to throw their backpack on top. On some flights, I’ve put them in a tote in the overhead compartment.”

Travel car seat alternatives

If you’re headed to a familiar destination, you could look into borrowing a seat from friends or relatives. Or, you may be able to rent one through a baby equipment rental service.

Many car rental companies also offer car seats for a daily fee, but it can cost up to $15 a day—adding up to much more than the cost of a travel car seat, which can be less than $50. And though you can reserve one in advance, rental car seats are subject to availability, so there’s no guarantee that one will be available when you arrive. The car seat provided may also be difficult to install properly, especially in an unfamiliar car. That said, you may be able to find discounts or other benefits through programs such as AAA, which offers one free car seat rental for members when they book a car through Hertz, Dollar, or Thrifty. Ridesharing and airport and town car services may also provide a car seat with advance reservations.

A person pushing a Doona stroller.

There are hundreds of travel car seat options for infants, toddlers, and older kids. We began the whittling down process by examining online customer reviews and existing media coverage, which included going to Car Seats for the Littles , Lucie’s List , and the Car Seat Lady . We found the travel car seat category to be sorely lacking in an abundance of great options, so we also considered some “regular” car seats and alternatives.

We knew from our expert interviews that proper installation is generally a far bigger problem than the level of protection that a seat inherently provides, so we searched the NHTSA ease-of-use installation database to help determine which seats offer easy installation and come with clear instructions. We also relied on the personal experience of Wirecutter staffers, volunteer testers, and car seat techs who had used the car seats in the past.

Our research led us to conclude that the ideal travel car seat should be:

Lightweight and compact: A travel car seat will likely need to be carried between multiple locations, sometimes with a baby inside (if we’re talking about an infant). The less the seat weighs, the easier it is to deal with when combined with children and carry-on items. A more compact seat can also fit more readily in a wide variety of vehicles.

FAA approved: For parents who want to use their infant seat, convertible car seat, or harness booster on a plane, FAA certification is crucial.

Easy to install: As with all of our car seat recommendations, ease of installation is paramount, as the easier it is to do, the more likely it is to be done properly.

Easy to use: Straps should be simple to adjust to get a snug but comfortable fit in a five-point harness. The buckles should be easy for parents to clip and unclip but difficult to impossible for children to mess with. We considered the experience of both parents and kids in using the seats, as well as how easy each seat was to clean.

Safe: When it comes to travel, convenience can trump a minor safety advantage; a seat that you can bring along with you is vastly superior to no seat at all. Still, we did take the relevant government safety data from NHTSA into consideration.

Over the past five years we’ve tested 17 car seats with travel specifically in mind.

Our pick for the best infant car seat for travel, the Chicco KeyFit 35.

If you’re shopping for an infant car seat with travel in mind, we recommend the FAA-approved Chicco KeyFit 35 , one of our picks in our guide to infant car seats . It is lightweight and easy to use, and it can be installed securely without its base using the European belt path, a method that generally provides a superior install. (Any infant seat can be installed without its base, so if you already have an infant seat, using what you already own is likely the easiest choice.)

You can save on weight and bulk by leaving a car seat base at home when traveling. There are two ways to install an infant seat without its base. The most common is American belt routing, in which the seat belt goes over the top of the infant seat and the baby’s knees. We’ve found that it can be very difficult to secure an infant seat in the car securely using this method.

A few seats also offer the option to rely on the European belt path, the method we prefer, in which the lap belt goes over the top of the infant seat and the shoulder belt goes around the back. It’s easier to get a secure install with the European belt path, but it’s only found on a few car seat models. Of the four infant car seats we recommend, only the Chicco KeyFit 35 and Clek Liing offer the option of using the European belt path.

Beyond the advantage of the European belt bath, the Chicco KeyFit 35 has everything we love about the more popular Chicco KeyFit 30 with a few bonus features, such as an anti-rebound base as an added safety option. The KeyFit 35 can also accommodate a slightly larger baby (up to 35 pounds) than the KeyFit 30.

The KeyFit 35 strapped into the backseat of a car with a seatbelt threaded across the lap of the car seat.

Flaws but not dealbreakers

The KeyFit 35 is about $50 more than our top infant car seat choice, the Graco SnugRide SnugFit 35 DLX . It probably doesn’t make sense to buy this seat just for travel if you already own a similar infant car seat. But if you plan to be jet-setting with your baby, it may be worth the additional $50 or so to get a better on-the-go install from the start.

An infant sitting inside the Doona secured in car rear seating.

The Doona is an FAA-approved infant car seat (rear-facing only) with built-in wheels that allow it to convert to a stroller. For travel, this is about as convenient as it gets, allowing caregivers to rely on a single piece of equipment to accomplish two goals: avoid gate-checking a stroller—assuming an airline seat is purchased for the infant—and hop in and out of cabs without having to stow anything in the trunk.

The canopy of the Doona extended over the head of the smiling infant sitting inside the stroller.

Compared with a regular infant car seat, the Doona has some drawbacks. For one thing, it did not perform particularly well in Baby Gear Lab’s crash testing (there are no government crash tests available yet for this seat). For this reason, and because it’s tricky to install without its base (as most infant seats are), one of our car seat experts does not recommend this seat. At 14.3 pounds, it’s heavy and bulky to carry and maneuver when in car seat mode. The Doona also has the steepest price of any of the car seats (including infant, convertible, and boosters) that we’ve reviewed. It does come with a traditional infant car seat base that allows for an easy click in and out of a car, but the extra width means it could be impossible to fit three across in a backseat. And it would defeat the point to use that base for travel.

Switching the Doona from car seat mode to stroller mode and back requires “both hands and concentration,” said one tester, as well as “quite a bit of practice for me. It takes a rather specific, subtle motion to collapse it back and tuck the wheels.” It’s harder than taking a regular infant car seat off of a stroller with an infant seat attachment. Plus, once your child outgrows this seat, you’ll have to buy another stroller.

As a stroller, the Doona maneuvers easily, and the brake is intuitive and easy to use. But though it comes with an attached storage bag, the Doona lacks a storage basket.

Our pick for the best convertible car seat for travel, the Cosco Scenera Next.

The inexpensive Cosco Scenera Next weighs just 6.8 pounds, is relatively easy to carry and install, and can be used rear-facing from 5 to 40 pounds and forward-facing from 22 to 40 pounds. It’s FAA-certified and easy to install on an airplane (using the plane’s seatbelt).

The Cosco sells for $60, which is a bargain compared with many convertible car seats (the Graco Extend2Fit , our favorite convertible seat for everyday use, is a little over $200). The seat gets strong safety ratings from NHTSA, and given its low weight and heft and easy-enough install, we think it’s the best option available for an on-the-go or backup car seat. We strongly prefer the (heftier) Graco Extend2Fit for everyday use. That’s because it’s easier to get a safe, secure install with that seat and to adjust it to fit the child. Plus, it can be used forward-facing until a kid is 65 pounds and 49 inches tall—a much longer usable life than the Scenera Next.

Several Wirecutter staffers use or have used the Cosco Scenera Next, appreciating its low cost, low weight, and small size. They’ve found that the seat’s slim profile makes it a great option for smaller cars (specifically, a Prius or Renault Scenic). Senior editor Courtney Schley found that the Cosco allowed her to get three seats (two Coscos and one infant car seat) across in her family’s car.

The Cosco car seat secured in rear car seating.

The Scenera Next’s low shoulder straps mean that a child may outgrow this seat well before they are ready for a booster. ( Shoulder straps should hit at or below the shoulders when a child is rear-facing; when forward-facing the straps should hit at or above the shoulders.) The low straps mean that many 3-year-olds with longer torsos may outgrow the seat in forward-facing mode, even though the seat’s height and weight limits indicate that it should fit an average-size kid up to age 4. With a long torso, the straps end up hitting below the shoulders, a situation that can compromise safety.

Though the Scenera Next is simple to install compared with other lightweight convertible car seats we tested, some of our testers still found it difficult to get a tight, secure install. It has hook LATCH straps that aren’t particularly easy to use—you really have to tug on the LATCH straps to get a tight fit, and getting them off can be an even bigger challenge. We preferred installing the seat with a seat belt in unfamiliar cars, which was an easier way to get a tight install (try the inside/outside trick with the shoulder belt), and made it much easier to uninstall.

Our testers also found that the chest clip on the harness wasn’t as responsive or easy to use as those on more expensive seats. The Scenera Next also has less padding than many seats, though Baer points out that the padding on most seats is highly compressible, meaning that just because a seat looks fluffier doesn’t mean it provides much more cushion.

This seat also has a few downsides if you bring it on a plane. Like most convertible car seats, it’s wider than the aisle, so you have to carry it awkwardly down the plane to get to your seat, which can be quite a challenge if you’re on your own and have other carry-on items (plus your child). Additionally, the plane’s seat belt buckle is going to be pushing into your child’s back if the seat is oriented forward-facing. Alisa Baer, co-founder of The Car Seat Lady, recommends installing any seat with this issue rear-facing, even if a kid is used to forward-facing. Or you can put a diaper or other soft item over the buckle to make it a bit more comfortable.

The Cosco Finale 2-in-1, our pick for best harness booster seat for travel.

The Cosco Finale 2-in-1 is a solid option for kids who are no longer rear-facing but still benefit from a five-point harness. It’s affordable, weighs just 12 pounds, and is relatively easy to install using the car’s seat belt while in harness mode (it also comes with LATCH straps, though we didn’t find these as easy to use). Like other boosters, when in booster mode, this seat relies on the car’s seat belt to secure the child, so there’s no need to install it.

This bigger-kid seat can see a growing child through years of travel: It can be used as a forward-facing five-point harness booster seat from 30 to 65 pounds and then as a regular (harness-free) booster from 40 to 100 pounds (up until a child is 52 inches tall).

As a five-point harness, it’s FAA-certified and easy to install on an airplane using the plane’s seatbelt. However, when it’s in booster mode, like all boosters, it cannot be used on an airplane.

In harness mode, the Cosco Finale 2-in-1 performed well in an NHTSA crash test. And several Wirecutter staffers use or have used the Cosco Finale 2-in-1 while traveling after their child outgrew the Cosco Scenera Next—they liked the price and straightforward install. Converting the seat to a booster is fairly straightforward , and the seat has storage for the harness, crotch buckle, and chest clip. Once the seat is in booster mode, your child can’t use it on an airplane, but many airlines will allow you to check a booster seat for free (you may wish to check with your airline in advance).

A more expensive version of the Cosco Finale 2-in-1, the Cosco Finale DX 2-in-1 , is also available. The only difference between the two is the fabric—the DX has a tiny bit more cushion and a slightly less slippery texture. We asked several children to try each seat and then report their favorite (they wore blindfolds, to remove color preference as a factor). There was no clear winner between the two seats, and our adult testers could hardly distinguish a difference in the cushioning. For this reason, we don’t think it’s worth the extra $20 for the DX.

A closeup showing the five-point harness of the Cosco Finale 2-in-1.

When using the Finale 2-in-1 in harness mode, you first have to install it in the car, which you can do either with the seat’s LATCH straps or with the car’s seat belt. We found the Finale 2-in-1’s hook LATCH straps difficult to use—it’s hard to get a tight fit in the car, and getting them off can be a big challenge. As we did with the Cosco Scenera Next, we preferred installing the harnessed seat with a seat belt; this was an easier way to get a tight install (try the inside/outside trick with the shoulder belt) and also made it much easier to uninstall. (When the harness is removed and the seat is in booster mode, you do not need to install it in the car, since the car’s seat belt holds it in place and secures the child.)

Our testers also found that the chest clip on the harness was a bit more difficult to open compared to those on more expensive seats like the Graco Tranzitions 3-in-1 . The straps have to be manually threaded through the car seat, which isn’t particularly difficult or time consuming, but you have to remember to do it before you install the seat. It also has less padding than many seats, though our child testers didn’t complain (however, we didn’t take it on any long road trips).

This seat won’t have as many years of use as other travel options, like the Graco Tranzitions 3-in-1, because the Cosco has a maximum height of 52 inches (most boosters go to 57 inches) and does not convert to a backless booster.

The Britax Travel Cart.

If you need to travel with a convertible car seat, you can bring the one you already have to the airport and onto the airplane with the Britax Travel Cart . The main benefit of bringing your own is that you’ll have a seat that you (and your child) are comfortable with, and that you know how to install confidently.

There are a number of similar travel carts out there, but we think this one offers the most for the price. We like that when the car seat is strapped onto the cart using the car seat’s LATCH clips, you can use the whole thing like a stroller and push (or pull) your child through the airport. The frame is also studier than other models—it can hold a total of 100 pounds of car seat and child. Plus, when it’s time to get on the plane you can fold the cart to stow it in an overhead bin.

A person pulling the Britax Travel Cart with a bulky convertible car seat on it.

At about $100 for the cart, it is cheaper to purchase a budget convertible car seat like the Cosco Scenera Next. However, depending on your circumstances, the Britax Travel Cart may outlive the expiration of many car seats (which are between six and 10 years), and could be used for future car seats, or passed along without as much consideration as a used car seat.

Our pick for the best booster seat for travel, the Cosco Rise.

For a cheap, no-frills booster seat, the Cosco Rise is a reliable option that weighs only 2.2 pounds. It’s simple to use: Like other backless booster seats, it does not need to be physically attached to the vehicle; a child simply sits in it and fastens the car’s lap belt over their knees (under the seat’s sides).

The Chicco GoFit Plus is our overall top pick for the best backless booster seat because it’s cushy, made with easy-to-clean materials, and includes two cup holders and a LATCH system to anchor the seat to the car. But it’s bulky, heavy, and not great for travel. The Cosco Rise has fewer bells and whistles, but it offers a key safety feature: Unlike many other boosters, this seat has a strap that attaches to a car’s shoulder belt to adjust the belt’s position for smaller riders (the shoulder belt should always rest on a child’s collarbone, and not against their neck).

The Cosco Rise can accommodate children as small as 40 pounds, as long as they are also 43 inches tall, meaning it will work for most kids 5 and up but may not accommodate some 4-year-olds.

A view of the Cosco Rise booster seat showing the strap that attaches to the vehicle's shoulder belt.

This seat is a bit too large to fit easily into a carry-on suitcase or backpack (it takes up almost all the room top-to-bottom in a standard-sized carry-on, with only a little room left on the side). There is also almost no padding on this seat, merely a polyester cover, but for short rides, our testers didn’t complain.

If you want an upgraded infant seat that’s great for travel : We recommend the Clek Liing , one of our favorite infant seats . Like the Chicco KeyFit 35, the Clek Liing can be installed without its base using a European belt path, which is much easier to get secure than the standard American belt routing found on most infant car seats. And when you’re at home, we love how easy it is to install the Liing’s base, which includes an added safety feature: a load leg .

If you want a high-end infant seat and don’t own a car: The lightweight, easy-to-clean Clek Liingo is similar to the Clek Liing but without the base. In general, we think installing a seat with the base is an easier and more secure option with infant car seats. But if you don’t own a car, the Liingo can be installed without a base in several ways. It has the same European belt path that the Liing has, which routes the lap belt over the top and the shoulder belt around the back for more security than an install that just goes over the top of the seat. The Liingo also comes with a LATCH strap that routes in the same spot as the lap belt—though we found this was not nearly as secure as the European belt path routing.

If you want a longer-lasting five-point harness seat for older kids: The Graco Tranzitions 3-in-1 is a good choice. This forward-facing-only seat has a five-point harness that holds kids from 22 to 65 pounds and up to 49 inches tall, and it can be adjusted without rethreading it, so it is easier to modify as your child grows. When your child is ready for a regular booster, you can remove the harness and crotch buckle, converting the seat to a high-back booster that can hold a child from 40 to 100 pounds and up to 57 inches tall. Finally, you can remove the back and convert the seat to a lightweight backless booster that can also be used from 40 to 100 pounds and up to 57 inches tall.

First off, a car seat must be FAA-approved—as all of our recommended infant and convertible seats are—for a kid to ride in one on an airplane. (Booster seats are reserved for older children and not intended for use on airplane seats.)

Both the Federal Aviation Administration and CPSTs believe it is safer for kids under 2 to ride in a car seat aboard a plane rather than in their parents’ arms. In the event of turbulence or rough air, a child is much safer if strapped in. Being injured in turbulence , though very unlikely, does affect a handful of American flyers each year, and recent research indicates that turbulence is on the rise due to climate change.

Many parents find that air travel is easier when their child has their own seat (though of course you have to pay for that additional seat). Children are allowed to sit on caregivers’ laps on planes until age 2, but few toddlers can sit still for a long period of time, and that extra harness and recline (as well as familiarity) provided by the car seat may keep a child seated comfortably longer, especially once they are mobile but still too young to fully understand how to sit still in a lap belt.

There are a number of challenges to bringing a car seat, especially a convertible seat designed for a toddler, onto a plane. Some smaller planes may have seats that aren’t wide enough for many convertible car seats. And even if the car seat is narrow enough for the plane, not many seats are narrow enough to easily fit down the aisle. The Clek Foonf , one of our convertible car seat picks, is one of them, but it is pricey and heavy. (The Clek Fllo , Graco SlimFit3 LX , and Graco True3Fit also fit on an airplane seat, but we did not test them.) You’ll generally have to lift a car seat above the seats to carry it to the rear of a plane.

Finally, unlike a car seat buckle, which sits on your hip, a plane’s seat buckle sits right in the middle of your lap. That means for many car seats, once you install them on the plane, there’s going to be a large metal buckle below your child’s legs or behind their back (the Clek seats are among the few without this issue). Alisa Baer, co-founder of The Car Seat Lady, recommends using convertible seats with buckle-in-the-back issues rear-facing, even with a larger child—they’ll likely be more comfortable if their feet have a place to rest, plus they won’t be trying to rest their feet on the passenger’s seat in front of them. You can also put a diaper or spare T-shirt over the buckle to make it a bit more comfortable.

Some parents may find it simpler to use a CARES harness (Child Aviation Restraint System) to help keep kids in their seats on a plane (and their kids may prefer sitting in an airplane seat over a car seat); you install this four-point harness around the child’s seatback and under the tray behind it.

Most airlines allow at least one car seat to be checked for free but doing so has several potential problems . The luggage can be handled roughly and tossed, damaging the car seat in the process. Seats, like any piece of luggage, can also be lost or misplaced in transit. Ultimately, the main reason you may want to have your child use a car seat on the plane is so that you are absolutely confident you’ll have the car seat when you arrive at your destination.

For people who do check in their car seats, Harrison recommends—ideally—using the original box and styrofoam that the seat came with if they are available or using Bubble Wrap and a garbage bag if not. Examine the seat for visible damage when it comes out at baggage claim, and be prepared to replace the seat if it’s broken or bent.

Infant travel seats

The Chicco Fit2 can accommodate infants as small as 4 pounds and toddlers as large as 35 pounds or 35 inches. Like the Chicco KeyFit 35 we recommend as the best infant car seat for travel, it can be installed with a European belt path. But because of this seat’s large size, some seat belts are too short to route over the car seat securely.

Convertible travel seats

We previously recommended the lightweight, foldable, forward-facing WAYB Pico (rhymes with “baby”) as a good travel car seat for kids who are too big for the Cosco Scenera Next but still need a five-point harness. Its adjustable seat back allows it to accommodate taller kids, and its slim design means it takes up less room in the backseat than other car seats. The 8-pound seat is exceptionally convenient to install, uninstall, and carry around, including through airports and onto a plane. In September 2019, however, WAYB announced it was recalling 4,558 Pico car seats manufactured between March 1 and May 12, 2019, due to reports of breakage in the aluminum tube connecting the headrest to the seat. You can read NHSTA’s report (PDF)  for details about the recall, how to identify your car seat’s date of manufacture, and how to inspect your car seat for damage. Since the recall, there have not been further reports of problems. Like all car seats sold in the US, the Pico was self-certified by WAYB to pass NHTSA standards (PDF) for safety testing.

The EvenFlo Tribute is a lightweight seat (9 pounds) similar to the Cosco Scenera Next and also has a weight limit of 40 pounds, but as our convertible car seat guide testing showed us, it’s not as easy to get a good install with this seat. CPSTs like Harrison recommend using a towel or pool noodle when using the Tribute to address this. It’s also more expensive than the Cosco Scenera Next.

Booster travel seats

We previously recommended the BubbleBum , an inflatable, portable backless booster seat for older kids. However, in February 2022, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety raised concerns about the safety of inflatable boosters. A study using a computerized model determined that an inflatable booster may not have the stiffness required to keep a child from sliding out from under the lap belt upon impact in a car crash.

The backless Cosco Topside is too large to fit into a carry-on or a backpack. Unlike the Cosco Rise , our favorite backless booster for travel, this booster seat also doesn’t have a belt-positioning clip, which can help the shoulder belt fit better on a smaller rider.

We liked the Graco RightGuide booster seat because it was small enough to fit inside a carry-on or backpack. But it was recently discontinued.

The Immi Go is a booster car seat with a five-point harness that folds conveniently into its own carrying bag. Due to low sales, it is no longer for sale in the US, but you may see this seat if you travel abroad.

The MiFold backless booster seat (currently unavailable) is small enough to fit into the back pocket of some pants and weighs less than 2 pounds. It works by moving the seat belt down to fit the kid (as opposed to raising the kid to fit the belt, as other boosters do). However, our testers found its hard plastic shell uncomfortable to sit on for long periods of time and said that the seat was complicated and unintuitive to set up. Also, a car seat safety expert we consulted noted that the design of the seat may encourage a child to use bad posture while they’re sitting in it—in an effort to find a more comfortable position, the child may tend to scoot forward, moving the slick-bottomed seat along with them, which could pose a safety concern.

Travel carts

The Torevsior Car Seat Travel Cart is about $25 less than the Britax Travel Cart we recommend, but it’s also less robust—the frame just doesn’t feel as sturdy. The weight limit is also lower than the Britax’s, at 70 pounds versus Britax’s 100 pounds. Like the Britax travel cart, the Torevsior cart has hooks for LATCH straps, to secure a car seat onto the cart so that your child can ride in it as you’re moving through the airport. It’s 6.4 pounds (Britax is 7.6 pounds), and extends up to 46 inches (Britax to 42 inches).

All of the guidelines for car seat care, use, and maintenance in our other car seat guides apply to travel car seats as well.

This guide was edited by Ellen Lee, Amy Miller Kravetz and Kalee Thompson.

Jessica Jermakian, vice president for vehicle research at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety , email exchange , August 1, 2022

Alisa Baer, pediatrician, nationally certified child passenger safety instructor, and co-founder of The Car Seat Lady , phone interview, July 15, 2022 and January 9, 2023

Lani Harrison, CPST, Car Seats for the Littles , email interview , January 28, 2019

Meet your guides

A headshot of Christina Szalinski

Christina Szalinski

Christina Szalinski is a freelance science writer with a PhD in cell biology.

travel car seat for infant

Rebecca Gale

Further reading

The two travel strollers we recommend, the Uppababy Minu V2 and the Baby Jogger City Tour 2 Stroller, standing next to each other.

The Best Travel Strollers

by Elise Czajkowski

After testing seven travel strollers on various trips and excursions, we’re confident that the Uppababy Minu V2 is the one to get.

Our three picks for the best booster car seat, arranged in a row.

The Best Booster Car Seats

by Rebecca Gale

After researching over 50 booster car seats and testing 13, we’ve concluded that the convenient Chicco KidFit ClearTex Plus is the best overall choice.

Highway sign indicating meltdown ahead in half mile.

Traveling With Little Kids Can Be Tough. The Right Gear Can Help.

by Kerry Davis McGuinness

From compact car seats and cribs to portable blackout shades and white noise machines, the right tools for travel can lead to less fuss—and more fun.

Two infant car seats side by side, with baby toys.

The Best Infant Car Seats

by Christina Szalinski

After extensive research and field testing, we found that the Graco SnugRide SnugFit 35 DLX is the best infant car seat for most families.

  • Car Seats /

Best Car Seats for Travel

Our favorite travel-friendly infant, convertible & booster seats for the baby days through the big-kid years., by jen labracio.

Pinterest logo.

Ever try to lug a 20-pound car seat through an airport while thinking to yourself, “There has to be a better way?”

Traveling with babies and young children can be a great adventure, but it can also be a bit of a logistical nightmare. Where will they sleep? (A travel crib or a travel bed usually do the trick.) Can you fly with breastmilk ? (Yes.) How do you keep a toddler entertained on a long flight? (Thoughts and prayers.)

Car seats can be especially confusing when you’re away from home. Most present a bit of a conundrum: you want your to keep your little one safe and secure, but you don’t want to throw out your back lugging a big, bulky car seat around with you wherever you go. The good news is there are plenty of travel-friendly car seat options on the market—you just need to know what features to look for.

Babylist’s Top Picks for the Best Travel Car Seats

Best infant car seats.

  • Lightest Infant Car Seat: UPPAbaby Aria Car Seat
  • Best Affordable Infant Car Seat: Evenflo Litemax 35 Infant Car Seat
  • Best Luxury Infant Car Seat: Nuna Pipa Rx Infant Car Seat with Relx Base
  • Best Infant Car Seat + Stroller: Doona Infant Car Seat & Stroller

Best convertible car seats

  • Best Convertible: Cosco Scenera NEXT Convertible Car Seat
  • Longer Lasting Convertible: Evenflo Sonus 65 Convertible Car Seat
  • Most Compact Convertible: WAYB Pico Travel Car Seat

Best booster seats

  • Best High-back: Graco TurboBooster 2.0 Highback Booster Car Seat
  • Best Backless: Cosco Rise Backless Booster Car Seat

In This Article

  • How We Chose the Best Travel Car Seats
  • Our Top Picks

What Is a Travel Car Seat?

Do you need a travel car seat, features to look for in a travel car seat, babylist’s picks for the best car seats for travel, infant car seats, lightest infant car seat for travel.

UPPAbaby Aria Infant Car Seat - Jake - $349.99.

UPPAbaby Aria Infant Car Seat - Jake

The UPPAbaby Aria, one of our top car seats for infants , hit the market in early 2024 and we couldn’t be more excited about it. The brand’s OG car seat, the Mesa , is a popular choice for expecting parents but is a few pounds heavier than many comparable seats. The Aria comes in much lighter, weighing just under six pounds without the canopy and inserts, making it the lightest infant seat currently on the market. This is great if you’re using the seat daily, but even better if you’re using it for travel.

The Aria is GREENGUARD Gold Certified and can be installed with or without its base, another travel plus. (It features something called a European belt path , a routing system that makes installing the seat without its base safer and more secure.) A no-rethread harness makes fit adjustments easy and there’s a load leg and an anti-rebound bar for safety and stability. We also love the XL canopy for shade and darkness and that you won’t need adapters if you’re connecting the seat directly to a Vista or Cruz stroller.

Additional Specs

Best affordable infant car seat for travel.

Evenflo Litemax 35 Infant Car Seat - Knowville Gray - $125.49.

Evenflo Litemax 35 Infant Car Seat - Knowville Gray

You don’t have to spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars on a travel-friendly infant car seat. Evenflo’s LiteMax (another of our top baby car seats ) costs a bit over $100 and weighs only eight pounds, making it affordable and travel-ready. You can install it without its base—it even has a European belt path. There’s a full-coverage canopy and an ergonomically designed handle for easier carrying.

If you don’t mind spending a bit more and are looking for some extra safety features, check out the LiteMax DLX , which features a load leg. (Just remember that the load led extends from the base, so if you’re using just the seat you won’t have that benefit.) And for another affordable infant car seat for travel, check out Graco’s SnugRide 35 Lite LX Infant Car Seat . It weighs just over seven pounds and can be installed without the base when you don’t feel like bringing it along.

Best Luxury Infant Car Seat for Travel

Nuna Pipa Rx Infant Car Seat with Relx Base - Granite - $450.00.

Nuna Pipa Rx Infant Car Seat with Relx Base - Granite

The Pipa Rx is a stellar combination of safety + convenience and works just as well as an everyday car seat as it does for travel. It’s pricey, but it’s also a sleek, modern seat with two key features that make it ideal for travel: weight and ease of installation. The Pipa weighs just over seven pounds, making it one of the lightest infant car seats on the market—a huge plus when you’re carrying it through the airport or taking it in and out of your car. And like other seats on our list, you can install it without the base using your vehicle’s seat belt and the European belt path.

It’s also packed with high-end features that you’d expect in a higher-priced seat. It’s GREENGUARD Gold Certified and doesn’t contain any added fire-retardant chemicals, and there’s an oversized canopy for shade. Safety-wise, it excels, featuring both a load leg and an anti-rebound panel (both extra safety features that help absorb impact and rebound in the event of a crash).

For another high-end, travel-friendly seat, check out the Clek Liingo . It’s a bit heavier, but it features LATCH anchors built right into the car seat itself, meaning you can skip the base and the seat belt and install it securely in seconds.

Best Infant Car Seat Stroller Hybrid for Travel

Doona Infant Car Seat & Stroller - Nitro Black - $550.00.

Doona Infant Car Seat & Stroller - Nitro Black

There’s nothing quite like the Doona. This one-of-a-kind hybrid stroller + car seat is a favorite of on-the-go parents and is a great item of baby gear to own if you’ll be traveling frequently with your little one during their first year or so.

The Doona transforms from an infant car seat into a stroller with the click of a button. When it’s time to get in the car, the stroller legs and wheels pull up and fold under the car seat. It’s a dream if you’re looking to cut down on the amount of gear you’re lugging around when you’re away from home and if you’re looking for a seat that’s easy to get in and out of ride shares or rental cars. (It’s a great seat for city dwellers too.)

Convertible Car Seats

Best convertible car seat for travel.

Cosco Scenera NEXT Convertible Car Seat - $59.00.

Cosco Scenera NEXT Convertible Car Seat

Most convertible seats aren’t designed for travel. Weighing in at an average of about 20 pounds, convertibles don’t snap into strollers and are heavy, bulky and meant to be installed in your car and stay there. For parents who travel frequently or don’t own a car, getting around with a convertible seat poses quite the challenge.

The Next, which is ranked as one of our best convertible car seats , solves for this dilemma. It weighs about 10 pounds—light for any car seat but especially so for a convertible. It’s easy to sling over your shoulder while you’re walking through the airport or install in an airplane seat or a ride share. (It’s FAA-approved for plane travel.) It’s totally no-frills and can be a bit tricky to get a secure install, but it’s slim, safe and affordable and can be used both rear- and forward-facing.

A Longer Lasting Travel-Friendly Convertible Pick

Evenflo Sonus 65 Convertible Car Seat - Rocco Red - $119.99.

Evenflo Sonus 65 Convertible Car Seat - Rocco Red

The Sonus 65 is a travel-friendly convertible car seat and a good choice if you’re looking for a seat with a higher height and weight maximum than the Cosco Scenera Next. It weighs a bit more, but only by about a pound, and you’ll be able to use it until your little one reaches 65 pounds or 50 inches as opposed to the Next which maxes out at 40 pounds and 43 inches.

In addition to its extended use capabilities, the Sonos is an affordable seat with a few noteworthy features. It’s a fairly narrow seat, so it won’t take up much room across your back seat and can be used three across. There’s also a built-in ventilation system, a reinforced frame, five shoulder strap positions and two integrated cup holders for drinks and snacks.

Most Compact Convertible Car Seat for Travel

WAYB Pico Travel Car Seat - $380.00.

WAYB Pico Travel Car Seat

The WAYB Pico is like no other convertible car seat on the market. Designed specifically for families who travel or are frequently on the go, it’s one of the pricer options on our list but is a worthwhile investment if you’re looking for an innovative, safe and incredibly compact convertible car seat option.

The creators of the Pico were inspired to create a completely unique convertible-style seat after watching parents struggle trying to lug car seats through airports and in and out of taxis and ride shares. There’s no feature here that hasn’t been completely (and ingeniously) thought through. The Pico’s frame is made from lightweight, aerospace-grade aluminum; there’s a five-point harness and seat fabric made from a cool, breathable mesh; and the seat installs either via a seat belt or LATCH system. The Pico weighs just eight pounds and folds up for easy transport either by hand or in the brand’s carry bag .

One thing to keep in mind: the seat is forward-facing only, so if you’re looking for a rear-facing convertible for travel, this isn’t a good fit for you.

Booster Seats

Best booster seat for travel.

Graco TurboBooster 2.0 Highback Booster Car Seat - $44.99.

Graco TurboBooster 2.0 Highback Booster Car Seat

Booster seats use a vehicle’s seat belt as a restraint and were developed to help elevate children in a car’s seat, making adult seat belts fit better on smaller bodies. You’ll have to wait quite a while until you transition your little one from a convertible car seat into a booster; most experts recommend waiting to make the leap until your child maxes out their forward-facing car seat, meets the height and weight requirements of the booster and is mature enough to sit properly upright (no leaning, twisting, moving around etc.).

There are two types of boosters: high-back and backless. Graco’s TurboBooster falls into the first category, with a high back and a seat belt guide to thread your vehicle’s shoulder belt for a proper fit. Due to their height, no high-backs are particularly great for travel, but this one is one of the best you’ll find in terms of price (affordable) and weight (just over eight pounds). It’s also easy to install and fits a wide variety of children well, and transitions to a backless booster for years of use.

Best Backless Booster Seat for Travel

Cosco Rise Backless Booster Car Seat - $13.98.

Cosco Rise Backless Booster Car Seat

Most experts recommend using a high-back booster for as long as possible , but once you’re ready to make the switch to a backless model, your life is going to get a whole lot easier (and a lot lighter!). Cosco’s Rise is a no-frills seat that’s affordable, lightweight and compact, making it ideal to toss into a bag or even a tote for travel. The wide base and high armrests make it easy for your child to buckle in themselves and there’s a shoulder belt positioning clip to ensure you’ll get the proper fit.

How We Chose Our Best Car Seats for Travel

  • We analyzed results from Babylist’s Best Baby Products survey , which polled 6,000 Babylist users and asked them to share the baby products they love the most and why.
  • We utilized insight from the Babylist editorial team, including Gear Editor Jen LaBracio, an expert in the baby space for over six years and a mom of two who has written hundreds of baby gear guides and personally researched and tested hundreds of baby products, including many travel car seats.
  • We reviewed customer reviews from hundreds of real Babylist parents.

There’s no specific category or true definition for a “travel” car seat; instead, what defines a travel-friendly car seat is more about its features. Things like a light weight, compact design and ease of portability are all factors to consider when you’re shopping for this type of seat.

Determining if it’s worthwhile to invest in a car seat just for travel depends on your family’s lifestyle. If you’re a family who tends to stay close to home or use your own car when you’re traveling, you can likely skip a travel-friendly seat. But if you’re planning on hitting the road (or the skies) frequently with your little one in tow, then purchasing a car seat specifically for travel can make your life on the go a whole lot easier.

Also keep in mind that you don’t have to use a travel-friendly car seat just for travel. A compact, lightweight car seat is a great choice if you’re an urban family that doesn’t own a car, for example, if you need a seat for a grandparent or other caregiver or if plan to switch your seat frequently between cars.

There are some specific features to keep in mind when you’re shopping for a car seat that’s well-suited for travel.

  • Weight. This is a biggie. Lugging around a heavy car seat isn’t a fun way to spend any part of your vacation. Choose the lightest seat you can within your budget—your lower back can thank us later.
  • Design. A slim, compact seat is easier to transport than a big, bulky one. Keep this in mind when choosing what type of seat you’ll purchase for traveling.
  • Ease of installation. Does spending 40 minutes trying to install a car seat in your rental car sound like fun? Make sure the car seat you choose for travel can be installed quickly and easily in the widest range of car makes and models.
  • FAA-approved. This one’s important if you plan on doing a lot of travel via plane. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that kids ride in child safety seats on airplanes —but you’ll need to make sure your seat is approved for airplane use . Look for a label on the seat that reads “certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft” to be sure. This includes infant seats, convertibles, forward-facing seats and some harnessed boosters.

Jen LaBracio

Senior gear editor.

Jen LaBracio is Babylist’s Senior Gear Editor, a role that perfectly combines her love of all things baby gear with her love of (obsessive) research. When she’s not testing out a new high chair or pushing the latest stroller model around her neighborhood, she likes to run, spin, listen to podcasts, read and spend time at the beach. In her past life, she worked for over a decade in children’s publishing. She lives outside of Chicago with her husband and their two boys, Will and Ben.

travel car seat for infant

7 Best Portable Car Seats for Babies, Toddlers and Big Kids

We prioritized lightweight car seats for travel by plane, rental car and rideshare.

7 best portable car seats for traveling with the whole family

We've been independently researching and testing products for over 120 years. If you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Learn more about our review process.

Our top picks:

Car Seat Stroller

Best Overall Portable Infant Car Seat

Doona car seat stroller.

TurboBooster 2.0

Best Value Portable Booster Seat

Graco turbobooster 2.0.

Scenera NEXT

Best Portable Convertible Car Seat

Cosco scenera next.

Viaggio Flex 120

Best Portable Foldable Booster Seat

Peg perego viaggio flex 120.

4Ever DLX

Best Portable All-in-One Car Seat

Graco 4ever dlx.

Pico Travel Car Seat

Best Lightweight Portable Car Seat

Wayb pico travel car seat.

PIPA urbn + TRVL Stroller

Best Portable Travel System for Babies

Nuna pipa urbn + trvl stroller.

Aside from requiring a lot more gear, traveling with kids can be quite stressful, and in between packing your luggage and investing in a travel stroller , there's little mental energy for anything else. Fortunately our experts at the Good Housekeeping Institute Parenting Lab have been testing car seats for decades, including the best convertible car seats and the best booster seats . We test based on safety features, functionality, ease of use and value. Our picks are based on tests done in-Lab by our experts, evaluations from our consumer testers and extensive research.

Head to the end of this guide to find more information on how we test, whether or not you should use a car seat on a plane, what to look for when shopping for the best portable car seats and more. Looking for more to make traveling with kids as easy as possible? Check out our favorite outdoor-ready stroller wagons , good diaper bags and the winners of our Family Travel Awards .

The Doona car seat is our pick for the best overall car seat and stroller combo and it's one of our past Parenting Award winners. A dedicated fan following backs it up; see its more than 12,000 five-star reviews on Amazon. The Doona makes it easy to switch between car seat and stroller mode in seconds even with your baby strapped inside. In short, you don't need a separate infant car seat and a stroller, because this is both.

"It's the easiest stroller to maneuver through airport security and around an airport terminal," says one tester who's a mom of two young kids. It goes into a rideshare vehicle using the seat belt (no stroller to put in the trunk!). It's also FAA-approved for use in an airplane cabin and fits on most economy airplane seats, which are often about 17 inches wide.

Rachel Rothman , the Good Housekeeping Institute's former Chief Technologist and a mom of three, is a fan of this for travel. But it's important to note that, as well as being pricey, the Doona is only for rear-facing use and for toddlers up to 35 pounds. Toddlers outgrow it typically at age 2. But if you'll travel a lot in those first two years — even if it's just catching Ubers around town — you'll be grateful for the Doona.

Big kids need a bit of help ensuring that the seatbelt is hitting their body just right, so this backless booster gives them that extra height. It's also exceptionally small, lightweight and easy to travel with; you might even keep several in your car's trunk for when you're carpooling other kids.

Because it's backless, it doesn't offer as much support as a highback booster (for that, see the Peg Perego on this list). It is okayed for ages 4 and up as long as they weigh at least 40 pounds and could be great for a quick trip when you don't want to lug something large. This fits into a tote bag!

With its two hideaway cupholders, machine-washable seat cushions and padded armrests, this tucks a lot of features into a (really!) affordable seat. It's no surprise that it has more than 59,000 five-star reviews on Amazon. While it isn't airline approved — all booster seats require a shoulder belt, which you won't find on an airplane — its compact size makes it incredibly simple to slide into your overhead bin to later use in taxis, Ubers or other vehicles once you get to your destination.

For a little more money there's a TurboBooster LX version that works with LATCH; nice if you'll be keeping this in one car for a length of time.

Got enough to carry already? At 10 pounds, this is the best lightweight convertible car seat for traveling and it won't break the bank. Five harness heights and three buckle locations help customize the seat to your baby or toddler's size, though it's the kind of harness you have to rethread each time you need to change it.

The Scenera can be installed rear-facing for babies and toddlers and forward-facing for preschoolers up to 40 pounds but lacks the cushioning and other comforts, like a recline mechanism, we've come to enjoy in an everyday toddler car seat . Still, with its deep bucket seat, this will keep your tiny passenger comfy enough and car seat compliant when you're traveling and in and out of other people's vehicles. It's especially great as a rear-facing travel option for 2- and 3-year-olds who have outgrown an infant car seat.

You can remove both the cupholder and seat pad for washing. The seat pad can even go in the dryer. The brand claims that three of these seats fit across a back seat and our tests were able to validate that in certain vehicles. It can be installed with the LATCH system or a seatbelt. It's approved for airplane seats and like our best overall pick it fits on most economy seats.

Kids who are at least age 4 and who weigh 40 pounds or more will appreciate the comfort of this belt-positioning booster seat just as much as parents will appreciate its ability to fold down to a fraction of its size.

The Flex 120 has an exceptionally large weight range, functioning for kids up to — you guessed it — 120 pounds. While it's a bit pricier than some other booster options, its ability to compact down makes it perfect for folding up and storing in a bag that you can then gate-check, or even fit into the overhead bin while in-flight. Note that no belt-positioning booster is certified for use in an airplane cabin because they're meant to be used with a car's shoulder belt, not an airplane lap belt. The big kids who fit this are good to use the airplane belt anyway! This is perfect for use in a rideshare, taxi or a far-off relative's vehicle when you land.

Customize this booster to your child by adjusting the headrest, upper backrest, side wings and seat. In addition to being an easy portable car seat, this is another great choice for grandparents or other caregivers who only occasionally drive big kids around because it so easily fits into a car's trunk when not in use.

This is larger and heavier than any of our other choices. However, this is the most portable all-in-one car seat that grows with your little one from a rear-facing infant car seat to a backless booster, from 4 to 120 pounds .

Its versatility means that it may be the only car seat you ever have to buy, and if you travel infrequently, you could manage to tote this on a few trips and avoid buying something separate just for travel. It is certified to work on an airplane seat with the harness (so, up to 65 pounds), but it's about 3 inches wider than many economy airplane seats so the fit isn't great; one Reddit user said they put it in the window seat and then just accepted squeezing themselves into the middle-seat position.

While testing, we appreciated how easy this car seat was to install and use, making it pretty difficult to mess up due to user error. We also love how highly adjustable it is, with a six-position recline and a no-rethread harness with 10 possible heights. The easy-to-remove washable seat pads make it simple to clean up after your little one. If you're taking it with you into a rideshare and can't use the LATCH installation system, there's an integrated belt lock off on the back of the seat that helps make seat belt installation as simple as possible.

This is a pricey option that has a fan following with frequent travelers who travel with a preschooler. It folds down into its own carrying case, which can be worn as a backpack, so you can easily get it through the airport and store it in a hotel. It's got a five-point harness and is meant for kids up to 50 pounds. The brand says it's for kids as young as 2 but because rear-facing is safest and this only faces forward, we would not recommend using it for a child until they are at least age 3, preferably 4.

The Pico does not have side-impact protection and other safety features we want on an everyday car seat, but for travel we agree that this has portability appeal. It also gets knocked in reviews for not being comfortable for long car rides if your child likes to nap, but again, we're putting it on this list for on-the-go families who are in "something is better than nothing" mode, even for short train, bus or van rides.

Our experts appreciate how lightweight this seat is (8 pounds), and that it easily fits even on the smallest economy airplane seat (it's FAA-approved). The seat can either be installed using the LATCH system or the seatbelt in a car or airplane.

If you're a city family that doesn't even own a car, there's a big reason to love the PIPA portable infant car seat: It's built to be installed without a base and is exceptionally easy to move between vehicles, including rideshares like Uber.

It's got a built-in rigid LATCH system or alternatively you can use the back seat seatbelt. Plus, the PIPA urbn only weighs 7 pounds, making it one of the lightest infant car seats we know of and an easy one to carry from place to place. The stroller, too, is lightweight at just under 14 pounds and can be folded down using just one hand. The car seat is built to ride on top of the stroller, for instance to get them both through an airport, and we named it our favorite lightweight travel system .

The infant car seat does not have a high weight limit, however. Your baby will outgrow it when they hit 22 pounds or are 29 inches tall, whichever comes first. For some that can mean by their first birthday. But the stroller will stay useful through the preschool years since it has a weight limit of 50 pounds. The car seat is airline-approved and will fit on most economy cabin seats.

How we test the best portable car seats

"

The Good Housekeeping Institute's engineering and parenting pros have reviewed dozens of car seats over the past five years, including portable car seats . Our Lab experts work with parents to test these car seats on a variety of vehicles of different brands and sizes to ensure that you can find the right car seat for your family.

Each car seat we consider has passed Federal Safety Standards. We perform tests both in the Lab and at home to evaluate each product's safety, ease of installation, stability, ease of adjustments, stroller compatibility and portability. To accomplish this, we set up each car seat in a variety of vehicles and strollers. We evaluate how easy it is to secure the harness as well as how difficult it is to install the car seats. For portable car seats we pay special attention to whether they can be installed without a LATCH system and to whether they are approved for use in an airplane cabin.

What to look for when shopping for a portable car seat

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Whether you're going on a trip or often take your child places in a rideshare vehicle, if you need a portable car seat you should consider these things:

✔️ Height and weight limits : All car seats come with minimum and maximum height and weight specifications. To ensure proper seatbelt placement and optimal security, make sure your child fits within those ranges. Once they meet the maximum in either height or weight, it's time to switch. If you have an adjustable car seat that transitions to a booster look at the labels on the car seat, check the user manual or contact the manufacturer so you know when it's time to switch modes.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) can help you determine the right kind of car seat for your child based on their age, weight and height. That will help you figure out if you can use an infant car seat or if you need a convertible car seat and if you're ready to move on to a booster car seat for travel.

✔️ Weight : The lightest car seats are often the most portable. We get especially excited when we find any that are less than 15 pounds, though a few on our list are heavier than that.

✔️ Easy cleaning : Regardless of age, spills happen. Luckily, like many other car seats, most portable seats offer removable machine-washable seat covers and padding.

✔️ Design : Traditional car seats have a ton of padding, robust side-impact protection and extra features that are important for everyday but might be overkill for short trips. The best design for a portable car seat is a slim, streamlined one.

✔️ Ease of installation : Since you will be re-installing the car seat each time you put it in a new car or aircraft, it's important to find a car seat that is so easy to install it won't take more than a few minutes. The easiest car seats for traveling can be installed without a car seat base.

✔️ State laws : Before you bring your car seat across state lines, check state laws to be sure you'll be compliant. Often children through age 7 must be in a child-restraint seat. But if you're heading to Florida for Disney World, the laws there only apply to children through age 5.

Should you bring a car seat on the plane?

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While it is not mandatory to strap your little one into a car seat on an airplane, many parents opt to do so since it can be both a safer and more comfortable for everyone . It's recommended to do so for children under age 2 by the FAA and AAP. Note: For your child to ride in a car seat, you'll need to buy them their own plane ticket so they're guaranteed to have the space. If your baby under age 2 is flying as a free "lap baby" you are not guaranteed space for your car seat.

Before you bring a car seat onboard, check that it has an FAA-approved sticker. It's also a good idea to bring along your car seat manual to help ensure that you're properly installing the seat on the aircraft. There are helpful videos on YouTube, too, that show how to buckle a car seat in with a lap belt. (This one from the FAA shows how to install a forward-facing car seat on a plane .) Watch some before your trip!

The average airline seat is about 17 inches wide and measures 30 inches from the back of the seat to the seat in front of you — but size can vary depending on which airline you are flying. Because of this, it's best to pick a narrow, compact car seat. Infant car seats fit better than most convertible car seats, though we find that the Cosco choice on our list generally fits well.

For those who are traveling with a car seat who don't plan to use it while on the plane, many airlines will check the car seat or booster seat for free at the check-in desk or at the gate. It might be a good idea to purchase a travel bag to fit it in, to help avoid damage.

Why trust Good Housekeeping?

Lab pros and journalists at the Good Housekeeping Institute provide expert reviews and advice on everything a parent needs, including portable car seats.

This article was overseen by Rachel Rothman , former Chief Technologist & Director of Engineering at the Institute, who was trained in mechanical engineering and applied mathematics. As a mom to three kids, she personally used many of the products we recommend.

In her former role as Parenting & Pets Reviews Analyst, Jamie Spain brought years of experience to the Institute and wrote the first iteration of this story. It has since been updated by contributing writer Jessica Hartshorn who has followed the car-seat market for 25 years, previously for Parents magazine and American Baby magazine. She's also a mom of two.

Headshot of Jamie Spain

Jamie (she/her) is a parenting and pets reviews analyst at the Good Housekeeping Institute , where she spends her time testing, researching and writing about pet and family products. Prior to starting at GH in 2021, she worked at BuzzFeed and People , covering a combination of product reviews and lifestyle content. She's a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and psychology and a master’s degree in journalism.

Headshot of Jessica Hartshorn

Jessica (she/her) is a freelance writer with several decades of experience writing lifestyle content and evaluating home and parenting products. A mom of two teens and two cats, her previous work can be seen in American Baby and Parents .

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Tear Free Travel

Posted on Last updated: April 5, 2024 Categories Featured , Kids Travel Gear , Travel Car Seat

By: Author Kate

The Best Portable Car Seat for Travel For Every Age! (2022)

This post may contain affiliate links.

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Are you looking for the best portable car seat for travel with your baby, toddler or child? Are you wondering about the best car seats for airplanes? One of the biggest pains of traveling with young kids is figuring out what to do about the car seats! Seriously, I have planned so much of our travel around “well, how are we going to travel with the car seats??!”  

Not only do we want to keep our kids safe on vacation, but we also want a lightweight travel car seat that isn’t going to break the bank. My car seat for my 3-year-old (although AWESOME) is super heavy and bulky – I needed a better toddler travel car seat option! In this post, we are going to teach you all the tips and tricks I’ve learned to make traveling with car seats a breeze.

The Best Travel Car Seat: Quick Comparison

Should you buy a separate portable toddler car seat.

We love the car seats we have at home and we also spent a lot of money purchasing them. We didn’t want to take the chance of having them ruined at the airport or while traveling which is why we decided to buy a separate portable carseat for travel. The portable car seats we purchased were all super affordable, which is why we weren’t too fussed if they got scuffed or damaged in our travels. We also bought the most lightweight portable child car seat we could find! It never hurts to lighten your load when you are traveling. One extra bonus to having separate travel carseat is that you don’t have to uninstall and reinstall your car seats at home! One time was hard enough to get it all perfect, I’m happy not to have to reinstall my seats every time we take a trip.

travel car seat for infant

If you are looking for some excellent basic information about car seat travel, please check out this awesome article by the American Academy of Pediatrics which is a primer on Car Seat Safety and FAQs. 

Top Choices for Portable Car Seats

We’re going to be reviewing all of these car seats in massive detail below but in case you just want to get to the good stuff, here is our list of the best portable car seats for travel:

Top Choice: Portable Car Seat for 1 Year Old

travel car seat for infant

Our top choice for a 1 year old (or less) is an bucket car seat. These seats are easy to travel with as they can be easily installed using a regular seat belt. We chose the Maxi Cosi Mico 30 for its lightweight design. This is provided that your one year old has not yet outgrown a bucket car seat. Our top choice infant car seat has a weight limit of 30lbs and a height limit of 32 inches. The reason we love bucket seats is that they usually connect to strollers really easily and that means one less piece of equipment on your trip. Read more reviews of the Maxi Cosi Mico 30 and compare prices on Amazon.

Top Choice: Portable Car Seat for 2 Year Old

travel car seat for infant

In the two-year-old category, we are LOVING the Cosco Scenera Next car seat. This convertible car seat is one of the most popular travel car seats for a reason, literally, every single friend of mine owns the same one. The Cosco Scenera Next is super lightweight and you really can’t beat the price . Read more reviews of this travel car seat for 2 year old toddlers here.

Top Choice: Portable Car Seat for 3 Year Old

travel car seat for infant

We still love the Cosco Scenera Next for most 3 year olds . The upper weight limit for this car seat is 40lbs, so most average sized 3 year olds will still fit in this seat. This seat can be used rear facing and forward facing, making it super versatile. If you are short on space or planning to travel for a long period, you may want to consider the Ride Safer Delight for this age group. This nifty ride safer travel vest is the perfect travel car seat for 3 year old and 4 year olds that are too small for travel booster seat options. Read more reviews here!

Top Choice: Portable Car Seat for 4 Year Old

travel car seat for infant

For the 4 year old and up kids, a travel booster may be appropriate. This is all depending on the size of your 4 year old – keep in mind that the majority of boosters have a minimum weight of 40lbs. We love the mifold for its compactness and portability. We have been using this car seat with our now 5 year old son and it has totally changed our lives when it comes to traveling (safely) with kids. Read more reviews and see the weight and height restrictions here.

Should I bring my travel car seat on the plane?

POrtable Car Seats

One of the questions that I am asked most by readers is whether it is worthwhile to bring a car seat on the plane. If your child is over age 2 and you are already going to be bringing the car seat along, my answer is always YES!! We were actually late to the game in bringing our car seats ON the plane. I hadn’t really considered it until my second son was almost 2. We’ve now brought our Cosco Scenera Next on the plane for multiple trips and it has been an absolute lifesaver! Not only is it safer to have kids safely strapped into a car seat in the case of turbulence , it also makes flying with kids SO much easier! With my son strapped in, we didn’t have to worry about him constantly trying to bother the people in front of us or trying to hide on the seats. Our kids also sleep super well in the car seats, so it really helped the travel go as smooth as possible. Check out the latest prices on the super affordable Costco Scenra Next here.

One important thing to note is that having a forward facing car seat on a plane puts your kids’ feet at premium seat kicking range! We solve this problem by seating our older child in front of the car seat. It’s something to consider before you book your seats!

Now if your child is less than 2 years old, the decision whether to bring the car seat is entirely personal. If you want to bring your seat, you’ll usually have to pay for the seat. It is definitely safer to have a child strapped in the case of turbulence. Commercial airplanes travel at a speed of 250mph during takeoff and landing and a sudden stop or jolt could send your child flying no matter how tightly you are holding them. That being said, the majority of individuals I know do not buy a seat for their child under age 2. Air travel is one of the safest forms of travel, and in the majority of cases, an infant in your lap will be just fine. One pro tip is to ask the flight attendants whether the flight is full before you board. I have scored a free seat for my less than 2 year old infants twice using this method and both times was able to bring on my car seat without difficulty.

travel car seat for infant

If you aren’t planning to use a travel carseat at your destination, you may consider using the CARES airplane travel harness. The CARES travel harness keeps your kids safe on the flight by strapping them in with an extra chest strap. It is rated for kids 22-44lbs and is approved by the FAA for travel. Not only does the Cares harness keep kids safe, but it also keeps kids contained in their seats. I love that my kids are happier to stay put in their seats when they are all buckled in and relaxed. One thing to note about the CARES harness is that you do need to secure it around the back of the seat behind you. I’ve never had anyone complain about it.

How do I know if my Airplane Car Seat is Approved?

FAA Aproved Car Seat

Before you fly, you’ll want to know if your carseat is FAA approved for flight.  Please note that it is important to check your local car seat regulations as these may vary from country to country. In the US,  you will need FAA approved car seats . You can look for your car seat sticker to see if yours is approved, if approved, it should say “this restraint is certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft”

Our quick list of FAA approved car seats:

  • Portable Baby Car Seat: Maxi Cosi Mico 30
  • Best travel car seat for toddler: Cosco Scenera Next

Please note that booster seats are not FAA approved and cannot be taken on flights.

To check or to gate check?

If we aren’t planning to bring our car seats ON the plane (we almost always do now), we usually gate check out seats. I personally trust the gate checkers to be more careful with the objects than the regular luggage line. I have friends who have checked theirs at the desk and have had damage to the seats which made them unusable.

Should you use a car seat bag?

travel car seat for infant

Check out the latest Car Seat Bags on Amazon here.

There are lots of travel car seat bags available to help you lug your car seats around the airport. Some even have backpack straps and some have roller wheels to make it even easier to bring them along. I have lots of friends who use (and rave!) about these accessories. Personally, I don’t use a car seat bag. For me, it’s just one more thing to bring along!

I also find that when the luggage attendant sees something in a bag they tend to be less careful about it! When they see a car seat out in the open they know they can’t just toss it around (hopefully!). Perhaps if I traveled with my more expensive car seats, I would be more inclined to use a bag, but for now, I’m not sold on the need for one.

How do you bring your car seat through the airport?

If you gate check you can use the seat to transport your child around the airport. Check out this neat product which straps the car seat right to a piece of luggage turning it into a stroller for the airport. Or you can even buy a travel car seat cart to turn your car seat into a temporary stroller at the airport. Read more reviews and compare prices of these travel car seat accessories here.

Personally, one of the reasons that we LOVE the Cosco Scenera NEXT Car Seat is that it fits in the basket of our Uppa Baby Vista stroller. With the car seat tucked in the bottom of our stroller, we still feel like we are traveling light! Check out the Cosco Scenera next in detail here.

Portable Travel Car Seat Rundown

Ok, now it’s time for the detailed reviews! Here are the best car seats for travel that I have tried and tested. These opinions are my own, and I was not paid or sponsored by any of these companies.

Infant Portable Car Seat: Maxi Cosi Mico

travel car seat for infant

Weight and Height Restrictions:

  • Up to 32 inches

FAA Approved?

Where to buy it:.

Check out prices at the following retailers:

Why we love it

Taking a car seat with an infant is the easiest and simplest. I have always used a bucket seat with my kids and I take the same bucket seat that I use at home with me when I travel. We have the Maxi-Cosi Mico 30 , and I think this is the most lightweight car seat around!  Any bucket seat , as long as it meets safety requirements, will do!

For the best car seat stroller combo,  our car seat attaches to our UppaBaby Vista which makes it great for use in the airport and also while we are on the trip. We never bring along our actual stroller seat until our little one has outgrown the bucket seat. It is too much to carry and our little ones have always been happy in the bucket seat with a few toys to play with. I LOVE traveling with my full-size stroller. Find out more about why I always bring my full size stroller here! 

Portable Car Seat for Travel

Toddler Travel Car Seat: Cosco Scenera Next

travel car seat for infant

  • 5-40lbs (rear facing 5-44lbs, forward facing 22-40lbs)
  • 19 to 40 inches

Why we love it:

For me, toddlers are the trickiest age for bringing car seats for travel. My 2-year-old certainly doesn’t fit into a bucket seat, but also is way too small for a more portable booster seat. A lot of the toddler car seats are so bulky and that makes them difficult to transport in the airport. At the advice of a friend, I purchased what I consider the ultimate portable car seat for my 2-year-old,  the   Cosco Scenera Next.   I use this car seat exclusively as my toddler travel car seat and I can not stop RAVING about it. This seat is seriously the best car seat for travel!  The car seat is SUPER lightweight, which makes it great for airplanes as it’s easy to transport and not a huge pain in the airport. It also fits perfectly in the basket of my Uppa Baby Vista Stoller (score!).

The biggest plus of this super portable car seat is the price!! It is the best value around, and with such a low price I am not afraid of it getting ruined when we travel.  We don’t use this car seat for anything but travel, and it’s also AMAZING not to have to uninstall our regular car seats from our cars because we have this one. If you are like me, installing the car seat the first time was challenging enough, I prefer to keep my regular car seats installed when I can! In the US, this portable car seat is FAA approved,  meaning that it is an airline approved car seat for travel. I prefer to take this car seat and risk it getting damaged than to take the expensive car seat that I use every day.

Best Car seat for travel

Portable Booster Seat: The MiFold

Best car seat for travel.

travel car seat for infant

  • 40 lbs – 100lbs
  • 40 -57 inches

No! Booster seats are not permitted on airplanes.

My kids are still little but I recently learned about an amazing new product from my friend. The mifold car seat is a super thin and portable booster seat that was designed by a couple who also felt the pain of constantly traveling with their seats. The mifold is so compact, it can fit in your purse! The design is simple, yet safe, as it currently meets all of the safety requirements for booster seats in the US. The minimum weight is 40lbs (and 4 years of age).

My friends review? She loves it! The only complaint would be that she says her kids say the seat is not the most comfortable for long car rides. This usually isn’t a huge problem when we travel. Certainly, I would still be using my 5-point restraint car seat at home (as its safer until you reach the maximum weight!). Once my son is big enough I plan to just use the mifold for trips, carpooling, taxi rides etc. My son is soon to be 4, but far away from 40lbs. I can’t wait to try this for myself!

For those kids who are a bit small for their age,  another cool option is the Ride Safer Delight . Although a bit bulkier than the mifold, this safety restraint is rated for smaller children who are at least 3 years old and at least 30 lbs.  You can compare prices and read reviews of the Ride Safer Delight here . Check out my fellow blogger friend from The Family Voyage for a detailed review of The Ride Safer Delight .

*** Update *** My son is now almost 5 and we are LOVING the mifold! It is so great to have something that literally fits in my purse to take with us on our travels. We don’t typically use a car a lot when we travel so having this option is SO GREAT! It sure beats lugging a bulky car seat along for only 40 minutes of total drive time! At home, we use it for taxi rides as well, which is SUPER convenient on the go. Definitely, love having this option! You can read more reviews of the MiFold here.

Should you just rent a car seat for travel?

Sometimes even the most portable car seat is just too much of a pain to bring on your trip. On several occasions, especially when we have been renting a car, we have rented a car seat . A few times we had a car seat that was quite old and worn, and on one occasion we had a seat that wasn’t properly rated for my child’s size. These are the problems with renting travel car seats from a rental company. Renting from a car rental company is at your own risk, as they don’t reserve the seats ahead of time. We will still occasionally do this, especially if we aren’t planning on using the seats a lot during the trip.

There are also companies that rent out car seats specifically for travelers. These baby gear companies will tell you the exact model of car seat that you are renting. The main disadvantage to a company like this is that unless they deliver to the airport you will be left without the car seat for your trip to go pick it up! This is why we have never rented a car seat from a company like this in the past.

Don’t forget your car seat accessories!

This post would not be complete without a shout out to some of my favorite car seat accessories!

The Best Car Seat Fan

I love my Diono Stroller Fan that attaches easily to the handle of the bucket seat to keep my baby cool on a hot vacation. Check out my other favorite beach hacks in this post on what to pack for the beach with kids.

travel car seat for infant

Car Seat Lap Support

travel car seat for infant

If you are headed on a road trip with kids, a car seat lap organizer is a perfect accessory. This Lap Desk for kids has a spot for a drink and can easily hold a few coloring books and markers. It can be worn like a backpack which makes it easy to carry through the airport when travelling.

The Best Car Seat Head Support

If you are doing a road trip with kids, you may have concerns about ‘head slump’ in the car seat. Mostly because it was freaking me out to see my kid’s heads contorted in such ways, I bought this portable car seat head support . Now when we go on long trips my son doesn’t look so darn uncomfortable when he sleeps! And seriously, the panda face is super cute!

Best Car Seat for Travel

Best Car Seat Cover

travel car seat for infant

I love this car seat cover particularly for travel. It comes with a UPF 50+ sun shade that is perfect for hot vacations where you want to keep your little one protected. Under the sun shade is a mesh layer that is perfect to keep the Mosquitos out at night. With all of the worry about mosquito-borne illnesses like Zika, I wanted to prevent my little ones from getting bit as much as possible! Check out the pricing for this car seat cover here.

What is the best stroller for travel with car seats?

travel car seat for infant

We are huge fans of trying to bring our full size stroller whenever we can on vacation. We have an Uppa Baby Vista and absolutely love it. The only exceptions would be when we are really limited on space (e.g. cruise, small rental car etc ). I love our full-size stroller and I’ve found every travel stroller I’ve owned to be completely lacking in so many important features. The basket on our stroller is larger enough to carry our travel car seat – you would never see that on a travel stroller!

I’ve never regretted bringing my bigger stroller and I’ve also never had any damage to my full size strollers. I have, however, had a wheel break on a flimsy travel stroller during a flight! Check out prices on the Uppa Baby vista here .

travel car seat for infant

We do have a travel stroller that we use occasionally when we are really short on space. We used the Zoe XL2 travel stroller when we went on a Disney cruise and there was no room for a full size. I like that the Zoe XL has a decent recline and a really large canopy. The storage space isn’t great but it’s the best travel stroller I’ve owned yet. You can read more reviews and check out prices of the Zoe XL2 stroller here.

Have any more travel car seat questions?

Drop your questions in the comments below and I will be sure to answer them in this post.

While you’re in trip planning mode, be sure to check out my other guides to the top  baby travel gear and toddler travel gear posts for more ideas.

Pin for Later

Are you looking for the best travel car seat? Check out my ultimate car seat guide for baby travel and toddler travel. A travel car seat is a travel essential for travel with kids. I’ll review the best infant car seat fir travel, the best toddler car seat for travel, and the best booster seat for travel. Lots of car seat tips including the best car seat accessories for your next family vacation! #carseat #travelcarseat

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Best Travel Car Seats of 2024

Traveling with kids? Whether an extended road trip or airplane ride is on the agenda, your little one needs a travel car seat to stay safe on the journey. Travel car seats are a bit different from everyday ones, as they’re typically lighter in weight, easier to move and set up from car to car, and approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to take in the air.

A travel car seat also comes in handy if you find yourself in ride-shares or taxis regularly. Many models don’t require a base, so it’s simple to strap the unit in without spending half the afternoon figuring out which piece goes where. The best travel car seats are so convenient, in fact, that you might stick to them altogether.

Table of Contents

  • Best Travel Car Seats
  • Things To Consider When Buying
  • How We Chose

Chicco KeyFit 35 ClearTex Infant Car Seat  »

Chicco KeyFit 35 ClearTex Infant Car Seat

Various features for correct installation

Can be installed without a base via European belt routing

Five height positions and six recline positions

Includes base and newborn positioner

Extendable canopy with UPF 50+ sun protection

JPMA certified and GreenGuard Gold Certified

Not super light

Travel bag sold separately

There’s no need to worry about properly installing the Chicco KeyFit 35 ClearTex Infant Car Seat. It comes with multiple features to ensure you do it correctly, including LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) connectors, a SuperCinch force-multiplying tightener, and RideRight bubble level indicators to make sure it’s at the right angle.

This best travel car seat comes with ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) 50+ sun protection. It also comes with a base, but doesn’t require one in order to use. That means you can keep the base in your car for regular use and still be able to install it in other vehicles, thanks to its European belt routing system. It only weighs 10 pounds and is FAA approved, so it’s ready to bring on an aircraft. The Chicco Car Seat Travel Bag , however, is sold separately. But with the five height positions and six recline positions, your baby is bound to be comfortable no matter how you choose to travel. And once you reach your destination, keep the car seat looking fresh by tossing the fabrics in the washing machine.

They KeyFit 35 is certified by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA), meaning it meets minimum government requirements based on safety and use, and GreenGuard Gold Certified, meaning it’s built to contribute to safer, healthier air and has been screened for more than 15,000 volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Cosco Kids Scenera Next Convertible Car Seat  »

Cosco Kids Scenera Next Convertible Car Seat

Affordable price point

Aircraft certified and TSA-friendly designed

No additional base needed

Side Impact Protection

Machine-washable and dryer-safe seat pad

Installation may be tricky with some seat belts

May fit snugly on older babies

If you’re looking for a secondary car seat, chances are that you’re hoping to keep the cost low. With the Cosco Kids Scenera Next Convertible Car Seat, you’ll save money without losing the factors that make a travel car seat desirable. At just 6.8 pounds, this is one unit you won’t struggle to carry through the airport. Plus, you’ll have peace of mind knowing it has built-in Side Impact Protection.

This model can carry a child up to 40 pounds and 43 inches tall. It has five harness heights and three buckle locations, so it’ll grow with your baby from infancy to toddlerhood. This affordable car seat comes in seven designs with black details. And Cosco Kids makes it easy to clean with its machine-washable and dryer-safe seat pad and dishwasher-safe removable cup holder.

While this may not be the ideal pick for everyday use, the no-base, lightweight design makes it a smart pick for upcoming vacations or times when you need to move it between cars often. Just use the LATCH connectors to safely secure it in place.

Diono Radian 3RXT SafePlus  »

Diono Radian 3RXT SafePlus

Only 17 inches wide

Seats folds up

FAA approved

Supports kids up to 120 pounds

12 headrest positions

Available in five colors

Heavy at 30.6 pounds

Booster mode can’t be used on a plane

LATCH connectors not available for all weights

At just 17 inches wide, the Diono Radian 3RXT SafePlus comfortably fits in even the most compact cars. If you have a full backseat, three of these models can fit across the backseat. Don’t let its compact size fool you, though. This travel car seat was designed to grow with your child from 4 to 120 pounds, in rear-facing position, forward-facing position, and booster mode.

This unit comes with a detachable rear-facing base, which Diono recommends using, but it can be used without it. The base shouldn’t be used in the forward-facing position or in booster mode. To make sure your little one is happy, the Radian boasts a 12-position headrest that you can adjust with just one hand. The covers are machine washable, and the shell and components on the rest of the car seat can be spot cleaned.

This convertible car seat folds to make travel easier, and its FAA-approved status means it’ll be your airplane companion. Just keep in mind that it can only be taken on a plane in rear-facing and forward-facing positions, not booster mode.

Doona + Car Seat & Stroller  »

Doona + Car Seat & Stroller

Converts from car seat to stroller in seconds

Comes fully assembled

FAA approved and can be pushed down airplane aisle

Available in seven colors

UPF 50+ sun protection and water-repellant canopy

Includes LATCH base, infant insert, head support, and vehicle seat protector

Can only be used up to 35 pounds

The Doona + Car Seat & Stroller can be used with or without the included base, but the real magic comes in when you’re using it in between car and airplane rides. Within a matter of seconds, this innovative model goes from car seat to stroller with the push of a button. Plus, it comes fully assembled, so you can use it the moment it arrives.

The water-repellent canopy provides UPF 50+ sun protection, and comes in seven bold colors, including Racing Green, Flame Red, and Blush Pink. The adjustable handle is a nice touch, too, for a more comfortable gliding experience for adults.

Not only is the Doona approved by the FAA, but at just 17.4 inches wide, it can easily be pushed down an airplane aisle so you can get in your seat easily. Although it’s pricey, the fact that it acts as both a travel car seat and stroller means that it’s a great value. Consider this the all-in-one travel system that makes navigating the world with a baby so much simpler. Megan Wood, Senior Editor at U.S. News 360 Reviews, uses the Doona as her family’s main car seat and loves how easy it makes running errands and travel without having to pack a separate stroller.

Wayb Pico Portable Car Seat  »

Wayb Pico Portable Car Seat

Fits in most airplane overheads bins

Only weighs 8 pounds

Installs via LATCH or car or plane seat belt

Folds down to 11.6 inches long by 14.5 inches wide by 18.9 inches tall

Made with space-grade aluminum alloy and Responsible Wool Standard (RWS)-certified wool

On the pricier side

Can’t be used until child is 22 pounds

Make your next flight with your child as easy as possible with the Wayb Pico Portable Car Seat. With a compact design that folds up—so much so that it fits in most airplane overhead bins—this FAA-approved model goes wherever you do. Weighing just 8 pounds, this travel car seat is installed via LATCH connectors or using the car or airplane seat belt.

Unlike the other best travel car seats on our list, the Pico is a forward-facing option that’s designed for children 22 to 50 pounds and 30 to 45 inches tall. Wayb recommends it for ages 2 years old and up. While you can’t use it for a newborn, it’ll be your little one’s travel companion once they grow a bit.

The Pico is available in five colors, and an optional carry bag, vehicle seat protector, and cup holder are sold separately. If you have multiple children, you can snag a few of these and three can fit in a row in the backseat of most vehicles.

Nuna Pipa RX x Pipa Relx Base  »

Nuna Pipa RX x Pipa Relx Base

Five-second installation

Can be used with or without the included base

Removable UPF 50+ canopy

GreenGuard Gold Certified and fire retardant-free materials

Connects with all Nuna strollers

Doesn’t fold

If installing a car seat isn’t something you’re looking forward to, make it easy on yourself with the Nuna Pipa RX. It comes with Pipa Relx Base, but you don’t need it in order to put it to use in a car or on an airplane. If you do decide to use it, however, the base features a stability leg that absorbs impact to prevent motion from transferring to your baby. Plus, installation takes just five seconds.

At 7.6 pounds (not including the canopy or infant insert), it’s one of the lightest options on our list. This travel car seat has a four-position recline, and you don’t have to reinstall it to change the position. It features an infant insert that can be removed when your little one grows. But no matter what age they are, you’ll want to take advantage of the removable, full-coverage UPF 50+ canopy.

This unit has the green light to be part of air travel, and you can feel good knowing that it’s GreenGuard Gold Certified and made with fire retardant-free materials.

Britax Emblem 3-Stage Convertible Car Seat  »

Britax Emblem 3-Stage Convertible Car Seat

High-strength steel frame and SafeCell technology to absorb crash energy

Accommodates children up to 65 pounds

Aircraft approved

10-position harness and headrest adjust together

Machine-washable and dryer-friendly fabrics

On the heavier side

Any piece of baby gear you put your child in needs to be sturdy and durable. The Britax Emblem 3-Stage Convertible Car Seat was built to last. Its frame is made of high-strength steel, and it features SafeCell technology to absorb crash energy, so you can feel confident that your little one is protected. Its fabric is tough and can be tossed in the washing machine and dryer to refresh it after a spill or accident.

This best travel model is designed to grow with your child, as it accommodates them from 5 pounds all the way up to 65 pounds. As they get bigger, you can adjust the harness and headrest, which move together in 10 different positions.

The Emblem is on the heavier side at just under 20 pounds, but it’s still reasonable enough to bring with you in a ride-share or carry it on for aircraft use. Just utilize its installation features, including LATCH connectors and level indicators, to ensure that it’s correctly set up.

Graco Century Carry On 35 Lightweight Infant Car Seat  »

Graco Century Carry On 35 Lightweight Infant Car Seat

Only weighs 6.8 pounds

Four-position carry handle

Machine-washable seat pad and canopy

Doesn’t convert to front facing

Graco refers to its Century Carry On 35 Lightweight Infant Car Seat as “The Weightless Wonder,” and it’s clear why. This lightweight car seat only weighs 6.8 pounds. If you count the base, it only goes up to 10.4 pounds. It’s the lightest carrier on our list, so it’ll truly become a travel must-have when vacation is calling.

Approved to take on an airplane, the Graco Century has a carry handle with four adjustable positions, so both you and your baby will be comfortable. It comes with a base that can be installed via LATCH connectors. However, it can be used without one for even quicker installation with a vehicle or airplane seat belt. And if an in-flight spill dirties the seat pad or canopy, both are machine washable.

The Century is designed for babies up to 35 pounds. Even though it won’t go the long haul, it’s a budget-friendly option that does its job well while it can. Plus, it’s compatible with all Century strollers and car seat bases from Graco that can be purchased separately.

The Bottom Line

The market is far from short on car seat options, and that rings true for travel car seats, too. To choose the best one for your child, consider how often you plan to use it. If it’s a secondary car seat that you’re planning to only break out a couple times of year for vacation, then you may want to keep your budget low. But if you’re looking forward to road trips and airplane rides on the regular, better quality and durability may be more important. Once you see how much use you’ll get out of it, you can focus on what features are necessities in your book. Does it need to fold? Does its weight need to stay super low? But if you’re not totally sure what you need in a travel car seat, the Chicco KeyFit 35 ClearTex Infant Car Seat, our Best Overall pick, is FAA approved, weighs just 10 pounds, comes with a UPF 50+ canopy, and comes with a base but doesn’t need it in order to install.

Things To Consider When Buying Travel Car Seats

Safety Certification and Compliance

The good news is that if you’re buying a new travel car seat from a reputable retailer in the United States, you’re probably in good shape.

“All car seats sold in the U.S. must meet stringent safety regulations, following the requirements set by the NHTSA,” says Joe Colella, JPMA director of Child Passenger Safety and 2020 Child Passenger Safety Hall of Fame Inductee. “A car seat that meets these standards is required to be labeled with, ‘This child restraint system conforms to all applicable Federal motor vehicle safety standards.’”

Don’t forget that car seats also have expiration dates, and when they hit it, toss them, reminds Samora Coles, founder and executive director of The Alex House Project , an organization that supports low-income families and young mothers with their transition to parenthood. While this is one piece of baby gear you’re likely to want to buy new, if you’re using a secondhand model, it’s even more imperative that you check its expiration date and look up if any recalls or malfunctions have been reported.

Size and Weight Suitability

Most—but not all—travel car seats can be used right from birth, so keep in mind when you plan on using it and if your little one is big enough to be safely strapped in. Some options have one mode while others convert to various positions, including rear facing, forward facing, and booster to grow with your child. Each mode has its own weight and height limits, and those numbers vary depending on the brand and model. It’s important to read through and follow those instructions for safety.

“Car seats, when not used according to the manufacturer’s instructions, could be less likely to protect a child from injury,” says Colella. “Car seats are safety devices that are designed and tested to protect children when used as directed by the manufacturer.”

Many travel car seats have an adjustable headrest that you can raise as your child grows. If longevity is important to your buying decision, check to make sure it has this capability so you’re not stuck getting a new one in a year’s time.

Ease of Installation and Compatibility

The first time you put a typical car seat in your vehicle may have taken a while. That kind of time isn’t provided when you’re on the tarmac, so the best travel car seats need to be easy to install. It’s a smart idea to do a test run in a car so you can feel confident in its setup.

Even though many travel car seats come with a base, they’re typically not a must-use on the road. Some models just need a vehicle’s or airplane’s seat belt to safely strap in. Others also offer LATCH connectors that provide a super-secure installation.

“Most travel car seats are compatible with any vehicle, but parents want to research car seat company manuals and reviews from other parents,” says Coles. To assure parents that they did it correctly, some units have colored indicators that give the thumbs up when it’s ready to use or level indicators that confirm it’s not tilted. If you’re concerned about always setting it up and taking it out, look for a model that eases your worries.

Portability for Frequent Travel

Whether you’re hurrying to your gate or rushing to the taxi stand, the last thing you want is a bulky, heavy travel car seat weighing you down. Even if you don’t plan to carry it around while your baby is in it most of the time, you want the unit to be built for portability. That starts with looking at the car seat’s weight. The lowest on this list is 6.8 pounds, and it goes up quite a bit from there. It’s also helpful if the travel car seat folds down — not only so that it fits in the overhead bin on an airplane, but so it’s convenient to carry along with your weekender bag.

“When considering portability factors, parents should consider dual abilities in a travel car seat,” explains Coles. “Seats that can act as strollers can help parents limit necessary items they must carry while traveling.”

Don’t forget to check out the handle, too. Even if it’s lightweight, if the handle doesn’t boast an ergonomic design, parents can feel quite uncomfortable.

Convertibility as the Child Grows

Some travel car seats grow with your child, so they’ll go from rear facing to forward facing to even booster. Each of these stages have their own weight and height limits. However, things can get tricky depending on where you’re traveling to.

“Every U.S. state and territory has a law that defines how a child must be restrained in a vehicle and also requires car seat compliance with the aforementioned safety regulations. State laws vary significantly, and travelers must follow the law for the state in which they are traveling,” says Colella. “For example, 19 states and the District of Columbia require that children ride in rear-facing car seats until at least age 2, while other states use age 1 or do not specify a rear-facing age requirement. Most states also require the use of car booster seats, though the maximum age for those requirements varies from 5 to 10 years old.

How We Chose the Best Travel Car Seats

Nothing is more important than safety when we’re talking about baby gear. U.S. News 360 Reviews kept it at the top of mind when hunting down the best travel car seats, but we also considered price, weight of the carrier, weight and height limits, and installation. To ensure we had the must-know information, we consulted the director of Child Passenger Safety at JPMA and the founder and executive director of an organization that helps young mothers with their transition to parenthood. They provided insight on which key components to understand before landing on the travel car seat for your personal lifestyle. Before adding to cart, think about when and where you’ll use it and what features truly matter to you.

WHY SHOULD YOU TRUST US?

Caitlyn Fitzpatrick , the author of this piece, has been researching, testing, and reviewing products since 2017. This means she has years of experience honing in on what’s important when shopping for a product, including baby gear. Fitzpatrick is a mom herself and has done her own personal deep dive on what makes one car seat better than another. That’s why she concentrated on safety as the top priority when choosing the best travel car seats. Megan Wood , Senior Editor at U.S. News 360 Reviews, focuses on baby gear and recommends the Doona Car Seat + Stroller for traveling families.

“While the FAA does not require the use of car seats on airplanes for children, and those under the age of 2 are allowed to ride on their parents’ lap, this is not considered best practice,” says Colella. “Turbulence can happen with little or no warning, and appropriate car seats provide the safest way for children to travel on airplanes.”

Most travel car seats are certified to use on aircrafts, but be sure to check that it’s the case with your specific model. It can also make a difference which airline you fly and if you’re traveling domestically or internationally. Booster car seats and child restraint harnesses are generally not supposed to be used on an airplane. All of the recommendations on this list are approved for airplane use.

As far as adjustability, many models feature adjustable straps, height/headrest positions, and recline positions.

The best travel car seats are typically easy to install. After all, they’re expected to be moved between vehicles or on and off airplanes regularly. Some of these models come with a base, but don’t necessarily require it for the unit to be secured. Many travel car seats come with LATCH connectors. “This system is compatible with vehicles with anchors located at the lower and upper tether of their seats where the car seat can be secured,” explains Coles. “Since all vehicles must have seat belts, all car seats have a space to secure car seats using the seat belt.”

Two of the most important factors when shopping for the best travel car seat are installation and portability. You want it to be easy to secure on an airplane and in a ride-share, and simple to carry it with you wherever your adventures lead.

“Additionally, factors such as the age, weight, height, and overall condition of the seat should be considered as they can help determine the overall value of the car seat, especially for those with limited resources and busy lifestyles,” says Coles.

About Our Team

Caitlyn Fitzpatrick

Caitlyn Fitzpatrick

Contributor

Megan Wood

Senior Editor

U.S. News 360 Reviews takes an unbiased approach to our recommendations. When you use our links to buy products, we may earn a commission but that in no way affects our editorial independence.

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The 8 Best Travel Car Seats of 2024, Tested and Reviewed

We rounded up the best travel-friendly car seats to keep your kids safe wherever you go.

travel car seat for infant

In This Article

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  • Our top picks
  • Others We Liked

Our Testing Process

  • Tips for Buying
  • Why Trust T+L

We independently evaluate all recommended products and services. If you click on links we provide, we may receive compensation. Learn more .

Travel + Leisure / Cassie Aulie

Traveling with children can be a gratifying and enriching experience, but family vacations are also challenging because of the extra items you need to pack (and carry), including a car seat, which adds quite a lot of bulk to your luggage. That's why we set out to find the most compact, travel-friendly, lightweight, and easy-to-install car seats on the market right now.

We combed through results and feedback from three different real-world car seat tests in which we tested a total of 57 car seats, looking specifically for portable, travel-friendly options. We rating each of our picks on several factors like design, features, ease of cleaning, value, and — most importantly — safety. Below, we rounded up eight of the best travel car seats to consider for your next family getaway.

Best Overall

Graco contender slim convertible car seat.

  • Design 4.7 /5
  • Ease of Installation 4.8 /5
  • Durability 5 /5
  • Safety 4.6 /5

It is an excellent fit for compact cars.

The chest buckle is large and bulky.

Lugging around a heavy car seat in addition to your luggage is not pleasant, but this car seat will make your life so much easier. Not only is it the lightest car seat on our list, but it is also the slimmest, making it an excellent choice for both compact and larger vehicles (or for larger families who need to fit more than one car seat in the backseat). Installation took us about 15 minutes, and then it was pretty intuitive to use. It has several inserts that help you customize it for your child, including an infant insert with extra padding, eight headrest heights, and two reclining positions.

It also has a removable cup for snacks and drinks that you can place on either side of the seat. And while we only had to spot-clean it, if you need to wash the entire cover, you can take it off and throw it in the washing machine. The fabric is breathable and has held up exceptionally well after over a month of use.

The Details: Weighs 16 pounds; holds 65 pounds | 24.75 x 18.9 x 21.5 inches | Rear and forward modes | Belt- and latch-compatible

Travel + Leisure

Best Rotating

Evenflo gold revolve360 convertible car seat.

  • Design 5 /5
  • Ease of Installation 5 /5
  • Safety 5 /5

It’s easy to install and rotates 360 degrees.

It would be nice if it had a built-in sunshade.

Four minutes: that's exactly how much time it took us to install this Evenflo car seat after watching the instructional video. It was an incredibly easy-to-follow process, and we found the audible click and level indicator super helpful. But the most impressive feature of this convertible car seat is its ability to rotate 360 degrees, which is a complete game-changer for parents (seriously, our team member who tested this car seat said it spoiled them into "never using a car seat that doesn't have this feature"). This means that the seat can transform into rear- or forward-facing in seconds without the need to uninstall the entire seat and base. Just pull one of the two levers on either side and start rotating it. This feature also makes it super convenient to place your child in the seat and buckle them because you no longer have to bend at an awkward angle. 

Comfort is also a standout feature, and the upholstery fabric of this car seat felt soft, breathable, and very high-quality (cleaning it is also a breeze). The overall padding of the car seat and the generous recline positions also contribute to a more comfortable trip. And finally, while this is not the lightest car seat at 40.6 pounds, its design is quite compact, and even if you install it in a smaller vehicle, you will be left with a good amount of legroom and recline space for the seat in front. 

Shoppers should also note that the Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance (OVSC) is currently evaluating this car seat .

The Details: Weighs 40.6 pounds; holds up to 120 pounds | 25.9 x 19.8 x 21 inches | Rear, forward, and booster modes | Belt- and latch-compatible

Best for Compact Cars

Diono radian 3rxt convertible car seat.

 Amazon

  • Design 4.8 /5
  • Ease of Installation 4.5 /5
  • Durability 4.9 /5

The seat folds, making it easy to carry.

The initial installation takes more time than some of the other options on this list.

When renting a large car is not always possible, this Diono car seat is the way to go. First, it's much easier to carry (and store) because of its slim, foldable design. And while the installation took us a while compared to others on this list (about 45 minutes to an hour), we found it to be a perfect match for a smaller vehicle similar to a Fiat 500. 

Second, buckling and unbuckling is super intuitive, and the straps never get tangled up. And even after a year of constant use, the fabric is in excellent condition with few signs of wear and tear other than some light fading. You can also remove the cover and machine-wash it, another very convenient feature. 

Third, we love that even though the seat is about 17 inches wide, it features additional padding and side protection without compromising comfort. Lastly, this car seat is also FAA-approved, so feel free to fly with it.

The Details: Weights 30.6 pounds; holds up to 120 pounds | 17 x 28.5 x 16 inches | Rear, forward, and booster modes | Latch

Best With Stroller

Doona car seat and stroller.

  • Assembly 4 /5
  • Portability 5 /5
  • Maneuverability 4.8 /5

The wheels fold up and attach to the seat.

There is no storage space, and you need to purchase the base separately. 

There is a reason the Doona car seat is a best-seller and an all-time parent favorite. It's all in the smart design that combines a car seat and a stroller in one compact product. Unlike other models, the wheels of this car seat collapse under it so you can latch it into its base (sold separately). Basically, you can bid adieu to lugging a stroller and a car seat. This is the ultimate travel-friendly stroller/car seat combo for infants and toddlers up to 35 pounds. We recommend you take your time to read the folding and unfolding instructions before you use it. It took us some time to figure out what each button was for and how to attach it to the base correctly, but it was smooth sailing once we got the hang of it.

The Doona is upholstered in a cooling bamboo fabric for added comfort, and it has a canopy for shade. The car seat also scored an almost perfect rating in our maneuverability category during testing — it was a breeze pushing it even with one hand. The brake was easy to engage and disengage, so this is the perfect option for a city vacation or a road trip that requires you to quickly transport your baby in and out of the car.

The Details: Weights 16.5 pounds; holds up to 35 pounds | 26 x 17.4 x 22.4 inches (folded) | Rear-facing | Latch and belt

Most Durable

Graco extend2fit 3-in-1 car seat.

  • Safety 4.8 /5

An extendable panel provides extra legroom.

The shoulder straps are difficult to adjust.

We tested this car seat for over two years, and it has held up exceptionally well against wear and tear, spills, and everything a toddler can (literally) throw at it. Graco makes some of the sturdiest, most durable car seats by focusing on quality and safety, and this is exactly why we included the Extend2Fit model in this list.

The car seat is easy to install (it took us about 20 minutes), and even if you're setting it up in a smaller vehicle, it leaves plenty of legroom and recline space. We appreciated the two deep cup holders that are perfect for holding sippy cups and snacks (and bonus points for how easy they are to clean). This car seat has a unique feature that accommodates growing kids — a retractable panel provides five extra inches of legroom, making it safer for taller infants and toddlers to ride in a rear-facing position.

The Details: Weighs 19 pounds; holds up to 65 pounds | 24.5 x 20.75 x 19 inches | Rear and forward modes | Latch

Most Comfortable

Safety 1st grow and go lx convertible car seat.

  • Ease of Installation 4 /5

You can use the footrest in both rear- and forward-facing positions.

 It is a bit tricky to install.

Looking for a car seat to keep your little one comfortable during long road trips? This one scored perfect ratings in almost all categories thanks to its easy use, design, durability, and overall value. Its size is generous (so it may not be a great fit for compact vehicles) and provides ample space for kids to grow into without compromising on padding and safety.

Safety 1st updated this model with a footrest that really impressed us because you can use it in rear-facing, forward-facing, and booster positions so your child's feet will not dangle for hours. We also love that the removable cups are dishwasher-safe and come with convenient lids to prevent messes (but in any case, the cover is removable and machine-washable). The car seat we tested still looks new, and the fabric seems spill-resistant.

The Details: Weighs 20 pounds; holds up to 100 pounds | 23.5 x 19 x 25 inches | Rear, forward, and booster modes | Latch and belt

Best for Multiple Age Groups

Graco 3-in-1 rotating car seat.

It is super easy to install and accommodates various age groups.

This rotating car seat works better in larger cars and may be a tight squeeze in smaller vehicles.

Your child should be all set for years to come with Graco's convertible car seat, which accommodates children up to 100 pounds. It rotates in a rear-facing position so you can get your baby in and out of it more easily. As for securing your child, the buckles are extremely easy to use, and the straps stay in sync — meaning that if you loosen one, the other will loosen automatically, too. And with four reclining positions, your child will be comfortable whether they are taking a nap, eating a snack, or playing.

We tested this car seat in a mid-size SUV, and it left plenty of reclining space for the seat in front. However, if you install it in a smaller vehicle, it might be a much tighter situation. And speaking of the installation, it only took us 17 minutes to read the instructions, watch the YouTube video, and install it. Finally, this seat grows with your child as it can accommodate kids weighing from four to 100 pounds. 

The Details: Weighs 30 pounds; holds up to 100 pounds | 19.1 x 24.4 x 20.8 inches | Rear, forward, and booster modes | Latch

Easiest Installation

Britax emblem 3-stage convertible car seat.

  • Design 4.5 /5
  • Safety 4 /5
  • Value 4.5 /5

This no-fuss car seat is quick to install, and it only weighs 19 pounds.

There are no extra features such as cup holders or sensors.

If you're in the market for a no-fuss, easy-to-use car seat, this is it. Installation is standard (although you will still have to read the instructions to do it), and once you've practiced a couple of times, you will be able to install it pretty fast in any vehicle. We tested it in a sedan and an SUV, and it fits well in both (although the SUV was a slightly better fit). Thanks to the excellent design, using it is a breeze. Buckling your child, adjusting the harness, and reclining is intuitive and stress-free, which is exactly what you need when you're on the road. And while it may not have many bells and whistles, it provides excellent padding, and the fabric is soft and pillowy without feeling scratchy. 

The Details: Weighs 19.5 pounds; holds up to 65 pounds | 21 x 18.3 x 26 inches | Rear and forward modes | Latch

Other Car Seats We Liked

We tested so many car seats that we think there are a few more worth mentioning, although we didn't love them quite as much as the others on our main list.

Baby Jogger City Sights Travel System: This stroller and car seat combo is a good option for parents looking for a two-in-one. The stroller is easy to maneuver and collapses into a pretty compact and travel-friendly size. The car seat has a weight capacity of 35 pounds, so it can only be used in a rear-facing position.

Nuna Rava Convertible Car Seat : This rear-facing car seat can accommodate children up to 50 pounds, which is impressive (however, keep in mind that the seat itself is almost 28 pounds). The straps and the buckles are very easy to use and don't get in the way when you place your child in and out of the seat.

We used results from three real-world tests in which we reviewed convertible car seats, rotating convertible car seats, and car seat stroller combos to find our favorite travel-friendly options. We sorted through feedback from 57 car seats we tested, looking at weight, size, and performance. Each car seat on our list was rated on a scale from one to five according to its performance in multiple categories, including ease of installation, ease of use, design, features, safety, value, and more.

We also consulted Ben Hoffman, MD, a pediatrician and nationally recognized expert in child injury prevention and education, to ensure the safety of the products we chose for real-life tests. In addition, every car seat meets the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) standards.

Tips for Buying a Travel Car Seat

Look for portability.

Portability is one of the major factors differentiating a standard car seat from one you'll mostly use while traveling. Consider its weight and size: opt for lighter and more compact car seats that you can carry without compromising safety features. Some car seats fold or feature collapsible stroller wheels — all features that come in handy when you're on the road or in transit. 

Consider ease of installation

When you're just getting off a long-haul flight and need to get in the car and drive for hours, the last thing you want is to waste time installing a car seat. That's why your travel car seat should be simple to install and use. Check if the vehicle you are setting it up in accommodates a latch or belt car seat, and make sure that yours can comfortably fit in the back seat of whatever size car you may be renting. Then, read through the installation instructions or watch the video, and make sure you don't need another adult to help you safely install it. 

Pay attention to your child's weight and height

Every car seat has strict weight and height limits to ensure your child's safety. Some might also have age restrictions, but they are not as important as children are different and grow at their own pace.Make sure you weigh and measure your child before purchasing a travel car seat. The good thing about convertible car seats is that you can use them in both rear- and forward-facing positions as your child grows so you don't have to invest in a new car seat every few years.

Some car seats come with travel bags with handles to make carrying easier. If yours doesn't have one, you can probably purchase it from the maker's website or find one that accommodates its size on Amazon. Certain bags even feature wheels to roll the car seat through the airport. If your car seat is oversized, you will be asked to check it in at the airport, so it's essential to place it in a protective bag and inspect it for damage as soon as you get it back.

Yes, but you must first ensure the car seat is FAA-approved (it will say so on the car seat). In fact, while using a car seat on a plane is not required, the FAA recommends it to ensure your little one's safety in case of turbulence, for example. If traveling on an international airline outside the U.S., check with that airline's policies, size limitations, and guidelines before your trip, as some international airlines do not allow car seats on board. Usually, using a booster seat during a flight is not an issue with airlines, and it doesn't count toward your carry-on luggage allowance.

The short answer is yes. Airlines will usually check in a car seat, stroller, or a child restraint system for free (one per child). However, the tricky part is that if you're not traveling with a child, you might have to pay to check in the car seat, so in this case, it's always best to contact the airline before your trip.

Most car rental companies offer car seats as an add-on for a fee, so if you don't want to invest in one or carry it with you, you can always rent one. U.S. car rental companies must offer car seats that comply with state and federal laws. However, if you're traveling internationally, the risk is that you don't know if the car seat has been stored and cleaned properly or if it’s ever been in an accident. It also means you have to install it yourself, which can be challenging and time-consuming if you're unfamiliar with that particular brand or car seat model. 

Why Trust Travel + Leisure

For this article, Dobrina Zhekova worked with T+L editors to round up the safest and most comfortable travel car seats for kids of all ages from real-world tests. As a mother, she has also tested several car seats in the past five years and has extensive knowledge of airline policies and regulations about traveling with car seats. She also referenced customer reviews and expert recommendations in this article.

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The Best Travel Car Seats, No Matter Where You’re Headed

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A car seat is essential to keeping your child safe while you’re on the road, but lugging most conventional car seats through the airport and fastening it in an unfamiliar rental car can be a real struggle. That’s where travel car seats come in. The best travel car seats are much lighter than conventional car seats, but provide many of the same comfort and convenience features. Our top choice is the Evenflo Sonus 65 Convertible Car Seat for its easy adjustability and moderate price tag.

The best travel car seats keep kids safe while making air travel and swapping cars easier.

Travel car seats are meant to be lightweight, compact and easy to install, making life on the road less of a hassle. “There are quite a few lightweight options available that are easier to carry around,” says Michelle Pratt, certified child passenger safety technician and founder of Safe In The Seat. But it’s important that your child fits within the height and weight limits of the seat you’re considering, says car seat safety expert Benjamin Hoffman, M.D., F.A.A.P., a professor of pediatrics in the Oregon Health and Science University School of Medicine. “You also need to feel comfortable installing the seat,” he points out, which is why he recommends practicing installation before you hit the road. Beyond that, a lot of what makes the right travel car seat is features that fit the individual needs of you and your child.

Here are best travel car seat options out there today, according to our safety experts and well-traveled parents.

  • Best Travel Car Seat Overall: Evenflo Sonus 65 Convertible Car Seat
  • Best Value Travel Car Seat: Cosco Mighty Fit 65 DX Convertible Car Seat
  • Best Travel Car Seat For Infants: Doona Infant Car Seat & Latch Base
  • Best Travel Car Seat For Toddlers: Nuna Rava Convertible Car Seat
  • Best Booster Travel Car Seat: Graco Turbobooster Backless Booster Car Seat
  • Best Lightweight Travel Car Seat: Graco Contender Slim Convertible Car Seat
  • Best Inflatable Travel Car Seat: Hiccapop Uberboost Inflatable Booster Car Seat

Best Travel Car Seat Overall

Front harness adjustments make it easy to get a proper fit fast, evenflo sonus 65 convertible car seat.

Seat weight:  11.5 pounds  | Child height max:  40 inches (rear-facing); 50 inches (forward-facing)  | Child weight minimum:  5 pounds (rear-facing); 22 pounds (forward-facing)  | Child weight max:  40 pounds (rear-facing); 65 pounds (forward-facing)  | Seat width:  19 inches

The Evenflo Sonus is packed with features that make a great car seat—travel or not—with a price tag many families can feel good about. The harness is adjusted from the front, so you can get your little one comfortable without having to do complicated acrobatics. Six shoulder harness positions give your child plenty of room to grow (and get that just-right fit), while dual cup holders keep drinks and snacks within easy reach on the go.

The weight recommendations stretch from 5 to 65 pounds, allowing for some solid mileage out of this seat. The cover is removable and machine washable for easy cleaning when you get home—another nice perk. At just a little over 11 pounds, the seat is a reasonable weight to carry across an airport terminal and get in and out of ride shares.

Best Value Travel Car Seat

This seat is just $90 and fits three across in most cars, cosco mighty fit 65 dx convertible car seat.

Seat weight:  14 pounds  | Child height max:  40 inches (rear-facing); 49 inches (forward-facing)  | Child weight minimum:  5 pounds (rear-facing); 22 pounds (forward-facing)  | Child weight max:  40 pounds (rear-facing); 65 pounds (forward-facing)  | Seat width:  21.5 inches

Cosco’s Mighty Fit 65 DX has an impressively low price tag for its high quality. This seat has two modes: A rear-facing mode for infants and toddlers up to 40 pounds, and a front-facing mode for kids between 40 and 65 pounds. Its compact design can fit in an airplane seat and through the aisle. A five-point harness keeps even wriggly kids secure while three buckle locations allow for plenty of adjustment potential.

Worth noting: You can fit three of the Might Fit 65 DXes in the back seat of most cars, giving you options with a rental car. The seat has padding to keep your child comfortable on longer trips, and a removable, machine-washable cover for when travel time is done. At 14 pounds, it’s heavier than our top pick—but nothing most parents can’t handle.

Best Travel Car Seat For Infants

A built in stroller makes transporting this seat seamless, doona infant car seat & latch base.

Seat weight:  17 pounds  | Child height max:  32 inches  | Child weight minimum:  4 pounds  | Child weight max:  35 pounds | Seat width:  17.4 inches

The Doona features a built-in wheels, allowing you to convert from car seat to lightweight stroller in one motion. If you’re lucky and your baby has fallen asleep in car, this smoother and easier transition may help them stay asleep. A five-point harness and three-layer side impact protection help keep your baby secure, and the car seat is FAA Aircraft Approved. Materials like soft bamboo fabric and memory foam help keep your little one comfortable, whether they’re strapped into an airplane seat or strolling through the terminal.

Keep in mind that this seat only works for babies between 4 and 35 pounds, so you won’t be able to get as many years of use out of it as other options. It also doesn’t have any built-in storage. Still, the 2-in-1 stroller/carseat combo is much lighter than most strollers and means one fewer item to wrangle while you travel.

Best Travel Car Seat For Toddlers

For kids who need more legroom, nuna rava convertible car seat.

Seat weight:  27.2 pounds  | Child height max:  49 inches (rear and forward-facing)  | Child weight minimum:  5 pounds  | Child weight max:  50 pounds (rear-facing); 65 pounds (forward-facing)  | Seat width:  19 inches

The Nuna Rava is more expensive than some other travel car seats, but it’s packed with features that make it worth considering. The seat accommodates children from 5 to 65 pounds, allowing for quite a few years of use. It’s also aircraft certified and easy to install, so you can get your child settled and secure quickly, whether you’re on a plane or in a car. The seat is designed to have up to 2 inches of extra legroom when it’s rear facing—meaning, you won’t have to jam it the plane seat in to make it fit. Cupholders on each side flip out when you have the space, and back in when you need to conserve the area around the seat. Ten recline positions make it simple to find an angle that works for your little one. We also like that this seat is Greenguard Gold certified and made without flame retardants.

Best Booster Travel Car Seat

This seat has hideaway cup holders and doesn't hog space, graco turbobooster backless booster car seat.

Seat weight:  5.1 pounds  | Child height max:  57 inches  | Child weight minimum:  40 pounds  | Child weight max:  100 pounds  | Seat width:  16 inches

The Graco Turbobooster is nearly effortless to use. Simply plunk it on the seat, secure your child in it using the car’s shoulder belt and go about your travels. Hideaway cup holders give you extra space for drinks and snacks when there’s room to spare, and quickly tuck away when seating is tight. Padded armrests and a plush seat cushion ensure your child feels comfortable, even on longer trips. At just 5 pounds, it’s easy to strap to top of your suitcase as you roll through the airport. The booster is designed for kids between 40 to 100 pounds, so your child can safely use it for a number of years after they’ve outgrown a five-point car seat.

Best Lightweight Travel Car Seat

A slim design makes this aircraft-approved seat great for planes, graco contender slim convertible car seat.

Seat weight:  16 pounds  | Child height max:  49 inches  | Child weight minimum:  5 pounds (rear-facing); 22 pounds (forward-facing)  | Child weight max:  40 pounds (rear-facing); 65 pounds (forward-facing)  | Seat width:  18.9 inches

The Graco Contender Slim is designed to have a smaller footprint, saving room whether you’re traveling by plane or car. The seat can fit kids who weigh between 5 and 65 pounds, and the seat itself is 16 pounds, so it’s lightweight enough to carry from place to place. It’s certified for aircraft use, so you can fly with it with no issues. Included latches and level indicators help you get the seat installed quickly and efficiently. The included cupholder is removable for tight spaces, and can even be tossed in the dishwasher. A no re-thread harness allows for fast seating adjustments.

Best Inflatable Travel Car Seat

A travel seat that inflates in under a minute, hiccapop uberboost inflatable booster car seat.

Seat weight:  1.3 pounds  | Child height max:  Not listed  | Child weight minimum:  40 pounds  | Child weight max:  11o pounds | Seat width:  14.5 inches

For those times when you really want to travel with minimal baggage, consider the Hiccapop booster. It’s inflatable and simple to blow up in 20 seconds or less while you’re waiting to board or for a car service to arrive. The booster has a non-skid base to keep it secure on leather or cloth seats, and it won’t hog the back seat—you can fit three of these across the rear row of most cars. Positioning clips help your child get a good fit with the seatbelt. The seat comes with its own travel bag for easy toting—just deflate and roll it up, then put it in your carry-on or bag. It’s that easy.

The Best Travel Accessories, Reviewed By Our Editors

The best wireless earbuds under $100 that offer style and function, why trust forbes vetted.

The Forbes Vetted Kids & Baby Gear team is comprised of experts in the field who have spent thousands of hours researching, reporting on and testing the best baby and parenting products, from travel strollers to booster seats. Korin Miller, the author of this article, is mom of four who has extensive experience using car seats.

For this article, we spoke to health and safety experts for guidance on what to look for in the best travel car seats to ensure they’re safe for baby. That includes Michelle Pratt , certified child passenger safety technician and founder of Safe in the Seat , and Benjamin Hoffman, M.D., F.A.A.P., a professor of pediatrics in the Oregon Health and Science University School of Medicine.

This story is frequently reviewed for accuracy and was most recently updated in March 2024.

How We Chose The Best Travel Car Seats

To choose the best travel car seats, we consulted car seat safety experts for the important features to look for in these safety devices.

We then spoke to parents for their recommendations and surveyed the top travel car seats on the market for must-have elements like easy installation, lightweight materials and a compact size. We sorted through the most popular seats on the market and pored over reviews and relied on feedback from parents to inform our picks. We also analyzed reviews from real parents to get a better idea of how these seats perform on the road, and hold up over time.

What To Consider When Shopping For The Best Travel Car Seat

The seat’s weight.

There’s no reason you can’t travel with your usual car seat , booster seat or car seat stroller combination says car seat safety expert Dr. Benjamin Hoffman. However, he points out, your primary seat may be too cumbersome or big to tote through an airport with the rest of your luggage. Some conventional car seats don’t even fit through the a narrow airplane aisle.

That’s where a travel car seat shines. While primary car seats can weigh 20 to 30 pounds, whereas a travel seat can weigh under 10 pounds. Having an extra car seat for air travel also means that you can keep your primary car seat installed in your vehicle at home, and saves you the hassle of taking it out and putting in back in every time you fly with your child.

Your Child’s Height and Weight

Safety experts emphasize the importance of making sure your child fits within the height and weight guidelines set by the car seat manufacturer.

FAA Certification

If your child is under the age of 2 and you plan to buy them their own airplane seat, they will need a car seat that’s approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Most car seats are FAA approved, but it’s wise to check before you buy. Many health and safety experts agree that it’s safer for babies to fly in their own seat than on a parents’ or caregiver’ lap.

What Is The Safest Travel Car Seat?

In general, “there's no reason to think about a travel car seat any differently from your regular car seat,” Hoffman says. All car seats that are sold in the U.S. have to meet the same safety standards, he points out, so they have to be safe to use in cars. Basically, if your car seat is installed properly and your child is secure in it, it should be safe. However, purchasing your seat from a known brand like Graco, Evenflo and Nuna can help ensure that the company is doing all it can to keep your child safe on the road.

What Car Seats Fit On An Airplane?

Many car seats—but not all—will fit on a plane. “Most seats have been approved for use by the FAA, but not every seat is,” Hoffman says. Pratt agrees. “There are a handful of seats that do not have aircraft approval,” she says. “Usually, as long as the caregiver is choosing an airplane seat with movable armrests, there won't be an issue with the width of the car seat.”

Just keep this in mind, per Pratt: “Rear-facing car seats may need to be more upright in the plane than allowed in the vehicle in order to fit.”

Is It Worth It To Bring A Car Seat On A Plane?

There are a few things to consider. “If you need a seat at your destination, it's absolutely worth it to bring a seat on the plane,” Pratt says. “This guarantees that the car seat will not be damaged during transport.”

If your child qualifies as a lap infant (i.e. they’re under the age of 2) it’s understandable to want to save money by not having to purchase a second seat, Hoffman says. However, he recommends at least considering getting your child their own seat if you can afford it. “The benefit of a younger child being in a car seat is, in the event of severe turbulence, a parent may not be able to hold onto their child due to sheer force.” Holding a wiggly baby or toddler for the entire flight can also be exhausting and uncomfortable for parents, even on short trips.

But, Hoffman points out, buying an extra seat is “cost-prohibitive for many families.”

How Do I Know If My Car Seat Is TSA Approved?

All car seats can be checked with your luggage or carried onto a plane for free, per TSA regulations . Keep in mind, though, that some seats are FAA approved to go on planes. “There will be a sticker on the side of the seat saying that it is FAA approved,” Pratt says. “There will also be a page in the car seat's manual showing how to install the seat on an aircraft.” If your car seat doesn’t have this designation, you may need to check it with your luggage.

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The 7 Best Travel Car Seats of 2024

These top picks combine convenience and peace of mind

Jordi is a freelance contributor to TripSavvy. Her personal passions gravitate toward wellness and adventure, leading her to frequently plan trips that blend zen relaxation with urban and rugged exploration.

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We independently evaluate all recommended products and services. If you click on links we provide, we may receive compensation. Learn more .

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Traveling with small children is a great way to make memories. You expose little ones to new experiences and see the world through their eyes. But there are still everyday tasks to worry about on the road, from meal times to naps. Safety is the top priority, of course, and this means ensuring your kids have a good car seat.

If you're flying with small children or frequently switching cars, the thought of lugging around the car seat you have perfectly installed in your vehicle can seem daunting. Luckily, many companies make travel car seats lighter and easier to install on the go. These models also emphasize portability and legroom for your child to grow into.

To find the best choice for you, we looked closely at the installation process, weight ratings, and certification status of some of the most popular options on the market today.

Final Verdict

  • What to Look For

Why Trust TripSavvy

Best overall, cosco scenera next convertible car seat.

 Amazon

Easy to carry

Budget friendly

Sizing issues for older childen

The Cosco Scenera Next Convertible Car Seat receives excellent marks for lightness and simplicity. This affordable car seat is a great choice for those who already have a regular car seat but need a second option for traveling. Safety features include side-impact protection built into the headrest and a five-point harness that adjusts to accommodate your growing child. The car seat can be used rear-facing for kiddos 5 to 40 pounds and 19 to 40 inches tall or front-facing for those 22 to 40 pounds or 29 to 43 inches tall. The car seat will last from infancy through toddlerhood.

Use the LATCH connectors or a seat belt to secure the car seat in any rental car or taxi. It's also designed with air travel in mind: It's FAA-approved and lightweight at just 7 pounds. Additionally, its 17.5-inch width makes it a good fit for most airline seats. Other highlights include a removable, machine-washable, and dryer-safe car seat pad and a dishwasher-safe cup holder. Colors range from Moon Mist Grey to Ocean Breeze.

Dimensions: 17.6 x 15.8 x 30.3 inches | Weight Rating: Up to 40 pounds | Installation Type: LATCH

Best Lightweight

Wayb pico travel car seat.

Very compact

Includes a travel bag

Only for toddlers and older

Car seats are a hassle to travel with because they're bulky, heavy, and unwieldy. Luckily, this travel car seat by Wayb won't add much extra weight to your suitcase. Weighing under 8 pounds, the FAA-approved Pico Travel Car Seat is easy to transport everywhere you go. It's front-facing and can hold kids between 22 to 55 pounds or measuring 30 to 45 inches tall. It has an AeroWing aluminum frame that is durable yet lightweight, and the AstroKnit performance mesh lining will keep your kids comfortable throughout their journey. Best of all, this car seat folds into a small enough package to store in overhead bins and comes with a carrying bag that can slip onto your suitcase.

Dimensions: 15 x 11 x 20 inches | Weight Rating: Up to 50 pounds | Installation Type: LATCH or car/airplane seat belt

Most Compact

Safety 1st guide 65 convertible car seat.

Supports a variety of sizes and ages

Sleek design

Machine-washable cover

Complaints about installation

Safety 1st's Guide 65 Convertible Car Seat weighs 14 pounds; it's sturdy enough for everyday use yet light enough for travel. This car seat's frame is so compact that you could place three in the back of your car, making it an excellent option for larger families or smaller European rental cars. Plus, it can accommodate a wide range of weights, making it a budget-friendly pick that can last for years. It's for children who weigh between 5 and 40 pounds to use in a rear-facing position and children 22 to 65 pounds to use in a front-facing position.

Side-impact protection and five harnesses that adjust in the center ensure your child stays secure throughout their ride and help deflect impact away from their head, neck, and spine in the event of an accident. Other safety features include three buckle locations and an adjustable headrest. This car seat also has a LATCH connector system, making it easy to take the seat in and out of the car quickly. Both the cushion and cup holder are removable for easy cleanup. It's available in multiple colors.

Dimensions: 27.3 x 18.5 x 20.3 inches | Weight Rating: Up to 65 pounds | Installation Type: LATCH

Best for Bigger Kids

Graco extend2fit convertible car seat.

Harness storage makes loading and unloading easy

Rigorously crash tested

Several customizable features

Most of the car seats on this list are appropriate for children up to 40 pounds, but the Graco Extend2Fit is rated for up to 65 pounds. It also allows children up to 50 pounds to ride rear-facing and provides an extra 5 inches of legroom. This, plus a headrest that can also be adjusted to 10 different positions, ensures the child is comfortable and secure as they grow.

Two integrated cup holders keep juice bottles within easy reach and help to prevent spills. While there are multiple ways to install this model, it is easy to remember after the first time. Although this seat is designed with car travel in mind , it is FAA-approved. If you're flying economy class, consider calling ahead to check that the restraint is compatible with the airline seat.

Dimensions: 21.5 x 19.5 x 23.5 inches | Weight Rating: Up to 65 pounds | Installation Type: InRight LATCH

Best Booster Combo

Cosco finale dx 2-in-1 booster car seat.

Can fit three across

Easy to clean

Accommodates older children

Durability complaints

If you're shopping for a child aged 12 months or older, the Cosco Finale DX 2-in-1 Booster Car Seat will last from toddlerhood until after they start school. It has a 10-year lifespan and can be used as a forward-facing car seat or as a high-back booster seat. As a car seat, it's appropriate for kids between 30 to 65 pounds and 32 to 49 inches in height. The five-point harness has three different height settings, and the LATCH connectors can be used until your child reaches 50 pounds. In addition, the FAA approves the Cosco Finale for aircraft use in its car seat capacity.

It suits kids between 40 to 100 pounds and 43 to 52 inches in height as a booster seat. Its 17-inch width and 9-pound weight make it ideal for quick transfers between rental cars, taxis, and family cars back home. Other useful features include a removable cup holder and a machine-washable cover in colors that range from gray to pale pink. Lastly, thrifty families will appreciate this seat's affordable price tag.

Dimensions: 18.3 x 19 x 29.8 inches | Weight Rating: Up to 100 pounds | Installation Type: LATCH or seat belt

Most Innovative

Maxi-cosi pria max 3-in-1 convertible car seat.

Easy to buckle

Not the lightest pick

If you don't want to invest in multiple car seats, the Pria Max 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat is your best bet. It can handle children from birth to 10 years old, making it one of the most versatile options on the market. Plus, the high-end brand makes each stage supremely comfortable for your child and easy for adults to use. It has a spring-assist harness system, so the straps don't get tangled; a one-hand magnetic chest clip; a simple integrated headrest and harness system, so you don't have to rethread as your tot grows; and machine-washable fabric. Keep in mind it comes with a hefty price tag and heavier weight.

Dimensions: 25.3 x 24 x 19.9 inches | Weight Rating: Up to 100 pounds | Installation Type: LATCH or seat belt

Best For Road Trips

Chicco keyfit 35 cleartex infant car seat.

FAA-approved

Eco-friendly textiles

UPF 50+ canopy

Rear-facing only

This car seat is a great option for road trips —or as your primary car seat that occasionally travels—as the stay-in-car base is a breeze to install correctly and the carrier itself clicks into place in one motion. When it's time to stretch your legs and explore simply detach the seat and click it into any Chicco stroller base for a lightning-fast travel combo. The base has an anti-rebound bar for added stability and extra legroom for a rider up to 32 inches tall, and the headrest has five different positions to accommodate an infant's growth.

If your plans include air travel, this is still a solid pick. The best thing about this carrier is that it can be installed in an aircraft or rental vehicle without the base, using the European or American routing method. The base and carrier together weigh 18 pounds but you'll only have to manage 10 pounds if you go baseless. It comes with removable newborn positioners so little ones from 4 pounds are ready to roll.

Dimensions: 28 x 16.5 x 24 inches | Weight Rating: 4 to 35 pounds | Installation Type: LATCH or seat belt

The Cosco Scenera Next Convertible Car Seat is light, FAA-approved, and supports young travelers up to 40 pounds. We love the accessible price point and easy-to-clean cover. If you're shopping for a toddler or older but still want to prioritize portability, go for the Wayb Pico Travel Car Seat .

What to Look For in Travel Car Seats

Installation.

All models on our list use LATCH systems and some can also be installed using the vehicle's seat belt, but you should never use both anchoring methods together. LATCH, also known as Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children, is an alternative way of securing the car seat to the vehicle without using the seat belt. Both the vehicle and the car seat must have LATCH parts to install the seat properly, but most car seats (and vehicles manufactured after 2002) will do so. The car seat has straps that come from the bottom and a tether at the top. These attach to the lower anchors in the car, found in the space between the rear back seat and seat cushion, and to the top anchor, which could be near the rear window or on the car ceiling. When in doubt, check the vehicle manual and seat instructions.

Weight Rating

Like their everyday counterparts, travel car seats include maximum weight ratings that must be adhered to. Additionally, your decision to install the car seat front- or rear-facing is based on the weight and height of your child. Most models can transition from rear- to front-facing as your tot grows, or even from front-facing to a booster seat like the Cosco Finale DX . Consider the kid's age, weight, height, and the manufacturer's notes to choose a travel seat that will give you the longest practical use.

Certification Status

Most importantly, the car seat you buy should meet all safety standards. If you're flying, look for an FAA-approved or similarly aircraft-approved seat.

"All legal car seats must meet the same crash test criteria, or safety standards, and be properly labeled," said Amie Durocher, a CPS Tech at SafeRide4Kids.com. "If you are worried about counterfeit car seats, check the label. Certified seats in the U.S. are required to have very specific language on the labels. Beware if it doesn't mention federal motor vehicle safety standards or FMVSS213 or if it lacks a model name or number or manufacture date."

Yes, you can travel with a car seat on the plane —and it's actually recommended. "We recommend that parents purchase a seat even for children under 2 who could be 'lap babies' and use the FAA-approved child restraint on the airplane," said Durocher. "This makes it safer for the child—and the parent—in case of an incident during takeoff or landing and in case of turbulence during the flight."

The hardest part of traveling with a car seat is figuring out the logistics through the airport. “Infant car seats that click onto a compatible stroller are easy, but travelers might need a car seat cart, luggage strap, or bungee cords to lug a convertible car seat through the airport,” said Michelle Pratt, founder and owner of Safe in the Seat. “Some people prefer to check their stroller with their luggage and use a car seat cart to get their child and seat through the airport easily. Others babywear or let their toddler walk and load up their stroller with all their gear, then gate check the stroller planeside.”

“Rear-facing is the safest way for kids to ride in the car, but it’s not always possible on planes due to the tighter space,” added Pratt. “If the car seat fits rear-facing on the plane, that’s best. But kids who rear-face in the car can forward-face on the plane if they are at least 1 year old and meet their car seat’s forward-facing requirements. Then they seamlessly go back to rear-facing in the car at the destination.”

Author Jordi Lippe-McGraw has researched and written about travel and lifestyle products for nearly a decade. She is also the mom of a 3-year-old. When making this list, she researched dozens of products, looking at key specs like dimensions and weight rating and the number of positive and negative reviews. While researching the best travel car seats, we spoke with Amie Durocher , a CPS Tech at SafeRide4Kids.com, and Michelle Pratt , founder and owner of Safe in the Seat.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. " Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) Restraint System ." Accessed Feb 6th, 2023.

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6 Best Travel Car Seats for Your Next Trip

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Traveling with young kids requires preparation—and plenty of it. Between planning your route, packing all the essentials and ensuring you’ve got plenty of snacks on hand, there’s a lot to organize. And, of course, keeping your little one safe on the road is always a top priority. If your next family vacation involves air travel, a rental vehicle or frequent cab rides, a travel car seat will come in handy. While most airlines allow you to gate-check a car seat or stroller for free, the last thing you want on a long journey is a bulky bit of gear. Unlike convertible models , which tend to be on the heavier side, travel car seats are designed to be lightweight, compact and easy to install when you’re on the go.

Ready to start your search? Here find our picks of the best travel car seats for every age, stage and need, plus our top tips for traveling with a baby or toddler in tow.

Do you Need a Travel Car Seat?

If you’re planning to take a road trip, you definitely need a car seat. Granted, you could bring a day-to-day model with you, but a travel seat will take up less room in a packed rental car. It’s important to note that each country has its own rules and regulations, so if you’re traveling internationally, brush up on the local car seat safety laws.

For domestic air travel, a car seat is recommended, but not required. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) allows children under age 2 to be held on an adult’s lap, meaning you don’t technically need a car seat. That said, both the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the FAA recommend that children are properly restrained on a flight, especially given the unexpected but common occurrence of turbulence.

Are booster seats safe for air travel?

If your little one has outgrown a car seat, a booster is a good option for rental cars and taxi trips. But the FAA prohibits passengers from using booster seats or backless car seats on flights. If you plan to take a booster seat with you during air travel, it can be brought along as checked luggage (usually without a baggage fee).

What to Look for in a Travel Car Seat

Choosing a car seat can involve a lot of research—and a travel car seat comes with its own set of requirements. To make things easier, here are some key considerations to keep in mind.

Age-appropriate. The most important factor to consider for any car seat type is whether it’s appropriate for your child’s age, weight and height. According to the AAP , children should use a rear-facing car seat until they’re at least 2 years old—or until they reach the height and weight requirements for a specific model. Children that weigh over 40 pounds can use an aircraft safety belt.

FAA approved. A travel car seat you plan on taking on a plane should have a label noting that it is FAA approved. This means that the model has been deemed safe for air travel.

Lightweight. The best travel car seats are lightweight and easy to carry. After all, you’ll need to lug it onto a plane or switch it from one car to another. Fortunately, most car seats designed for travel range in weight from 6 to 12 lbs.

Easy to install. Whatever mode of transport you choose, correct installation is critical to a car seat’s safety —so look for one that makes the process simple. Our advice? Find options with easy-to-fasten buckles and an adjustable harness to ensure a snug fit.

The Best Travel Car Seats

Whether you’re traveling by plane, train or automobile, a travel car seat makes the journey run that much smoother. Here, find our top picks for infants, toddlers and big kids.

Best affordable travel car seat

Cosco Scenera NEXT DLX

  • Suitable for infants and toddlers
  • Affordable price point
  • Some children will outgrow it quickly due to the low position of the shoulder straps

Searching for something affordable? The Cosco Scenera may be the best travel car seat option for you. Suitable for infants and toddlers, this convertible seat can be used in a rear- or front-facing position. Certified for use on an aircraft, the compact seat is lightweight and easy to carry, so it won’t slow you down as you make your way to departures. It has all the safety features you need, including a five-point harness and side impact protection. Plus, a removable seat pad makes it easy to clean up messes; simply throw it in the wash and get ready for your next adventure. All that for $60? What a steal!

  • Weight of seat: 10.4 lbs.
  • Weight capacity: Rear-facing 5 to 40 pounds; forward-facing 22 to 40 pounds
  • Height limit: 43 inches

Best travel infant car seat

Nuna PIPA lite RX Baby Car Seat & RELX Base

  • Seat weighs under 6 lbs.
  • Convenient option for car and air travel
  • Magnetic buckle holders keep straps out of the way while you secure your child
  • Car seat must be used with the base for air travel
  • High price point

Weighing in at just 5.3 lbs, the Nuna Pipa Lite is one of the best car seats for travel. Pegged as the lightest infant car seat available, this Best of Baby award-winning pick has a compact design, a convenient carry handle and a True Lock base that installs in as little as five seconds (yes, really!). Plus, the rear-facing seat is reliably safe thanks to a five-point harness and Aeroflex foam that absorbs and diffuses energy for superior impact protection. Better yet, built-in belt paths mean you can remove the base and use the car seat with just the vehicle seat belt, allowing you to travel in taxis without worrying about baby’s safety. And for air travel, it’s FAA certified when used with its base.

  • Weight of seat: 5.3 lbs. (without sun canopy or infant insert)
  • Weight capacity: 4 to 32 pounds
  • Height limit: 32 inches

Best travel convertible car seat

Evenflo Tribute Convertible Car Seat

  • Can be used in a rear- and front-facing position
  • Four shoulder strap positions allow the seat to grow with your child
  • Thin padding

Looking for a travel car seat that’ll function from infancy to toddlerhood and beyond? A convertible option is the way to go. This type can be used in both a rear- and forward-facing position, so you can use it even after your child hits the two-year mark. Our top pick? The Evenflo Tribute. This convertible model weighs under 10 lbs. and has a narrow design, making it a good option for smaller vehicles or times when you find yourself moving between multiple cars. Plus, it’s FAA approved and reliably safe for air travel.

  • Weight of seat: 9.29 lbs.
  • Height limit: 40 inches

Best travel car seat and stroller system

Doona Car Seat & Stroller

  • Converts from a car seat to a stroller in seconds
  • TUV and FAA approved
  • Rear-facing position only

Planning to bring a stroller and a car seat on your next vacation? This innovative product by Doona combines both items into one lightweight travel system. The Best of Baby award-winning product has wheels that unfold from the bottom of the seat in seconds, meaning you can go from cruising along the pavement to safely buckled into a vehicle in no time. And it doesn’t skimp on safety features—with a five-point harness, three layers of impact protection and an adjustable handle that doubles as an anti-rebound bar in car seat mode. It also comes fully assembled and can be used from day one, without any extra adaptors or inserts. The best part? It’s certified as safe by the US and European authorities for air travel.

  • Weight of seat: 16.5 lbs.
  • Weight capacity: 4 to 35 pounds

Best toddler travel car seat

WAYB Pico Travel Car Seat with Premium Carrying Bag

  • Lightweight; compact fold
  • Travel case can be worn as a backpack
  • Parents report that the crotch strap is too short

Another contender for the title of best travel car seat is this pick by WAYB. Designed for children over the age of 2, this forward-facing seat has a foldable aluminum frame that fits inside the included travel bag for easy transportation. And whether you’re ridesharing, road tripping or traveling by plane, Pico’s five-point safety harness keeps your little one safely buckled in. It's FAA approved and even fits in most airplane overhead bins.

  • Weight of seat: 8 lbs.
  • Weight capacity: 22 to 50 pounds
  • Height limit: 45 inches

Best travel booster seat

Chicco GoFit Plus Backless Booster Car Seat

  • Easy to install
  • Quick-release design
  • Not suitable for children under the age of 4
  • Not usable for air travel

If your kiddo has grown too big for a travel car seat, a backless booster seat is a good option for car travel. The innovative quick release design and built-in carry handle makes it easy to move between vehicles. Plus, lap belt guides and a shoulder clip allow for easy installation when you’re trying to get from point A to point B in a hurry. Again, it’s important to note that booster seats are not safe for use in airplanes. Bonus: Use code BUMP2023 on the Chicco website to get $75 off any order of $299 or more.

  • Weight of seat: 6 lbs.
  • Weight capacity: 40 to 110 pounds

How We Chose the Best Travel Car Seats

To decide which travel car seats are the best options on the market, we leverage our familiarity with leading baby brands to make sure items are from reliable manufacturers. We read user reviews to get the low-down on how these products work for families, and typically don’t consider anything with less than an average four-star rating. And since many of us are also parents, we rely on our writers’ and editors’ experience using these products with their own families.

When it comes to car seats, safety is paramount, so we also consulted the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines and checked that all options—bar the booster seat—are approved for air travel by the Federal Aviation Authority .

Interested in learning more about our editorial process? Read about how our team develops and reviews all articles here .

Plus, more from The Bump:

The Best Infant Car Seats

Best Toddler Car Seats to Keep Your Traveling Tot Safe

Tips for Traveling With Baby

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The Best Car Seats for Traveling With Babies, Toddlers, and Kids

By Stirling Kelso

Pico

All products featured on Condé Nast Traveler are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Talk to parents about traveling with young kids and one topic dominates the conversation. Is it which hotel in Santorini has the best Mediterranean views? Not quite. Where you can get the freshest lobster rolls in Maine ? Unfortunately, no.

The answer is car seats. Heavy, unwieldy car seats. They’re impossible to pack and even worse to wrestle onto an airplane. They’re big, they’re bulky, and they have irritating names that are hard to Google when you’re searching for, say, “how to install a massive American car seat in a tiny Italian Fiat.”

Not every country or city requires car seats, but you’ll probably still want to pack one for your family trip to Mexico or Thailand—or from LaGuardia Airport to Manhattan in a yellow cab. Why? As exasperating as car seats are, they save lives. A lot of lives. In fact, they’ve helped bring down motor vehicle-related deaths in the U.S. by 58 percent since 1975.

Most car rental agencies offer child seats, but this option is often fraught with problems. To start, they cost a chunk of change. “Major car rental companies charge between $10 to $14 per day to rent a child seat,” says Jonathan Weinberg, CEO of car rental savings site AutoSlash . “These fees add up quickly, especially if you have more than one kid.” The quality of the car seat can also be questionable. Personally, I’ve been dealt dirty seats, incorrect models, and, in one case, a seat with a safety strap that looked like it had been slashed by a machete. And while every major American car rental’s child seat policy notes that they take car seats out of circulation after an accident, this practice is not federally enforced . Finally, and perhaps most vexing after a long flight with kids, agency staff members aren’t authorized to install the seats, leaving you to the task. “After navigating an enormous car rental garage with toddlers and luggage for four—looking at you, Orlando International—it’s no fun to install unfamiliar car seats,” says Lexington-based attorney (and dad of twins) Lucas Braun.

Here’s the good news: Car seats have also annoyed a slew of smart, savvy travelers, so much so that they’ve decided to do something about it. Now a handful of light and portable child seats make it easier to keep your kiddos safe on the go. Read on for our road-tested recs of the best car seats for travel right now. Skipping the flight and just traveling by car these days? We’ve included our favorites for highway long-hauls as well.

This article was originally published in April 2019. It has been updated with new information.

Infant Car Seats

For babies and infants Talk to a mom who has lost circulation in her arm after swinging a bucket seat around the airport, or a dad who has woken a sleeping baby from a car seat at the check-in counter, and you’ll see why we seriously love the options below.

Image may contain: Car Seat

It took car seat creator Yoav Mazar close to a decade to design the Doona and bring it to market. It was worth the wait. This genius car seat, developed for babies from birth up to 35 pounds, is essentially a transformer, shape shifting from a car seat to a stroller and back again with a few button clicks. This means you always have your car seat with you, whether you need to jump into a cab in London or a Lyft in San Francisco. And when it’s in stroller mode, it beautifully navigates sidewalks and park paths. This just in: The Doona now comes in a sleek midnight black model as well as its first edition green.

Image may contain: Car Seat

Trusted car seat brand Chicco has a new car seat for babies that’s lighter than previous versions (about nine pounds without the base) and puts a premium on comfort. An extended headrest means the car seat lasts you longer, and a genius rebound bar, which pushes against the back seat, provides extra foot room for leggy littles. And while you can swing it through the airport as easily as a canvas tote through a farmers’ market, it’s also a choice option for road trips thanks to its cocoon-like coziness and large sunshade.

Image may contain: Tool, and Lawn Mower

If you’re not up for a $500 investment, opt for an infant seat that clicks easily into a lightweight stroller base. The latest snap-and-go option from Chicco is the Shuttle, which pairs with all Chicco Fit2 and KeyFit car seats. It’s an improvement on previous stroller base models thanks to its quick fold handle, sleek black frame, and a console for essentials (your phone, a large coffee, and likely some sort of wipe). It also has one advantage on its competitors: under-carriage storage, ideal for all that stuff you can't believe you’re schlepping through the airport.

Rear-Facing Car Seats

For toddlers under two and under 35 pounds The trickiest age when it comes to traveling with car seats is when your child has transitioned from an infant seat—like the Doona—to an upright car seat, but still needs to face backwards (typically kids under two and under 35 pounds). For this short time period, we recommend doing as the car rental agencies do: Go light and go cheap if you’re flying, but invest if you’re sticking to the road.

Image may contain: Car Seat, and Cushion

This is a popular brand among car rental companies (and if you think about it, they make up the cost of a purchase in one four-day rental). The seat is ten pounds, easy to install, and FAA compliant, should you want to strap your kid in during the flight. And while it's bulky, you can secure this seat to rolling luggage with a strap like this one .

Image may contain: Car Seat

While this car seat model is somewhat bulky, it’s also lightweight at just over nine pounds. At under $100, it’s an absolute steal. It’s slimmer than most car seat models, a plus when you’re traveling to places like Europe where rentals are petite in comparison to your suburban SUV.

Image may contain: Cushion, Car Seat, Backpack, and Bag

Did you know that some car seats are built with flame-retardant chemicals that are harmful to inhale? That’s not the case with Nuna, which has committed to engineering its seats without said compounds from foam to fabric. The Exec car seat might as well be a first-class ticket to comfort—even in the less popular back-facing position—thanks to adjustable leg rests, merino wool head cushions, and ventilation panels that maintain a comfortable climate.

Front-Facing Convertible Car Seats

For kids ages two to five Once children have graduated from a rear-facing car seat, they still have several years in a chair. At this stage, we see parents start to forgo car seats when they shouldn’t. These exciting innovations will inspire you to stay safe.

Image may contain: Car Seat

This road trip favorite is slimmer than most—you can fit three across a back seat if you’re hauling a litter—but it also puts a premium on well-being and safety thanks to a steel core topped with interlocking layers of foam and plastic, padded with seat, side, and belt cushions. We also love this Seattle-based company’s seats for their pop colors: cherry red, plum purple, and yellow mineral, among others. Be sure to add the waterproof seat protector —it’s a life saver when kids are snacking on the go.

Image may contain: Cushion, and Headrest

This, family travelers, is a game changing car seat. Co-developed by a former Patagonia exec and his engineering-savvy team at WayB—a new company that aims to introduce innovative products to the family travel space—the Pico is safe, sleek, and a cinch to install. Its solid frame is made of aluminum, which is not only strong, but also sustainable. And the Pico’s seat folds up on-the-go, making it compact and easy to carry or stow in an overhead bin.

Image may contain: Car Seat, and Cushion

If you’ve requested an Uber equipped with a car seat in a city like Los Angeles, chances are the driver has pulled out this soft-backed and collapsible harness. The chair folds up into an attached bag that’s about half the size of a carry-on suitcase, so you can stow it on the plane or throw it into a duffle with the rest of your things.

For kids five and up Once your half pints have graduated out of convertible car seats, you can move onto a booster, which feels like holding a hamster after years of wrestling an elephant. Still, some boosters are large and inflexible, so opt for one of our picks below. Tend to travel by car? Choose something more substantial, like the Alta.

Image may contain: Car Seat

If you’re skipping the airport and hitting the highway, consider UppaBaby’s model for its additional safety features and headrest that will—if you’re lucky—inspire a long snooze. Unlike the MiFold and Bubble Bum, the Alta clips into a car’s anchor system, better securing it to the vehicle. It also ensures older kiddos (approximately six to ten years old) are comfortable for long stretches thanks to arm rests, a cup holder, and plenty of padding. The rear seat cushion also zips off, making it easy to clean.

Image may contain: Cushion

Boosters, as you might guess, boost children up so seatbelts strap them in effectively. The MiFold takes the opposite approach, lowering the seatbelt via a series of lap belt clips. It then folds up on-the-go to the size of a large wallet, and can be stashed in a purse, backpack, or glove compartment.

Image may contain: Clothing, Cap, Baseball Cap, Hat, Apparel, and Bag

This inflatable booster seat can be easily blown up and deflated on the go. It’s lightweight and fits into a compact travel bag when not in use. Aside from its brilliant name, it also does its part to make boosters fun, with kid-friendly colors like shamrock green and bubble gum pink.

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Have Baby Will Travel

A Complete Guide to Buying and Using Travel Car Seats

Everything you ever wanted to know about travel car seats but were afraid to ask*, *(because the answer is, “yes, you should bring it.”).

You probably spent a lot of time researching the best car seat for your baby. So I bet you can’t even fathom doing that all over again for a travel car seat. Below, we break down the best FAA-approved car seats that are lightweight and affordable, the best car seat travel bag and accessories, a complete guide to using car seats on planes (and what to do if you run into problems), and some legal and safe car seat alternatives .

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Ready to shop? Visit Have Baby Will Travel’s Amazon Store for our list of the Best Lightweight Car Seats for Travel

The best faa-approved car seats for travel.

travel car seat, faa-approved car seats

We can all agree that the safest place for a baby on a plane is in their own seat, in their own FAA-approved car seat . We can also all agree that lugging a bulky, heavy seat through an airport is about the last thing anyone wants to do. Whether you’re purchasing a seat with the knowledge that you’ll be doing a fair amount of traveling, or you’re deciding to make the investment in a second seat specifically for travel, here are your best choices based on weight, “lug-a-bility,” and affordability. READ MORE

The Best Car Seat Travel Bag & Accessories

The Best Car Seat Travel Bag

There are many car seat travel bags on the market. But, if you’re going to invest in one, the padding in this car seat travel bag protects the seat from more than just dirt or wear and tear, because we all know that airport baggage handlers aren’t always known for their gentle touch when loading and off-loading our luggage. READ MORE

Using Car Seats on Planes

using car seats on planes, flying with car seats, car seat on planes

We know it’s not mandatory. We know it’s expensive. But we also know that the FAA recommends using car seats on planes . So, we bite the bullet and purchase baby their own seat on the airplane. We lug their car seat (or go through the expense of purchasing an additional one specifically for travel). What happens if we run into trouble once we’re on board? Here’s how to install and use car seats on planes, and what to do if you have issues with flight attendants or gate agents. READ MORE

Flying with Car Seats and Booster Seats

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And then I learned that I was doing it wrong. Quite wrong.  READ MORE

Using a Car Seat Without the Base

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Clearly it’s preferred to use your infant car seat with the base. But, if you’re traveling with baby, it’s much safer to still use your seat without the base than to not use a car seat at all. Do ensure that your seat CAN actually be installed without a base. The Primo Viaggio model we used when my daughter was an infant was an older model and did not have the slots. We couldn’t have used it for travel if we wanted to. But these days, pretty much every infant carrier car seat can be installed without the base.  READ MORE

Legal and Safe Car Seat & Stroller Alternatives for Travel

car seat alternative, car seat alternatives, car seat alternative for travel, car seat alternatives for travel

Maybe the last thing you want to do is lug your giant car seat on the plane. Especially if you don’t think you’ll be doing much driving. Maybe your busy toddler  absolutely refuses  to ride in a stroller but you know they’ll need a lift from time to time. If you’d like to avoid buying a second  car seat for travel  or a specific  travel stroller   but these are two items you know you might need, here are some LEGAL and SAFE car seat alternatives and stroller alternatives for travel with toddlers and small children. READ MORE

Click here for all posts on Have Baby Will Travel tagged “car seat”

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And more…

  • Tips for Flying with an Infant or Toddler at Every Age & Stage
  • Flying with a Baby or Toddler: The Ultimate Tip List
  • Baby Travel Gear
  • Information & Tips for Traveling with a Baby or Toddler
  • Tips for Airport Security with a Baby or Toddler
  • Road Trip Tips for Babies & Toddlers
  • Driving Baby: Tips for Safety While Traveling by Car

2 Responses to A Complete Guide to Buying and Using Travel Car Seats

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Thank you for sharing this information! Parents should always check the quality of the car seats if they are planning to rent one. this is very important for the safety of their child!

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Hey, this is awesome. We will be having family road trips and I need to buy a car seat! Thank you for this informative post!

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The 13 Best Car Seat and Stroller Travel Systems of 2024, Tested and Reviewed

We independently evaluate all recommended products and services. If you click on links we provide, we may receive compensation. Learn more .

Verywell Family / Dera Burreson

Infant car seat and stroller combos (often called travel systems) make toting your baby around safer and more convenient. The best travel systems come with an infant car seat that either converts into a stroller or clicks right into one, allowing you to transition your baby from the car to the stroller without having to wake or unstrap them. When shopping for the right one for your family, consider the travel system’s safety features, weight and height limitations, stroller configuration options (especially if you have multiple kiddos), and overall ease of use.

We’re big fans of travel systems because they help new parents rest easy knowing that the car seat and stroller are designed to work well together, and they’re convenient if you know you’ll be on the go with your baby often. We consulted with car seat experts as well as stroller and car seat safety guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to determine what makes a high-quality travel system. A board-certified pediatrician on our Review Board also reviewed this article for medical accuracy and integrity regarding car seat and stroller travel systems, safety features, and height and weight limitations.

We used this information to select 25 travel systems to put through rigorous testing at the Verywell Testing Lab in Des Moines, Iowa, assessing the ease of assembly, installation, and use, as well as their portability, design, maneuverability, and overall value. Then, we sent our top picks out to our editors, who have been testing them with their families for the past three months. This real-world test is ongoing, so we’ll be sure to keep this list updated with additional insights as we learn more about the travel systems’ long-term performance. Stroller and car seat combos from brands like Doona, Uppababy, Nuna, and Graco are just a few of the standouts.

  • We Also Tested
  • How We Tested
  • What to Look For

Why Trust Verywell Family

Best overall, uppababy cruz v2 stroller.

  • Assembly 5 /5
  • Design 5 /5
  • Maneuverability 4.5 /5
  • Value 4.5 /5
  • Installation 4 /5

Attaching each part is simple

Intuitive assembly

Deluxe design

Car seat and stroller sold separately

Car seat canopy isn’t the most secure

Uppababy is known for its deluxe, user-friendly baby gear, and its Cruz travel system is no exception. Currently, the Uppababy Cruz V2 and Mesa V2 Infant Car Seat & Base are sold separately, but they function as a dynamic travel system that is easy to assemble and install in the car. (In fact, we found that assembly was so intuitive it wasn’t necessary to read the directions.) Since adapters are pre-installed, you simply need to pop on the wheels, detach the car seat from the base, and attach it to the sturdy stroller frame.

Our test revealed that attaching and detaching the Mesa V2 car seat and Cruz V2 stroller is as easy as pushing a button. Plus, attaching the car seat to the base was a breeze, clicking right into place, and an indicator turns green when the level is correctly adjusted. (We appreciated the clear directions for this step.) Installing the base with the LATCH system wasn’t difficult, either—once we figured out how to get the latches to release from each side, it was simple to clip them in. You can also choose to install the car seat without the base by threading a seat belt through the slots. 

We were impressed by the travel system’s thoughtful design and ample padding. The Cruz V2’s spacious cargo area holds a medium-sized diaper bag, and you can also access the cargo from the front of the stroller if desired. However, there’s a bar along the bottom of the back cargo space that can make it awkward to wiggle items in and out. The stroller has the same beautiful, modern look and ergonomic leather handle as other Uppababy strollers, and we liked the car seat’s handle, which can be repositioned to be an anti-rebound bar while driving. We did struggle to keep the Mesa V2’s canopy on securely, though we appreciated that the travel system comes with a rain canopy and a mesh canopy. Folding the stroller had a bit of a learning curve at first, but it wasn’t difficult.

Even with the car seat attached, this travel system felt super lightweight, and it glided smoothly across the various surfaces we tested, like turf and gravel. It was easy and enjoyable to push, and although its large wheels made pulling it up stairs tricky, it was lightweight enough to carry up the stairs if needed.

While it does have a higher price point, the Uppababy Cruz V2 and Mesa V2 provide long-term value and can grow with your child, since the stroller has a reversible toddler seat. The travel system as a whole has a top-tier design, and the parts are simple to attach, detach, and install, making it a clear choice for our top spot.

Stroller Key Specs: Weight: 25.5 pounds | Dimensions: 37.5 x 22.75 x 40 inches (unfolded) | Weight Limit: 10 to 50 pounds

Car Seat Key Specs: Weight: 10 pounds | Dimensions: 17 x 26.5 x 23 inches | Weight/Height Limit: 4 to 35 pounds / 32 inches tall | Cross-Compatibility: Uppababy Vista V2 (without an adapter) and other Uppababy strollers

Best Maneuverability

Nuna mixx next + pipa lite rx.

Pottery Barn Kids

  • Assembly 4.5 /5
  • Maneuverability 5 /5
  • Installation 3.5 /5

Great maneuverability

Car seat easily attaches to the stroller

Ergonomic finger grooves for folding

Installing the car seat and base in the car is tricky

The Nuna Mixx Next + Pipa Lite RX Travel System drives like a dream and has an impressive sleek and modern design. The travel system includes the brand’s Pipa Lite RX infant car seat, PIPA series base, and Mixx Next stroller, which is pretty simple to assemble, though some fiddling around was required during our test as several parts were nicely hidden by fabric to enhance the stroller’s overall look.

This car seat/stroller combo particularly wowed us with its maneuverability. Thanks to its suspension, the stroller drove smoothly across several surfaces in our obstacle course and the rubber wheels provided great traction. Even with a fully loaded diaper bag, the travel system was lightweight enough to make turning super easy, but it still felt stable on different surfaces. Plus, the stroller stayed completely still when the brake was engaged.

Attaching the car seat to the stroller was simple, with accessible buttons and levers and a clicking noise when the seat was securely fastened. It was also straightforward to attach the car seat to the base since there’s an indicator that turns green when you’ve attached the clips and set the floor support correctly. Getting the base installed in the car, on the other hand, took some effort. We found that the base clips are best installed one at a time while bracing yourself against the base, which isn’t ideal. Adjusting the base’s height also required a good bit of wiggling.

This Nuna travel system impressed us when it came to its sleek design. In addition to its appealing look, all of the materials felt high-end and thought out in terms of placement. The car seat’s interior was soft and cozy, and the stroller’s canopy had a handy magnetic peekaboo flap. Though the cargo space is narrower than we’d like, it is tall. Finger grooves on the top and bottom of the stroller assist with folding.

At $1,300, this travel system is certainly an investment, and we wish that extras like a snack tray, rain cover, and car seat case were included. However, if you have room in your budget, this stylish travel system is so easy to steer and looks great.

Stroller Key Specs: Weight: 28.5 pounds | Dimensions: 32.8 x 23.8 x 45.5 inches (unfolded) | Weight Limit: NB to 50 pounds

Car Seat Key Specs: Weight: 6.9 pounds | Dimensions: 26.5 x 15 x 23.5 inches | Weight/Height Limit: 4 to 32 pounds / up to 32 inches tall | Cross-Compatibility: Only compatible with Nuna strollers

Best for Cities

Doona car seat and stroller.

  • Assembly 4 /5
  • Maneuverability 4.8 /5
  • Value 3.5 /5
  • Installation 5 /5

Simple to take in and out of a car

Easy to carry up stairs

Other options are more versatile

Handlebar can’t be adjusted

If you’re looking to save on space, the Doona Infant Car Seat is a single piece of gear that pulls double duty as a car seat and a stroller. We recommend it for those who live in a city, particularly if you get in and out of cabs or ride shares frequently. To convert the Doona from a stroller into a car seat, engage the brake, push the handlebar up and back, press a button on the top pack of the car seat, then push the frame of the stroller down (with your foot in front of the back wheel) until the wheels tuck into it. It sounds more complicated than it is—it took us just under a minute to do the conversion after we figured it out.

Taking the Doona in and out of the car was more pleasant to do than most other travel systems we tested. When folded, it clicks right into the car seat base, and an indicator on the base turns from red to green when it’s in correctly. To remove it, press a button on the base, push a large piece on the base inward, and pull the Doona towards you. Then comes the best part: You don’t have to grab a stroller out of the trunk. Simply press the button at the top pack of the seat, the wheels swing out, and boom: It's a stroller again.

The LATCH system itself is easy to install with handy clips and release buttons, and a dial helps you raise the seat until it’s at the right height. You also have the option to secure the base by fitting the car’s seat belt into the green clips. Even with a 20-pound weight inside, we were able to lift it up to carry up the stairs, which would come in handy for city parents living in a walk-up apartment or traveling by subway. We were also able to pull it backwards up the stairs. It was smooth to push around (even one-handed), and there are two clearly marked pedals to engage and disengage the brake.

The fabric on the seat and canopy felt nice to the touch, though the canopy didn’t extend too far. (You can purchase sunshades , mosquito nets , and rain covers separately.) The seat, which is padded for impact protection, is covered with a cooling bamboo charcoal fabric that can be removed and washed to clean up messes. When folded, the stroller handle acts as an anti-rebound bar, which is a clever (and helpful) touch. The handlebar’s height can’t be adjusted, though, so it may not be an ergonomic fit for taller adults.

While this is a niche purchase, it’s a unique and highly convenient option for someone who doesn’t want to deal with several pieces of equipment or those who travel around a city often and frequently take cabs and ride shares.

Key Specs: Weight: 16.5 pounds | Dimensions: 39 x 17.3 x 32.2 inches (unfolded) | Weight/Height Limit: 4 to 35 pounds / up to 32 inches tall | Cross-Compatibility: N/A

Best Design

Chicco corso le modular travel system.

  • Design 4.9 /5
  • Installation 4.5 /5

Roomy cargo space

Attaching the car seat to the base can be done with one hand

Handlebar isn’t adjustable

A well-designed travel system, the Chicco Corso LE Modular Travel System has deluxe features and is easy to use. Right away, we were impressed by the tool-free assembly and thorough instruction manual, though clicking the stroller pieces together required some elbow grease. Removing the stroller’s arm bar and replacing it with the car seat adapter was a cinch, and so was sliding the car seat onto the stroller. We were able to lift the car seat into the base with just one hand (it clicked right into place), but to detach it, we needed two hands: one to press a button, and the other to lift out the seat.

The best travel systems give you the option to install the car seat into the base with a LATCH system or the car’s seat belt. This Chicco travel system has both: If you’re using the LATCH system, the base has handy clips that you slide over some hooks in the seat, then a liquid level shows you if the seat is level. To install the car seat without a base, simply use the car’s lap belt and chest belt for added security.

Above all else, this travel system stands out in the design category. The stroller’s roomy cargo space has separate compartments to hold all of your baby gear, including a diaper bag and bottles, and the clip-on cup holder was a plus. We also liked the canopy, which zips to extend or retract, and you can flip up a flap for extra airflow. The stroller is compact when folded and doesn’t take up all of the room in a trunk, and all of the parts connect and lock into place intuitively. Our only complaints about this travel system’s design are that the stroller’s bumper bar needs to be removed to attach the car seat, and the shoulder strap has to be repositioned each time you buckle your little one in. Also, the handlebar’s height is not adjustable, like the one on the Graco Modes Nest2Grow Travel System .

During our test, this stroller turned beautifully around tight corners, but we struggled to get it over the curb. Though taking the stairs caused quite a bit of noise, we think the ride would be fairly smooth for a baby. Overall, the Chicco Corso LE Modular Travel System scored highly in each category, and at $600, it’s about half the price of some other top models, like the Nuna Mixx Next + Pipa Lite RX Travel System , which retails for $1,300.

Stroller Key Specs: Weight: 18.7 pounds | Dimensions: 34.5 x 24.8 x 42.8 inches (unfolded) | Weight Limit: Up to 50 pounds

Car Seat Key Specs: Weight: 8.5 pounds (10 pounds with base attached) | Dimensions: 28 x 15.5 x 22.5 inches | Weight/Height Limit: 4 to 35 pounds / 32 inches tall | Cross-Compatibility: All Chicco strollers (no adapter needed)

Best Convertible

Graco modes nest2grow travel system.

  • Design 4.5 /5
  • Maneuverability 3.8 /5

Several configuration and conversion options

Large and easily accessible cargo space

Snack tray and parent cup holder included

Not a portable option

The Graco Modes Nest2Grow Travel System is a great purchase if you’ve got multiple little ones or are planning to expand your family. The travel system alone can be a single toddler stroller, a single infant stroller, or a double stroller for a toddler and infant with the included infant car seat. And, with the purchase of a second stroller seat , it converts into a double stroller with over 15 possible configurations.

During our test, we found the assembly to be fairly straightforward, with our only frustration being that the car seat didn’t stay in place at the lowest car seat height. Detaching the infant car seat simply required the push of a button, but attaching it was a bit trickier—we had to carefully guide the seat into the correct position. Attaching the car seat to the base, on the other hand, was super smooth: The car seat snapped right in and out. There's a very clear level indicator, so you know exactly when the car seat is positioned correctly.

Installing the car seat base into the car with the LATCH system was a breeze. After snapping in the connectors, we simply tightened the straps and checked the indicator to make sure it was level. Once in, it was super secure; so secure, in fact, that detaching the base was a tough task, requiring us to totally unhook the LATCH connectors. If you plan to be moving from car to car frequently, this might not be your best option. 

The stroller is heavy and built like a tank, which poses some challenges. While it’s simple to fold, it has a large footprint (even when folded) and requires a good bit of effort to turn when it’s fully loaded. At the same time, the stroller’s heft makes it feel incredibly sturdy and secure. There are many design features that we appreciated, including a very roomy cargo space that still had ample room after we loaded it up with a full diaper bag. It also had faux leather detailing on the handlebar, which adjusts to two different positions, making it great for caregivers of different heights. The footbrake was easy to engage and release, and the travel system came with a removable cup holder for the adult and a removable snack tray for the kid.

This travel system is at a lower price point than many of our other picks, so it’s reasonable that there are some quirks. If portability isn’t a priority, this travel system gives you a lot for your money with the many conversions to choose from.

Stroller Key Specs: Weight: 36 pounds | Dimensions: ‎43 x 26.4 x 44.5 inches (unfolded) | Weight Limit: Up to 50 pounds

Car Seat Key Specs: Weight: 7.5 pounds | Dimensions: 29 x 18.3 x 16.2 inches | Weight/Height Limit: 4 to 35 pounds / 32 inches tall | Cross-Compatibility: Any Graco car seat (no adapter needed)

Best Assembly

Evenflo shyft dualride.

  • Design 4.4 /5
  • Value 3.7 /5
  • Installation 4.3 /5

No assembly required

Can detach car seat from wheels

Padding is removable and washable

Maneuvering the car seat into the base is finicky

Must be fully installed in the base to detach carrier from wheels

When you welcome a new baby, you likely have a lot of gear to put together. The Evenflo Shyft DualRide comes assembled and ready to go—just unlatch it and pop it open—so you have one less thing to build for your baby. Similar to the Doona, the Evenflo Shyft DualRide is an all-in-one travel system that converts from a stroller to an infant car seat. 

The Shyft’s seat is higher off the ground than the Doona, which is a plus because it helps the carrier stay cleaner. On the other hand, it’s also much heavier than the Doona—the Shyft weighs nearly 13 pounds more—and trickier to maneuver into the car due to its bulkiness. (It would be a better fit for an SUV rather than our editor’s sedan.) Once you’ve hoisted it into the car, though, the Shyft clicks right into the car seat base, which can be installed via the LATCH system or the car’s seat belt. A level indicator and a loud click tell you when the seat is correctly attached to the base. To remove the carrier, all you need to do is pull a white lever on the back, and the car seat is released right away.

Unlike the Doona, you can remove the Shyft’s wheels from the carrier if desired, but oddly, you can only detach the carrier from the wheels when the system is installed in the car seat base—so, if you’re away from your car and want to remove the wheels, you can’t. However, when the wheels are docked, it’s easy to remove the car seat: Simply pull on a lever and shift the carrier forward, and it pops right out. 

The Shyft has no storage area, which is not ideal for parents needing to tote around baby gear. It does come with a detachable cup holder and a storage bag, though. Its handlebar is tall enough that caregivers can push it without hunching over—the Doona’s handlebar may be a little short for adults parents to reach comfortably—and the UPF 50+ canopy is nice and thick without feeling constrictive. The stroller is a “cakewalk” to maneuver, our editors found, and it wheeled through our obstacle course with ease. It was a little tricky to take over sand, but it’s great on turf and pavement. The straps on the no-rethread harness, however, are a total pain to adjust.

One unique design feature of the Shyft is Evenflo’s SensorSafe technology app, which alerts you (via a compatible app) if your child unexpectedly becomes unbuckled, has been in their seat too long, or is left unattended. It also tells you if the car’s temperature is too hot or cold.

Priced at $550, the Evenflo Shyft DualRide costs the same as the Doona, so it’s a matter of assessing each option’s features to determine which is the better fit for your family. Both travel systems steer nicely and cut down on the pieces of gear you have to deal with. But if the ability to detach the carrier from the wheels is important to you, only the Shyft is able to do so. And if a lightweight option is more of a priority, the Doona weighs 13 pounds less and is less bulky, making it a little easier to maneuver in and out of the car.

Key Specs: Weight: 29 pounds | Dimensions: 29 x 19 x 16 (unfolded), 18 x 18 x 31 inches (folded) | Weight/Height Limit: 3 to 35 pounds / 15.7 to 32 inches tall | Cross-Compatibility: N/A

Verywell Family / Tamara Staples

Best Installation

Britax b-free premium & b-safe gen2 flexfit plus travel system.

  • Maneuverability 4 /5

Quick assembly

Magnetic peekaboo window

No cup holder or snack tray

Struggling to install a car seat base into your car can be time-consuming (and potentially dangerous), so we love how this one from Britax is quick and simple to install. Beginning with the assembly, this travel system proved itself in our tests: All we had to do was pop in the wheels, canopy, and car seat adapter. 

During our test, we were able to attach the car seat to the stroller and car seat base with just one hand, and detaching was similarly easy, though we required a second hand to depress a lever. Where the travel system really shone was the installation, which took us under two minutes. The base quickly clicked into place thanks to the LATCH system, then we tightened it by pulling on the middle straps. Once installed, the base felt wonderfully sturdy and stable in the car.

Folding the stroller wasn’t intuitive at first, but it was simple once we figured it out, and the loop you pull to collapse serves as a handle when it’s folded. While we liked that the toddler seat reclines, adjusting it was tricky: We needed to push the slider and the straps at the same time, which took some effort. A mid-size diaper bag was a snug fit in the cargo space, though there was room for additional smaller items in the carrying bag attached to the handlebar. The canopy, which attaches to the base with a hook and loop closure, is adjustable and has a mesh peekaboo window that can be held back with the magnetic closure for viewing. 

Unlike most of our other picks, this stroller only has one front wheel, which helped us navigate curbs with ease. The stroller did struggle a bit going over sticks and was heavy to turn, though it turned smoothly overall. It’s $650, which is pricier than some of our other picks, like the Graco Modes Pramette Travel System and Baby Trend Expedition Jogger Travel System (both under $350), but we think this one’s simple installation makes it worth it.

Stroller Key Specs: Weight: 22 pounds | Dimensions: 44 x 24 x 42 inches (unfolded) | Weight Limit: Newborn to 55 pounds

Car Seat Key Specs: Weight: 11.6 pounds | Dimensions: 26.6 x 17.9 25.9 inches | Weight/Height Limit: 4 to 35 pounds / 32 inches tall | Cross-Compatibility: Select Britax models (with included adapter) and BOB Gear jogging strollers (with adapter)

Best Car Seat

Chicco bravo trio travel system.

Intuitive car seat base installation

Quick, straightforward assembly

Fold isn’t very compact

The car seat is the heart of a travel system, so a good one is a must-have. This Chicco travel system features an infant car seat that attaches to the stroller and car seat base with ease, and in our tests, we appreciated just how intuitive using each part was. 

We snapped all components together in just over five minutes, and it was also quick to attach the car seat to the stroller: After reclining the toddler seat, we clicked in the car seat to attach, then pulled on a lever to take the seat back out. The same goes for attaching the car seat to the base, but you pull on a handle to detach it. A bubble indicator helps you find the right car seat placement.

Similarly, installing the car seat base was a breeze. Since clicking in the latches and pulling the strap to secure the seat was so straightforward, we didn’t even need to refer to the instructions. Plus, the stroller folds quickly with the push of a button and a lift of the handle, which doubles as a carrying handle once it’s collapsed, making it easy to put it into the trunk or storage. It is a bit bulky when folded, though you can remove the snack tray to make it fit in smaller spaces.

This travel system’s aesthetic look is nothing special, but there are some thoughtful design features. The cushioning in the infant car seat and the toddler stroller seat is super soft, and there are conveniently located cup holders for the adult and kid. The cargo area fits a mid-sized diaper bag, though you do have to lift the seatback to access it. When we took the travel system out for a spin, it drove smoothly over most surfaces, but it did struggle to get up curbs and the left wheel felt a bit loose.

If you’re looking to make your life a little easier, consider this Chicco travel system for its simple installation and assembly.

Stroller Key Specs: Weight: 24.9 pounds | Dimensions: 35.2 x 22.8 x 42.7 inches (unfolded) | Weight Limit: Up to 50 pounds

Car Seat Key Specs: Weight: 16.5 pounds | Dimensions: 27.5 x 16.5 x 24 inches | Weight/Height Limit: 4 to 30 pounds / 30 inches tall | Cross-Compatibility: All Chicco strollers (no adapter needed)

Graco Modes Pramette Travel System

  • Assembly 3 /5

Canopy has a mesh peekaboo window

Toddler seat turns into infant pramette

Car seat pops right into the stroller

Material on the toddler seat and infant car seat is rough

You’ll get a lot for your money with this 3-in-1 Graco travel system, which functions as an infant car seat carrier, a bassinet, and a toddler stroller (with a few adjustments, the toddler seat converts into a bassinet for younger babies). 

In addition to being very versatile, this travel system also proved to be quite simple to use. It was simple to attach the infant car seat to the stroller once we located the slots, and all we had to do to detach it was push a button on the handlebar, which was doable with just one hand. The car seat also clicked into the base easily—to detach, you’ll need to reach up under the canopy to find the release button. Whether you’re a travel systems expert or a new parent, the instructions clearly illustrate how to install the car seat base via the LATCH system (a little force was required to tighten the belt) or the car’s seat belt.

The travel system’s design is user-friendly with a one-step fold, a reclining toddler seat, and a roomy cargo space that fit a diaper bag and a tote bag during our test. While the handlebar isn’t adjustable, it has a nice foam grip and an attached cup holder and phone holder. The adjustable canopy has a mesh peekaboo window for breathability and visibility. We thought the material on the toddler seat and infant car seat was a bit rough, but the car seat does have a padded backrest. If you prefer softer material, we recommend the Chicco Bravo Trio Travel System .

Even when fully loaded, this travel system maneuvered over curbs and around corners like a dream, and it glided smoothly over various terrains in our obstacle course. For a high-quality, multi-function travel system that looks pricier than it is, we think $330 is a great value.

Stroller Key Specs: Weight: 21 pounds | Dimensions: 34.7 x 25.6 x 42.5 inches (unfolded) | Weight Limit: Up to 50 pounds

Car Seat Key Specs: Weight: 17.2 pounds | Dimensions: 27.5 x 17.5 x 25.5 inches | Weight/Height Limit: 4 to 35 pounds / 32 inches tall | Cross-Compatibility: Any Graco car seat (no adapter needed)

Best Portability

Baby jogger city sights travel system.

  • Design 4 /5
  • Value 3.8 /5

Easy to attach the car seat to the stroller

Compact fold

Toddler seat can face adult

Not a lot of bells and whistles for the price

The Baby Jogger City Sights Travel System gets its name for a reason: After your little one graduates from an infant car seat to the toddler stroller seat, they can face forwards or backward to take in all of the sights. We found the travel system to be quite user-friendly: The car seat clicked right into the base and could be detached in one step, and after we located the compartment with the LATCH system clips, installing the base into the car was simple. A bubble indicator shows you when the parts are aligned. To attach the car seat to the stroller, we took out the toddler seat, slid on the two adapter pieces, then clicked on the car seat. (It can be removed with the press of a button behind the headrest.) 

We did need to watch a tutorial to figure out how to fold the stroller, but once we did, it was easy. The stroller is ultra-compact when folded, measuring just under a foot tall, so you can toss it into your trunk alongside other gear. In addition to a sleek appearance, this travel system has a vegan leather handlebar and bumper bar, an adjustable canopy, and there is plenty of padding on the seats.

The stroller performed well on most terrains—it was a little bumpy over sticks—and turned nicely. We felt confident pushing it thanks to how smoothly it glides. Though this Baby Jogger travel system doesn’t come with a ton of bells and whistles (cup holders and a snack tray are sold separately), its compact folded footprint is great for those with small trunks or limited storage space, and we loved the way it drives. It’s pricier than other options on our list, but it is more affordable than the Uppababy and Nuna travel systems , which retail for over $1,000.

Stroller Key Specs: Weight: 24.4 pounds | Dimensions: 31.4 x 23.2 x 40.5 inches (unfolded) | Weight Limit: Up to 50 pounds

Car Seat key Specs: Weight: 18 pounds | Dimensions: 28.5 x 17.3 x 26.5 inches | Weight/Height Limit: 4 to 35 pounds / 32 inches tall | Cross-Compatibility: Any Baby Jogger stroller (with adapter) and select strollers by other brands

Best Storage

Graco modes nest travel system.

Several car seat position options

Components are easy to attach/install

Very large cargo area

Loaded stroller takes effort to push

Unfolding the stroller is tricky

The Graco Modes Nest Travel System has ample storage space, which is ideal if you’re packing up for a picnic in the park or need to carry many toys and playdate supplies. The massive cargo hold can fit two or three diaper bags or backpacks, which are easy to access, plus a kid’s snack tray and parent’s cup holder are included with the kit.

Although assembly wasn’t difficult, during our test we did find it necessary to read the instructions. Switching between configurations was pretty effortless, since the car seat snapped into the stroller frame with an audible click, and it clicked right into the car seat base, too. A level on the side indicated when the seat was placed correctly, and there’s also a handy visual guide to show the best placement. To remove it from the base, we pushed a lever at the bottom of the base and pulled the car seat up and out.

The car seat felt stable when secured with the LATCH base and the seat belt, so you have two great options. We needed to consult the manual to install the LATCH system into the car, but after that, it was straightforward to clip in. Our primary critique is that the stroller was difficult to unfold—we needed to unlock the closure latch with one hand and pull the frame up with the other, which is a bit tricky to do all at once.

The Graco Modes Nest Travel System’s overall design looked more upscale than it is. The stroller’s handlebar is wrapped in grippable faux leather, and the metal frame looks and feels solid. We particularly liked that the car seat can be placed at multiple heights when attached to the stroller, and it can also be positioned closer to or farther away from the adult who’s pushing it. 

The stroller’s wheels turned well and it glided nicely over different surfaces, though we needed to exert some effort to push the fully loaded stroller. For the overall ease of use and roomy storage space, $430 is a great value for this stroller, which is available in several colorways.

Stroller Key Specs: Weight: 22 pounds | Dimensions: 38.1 x 26.8 x 41.9 inches (unfolded) | Weight Limit: Up to 50 pounds

Car Seat Key Specs: Weight: 7.5 pounds | Dimensions: 29.1 x 18.3 x 16.2 inches | Weight/Height Limit: 4 to 35 pounds / 32 inches tall | Cross-Compatibility: Any Graco car seat (no adapter needed)

Best Budget

Baby trend expedition jogger travel system.

  • Assembly 2.5 /5
  • Design 3.6 /5
  • Maneuverability 4.3 /5
  • Value 4.8 /5
  • Installation 4.8 /5

Also functions as a jogging stroller

Car seat attaches to the base easily

Standing fold

Basic design

Attaching the car seat to the stroller is tricky

For parents who are on a budget or don’t plan to use a travel system all too often, the Baby Trend Expedition Jogger Travel System is a great choice. Plus, it doubles as a jogging stroller with just one locking swivel wheel at the front. Its features are more basic than high-end options, but there’s still plenty to love about this affordable travel system.

The stroller comes mostly assembled, so we only needed to pop in the two back wheels and snap on the snack tray. The tray took some effort to attach, but it’s included with your purchase, which is a bonus. Attaching the car seat to the stroller was a bit trickier and it took several people to get it right, largely due to confusing directions and tabs that were hard to unlock. Uniquely, the car seat clicks in over the toddler tray, and though there’s a bungee cord on the side for security, this didn’t feel like the most stable option. 

However, it was a breeze to install the car seat base with the LATCH system, which slid right into place and tightened easily, as well as with a seat belt. Then, the car seat clicked right into the base. We appreciated the simplicity of the car seat: The same button attached it to the stroller and the base, and the handle was positioned just right to help you navigate it into the car. 

When it came to the stroller’s design, we found pluses and minuses. We liked its one-step, standing fold, and the two carrying handles for getting it in and out of the trunk. Other features just fell a bit flat, though. There are handy cup holders and a phone compartment, but both were a bit too small to hold a standard-sized water bottle and an iPhone 12, respectively. The rubber handle has a good grip, but we didn’t love the tire-like feeling. The canopy also didn’t adjust well—it kept coming all the way forward—and the seat material didn’t feel high-quality. However, the toddler seat can recline, which was a plus.

Even with just one front wheel, this stroller maneuvered well. We liked that you have the option to drive the stroller with the front wheel locked or unlocked, and it handled multiple terrains like a champ. It also turned pretty smoothly and had a spot to put your foot on to help you get it up a curb. While this Baby Trend car seat and stroller combo had some quirks, it proved itself when it came to value. Not only is it the most affordable option on our list, but it even gets you a jogging stroller and travel system all in one.

Stroller Key Specs: Weight: 25.5 pounds | Dimensions: ‎47 x 21 x 41 inches (unfolded) | Weight Limit: Newborn to 50 pounds

Car Seat Key Specs: Weight: 15.8 pounds | Dimensions: 16.3 x 14.7 x 26 inches | Weight/Height Limit: 4 to 30 pounds / 30 inches tall | Cross-Compatibility: Select Baby Trend models

Best Sturdy

Britax willow brook travel system.

  • Design 4.2 /5
  • Value 4.2 /5

Seat belt securing mechanism for installation

Easy to assemble

Stroller feels heavy to push

The Britax Willow Brook car seat and stroller combo is an excellent option if reliability is your top priority. The travel system includes the Britax Willow car seat, the Aspen car seat base, and the Brook baby stroller.

During testing, the sturdiness of this stroller caught our attention right from the beginning. Assembly was a breeze and everything clicked tightly into place and didn’t move, even when shaken. The process was so intuitive that we didn’t even need to read the instruction manual! All components come partially assembled; the stroller wheels, which are clearly labeled front or back, are the only pieces that need to be attached—they pop right into place on the bottom of the stroller frame with no problems. The car and stroller seats seamlessly click into the stroller frame adapters and feel very secure. Both can also be used in front- or rear-facing mode.

Installing the car seat base in the car was just as seamless, thanks to clear instructions, useful indicators, and a few helpful features. For example, the base has recline indicators and is equipped with Britax ClickTight technology, which is a mechanism that locks the seat belt into place when installing the base. During testing, we found this three-step process of opening, threading the seat belt, and closing the mechanism really straightforward, and we liked that it takes the stress out of car seat installation using a seat belt. The base can also be installed via the LATCH system; you’ll find the connectors in the compartment labeled "lower connector storage." The lower connector strap should be secured using the ClickTight system and belt guides on the base and then secured to the vehicle’s lower anchors.

When it comes to design, we love the luxurious fabrics on the Willow car seat and the Brook stroller because they feel soft to the touch and are free of flame-retardant chemicals. The car seat also has an infant insert for extra padding (which is washer and dryer-friendly) and is appropriate for babies 4 pounds and up. You’ll find multiple adjustment points on the car seat (little slits where you can thread through the harness) at the shoulders, hip, and between the legs that can be pulled for a snug or looser fit as your baby grows to the weight limit of 30 pounds. 

We also love that the Brook baby stroller comes with a parent cup holder that’s placed high (right on top of the handlebar), making your drink accessible without bending over. In addition, a snack tray fits onto the front of the stroller seat for your little one’s goodies while on the move. 

The stroller is a little heavy to maneuver. We took it on walks and around an obstacle course, making three-point turns, pushing it around tight corners and on multiple surfaces, including uneven surfaces. While we found it quite easy to pivot, it was strenuous to push it in general. It felt even heavier on surfaces like grass and astroturf, where it moved pretty slowly. Although it was a bit of an effort to push, it turned without difficulty and never felt like it would tip over, demonstrating its sturdiness once again. 

At $450, we think this travel system is a good value considering the impressive car seat features and the simplicity of assembly and installation, which reduces some of the stress of navigating a car seat. While the stroller is slightly more challenging to push around, we love the feeling of safety knowing our little one is in a secure and sturdy stroller. 

Stroller Key Specs: Weight: 22 pounds | Dimensions: 34 x 23.75 x 42 inches (unfolded) | Weight Limit: 4 to 30 pounds

Car Seat Key Specs: Weight: 8.99 pounds | Dimensions: 12 x 9.5 x 12 inches | Weight/Height Limit: 4 to 30 pounds / up to 21 inches tall | Cross-Compatibility: Britax Brook and Brook+, B-Free and B-Lively (with adapters); Bob Gear Wayfinder (with adapters); Nuna Demi Grow Peppe Next, Ivvi Totl (with adapters); UPPAbaby Ridge, Vista 2, Cruz V2 (with adapters); Maxi Cosi Zelia (with adapters); Cybex Eezy S Twist (with adapters).

How We Rated the Best Car Seat and Stroller Travel Systems

4.8 to 5 stars:  These are the best car seat and stroller travel systems we reviewed. We recommend them without reservation.

4.5 to 4.7 stars:  These best car seat and stroller travel systems are excellent—they might have minor flaws, but we still recommend them.

4.0 to 4.5 stars:  We think these are great best car seat and stroller travel systems, but others are better.

3.5 to 3.9 stars:  These best car seat and stroller travel systems are just average.

Travel Systems We Also Tested

  • Evenflo Pivot Xpand Modular Travel System : While assembling the stroller is a dream, the travel system as a whole isn't easy to use. Getting the various parts into the proper alignment is challenging, and folding the stroller is not intuitive and requires a good bit of elbow grease. 
  • Maxi-Cosi Gia XP 3-Wheel Single Travel System : This travel system doesn't have an intuitive design: Detaching the car seat from the stroller is quite difficult, even with both hands, and the car seat base requires a lot of force to move around. As such, we think the price isn’t justified.
  • Cybex Talos S Lux Stroller & Aton 2 Car Seat Travel System : Across the board, this travel system does not feel sturdy and is difficult to use, and the materials feel surprisingly low-quality for the price.
  • Baby Trend Muy Tango All-Terrain Pro Travel System : Assembling this stroller is straightforward, but after installing the car seat base with the LATCH system and attaching the car seat, the unit was concerningly shaky.
  • Safety 1st Smooth Ride Travel System : Though we like that you can attach the car seat to the stroller without removing the snack tray, this travel system falls short in the design category: The lap buckles are difficult to adjust, the cup holders are shallow and feel flimsy, and the canopy is smaller than most.
  • Peg Perego Vivace Stroller and Primo Viaggio 4-35 Lounge Car Seat : This stroller maneuvered exceptionally well and we loved how easy it was to assemble and how seamlessly the car seat attached to the stroller. However, removing the car seat was a different story—we struggled to get it off and it felt really heavy. We were also concerned by how unstable the base and car seat felt when installed using the seat belt.

How We Tested Car Seat and Stroller Travel Systems

We evaluated the best car seat and stroller combos in two stages: a controlled lab test and a long-term test in the real world. First, 11 testers evaluated 23 car seat and stroller travel systems at the Verywell Testing Lab in Des Moines, Iowa. We examined the strollers and car seats individually and then together as a travel system. 

To begin, we assembled the strollers right out of the box, noting whether the assembly was intuitive or complex and if the directions were helpful or confusing. We then assessed each stroller’s design, looking carefully at the feel of the fabric, how intuitive the buckle was to use, and whether they had certain features, such as a footrest, cup holders, an adjustable canopy, a reclining seat, and a reclining handlebar. Next, we placed a diaper bag loaded with baby essentials (the diaper bags weighed between 20 and 30 pounds) into the cargo space and took the stroller for a brisk walk around an obstacle course, navigating it over multiple terrains, around sharp corners, and through narrow spaces, before executing a three-point turn.

Then, we assessed the car seats—each car seat was rear-facing with a weight limit of 30 or 35 pounds—by buckling in a sandbag “baby.” We picked up each car seat, taking note of simplicity, maneuverability, and whether it could be carried with one hand. Next, we attached the car seats to the strollers, noting how the attachments worked, if the car seat popped in easily (or one-handed), whether the sandbag stayed in place, and if the setup felt safe.

Once attached, we adjusted the stroller’s canopy and took note of its roominess and if it provided full coverage. We then repeated the same steps we followed with the stroller, executing a three-point turn and taking it through an obstacle course and over different terrains. Next, we took the travel system up and down stairs to test for stability and then detached the car seats. For the final steps, we used real cars to test the ease of car seat base installation. After installing the bases, we attached and detached the car seats, noting if the process was intuitive, if it would have woken up a baby, and how well the car seat locked into the base.

After our lab test, editors took our top picks home to continue testing them with their own families. They've been testing these travel systems for over three months now, and we'll continue to update this article as we learn more. Additionally, we consulted with Michelle Pratt , Certified Child Passenger Technician and founder of Safe in the Seat, on safety and what to expect from a high-quality travel system.

What to Look for in Car Seat and Stroller Travel Systems

Safety features.

When shopping for a travel system or car seat stroller combo , safety is a primary concern. All car seats on the market have to meet federal car seat standards so they’re safe when used correctly. However, “that ‘when used correctly’ part is the key,” says Pratt. She recommends looking for features that help you use the car seat component correctly every time. “For some families, this means prioritizing the easiest base install. For others, it’s more important to choose a car seat that offers super-simple harness adjustments to accommodate a growing baby,” she says. 

Other safety features to look for include a UPF canopy, stroller wheel locks, a five-point harness, and an anti-rebound bar. Regardless of the features your travel system has, make sure to always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when assembling and using it.

Weight and Height Limitations

Every travel system has height and weight limitations for both the car seat and the stroller. It’s important to make sure your baby fits within these limits for their safety. Plus, keep the limits for the car seat in mind so you’ll know to transition your baby into a larger rear-facing seat when the time comes.

“Infant car seats are designed to be used from birth. This applies to travel systems too,” Pratt says. “Just make sure that the car seat and stroller manuals are both followed carefully.” Since travel systems include regular stroller seats in addition to the car seat, you’ll want to pay close attention to the requirements for that, too. “For example, some stroller seats don’t recline enough for newborns, so there may be age requirements or milestone minimums—such as sitting up—before a baby can use the stroller seat instead of riding in their car seat,” Pratt adds.

Stroller Configuration Options

Many travel systems and car seat stroller combos are designed so that your child can use the stroller as they continue to grow well past the infant car seat stage, while others, like the Doona Infant Car Seat & Latch Base , are strictly for the infant phase. Some of our picks have many conversions, like the Graco Modes Nest2Grow Travel System , which can convert into a double stroller without purchasing a second seat.

Think about what you’d like out of the product to help you narrow down your best options. If you plan to have another baby close in age, a double travel system that can fit an infant and a toddler is a useful choice.

Ease of Use

Loading your kids into the car is hard enough—no one wants to add fighting with complicated baby gear into the mix. When shopping for a travel system, you’ll want to find a stroller that’s simple to set up and break down so you can toss it in the trunk. When it comes to the car seat, you’ll need one that clicks in and out of its base or the stroller without a big fuss. After all, the point of a travel system is to make your life easier!

The type of travel system that’s most convenient for you will also vary based on your lifestyle. “City dwellers with minimal storage space or those who frequently use rideshares may want a small, compact-fold stroller that opens and closes with one hand,” says Pratt. “And suburban families will have a whole different priority list. They may want a stroller that handles a bit rougher terrain or fits in their minivan with the third row up.” Luckily, car seat and stroller combos come in a wide variety of sizes and styles, so there’s one out there that will fit your family’s needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

While there are many benefits, travel systems particularly come in handy if you travel by car with your baby often. These systems consist of a compatible infant car seat, stroller, and car seat base, so they’re designed to work together to make transporting your baby more practical. “It’s so convenient to click an infant car seat into the stroller for quick errands, doctor’s appointments, or neighborhood walks,” says Pratt. “Just be mindful of how much time a baby spends in their car seat outside of the car, and offer lots of breaks.” 

Plus, car seat safety is incredibly important, and it can be helpful to have gear that’s specifically made to go together so you can ensure you’re using the pieces correctly. Some infant car seats are also compatible with other brands’ strollers, but if you’re using different brands, make sure that the pieces are confirmed to be compatible and safe to use together.

A LATCH system—an acronym for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children—is a common way to secure a child’s car seat without using the vehicle’s seat belts. Typically, LATCH systems are found in car seat bases, and they consist of latches, hooks, and anchors that keep the car seat securely in place at the right height.

After installing a car seat base that has a LATCH system into a vehicle (which can be relatively permanent if you frequently drive the same car), you’ll need to attach the base and the car seat each time you strap your baby into the car. Thankfully, most brands make this process easy and safe, with helpful indicators and clicking sounds letting you know when the car seat is positioned correctly.

Phoebe Sklansky is Verywell Family’s Associate Commerce Editor. As a commerce writer and avid shopper herself, she enjoys helping readers find the best products for their unique needs. After personally testing more than 20 car seats and strollers in our lab and through the streets of New York City, she has become quite an expert on the subject. Her favorite strollers so far are the stylish Uppababy Vista V2 (it has tons of conversion options!) and the lightweight Bugaboo Butterfly for travel. For this article, Phoebe also spoke with Michelle Pratt, Certified Child Passenger Technician and founder of Safe in the Seat, in addition to carefully reviewing guidance from the AAP on car seat safety and stroller safety.

Additional reporting by:

Ashley Ziegler  is a full-time parenting writer, a mom to a 1- and 4-year-old, and she has personal experience in researching and using infant carriers, strollers, and travel systems. Key considerations she focused on when selecting these products include personal experience, safety features, ease of use, and user reviews.

American Academy of Pediatrics. Car Seats: Information for Families .

American Academy of Pediatrics. How to Choose a Safe Baby Stroller .

Car Seat Checkup . HealthyChildren.org

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Want a folding car seat for travel? Here are your best choices by age (2023 reviews)

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This article about folding car seats for travel is written by certified Child Passenger Safety Technician Melissa Conn and may contain affiliate links.

The car seat game is changing quickly these days. Child safety seats for use at home are getting bigger and beefier with every new generation – steel frames, massive headwings, and extremely high weight and height limits.

But on the other end, there’s a new set of folding car seats for travel that are changing how families explore the world. Gone are the days when you had no choice but to stay within the confines of the US and Europe lest you risk your child’s safety on crazy roads (there are still places like that, for the record). No, in 2023 you have options .

folding car seat for travel: young girl in foreground in Ride Safer travel vest, young boy in background sitting on Bubblebum inflatable booster seat

There are some amazing foldable car seats for travel and car seat alternatives that will take you around the world and back again without breaking a sweat. Especially once your child is a mature enough, there’s now an entire ecosystem of foldable booster seat choices for you!

In this article will share our top picks for folding travel car seats at each stage, including the advantages and disadvantages of each. You’ll also learn what to consider when you’re choosing the right portable car seat for travel with your family.

Quick picks: which folding car seat for travel is right for you?

Read more: 10 things you NEED to know before flying with your car seat

How to choose a foldable car seat for travel

What should you look for in a collapsible car seat? In reality, you don’t have nearly the same choices as you do in more “traditional” car seats.

The most important feature to look at is what stage the car seat is and how that matches up with your child’s age and size. After all, it’s not safe to put a 2 or 3 year old on a backless booster no matter how convenient! Likewise, your 6 year old who still sleeps in the car might not fit into the folding car seat with a 5 point harness option.

Since this article is all about folding car seats, portability is the name of the game! You want a car seat that folds small enough to take out for the day so that you have it when you need it. So some of the options on this list may not be the lightest in their classes, but they’re the best for putting in the overhead bin of an airplane or toting around the city.

In the picture at the beginning of this article, you can see how our family rocks folding travel car seats (and car seat alternatives). That photo was taken at the beginning of our family’s gap year – we needed to travel extremely light while keeping our kids as safe as possible. We’re fortunate to live in an era when we could make that happen!

Reviewing the best foldable travel car seat options

Doona infant car seat stroller review.

*Ideal for birth to age 1-1.5 years old

travel car seat for infant

Key stats: -Weight 16.5lbs -Rear-facing size limits: 4-35lbs, up to 32”

Pros: ✔ Integrated car seat/stroller ✔ Several installation options ✔ Car seat handle doubles as anti-rebound bar

Cons: ✘ High price ✘ Heavy ✘ Need to buy a new car seat and travel stroller when it’s outgrown

Do you want the Swiss Army knife of baby travel gear? You’ll find it in the Doona infant car seat stroller , one of the coolest baby products I’ve ever seen. In just a matter of seconds your very capable infant car seat deploys its own wheels and converts into a perfectly serviceable baby-friendly stroller! I’ve had the opportunity to play around with it in person (though it was released after our youngest was born) and I definitely let out a few “WOW”s during my test drive.

This is the perfect foldable baby car seat for families who live in or travel to big cities and need to hop in and out of taxis. You’ll never have to worry about your baby being safe on the road, but you also won’t have to wonder what to do with your car seat while you hit a museum or go into a store.

Likewise, a foldable car seat stroller is an easier solution than a two-piece travel system that has to be separated and stored in the car trunk. The Doona is even FAA-approved and you can just wheel is straight down the airplane aisle. (While this isn’t truly a “foldable” car seat for a 1 year old, it’s the closest option out there – not including the extremely unsafe unapproved knock-off contraptions you’ll find online).

So why wouldn’t every family put this foldable carseat on their baby registry ? There are three downsides to consider with the Doona, and it’s up to you how important they are.

First, it’s heavy compared to other infant car seats. The official Doona weight listing is 14lbs (some reviewers say it’s more like 16lbs). Most infant carriers weigh more like 10lbs, but of course they don’t have a whole stroller built in. If you prefer a lightweight infant car seat, you’ll find great options here .

Second, it ain’t cheap . The price tag may make it a non-starter for many families, though once you add the cost of a well-respected infant car seat and a car seat stroller frame the sticker shock might subside a little.

Third, once your baby outgrows the Doona as a car seat around 1 year old you’ll be on the hook to buy a new car seat and a new stroller. Obviously that’s a tough nut to swallow financially. But many families find that the stroller they love for the newborn and infant stage just isn’t ideal for the toddler stage and they wind up wanting a new stroller anyway. Especially if you’re focusing on lightweight, travel friendly products you’ll find that many of the best ultralight strollers aren’t ideal until at least 6-12 months anyway.

All those cons aside, the Doona really is an incredible option for families who want to travel extensively with a young baby. It’s the only collapsible car seat that rear faces to keep the littlest travelers safe!

Evenflo Shyft DualRide review

*Ideal for preemie to age 1.5 years old

Shyft DualRide with Carryall Storage Infant Car Seat and Stroller Combo

Key stats: -Weight 8-9lbs without wheels, ~19lbs with wheels -Rear-facing size limits: 3-35lbs, up to 32”

Pros: ✔ Integrated car seat/stroller ✔ Several installation options ✔ Approved down to 3lbs ✔ Option to leave the wheels in the car if you want to carry the car seat alone ✔ Tensioning panel on base for easy seatbelt installation ✔ Anti-rebound panel on base ✔ Approved in Canada

Cons: ✘ High price ✘ Requires 1.5″ between car seat and front seats if not installing in the center ✘ Can’t be used with other strollers ✘ Need to buy a new car seat and travel stroller when it’s outgrown

The Evenflo Shyft DualRide integrated infant car seat/stroller is brand new for 2023. If it looks similar to the Doona above, that’s because it is. But the Evenflo has a few nifty tricks up its sleeve that are worth mentioning.

First, the Evenflo Shyft DualRide is approved for newborns as small as 3 pounds (just like most Evenflo infant car seats). No one outside of Evenflo has gotten to test one out with such a tiny baby so we’ll need to see how the fit is for preemies in the real world – sometimes the beefy headrests of no-rethread harnesses like this one can be challenging for newborn head positioning. Hopefully the fit will be just as good as it is with this excellent preemie car seat .

On the other end, many kids can use it until 15-18 months thanks to the extended headrest. It’s a very convenient option for travel with toddlers!

Second, while the Doona always brings its wheels (and their weight) the Evenflo Shyft DualRide can leave the wheels behind on the car seat base or at home if you don’t anticipate needing them. That brings the weight of the car seat itself down to just 8-9 pounds – in line with many other car seats on the market. But it’s nice to have the flexibility to use the wheels when you want them and leave them behind when you don’t.

Third, the base has an integrated anti-rebound panel to help manage crash energy and a tensioning arm for easy seatbelt installation. You still need to lock the seatbelt when you install – always read your manual – but you don’t have to worry about putting much force into installing it.

Shyft DualRide with Carryall Storage Infant Car Seat and Stroller Combo

As with all products, the Shyft DualRide isn’t perfect. For starters, the Evenflo Shyft DualRide is not compatible with any of the company’s strollers. That’s a bummer since many parents with an older child might like the flexibility to sometimes use the car seat with the Evenflo Pivot Xpand single-to-double stroller .

Like all Evenflo car seats, the manufacturer wants 1.5″ of clearance between the car seat and the vehicle seat in front of it. Practically speaking this rules it out for some compact cars unless you will always install it in the center seat (where the rule doesn’t apply). Keep that in mind if you’re planning on installing it by the window so that you can install another car seat on the other side!

The 10lb weight of the wheel assembly is surprisingly high. Families already sometimes complain that the Doona is too heavy, and the Evenflo car seat stroller combo is even heaver; the trade-off, of course, is that if you plan to hand carry it you can leave the wheels behind… unless you’re traveling and taking a taxi followed by a lovely walk over cobblestones.

Moment of truth here: I’m also surprised by the price point of the Evenflo Shyft DualRide. There are several versions with slightly different features/accessories and they range from $500-600. Thankfully you can get a discount when you buy direct and sign up for the email list, and Evenflo runs frequent sales as well. There’s also a slightly less expensive Walmart version , which lacks the carry-all bag and leather accents.

It’s great to see more innovation in this space, and finally a competitor to the Doona. The Evenflo Shyft DualRide has a lot going for it and will definitely be a contender for car-free city dwellers and travelers alike!

Read next: Best portable car seats for a 1 year old

Wayb Pico review

*Ideal for ages 2-5

travel car seat for infant

Key stats: -Weight 8lbs -Max harness height 16.5″ -Forward-facing size limits: 22-50lbs, 30-45″, recommended 2+ years old minimum

Pros: ✔ Compact ✔ Easy to install ✔ Keeps kids harnessed ✔ FAA-approved to use on flights ✔ Can install without top tether ✔ Narrowest car seat on the market

Cons: ✘ High price ✘ Low height limit ✘ Crotch strap too short for some kids ✘ Top tether strap too short for some cars (can request an extension)

One of the coolest kid travel products we’ve seen in a loooong time is the new Wayb Pico collapsible car seat. It was hard to miss as they plastered their Indiegogo campaign all over Facebook in 2018! The promise? An ultra-light, ultra-compact folding car seat with 5-point harness. Families would be able to travel with world with this foldable toddler car seat without compromising safety.

In many ways their promise has come true. For certain families the Pico is the perfect solution to a really tough question of what to do when they need a travel 5-point harness, while for others it isn’t quite the right fit. Read our in-depth expert Wayb Pico review here .

I’ll start with the advantages: the Wayb Pico is small and easy to use. The weight is about the same as the Cosco Scenera Next, but the genius is in how small it folds up (and even packs into its own backpack!) so that you can lug it around and have it when you need it for spur-of-the-moment taxi rides.

The Wayb Pico is by far the best foldable car seat for a 3 year old if you plan on lots of international travel. Why? The concept of a folding forward-facing harnessed car seat isn’t new. They’ve actually been made for years , including the current car seat used by Uber Family . The downside of prior seats is that they required use of a top tether. Without it, the seats don’t stay upright! If you’re traveling within the US, Canada or Western Europe that’s no problem.

But if you plan to venture outside those areas you may have an extremely hard time using those car seats. We’ve encountered so many cars in South America, Morocco, Thailand and more that don’t have top tethers – rendering a fold up car seat like the IMMI Go completely useless. While you’d ideally use the top tether all the time with the Wayb Pico , at least you have the option to use it without the top tether if absolutely necessary.

Because it doesn’t require a top tether, the Wayb Pico is also the only foldable car seat for airplane use. Your kids can even fully use the tray table, unlike most forward-facing travel car seats, since it’s so low-profile.

The major disadvantage of the Wayb Pico foldable child car seat is that the 45″ upper height limit and 16.5″ harness slots aren’t high enough for some families. Many kids will outgrow it around 5-5.5 years old, though if you’re buying it at 2 or 3 years old that’s a few years of good usage (and more if you can pass it down to a younger sibling). If you’re a family that prioritizes extended rear-facing and then you want an extended forward-facing harness, this isn’t the car seat for you! But if you’ll be doing a ton of traveling with a 2 or 3 year old (like our family gap year) then the Wayb Pico fold up travel car seat is the best option to keep your kid safe without lugging a full-size model. On the small end, the Pico is approved for kids at least 1 year old – but that’s not recommended, and in some places (like California and New York) it’s not even legal.

Finally, the price tag of the Pico may be tough for some families to swallow for a portable car seat for 3 year old. Of course, some families opt to use it at home too though it doesn’t offer the same creature comforts as typical forward facing car seats.

Is the Wayb Pico right for everyone? Maybe not. But if your family is going on an extended trip or relying on lots of taxis in your daily life and a folding travel car seat is on your must-have list, give the Wayb Pico a serious look once it’s available again.

Read next: Best travel car seats for a 2 year old

Ride Safer Travel Vest review

*Ideal for ages 3.5-6

travel car seat for infant

Key stats: -Weight 2lbs -Size small: minimum age 3, fits best for 30+ lbs and 35-47″ -Size large: minimum age 4, fits best for 50+ lbs and 45-57″

Pros: ✔ Rolls up to the size of a 2L soda bottle ✔ Perfect for taxi rides ✔ Lowers seat belt to provide an appropriate fit for young children ✔ Keeps kids properly seated better than a traditional booster seat – even when sleeping ✔ Easy to fit 3-across since it’s only as wide as the child ✔ 5 year expiration

Cons: ✘ No side impact protection like a highback booster seat ✘ Takes practice to get belt fit right ✘ NOT permitted for use on planes

Several years ago the kind folks at Safe Ride 4 Kids sent us a Ride Safer Delight travel vest to review, and it hasn’t left our travel kit since. The Ride Safer travel vest (“Delight” has been dropped with the latest Ride Safer travel vest Gen 5 release) is completely different than the travel car seats above.

You could say that the Ride Safer travel vest is sort of in between a booster seat and a traditional forward-facing car seat. It relies on the car’s seat belt to handle most of the restraint, but also has an optional-but-pease-use-it-always top tether that minimizes head movement in an accident and keeps your child in the correct position even if they fall asleep (or drop a toy). While we won’t put our youngest child in a booster seat yet since she’s a car sleeper – especially when jet-lagged – we’re comfortable with her riding in the Ride Safer vest.

So comfortable, in fact, that we brought our Ride Safer vest on our year-long trip around the world! It’s seen action on six continents and served us well the whole time. Once we practiced a few times, we got very fast at putting her in the vest and getting her secured in the car. The biggest change from the Ride Safer Delight to the Gen 5 is an easier buckle in the front, so that should help many parents.

The Ride Safer Gen 5 is rated for kids beginning at 3 years old and 30lbs, but honestly we felt that the fit was better starting at 4 years old and other parents agree with us. Fortunately size small should last most kids until 6 or even 7 thanks to the adjustable shoulder strap length. Because there’s no side impact protection, it’s a good idea to put your Ride Safer in the middle seat if it has a top tether available. Read our in-depth Ride Safer review .

For families going on extended journeys like ours who just can’t take a traditional car seat or those heading somewhere like NYC or Paris, where they’ll mostly rely on public transportation but need an occasional taxi ride, the Ride Safer travel vest is a fantastic option. It is not approved for use on an airplane, so you may want to pair it with the CARES harness ( full review here ) to use on the plane.

For a more typical trip that involves flying and then renting a car for a week or two, we sometimes opt to bring our other travel car seat . But if you’re choosing between the Ride Safer travel vest or a backless booster seat, the vest is the better choice for younger kids and/or car sleepers .

While we generally think of the Ride Safer as one of the travel car seat alternatives, we also use it at home often. I keep it in my trunk at all times so that we can fit 3-across in our car for those unexpected carpools or for when Grandma comes for a visit! Since the vest is as narrow as the child in it, there’s no trouble fitting it between two big car seats in our compact SUV.

Read next: Best travel car seats for a 3 year old Best travel car seats for a 4 year old

travel car seat for infant

Key stats: -Weight 10lbs -Highback booster size limit 4yo, 40-100lbs, 40-59″ -Belt guide 14-20″

Pros: ✔ Tons of size adjustments for great fit ✔ Folds down small ✔ Legal to use everywhere except Australia (in progress) ✔ Extremely narrow ✔ 7 year expiration

Cons: ✘ Expensive if you will only use for a few years ✘ No cup holders included ✘ Bigger than some of the other travel-specific car seats

Bubblebum booster seat review

*Ideal for ages 5+

travel car seat for infant

Key stats: -Weight under 1 lbs ( really! ) -Backless booster size limit 40-100lbs, age 4+

Pros: ✔ Lightest booster seat ✔ Extremely narrow ✔ Good seatbelt fit in lots of cars

Cons: ✘ Can slide around if kids are wiggly ✘ 4 year expiration (from first use)

The best backless booster seat for travel is one with which we’re extremely familiar: the Bubblebum inflatable booster seat . We traveled full-time with this booster seat for the better part of two years. It’s my favorite folding travel booster seat!

The Bubblebum is a pretty amazing collapsible booster seat. It weighs about one pound and deflates/rolls to the size of a soda bottle. Setting it up takes just a few seconds, and there’s even a shoulder belt guide to give a great fit for kids of different sizes in all different vehicles.

Read more: My in-depth Bubblebum review

If you’re a family with a mature kid who doesn’t sleep in the car the Bubblebum gives you the paragon of portability. It’s the perfect option for taking around on days in a city when you think you might hop in a taxi to get home at night or if you’re taking lots of planes and trains for an extended trip.

The Bubblebum is so light that it may shift if your kid is very wiggly. But if your kid is very wiggly, they may not be ready for a backless booster yet. In that case, I’d go with the RideSafer travel vest for an ultra-portable option or the hifold folding booster seat . We also had an issue with one of our Bubblebums deflating after we left it inflated in a hot car for a month (oops!); we reached out to customer service and they sent us a whole new one for just the $7 shipping charge!

We started using this booster seat at 6 years old, and we think that’s about right. But it’s approved for 4 years old/40lbs and there are plenty of 5 year olds who can use it successfully, especially if your drives are short. This is a judgement call for each family and also depends on the specifics of your travels.

Read next: Best travel car seats for a 6 year old and best travel booster seat

hiccapop Uberboost booster seat review

*Ideal for ages 7+

travel car seat for infant

Key stats: -Weight 1.25 lbs -Backless booster size limit 40-110lbs and 38-62″

Pros: ✔ Extremely light and compact ✔ Very narrow ✔ More stable than other ultra-portable booster seats

Cons: ✘ Frustrating shoulder belt adjuster clip

If you like the idea of an inflatable booster seat for travel, there’s a new option to consider these days. The newish hiccapop Uberboost follows the same basic concept as the Bubblebum but with a few pros and cons.

Read more: My in-depth hiccapop Uberboos t review

The hiccapop packs down slightly smaller than the Bubblebum but inflates to offer a larger seating seating area. Score! It also has a grippy layer on the bottom to prevent it from sliding around.

The biggest downside for us is that our leggy 48″ rider needs the shoulder adjuster clip in most seating positions but finds it very uncomfortable. The clip is much bulkier than on our other travel booster seats.

If your child is 48″+ or has a longer torso, you might be able to avoid using the clip – just be sure that the shoulder belt makes nice, complete contact with the middle of the collar bone. In that case the hiccapop Uberboost is a great choice for a traveling booster seat. For a smaller child, I’d stick with the Bubblebum for now.

Graco RightGuide

travel car seat for infant

Key stats: -Weight 2 lbs -Backless booster size limit 50-120lbs, 43-60″, age 5+

Pros: ✔ Extremely light booster seat ✔ Very compact booster seat when folded ✔ Narrow option for 3-across with big kids ✔ Inconspicuous option for tweens ✔ 10 year expiration

Cons: ✘ Belt guide may not stay in place securely ✘ Incompatible with some seatbelt designs

If you have a big kid or tween who’s approaching readiness for the adult seatbelt (usually 10-12 years old) but not quite there, check out the Graco RightGuide . It’s ultra low profile and easy to throw in a backpack or clip to the outside of a carry-on suitcase. It does require that kids be at least 5 years old, 43″ and 50lbs – a weight many kids don’t achieve until they’re around 7 or even older.

The RightGuide offers a wonderful seatbelt fit even for kids at the bottom of the stated size range. It can be problematic with certain types of seatbelts, so be sure to read my Graco RightGuide review to know what you need to look out for.

travel car seat for infant

Foldable Car Seat for Travel FAQs

Yes. All car seats sold in the US have to pass the same Federal testing. The most important factors in keeping your child safe in the car are choosing an age-appropriate car seat for and using it correctly 100% of the time.

The best car seat for traveling is the one that fits your child properly and that you’ll use every time you’re in the car. Check this list to find the best choices by age.

Need more ideas? Check out the best travel car seats for every age

What’s your favorite folding car seat for travel? Tell us in the comments below!

2 thoughts on “Want a folding car seat for travel? Here are your best choices by age (2023 reviews)”

Hi! I am just trying to clarify- can the WayB Pico car seat be used on international flights that don’t adhere to FAA regulations? Has anyone done this or had a problem? Specifically I am most concerned with TAP Portugal. Do they allow? Thanks!

TAP allows a car seat for children up to 5 years old as long as it’s FAA-approved (which WAYB is) and the bottom of the seat is physically small enough (which WAYB’s is as well).

Safe travels,

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travel car seat for infant

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travel car seat for infant

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travel car seat for infant

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Britax B-Free & B-Safe Gen2 Flexfit Travel System, Vibe

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Britax B-Free & B-Safe Gen2 Flexfit Travel System, Vibe

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B-Free Gen2 FlexFit

B-Free Gen2 FlexFit+ Sport

B-Lively Gen2

Gen2 Travel System

Asher

Purchase options and add-ons

About this item.

  • Made in the USA and Imported
  • BRITAX TRAVEL SYSTEM: includes B-Free stroller (birth to 50lbs), B-Safe Gen2 FlexFit infant car seat (4-35lbs & up to 32”), car seat base & Click & Go adapters
  • COMFORT & CONVENIENCE: One-hand quick fold, XL front-access storage basket and no-flat rubber tires; expandable canopy has a peek-a-boo window with magnetic closure
  • BRITAX SAFETY: Sturdy build with a high-strength steel reinforced car seat base and SafeCell crumple zone; 2 layers of side impact protection; secure installation, with or without base
  • NO RETHREADING, EVER: Infant car seat features 6-postion, quick-adjust 5-point harness & headrest move together to create the perfect fit as your baby grows

There is a newer version of this item:

Britax Willow Brook Baby Travel System, Infant Car Seat and Stroller Combo with Aspen Base, ClickTight Technology, RightSize System and 4 Ways to Stroll, Graphite Glacier

Frequently bought together

Britax B-Free & B-Safe Gen2 Flexfit Travel System, Vibe

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From the manufacturer

B-Free & B-Safe Gen2 FlexFit Travel System

Travel System

B-free & b-safe gen2 flexfit.

Made for safety and mobility, the B-Free Travel System keeps your family moving. One-hand quick fold closes the stroller in seconds, while seven storage pockets and an extra-large storage basket make room for more gear. The B-Safe Gen2 FlexFit infant car seat fits babies from 4-35 lbs.

B-Free & B-Safe Gen2 FlexFit Travel System

Simple 3-Step Installation

B-Free & B-Safe Gen2 FlexFit Travel System

One-handed quick fold

B-Free & B-Safe Gen2 FlexFit Travel System

One-touch brake

B-Free & B-Safe Gen2 FlexFit Travel System

Travel System Includes:

B-Free Stroller, B-Safe Gen2 FlexFit infant seat and Infant Seat Base

B-Free & B-Safe Gen2 FlexFit Travel System

The ultimate Britax stroller

B-Free & B-Safe Gen2 FlexFit Travel System

Roomy seating area with soft touch fabrics

B-Free & B-Safe Gen2 FlexFit Travel System

Car Seat Base Features:

Steel-reinforced base with Britax Exclusive SafeCenter LATCH installation technology

B-Free and B-Safe Gen2 FlexFit Travel System

2 Layers of Side Impact Protection

Energy-absorbing shell & foam-lined headrest surround the head, neck, and torso

European belt guide

provides indreased stability when installing without a base

Britax Exclusive SafeCell Technology

crumples to help absorb crash energy

Extra-Large Storage Basket

front access to all your belongings

Expandable Canopy

with magnetic peek-a-boo window

Britax Travel Systems

Product description.

The perfect combination of safety and mobility, the B-Free Travel System keeps your family moving. One-hand quick fold closes the stroller in seconds, while seven storage pockets and an extra-large storage basket make room for more gear. Plus, no-flat tires and all-wheel suspension keep you riding smooth over any terrain. B-Safe Gen2 FlexFit infant car seat pairs trusted Britax safety with the best fit for baby. Made for travel flexibility, it can be easily installed with or without the base. Two layers of side impact protection surround the head, neck & torso. Its sturdy build with a high-strength steel reinforced base & SafeCell crumple zone give you peace of mind. And, the no-rethread harness moves with the headrest for easy adjustment as your baby grows.

Product information

Technical details, additional information, warranty & support, compare with similar items, videos for this product.

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Using Britax B-Safe with BOB stroller, easy off stroller into car

The Average Dad Review guy!

travel car seat for infant

Honest mom review of Britax B-Free Stroller

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travel car seat for infant

Honest Review Britax B-Free Stroller- All Terrain Tires

TISH’S FINDS

travel car seat for infant

Stroller with car seat rolls smooth and sturdy 10 out of 10

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travel car seat for infant

My favorite car seat

travel car seat for infant

Padding of a racecar drivers helmet! Great car seat for baby

Claire Cooper

travel car seat for infant

infant car seat, easy click car seat

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travel car seat for infant

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travel car seat for infant

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travel car seat for infant

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Customer reviews.

Customer Reviews, including Product Star Ratings help customers to learn more about the product and decide whether it is the right product for them.

To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average. Instead, our system considers things like how recent a review is and if the reviewer bought the item on Amazon. It also analyzed reviews to verify trustworthiness.

Customers say

Customers like the ease of use, folding, and value of the stroller. For example, they mention it's easy to control, fold, and assemble. They appreciate the sturdiness, appearance, and maneuverability. That said, opinions are mixed on the weight and size.

AI-generated from the text of customer reviews

Customers find the stroller easy to use. They mention that it's lightweight, easy to control with just one hand, and easy to install. Some say that the strollers are easy to steer.

"...sturdier and the base is made of much thicker plastic and is a lot easier to install ...." Read more

"...It was easy to fold up and SO easy to steer which I've seen some cheaper strollers have trouble with that...." Read more

"...However the clip doesn’t keep the stroller closed. It’s cumbersome to use and never stays. It will break sooner than later it seems." Read more

"...It’s so easy to use and I’m able to easily fold and unfold the stroller to get it in and out of my SUV...." Read more

Customers like the sturdiness of the stroller. They say it's well made, sturdy, and secure. Some customers also mention that the car seat is much stoutier and the base is made of thicker plastic. Overall, most are satisfied with the safety ratings and overall design of this stroller/car seat combo.

"The name talks for itself. Well built , strong materials, feels Secured. Highly recommended. Worth every pennies." Read more

"... Material is high quality heavy duty and super easy to wipe down. It almost feels crumb repellent because of the slick outer layer." Read more

"...Spent $200 more on this setup and it was worth it. The car seat is much sturdier and the base is made of much thicker plastic and is a lot easier to..." Read more

" Amazing quality ! Super easy to fold and assemble. Stroller is light weight and small to out in the trunk." Read more

Customers find the stroller very easy to fold and assemble. They also say it's light weight and easy to use.

"...The stroller has an easy pull and it folds right up . Love the pocket to carry my phone and extra poop bags!..." Read more

"...The stroller fits in a medium small trunk and folds/unfolds quickly . If you are on the fence buy this product." Read more

"...Thus when I go to pull the stroller out of my car it flips open and has caused injury to both my husband and I on different occasions...." Read more

Customers like the value of the stroller. They say it's worth the money, has a good price, and is a great product. Some mention that the strollers back wheels stick out awkwardly.

"...Well built, strong materials, feels Secured. Highly recommended. Worth every pennies ." Read more

" Great value for the money , excellent quality." Read more

"...The stroller itself is fine but the back wheels stick out awkwardly and it’s really easy to run into stuff...." Read more

"...I just carry the baby in my arms mostly this Britax system is not worth the hassle ." Read more

Customers are satisfied with the appearance of the stroller. They mention that it looks great and functions perfectly. Some customers have not yet used the strollers, but the car seat is nice.

"Haven't used the stroller yet, but the carseat is nice ...." Read more

"...We love it. The quality of Britax has not diminished, it looks great , and functions perfectly. I love the quality you get for the price." Read more

"...He will arrive the end of the month & this combo just looks awesome . The carrier is light weight & the stroller is easy to maneuver...." Read more

"lightweight, compact, durable, beautiful . i love it" Read more

Customers find the stroller easy to maneuver, move with one hand, and walk with. They also mention that it has an easy pull and folds right up.

"...The stroller has an easy pull and it folds right up. Love the pocket to carry my phone and extra poop bags!..." Read more

"...I can easily move this with one hand , the swiveling front wheel is so smooth...." Read more

"...The carrier is light weight & the stroller is easy to maneuver . So far I highly recommend." Read more

" Easy to push , easy to put together and take apart" Read more

Customers are mixed about the weight of the stroller. Some mention it's light weight, easy to use, and worth the price, while others say it'll be difficult to carry due to its weight.

"...Especially because safety is most important!The stroller is lightweight , I carry it down one flight of stairs...." Read more

"...It is a bit heavy unfortunately but the storage underneath makes it completely worth it...." Read more

"Amazing quality! Super easy to fold and assemble. Stroller is light weight and small to out in the trunk." Read more

"...She is very excited about it. It is very easy to fold, light weight and easy to use. Price was fabulous, too...." Read more

Customers are mixed about the size of the stroller. Some mention that it fits in a medium small trunk and folds/unfolds quickly, while others say that it's too small for even new born. It's strong and easy to fold, but it uses a lot of space in the trunk and there's no handlebar storage for parents.

"...Super easy to fold and assemble. Stroller is light weight and small to out in the trunk ." Read more

"We originally bought the Graco but the stroller was too big and the car seat felt cheap. Spent $200 more on this setup and it was worth it...." Read more

"lightweight, compact , durable, beautiful. i love it" Read more

"...Theres no handlebar storage for parents . The basket is impossible to put anything in. Theres no tray for toddlers...." Read more

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travel car seat for infant

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Infant Air Travel

We’re here to take you and your family wherever you need to go.  Infants or children under 2 years of age can travel on the lap of an adult for free (within the United States) or at a reduced fare (for international travel). You also may purchase a ticket and use the child’s own seat on the aircraft as long as it meets the FAA-approved child safety seat specifications or use a CARES harness. Our step-by-step guide explains how to easily add a lap-held infant (Infant-in-Arms) to your ticket yourself.

Due to FAA safety requirements, 1 adult passenger may only carry 1 lap-held infant. If an adult passenger is traveling with 2 infants, a seat must be purchased for the additional infant. Infants occupying a seat on domestic flights require a ticket and pay the applicable fare.

Pregnant Passengers

Child & infant age restrictions, infant-in-arms or child in safety seat, you will need to purchase a ticket for your child if you:.

  • Have a child that is 2 years old or older
  • Have a child that turns 2 during the trip
  • Prefer the child sit in a seat with an FAA-approved child safety seat
  • Already have a child that will be sitting in your lap, regardless of age
  • Want your child to earn miles for their SkyMiles account
  • Will be traveling between countries, regardless of whether or not the child occupies a seat

Child Safety Seat Guidelines

If you decide to use a child safety seat aboard the airplane and purchase a ticket for your child, there are a few restrictions and guidelines you'll need to follow.

The window seat is the preferred location for an approved child safety seat (child restraint system or car seat). Other locations may be acceptable provided the seat is not installed between other passengers and the aisle. An accompanying adult must sit next to the child. More than one car seat may be in use in the same row and section of seats. Per FAA regulations, children under 2 years of age are not allowed to sit in a seat equipped with an airbag seat belt.

When using a child safety seat, don’t select seats in the following areas: 

  • Aisle seats
  • Emergency exit rows
  • Bulkhead seats when the safety seat is a combination car seat and stroller
  • Flatbed seats in the Delta One ™ area of the following aircraft: Airbus A330-200 or A330-300 aircraft *

* Child Safety Seats are not permitted in this area since the airbag seat belt cannot be deactivated .

An adult (18 years or older) may hold an infant (Infant-in-Arms) or place the infant in a FAA-approved child restraint in their seat during takeoff and landing. Booster-type car seats are not permitted for use during taxi, takeoff and landing.

Delta flight attendants will check with accompanying adults to ensure that children are properly secured in their safety seats and in the aircraft seat. The accompanying adult, however, has the following responsibilities when using a child restraint during takeoff and landing:

  • Ensure that the child restraint seat meets FAA guidelines , Go to footer note
  • Ensure that the child restraint seat functions properly and is free of obvious defects
  • Secure the child according to the manufacturer's instructions
  • Ensure the child does not exceed the restraint's weight limit
  • Ensure the child restraint is secured to the aircraft seat using the aircraft seat's safety belt

All child safety seats or restraints include labeling that indicates their compliance with safety requirements. Restraints that meet the qualifications and labeling are approved for use on Delta flights.

Restraints manufactured within the U.S. after 2/25/85 with the following labels:

  • Conforms to all applicable federal motor vehicle standards
  • Is certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft

Restraints manufactured within the U.S. between 1/1/81 and 2/25/85 with the following label:

Restraints manufactured outside the U.S. with the following labels:

  • Has the approval of a foreign government
  • Was manufactured under standards of the United Nations

Restraints that are not permitted:

  • Booster seats, even if they bear labels indicating they meet U.S., UN or foreign government standards
  • Vest and harness-type child restraint devices other than the FAA approved CARES restraint device

Bassinets or SkyCots

For some of our smallest passengers on some international flights, we offer onboard baby bassinets. They’re ideal for babies weighing up to 20 lbs. (9 kg) and up to 26 inches (66 cm) long.

  • Onboard bassinets, also known as SkyCots, are available free of charge for passengers in select seats on equipped aircraft for some international flights
  • SkyCots can be requested by contacting Reservations before arriving at the airport and then speaking with the gate agent at the boarding gate, but cannot be guaranteed due to a limit of two SkyCots per aircraft and weight restrictions
  • Please note that all infants must be held during takeoff, landing and whenever the seat belt light is on

Additional Infant Travel Information

For children under the age of two, we recommend you purchase a seat on the aircraft and use an approved child safety seat. Here are some other helpful tips for traveling with your infant or toddler:

Breastfeeding

Delta fully supports a woman’s right to breastfeed on board Delta and Delta Connection aircraft and in Delta facilities. Breast pumps are allowed on board. At the airport and if you prefer, many airports do offer private lactation rooms or spaces. Ask a Delta associate if you need assistance locating one at an airport.

Booking Your Trip

When traveling with an infant or toddler, you may find it helpful to allow a little extra time between flights to take rest or bathroom breaks along the way. Our Airport maps can help you plan your layovers before you even reach the airport.

International Flights

If your travel destination requires a passport and/or travel visas, you will need a passport for your child, and possibly extra documentation. To review required documentation in each country you’re visiting or stopping over in, visit the U.S. Department of State’s Special Requirements for Children .

Infant Baggage

Review our Infant & Children's Items guidelines for specific details on carry-on items, including child restraint seats, strollers and diaper bags. During security check in, the TSA will usually make a special provision for items like medications, breast milk and baby formula. Check out the Traveling with Kids section of the TSA website for information and helpful videos about travel with infants and carry-on baggage restrictions.

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The Best Car Seat Stroller Combos

Best Car Seat Stroller Combo

Our evaluations and opinions are not influenced by our advertising relationships, but we may earn a commission from our partners’ links. This content is created independently from TIME’s editorial staff. Learn more about it.

When I was shopping for a car seat for my first child, the most important feature, aside from safety, was functionality. I wanted to make sure this car seat was not only easy to install, and to use, but that it also could easily connect to the stroller that I planned on using on the regular. That’s why I decided to go with a car seat stroller combo, also known as a travel system. This convenient and versatile solution allows parents to combine their car seat and stroller into a single integrated system they can use on the go.

What to consider when buying a car seat stroller combo

There are so many car seat stroller combos on the market today, as they’re one of the most popular options for parents looking for convenience. Here are a few pointers that can help guide you with your purchase.

Safety features

Safety will always be a top priority when it comes to buying any kind of a car seat—and stroller for that matter. You want to make sure that the car seat meets or exceeds the safety standards set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) . It should be made out of energy-absorbing foam, include side-impact protection, and have a five-point harness system.

Compatibility

The car seat and stroller you purchase need to be compatible to work. Some car seat stroller combos are sold together as a single package, including both the car seat and the stroller, while others allow you to mix and match products, sometimes even between two different brands. Just check to make sure that whatever products you purchase do, in fact, work together.

Ease of use

Installation and functionality doesn’t come easy for most parents, so try to find a car seat stroller combo that comes with easy-to-follow instructions for putting the products together and installing the car seat safely in your vehicle. Also, make sure that the stroller works on whatever terrain you intend to walk on the most, whether it’s smooth pavement or rugged trails.

Car seat stroller combos can get expensive. In fact, like cribs , they’re one of the big-ticket baby gear items you’ll purchase in preparation for your baby. While you want to ensure that your car seat stroller combo has all the bells and whistles, you can find options in your budget.

Our top picks for best car seat stroller combo:

Best car seat stroller combo installation: britax b-free premium & b-safe gen2 flexfit+ travel system.

Britax B-Free Premium & B-Safe Gen2 FlexFit+ Travel System - Clean Comfort Black

Britax B-Free Premium & B-Safe Gen2 FlexFit+ Travel System - Clean Comfort Black

Britax is well known for both their car seats and their strollers, so it’s no surprise they make a car seat stroller combo worth writing home about. The best thing about this product is how easy it is to put together and install the car seat into the car. It comes with a Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) system so the car seat clicks right into place with ease. The stroller is easy to put together and fold up. The toddler seat reclines all the way back, which comes in handy for naps on the go. The bottom is roomy—enough to fit a diaper bag at least.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 33 x 23 x 40 inches
  • Cross-compatibility: Any Britax stroller
  • Capacity limit: 55 pounds (stroller), 35 pounds (car seat)
  • Adjustable handlebar height: Yes
  • Weight: 40 pounds
  • Color: Black
  • FAA certified: N/A
  • Price on publish: $562.49

What we like:

  • Easy to assemble/function
  • Sturdy and durable
  • Recline and storage pockets

What we don’t like:

  • No cup holder
  • One front wheel

The bottom line:

If you’re okay with the fact that this stroller only has one front wheel, I think you’ll find it easy to use, install, and maneuver.

Get it here: Britax B-Free Premium & B-Safe Gen2 FlexFit+ Travel System

Best car seat stroller combo for travel: Nuna PIPA Urbn + TRVL System

Nuna PIPA Urbn + TRVL System

Nuna PIPA Urbn + TRVL System

If you’re already a fan of Nuna, you know that their products are top notch. If you’re unfamiliar with the brand, it makes some of the safest, most durable, and high-quality car seats, travel strollers , double strollers , and more. Their travel system combo is super lightweight (the car seat is just seven pounds and the stroller is just 13.6 pounds) and it’s easy to maneuver thanks to progressive front- and rear-wheel suspension technology.

  • Dimensions: 32.5 x 20.25 x 44 inches
  • Cross-compatibility: Nuna Pipa
  • Capacity limit: 50 pounds (stroller), 22 pounds (car seat)
  • Weight: 23.6 pounds
  • Color: Caviar, Lagoon, Hazelwood, Droplet Dot Taupe, Rainbow, Curated
  • FAA certified: Yes
  • Price on publish: $800 - $850 (depends on color)
  • Luxury feel
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to fold
  • GREENGUARD Gold certified
  • Can’t use with other Nuna car seats

Nuna is a luxury brand, so it comes with a hefty price tag, but reviewers note you get what you pay for: high quality and solid construction.

Get it here: Nuna PIPA Urbn + TRVL System

Best car seat stroller combo for newborn: UPPAbaby® Cruz V2 + Mesa V2 Infant Travel System

UPPAbaby® Cruz V2 + Mesa V2 Infant Travel System

UPPAbaby® Cruz V2 + Mesa V2 Infant Travel System

Despite its jaw-dropping price tag, this is one of the more popular car seat stroller combos on the market today. UPPAbaby creates quality products that are safe, intuitive for use and that come with a myriad of innovative features. This car seat clicks right onto the stroller, which also comes with a toddler seat that reclines and has a SPF 50 canopy. The storage basket underneath is on the larger side and the handlebar adjusts to your height.

  • Dimensions: 22.75 x 37.5 x 40 inches
  • Cross-compatibility: MESA Infant Car Seat
  • Capacity limit: 50 pounds (stroller), 35 pounds (car seat)
  • Weight: 35.5 pounds
  • Color: Jake, Greyson, Gregory
  • Price on publish: $1,012.13 - 1,059.98 (depends on color)
  • Easy to maneuver
  • Grows with your family
  • Not great on rough terrain

This is one of the more expensive car seat stroller combos on the market, but parents rave about all of its bells and whistles, and how easy it is to maneuver.

Get it here: UPPAbaby® Cruz V2 + Mesa V2 Infant Travel System

Best twin car seat stroller combo: Evenflo Pivot Xpand Modular Travel System

Evenflo Pivot Xpand Modular Travel System

Evenflo Pivot Xpand Modular Travel System

For the price and convenience, this car seat stroller combo is a great option, especially for parents of multiples. It offers 23 configurations to accommodate one or two riders in both forward- or rear-facing modes. You can opt to lay the toddler seat flat, which can encourage your baby to nap, and the anti-rebound bar helps absorb instability to ensure a smooth ride.

  • Dimensions: 26.5 x 39 x 39.25 inches
  • Cross-compatibility: Litemax Infant Car Seat
  • Weight: 30.9 pounds
  • Color: Ayrshire Black, Sabino Gray
  • FAA certified: No
  • Price on publish: $479.99
  • Convenient for multiples
  • Offers 23 configurations
  • Not FAA-certified
  • Can feel bulky

At a reasonable price, this car seat stroller combo offers 23 configurations to accommodate families of all sizes.

Get it here: Evenflo Pivot Xpand Modular Travel System

Best luxury car seat stroller combo: Nuna PIPA™ Rx + MIXX™ Next Stroller Travel System

Nuna PIPA™ Rx + MIXX™ Next Stroller Travel System

Nuna PIPA™ Rx + MIXX™ Next Stroller Travel System

If budget isn’t a top concern and you’re looking for a car seat stroller combo with a luxury feel, this is a great option. The Nuna PIPA™ Rx + MIXX™ Next Stroller is ultra lightweight, easy to put together, and can be used in four different modes: PIPA™ series infant car seat, bassinet , seat parent facing, or world facing. It folds with one hand and comes with a UPF 50+ canopy that’s water repellent and provides shade for your baby. These products are also both GREENGUARD Gold Certified.

  • Dimensions: 23.75 x 32.75 x 45.5 inches
  • Cross-compatibility: PIPA™ Rx seat
  • Capacity limit: 50 pounds (stroller), 32 pounds (car seat)
  • Weight: 35.9 pounds
  • Color: Droplet Dot Taupe, Caviar Black, Granite Grey
  • Price on publish: $1,200
  • One-hand recline
  • GREENGUARD Gold Certified
  • Car seat can be tricky to install with LATCH system

If it’s within your budget, this luxury car seat stroller combo comes with all the features you’re looking for and it’s a safe, efficient choice.

Get it here: Nuna PIPA™ Rx + MIXX™ Next Stroller Travel System

Best affordable car seat stroller combo: Graco Modes Pramette Travel System

Graco Modes™ Pramette Travel System Stroller, Ontario Blue

Graco Modes™ Pramette Travel System Stroller, Ontario Blue

Most single car seats cost what this car seats stroller combo costs after all is said and done. This Graco travel system offers three functional positions, including a car seat on top, a bassinet on top, and a toddler seat on top (the bassinet converts to a toddler seat for down the line). The car seat is installed using a LATCH system for ultra durability and clicks right onto the base of the stroller with ease. Unfortunately you can’t adjust the handlebar and this product is not FAA-certified.

  • Dimensions: 34.7 x 25.6 x 42.5 inches
  • Cross-compatibility: Any Graco car seat
  • Adjustable handlebar height: No
  • Weight: 38.2 pounds
  • Color: Ontario, Ellington
  • Price on publish: $299.99
  • Three configurations
  • Comes with child’s tray, cup holders, parents cup, and large canopy
  • Not as durable as others

For what you’d pay for a single car seat, you also get a stroller and a comprehensive travel system that works efficiently.

Get it here: Graco Modes Pramette Travel System

Best lightweight car seat stroller combo: Bumbleride Era + Clek Liing Travel System

Bumbleride Era + Clek Liing Travel System - Black / Pitch Black

Bumbleride Era + Clek Liing Travel System - Black / Pitch Black

This luxury car seat stroller combo is lightweight, aerodynamic and as safe as it gets. It rolls smoothly over just about any terrain, from cracked city streets to tree-root-lined sidewalks in the suburbs. It’s made from PFAS-free fabric that’s flame retardant-free and the adjustable handlebar is designed with non-toxic, all-natural cork. I love how easy this stroller is to fold up and how it can stand up straight to save room wherever you store it.

  • Dimensions: 43 x 24.5 x 40.5 inches
  • Cross-compatibility: Clek Liing infant car seat
  • Weight: 36 pounds
  • Color: Black/Pitch Black, Sand/Pitch Black, Olive/Pitch Black, Maritime/Pitch Black,
  • Price on publish: $1,278.99 - $1,358.99 (depends on color)
  • All-terrain
  • Customizable
  • Eco fabric made from 100% recycled PET

Get it here: Bumbleride Era + Clek Liing Travel System

Best car seat stroller combo for city living: Doona All-in-One Infant Car Seat/Stroller

Doona All-in-One Infant Car Seat/Stroller

Doona All-in-One Infant Car Seat/Stroller

City living is no easy feat with a baby in tow, but the Doona All-in-One Infant Car Seat/Stroller makes the process of traveling amidst the hustle and bustle so much more manageable. This single item doubles as both a stroller and a car seat—the stroller folds right up into the car seat and becomes a single unit that you fasten safely into a vehicle. It’s easy to install and easy to transfer from car seat to stroller—simply press the button atop the seat, watch the wheels swing out, and you’re ready to stroll.

  • Dimensions: 39 x 17.5 x 32.2 inches
  • Cross-compatibility: Doona Infant Car Seat
  • Capacity limit: 35 pounds
  • Weight: 16.5 pounds
  • Color: Blush Pink, Desert Green, Racing Green, Flame Red, Greyhound, Midnight Edition, Nitro Black, Racing Green, Royal Blue
  • Price on publish: $550
  • Folds into a car seat
  • Difficult to maneuver

You can’t beat this product’s offerings for city living, including its safety features and accessibility.

Get it here: Doona All-in-One Infant Car Seat/Stroller

How to maintain and clean a car seat stroller combo

Maintaining and cleaning a car seat stroller combo can help ensure its safety, durability, and longevity. Be sure to read the car seat’s manufacturer’s manual, which usually has guidance on how to clean and maintain both the seat and the stroller. Regularly inspect the items for signs of wear, damage, or loose parts, as they can become compromised over time. Be sure to promptly clean spills and stains and remove fabric covers when necessary, many of which are machine washable.

Car seat installation options

When installing a car seat, there are several options available to ensure proper and secure installation. Here are some common car seat installation options.

Seat belt installation

Perhaps the most common method, the seat belt installation involves securing the car seat using the seat belt system that exists in your vehicle. Be sure to follow the car seat manufacturer's instructions so you use the appropriate securement to attach the car seat safely to your car. Check that the seat belt is locked in place according to your vehicle's instructions, either by using a locking retractor or locking clip.

LATCH installation

Many modern vehicles and car seats are now equipped with what’s known as the LATCH system. This consists of lower anchors and tether anchors built into the vehicle. To install a car seat using the LATCH system, locate the lower anchors in the vehicle seat and attach them to the car seat's lower anchor connectors. Tighten the straps to secure the car seat in place. If your car seat has a top tether strap, attach it to the tether anchor in the vehicle and tighten it to provide additional stability.

Vehicle installation systems

Some vehicles may have built-in car seat installation systems or features designed to facilitate easier and more secure installation. These systems may include proprietary connectors, guides, or indicators that help ensure proper positioning and alignment of the car seat. Check your vehicle's owner's manual for information about any specific car seat installation systems or features available.

Professional installation services

Not sure how to install the car seat? You can always seek out assistance from a certified child passenger safety technician (CPST)—trained professionals who can provide expert guidance and assistance with car seat installation. Your local fire or police department may offer this service and many car seat manufacturers offer free or low-cost car seat inspection and installation services conducted by CPSTs.

Safety guidelines for car seat stroller combos

Safety guidelines for car seat stroller combos are essential to ensure the safe transportation of your child. When using a car seat stroller combo, follow the key safety guidelines below as recommended by Gary Kirkilas , DO, a pediatrician and spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

Choose a safe car seat stroller combo

Be sure to do your research to confirm the car seat meets or exceeds safety standards set by regulatory agencies such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the AAP. For secure installation, key features to look for include a five-point harness system, side-impact protection, and compatibility with your vehicle's LATCH system.

Install the car seat correctly

Follow the car seat manufacturer's guidelines as well as your vehicle's owner's manual to ensure proper installation of the car seat in your vehicle. Use either the seat belt or the LATCH system to secure the car seat according to the manufacturer's specifications.

Check the harness fit

Dr. Kirkilas notes that the harness should be at or below your baby’s shoulders—right around their nipple line. It should be so snug that you can’t pinch any excess material at the shoulders.

Use stroller safely

Make sure the car seat is properly attached to the stroller—this is often confirmed with a click. Follow the stroller manufacturer's instructions and avoid overloading the stroller with heavy bags or items that can cause it to tip over.

Regularly inspect equipment

Every now and then, inspect both the car seat and the stroller for loose screws, frayed straps, or other issues that may affect safety. If anything looks damaged, discontinue use and contact the manufacturer.

Follow age and weight limits

Age, weight, and height limits are in place for a reason. Transition to a different car seat or stroller when your baby outgrows the size or weight limits specified by the manufacturer.

How we selected the best car seat stroller combo

I combed through hundreds of reviews to find the best car seat stroller combos in every category. Here’s what I looked for when it came to the chosen travel systems in this story.

Top-notch features

In addition to durability, ease of use, and convenience, I also looked for car seat stroller combos that have additional features like folding mechanism, maneuverability, large storage baskets, cup holders, and adjustability. If a stroller was compatible with multiple car seats, that was a big plus.

Expert advice

I reached out to Dr. Kirkilas, who was able to provide me with expert insight about what to look for in a car seat stroller combo.

Customer reviews

In addition to speaking to real parents to find out which worked best for them, I also combed through hundreds of reviews from other parents who have purchased and used the car seat stroller combos. I paid close attention to feedback about durability, ease of use, safety, and overall satisfaction.

Checked for recalls

Before featuring any car seat stroller combo, I checked to make sure there weren’t any recent recall alerts issued by the manufacturer.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Is it better to buy a car seat and stroller combo.

If you plan to be on the go often with your baby in tow, a car seat and stroller combo might be the best option, as it allows you to seamlessly transition your child from the car to the stroller without needing to transfer them between different seats or devices. Daniel Ganjian, MD, FAAP , board certified pediatrician at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California, explains that this option is more convenient, affordable, and might offer the most flexibility.

Can you mix and match strollers and car seats?

While it is possible to mix and match strollers and car seats, compatibility among different brands and models may vary. When mixing and matching, Dr. Ganjian recommends considering several factors to ensure a safe and secure fit, namely, that the two products are compatible, that you don’t have to purchase any adapters or accessories, any safety considerations that may be at play, as well as weight and size limits.

Is a parent-facing stroller worth it?

Whether you choose a parent- or front-facing stroller is really up to personal preference. While parent-facing strollers allow for close interaction and monitoring, they may limit your child's view of the surrounding environment, which may become an issue as your child gets into the toddler years and shows interest in the world around them. Some children may prefer facing forward to explore new sights and sounds. The cons of a parent-facing stroller, according to Dr. Ganjian, are they tend to offer less legroom for baby as they grow and they may not be ideal for bigger babies.

What car seat transitions into a stroller?

The Doona is great at transforming into a stroller, according to Dr. Ganjian, who used it for his own child. “The only problem is that it is heavier than a traditional car seat so you will need to use more strength,” he says. “It is not a good option for people who have a bad back.”

Why do you need a car seat adapter for strollers?

A car seat adapter for a stroller helps securely attach a compatible car seat to the stroller’s frame, creating a travel system that easily transitions between car and stroller, notes Dr. Ganjian.

The information presented here is created independently from the TIME editorial staff. To learn more, see our About page.

Good Housekeeping

Good Housekeeping

The Best Car Seats for Kids of Every Age, Tried & Tested

Posted: May 25, 2023 | Last updated: October 13, 2023

<p><em>We updated this article in May 2023 to include the latest versions of two of our longtime favorites and add two new picks.</em></p><p>Car seat shopping — for your newborn, toddler, young child or beyond — can be a daunting task. The parenting and engineering experts at the <a href="https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/institute/about-the-institute/a19748212/good-housekeeping-institute-product-reviews/">Good Housekeeping Institute</a> have tested dozens of car seats so we can help you make the best pick no matter the age or stage of your child. As parents ourselves, we know that safety is a top concern, and car seats are absolutely necessary for keeping children safe in a vehicle. </p><p>We've evaluated <strong>25 car seats in the last six years based on safety compliance, ease of use, safety features, functionality and value. </strong>We conduct evaluations in the Lab as well as in different vehicles and then have our <a href="https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/institute/about-the-institute/a36050588/gh-institute-product-tester/">consumer testers</a> test them out in their everyday lives.</p><p>Car seats reduce the risk of death by as much as 71% when used correctly, according to <a href="https://www.safekids.org/car-seat">Safe Kids Worldwide</a>. That's why every state in the nation has <a href="https://www.ghsa.org/state-laws/issues/child%20passenger%20safety">car-seat laws</a>, particularly for kids age 5 and younger.</p><p>For parents, there's a lot to get acquainted with when it comes to car seats: when to turn from rear-facing to forward-facing (usually not before age 2), the simplicity of the LATCH system, the Herculean strength sometimes required to get a secure fit and the benefit of a removable, washable car seat cover. In general, when determining the right car seat for your family, you’ll want to factor in the ease of installation (including if it has built-in level indicators), ease of cleaning (largely based on fabric and removability) and stroller compatibility (only related to infant car seats). Of course, the most important thing of all is that the car seat actually fits well in your car and that it's installed properly. For that, we recommend you get a <a href="https://www.nhtsa.gov/equipment/car-seats-and-booster-seats#installation-help-inspection">car-seat check</a>.</p><p>After you’ve checked out our recommendations, keep scrolling to find more info on how we test car seats, what features to look for when shopping, and how to make sure you select the best fit for your child. </p>

Car seat shopping — for your newborn, toddler, young child or beyond — can be a daunting task. The parenting and engineering experts at the Good Housekeeping Institute have tested dozens of car seats so we can help you make the best pick no matter the age or stage of your child. As parents ourselves, we know that safety is a top concern, and car seats are absolutely necessary for keeping children safe in a vehicle.

We've evaluated 25 car seats in the last six years based on safety compliance, ease of use, safety features, functionality and value. We conduct evaluations in the Lab as well as in different vehicles and then have our consumer testers test them out in their everyday lives.

Car seats reduce the risk of death by as much as 71% when used correctly, according to Safe Kids Worldwide . That's why every state in the nation has car-seat laws , particularly for kids age 5 and younger.

For parents, there's a lot to get acquainted with when it comes to car seats: when to turn from rear-facing to forward-facing (usually not before age 2), the simplicity of the LATCH system, the Herculean strength sometimes required to get a secure fit and the benefit of a removable, washable car seat cover. In general, when determining the right car seat for your family, you’ll want to factor in the ease of installation (including if it has built-in level indicators), ease of cleaning (largely based on fabric and removability) and stroller compatibility (only related to infant car seats). Of course, the most important thing of all is that the car seat actually fits well in your car and that it's installed properly. For that, we recommend you get a car-seat check .

After you’ve checked out our recommendations, keep scrolling to find more info on how we test car seats, what features to look for when shopping, and how to make sure you select the best fit for your child.

<p><strong>$299.99</strong></p><p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09LKYM6MP?tag=syndication-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C10055.g.23363834%5Bsrc%7Cmsn-us">Shop Now</a></p><p>You have a lot to juggle as a caregiver to a newborn, so finding an easy-to-install car seat is critical. <strong>A unique cinch system in the KeyFit 35 base helps even small parents use the LATCH system to pull it into place so it fits nice and tight</strong>. Two bubble indicators let you know that the seat is at the correct angle.</p><p>This is designed for infants up to 32 inches tall or 35 pounds, so you can keep your child rear-facing for the first two years. It's an upgrade of a GH Institute perennial favorite, now <a href="https://www.ul.com/services/ul-greenguard-certification">Greenguard Gold-certified</a>, which means the fabric has been reviewed for low chemical emissions. An integrated anti-rebound bar provides stability in the event of an accident. The large, extendable canopy to keep the sun out of your baby's eyes during rides is an often unheralded touch that our testers appreciated. There's even a zip-down car-seat cover with a mesh panel if you want to give your baby privacy, totally shielded from lights and sights.</p><p>This car seat without the base weighs just over 10 pounds, which will start to feel like a lot as your baby grows. We suggest snapping the seat into a stroller if you plan to transport it long distances. Many <a href="https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/childrens-products/baby-stroller-reviews/g2469/best-baby-strollers/">baby strollers</a>, not just those from Chicco, are compatible with this popular car seat, often with the help of an adaptor.</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/childrens-products/g36282689/best-infant-car-seats/">9 Best Infant Car Seats</a></p>

1) KeyFit 35 Zip ClearTex

You have a lot to juggle as a caregiver to a newborn, so finding an easy-to-install car seat is critical. A unique system in the KeyFit 35 base uses LATCH connectors to pull it into place so it fits nice and tight without much force required . Two bubble indicators let you know that the seat is at the correct angle.

This is designed for infants up to 32 inches tall or 35 pounds, so you can keep your child rear-facing for the first two years. It's an upgrade of a GH Institute perennial favorite, now Greenguard Gold-certified , which means the fabric has been reviewed for low chemical emissions. An integrated anti-rebound bar provides stability in the event of an accident. The large, extendable canopy to keep the sun out of your baby's eyes during rides is an often unheralded touch that our testers appreciated. There's even a zip-down car-seat cover with a mesh panel if you want to give your baby privacy, totally shielded from lights and sights.

This car seat without the base weighs just over 10 pounds, which will start to feel like a lot as your baby grows. We suggest snapping the seat into a stroller if you plan to transport it long distances. Many baby strollers , not just those from Chicco, are compatible with this popular car seat, often with the help of an adaptor.

RELATED: The Best Infant Car Seats

<p><strong>$399.99</strong></p><p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09YTN79H7?tag=syndication-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C10055.g.23363834%5Bsrc%7Cmsn-us">Shop Now</a></p><p>As the name suggests, this is part of a new class of convertible car seats <strong>designed for a full 10 years of use</strong>. First, install it as a (giant) rear-facing infant seat. While it will be big for a young baby and it can't come out of the car and snap into a stroller — which is our favorite feature of an infant car seat — the major benefit of this car seat is that your child can stay in the safest rear-facing position all the way up to 50 pounds. "I was able to keep my son rear-facing a long time in this because he was so comfortable," says our Chief Technologist & Executive Technical Director <a href="https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/author/1470/rachel-rothman/">Rachel Rothman</a>. The seat is the heaviest on our list but it has 15 recline positions and many online reviewers report keeping their child in the One4Life rear-facing until at least age 3 or 4.</p><p>When switched to a forward-facing convertible car seat, it can hold your child in the car-seat harness up to 65 pounds. After that, you'll want to convert it to booster mode, using the seat belt to secure your child in the seat throughout the rest of their childhood. It's good as a booster up to 120 pounds.</p><p>Britax's Clicktight system is located underneath the seat pad. That's where you'll find the LATCH straps for rear-facing installation. It's also where you'll thread the vehicle's lap belt and tighten the seat securely for the forward-facing position. The fabric can be machine-washed and dried. The two cupholders are dishwasher safe. </p>

2) One4Life ClickTight All-in-One

As the name suggests, this is part of a new class of convertible car seats designed for up to 10 years of use . First, install it rear-facing for your infant. It might initially look large for a young baby and it can't come out of the car and snap into a stroller — which is our favorite feature of an infant car seat — but the major benefit of this car seat is that your child can stay in the safest rear-facing position all the way up to 50 pounds.

"I was able to keep my son rear-facing a long time in this because he was so comfortable," says our Chief Technologist & Executive Technical Director Rachel Rothman . The seat is the heaviest on our list, however it has 15 recline positions and many testers report keeping their child in the One4Life rear-facing through age 3.

When switched to a forward-facing convertible car seat, the One4Life can hold your child in the car-seat harness up to 65 pounds. After that, you'll want to convert it to booster mode, using the seat belt to secure your child in the seat throughout the rest of their childhood. It's good as a booster up to 120 pounds or when your child reaches 63 inches tall (yes, that's a little over five feet, two inches — so this can last!). There are easily accessible LATCH straps for rear-facing installation. Britax's Clicktight system is located underneath the seat pad where you'll thread the vehicle's lap belt and tighten the seat securely for the forward-facing position. The fabric can be machine-washed and dried. The two cupholders are removable and dishwasher safe.

RELATED: The Best Convertible Car Seats

<p><strong>$269.99</strong></p><p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B094CBHKB9?tag=syndication-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C10055.g.23363834%5Bsrc%7Cmsn-us">Shop Now</a></p><p>A Pria can handle a 4-pound newborn rear-facing, and then go all the way up to a 100-pound child, forward-facing in booster mode. <strong>Generous side-impact protection and a thick headrest provide comfort for naps and a feeling of security. </strong>It transitions from extended rear-facing (for a baby up to 40 pounds, which takes you well past the second birthday) to forward-facing and then to a booster, so it can be the only car seat your child needs from birth until they're ready for no seat support at all.</p><p>This seat, too, has a no-rethread harness that makes adjusting for the right fit a breeze. Little pegs on the side of the seat can hold the harness out of your way as you get your child situated, which is a nice touch. Testers also love the two integrated cupholders (you can never have too many places for a drink and a snack). </p><p>Online reviews note that, out of the box, this convertible car seat can sometimes have a strong chemical smell, so you may want to let it air out until the smell dissipates. Reviewers also note that this may fit better in an SUV than in some sedans. </p>

3) Pria All-in-One

The Pria can handle a four-pound newborn rear-facing, and then go all the way up to a 100-pound child, forward-facing in booster mode. It transitions from extended rear-facing (for a baby up to 40 pounds, which takes you well past the second birthday) to forward-facing and then to a booster.

Generous side-impact protection and a thick headrest provide comfort for naps and a feeling of security. This is also the rare car seat that comes in a bevy of pretty colors including violet, peach and jade.

A look at the online reviews shows that some parents struggle to install this over-30-inch-tall car seat and they blame its bulk. It's also got the widest base of any car seat on our list. For that reason, it may fit better in an SUV than in some sedans. However, once it's in, the no-rethread harness makes adjusting your baby in the seat a breeze. Little pegs on the side of the seat can hold the harness out of your way as you get your child situated, which is a nice touch.

<p><strong>$279.99</strong></p><p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08K2RZKZF?tag=syndication-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C2160.g.40930259%5Bsrc%7Cmsn-us">Shop Now</a></p><p>The updated design of GHI's expert-favorite car seat is even narrower than the original <a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N3MYVZM?tag=syndication-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C2160.g.40930259%5Bsrc%7Cmsn-us">Graco SlimFit</a>. An easy-to-install option at a comparatively modest price point, the SlimFit3 LX 3-in-1 is meant to take your child from birth all the way through big-kid status with convenient features such as a 10-position headrest, four-position recline, and no-rethread harness. Not only can you maximize the back-seat space with this ultra-slim (just 16.7 inches) all-in-one pick, but it does keep up with your little one from infancy to childhood. </p><p>Unlike other convertible car seats, this all-in-one model transforms from infant car seat all the way up to a booster, giving it a total weight range from five to 100 pounds. The GHI experts loved how easy it is to install, and parent testers lauded the no-rethread harness system that makes adjustments a cinch. Plus, rotating cupholders make this already-slim design even more compact, helping to save space in tight back seats. No need to worry about squeezing three kiddos in most back seats since you can fit this car seat three across in any configuration (front or rear facing).</p>

4) SlimFit3 LX

This easy-to-install, all-in-one convertible car seat is slim enough for you to fit three across in most backseats , making it popular with families who have more than two kids and parents who have compact cars.

The SlimFit3 grows with your child from infancy through childhood as it transitions from rear-facing for a baby, forward-facing for a toddler and high-back booster for a big kid. If you're fine with an infant car seat that can't be pulled out of your car and carried around, then using this from birth will save you money in the long run.

You can keep this seat rear-facing until your toddler weighs 40 pounds. The SlimFit3 features a 10-position headrest, four-position recline and no-rethread harness, making it simple to adjust for your child's comfort. But there is a downside to the slim design: "It runs narrow and it’s a bit tight for a bigger-framed kid," says GH editor Yolanda Wikiel , whose son is 4 years old. "We bought it when we had a smaller car — and a smaller kid. Also, we find that the straps get twisted and stuck a little too easily."

<p><strong>$399.99</strong></p><p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BVC238L5?tag=syndication-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C10055.g.23363834%5Bsrc%7Cmsn-us">Shop Now</a></p><p>The premium design and quality fabric of the UPPAbaby Mesa make it a standout rear-facing seat for infants up to 35 pounds. Layer in its easy-to-understand leveling guide (an indicator changes from red to green when it's flat), and our parent testers were quite happy. <strong>Our engineers lauded the no-rethread harness for easy adjusting and the noteworthy extendable canopy as standout features. </strong></p><p>New on this Mesa Max version is an anti-rebound panel and a load leg built into the base, both of which help stabilize the seat and distribute crash forces in the event of an accident. We are still running Lab and user testing on this version (here's a link to the regular <a href="https://www.amazon.com/2018-UPPAbaby-MESA-Infant-Seat/dp/B01NBMKNHV/ref=sr_1_6?th=1&tag=syndication-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C10055.g.23363834%5Bsrc%7Cmsn-us">Mesa</a>.) If for some reason you can't use the base, perhaps in a rideshare situation, this car seat can also be secured with a seat belt. The Mesa Max also features Greenguard Certified fabric. Every Mesa car seat is designed to attach directly to the <a href="https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/childrens-products/baby-stroller-reviews/g2469/best-baby-strollers/">GH Institute-recommended Uppababy Vista V2</a> stroller and to the <a href="https://www.amazon.com/UPPAbaby-Cruz-V2-Stroller-Leather/dp/B07Z6YK2CJ?th=1&tag=syndication-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C10055.g.23363834%5Bsrc%7Cmsn-us">Cruz stroller</a>. With an adaptor it can attach to other strollers as well.</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/childrens-products/g38902453/best-stroller-car-seat-combos/">9 Best Car Seat and Stroller Combos</a></p>

5) Mesa Max

The premium design and quality fabric of the UPPAbaby Mesa make it a standout rear-facing seat for infants up to 35 pounds.

Add in its easy-to-understand leveling guide (an indicator changes from red to green when it's flat) and the fact that it's very lightweight, and our parent testers were quite happy with this pick. Our engineers lauded the no-rethread harness for easy adjusting and the noteworthy extendable canopy as impressive features.

New on this Mesa Max version is an anti-rebound panel and a load leg built into the base, both of which help stabilize the seat and distribute crash forces in the event of an accident. The base is slightly larger than the regular Mesa , but we are still running Lab and user testing on the updated version. If for some reason you can't use the base, perhaps in a ride-share situation, this car seat can also be secured with a seat belt.

The Mesa Max also features Greenguard-certified fabric. Every Mesa car seat is designed to attach directly to the GH-recommended UPPAbaby Vista V2 stroller and to the UPPAbaby Cruz stroller . With an adapter, it can attach to other strollers as well.

RELATED: 9 Best Car Seat and Stroller Combos

<p><strong>$269.99</strong></p><p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0929H37YV?tag=syndication-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C10055.g.23363834%5Bsrc%7Cmsn-us">Shop Now</a></p><p>This new booster car seat, winner of one of our <a href="https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/life/travel/a42010445/family-travel-awards-2023/">2023 Family Travel Awards</a>, does not look babyish, so your older child who still needs a booster to have the seatbelts hit them at the right height should not object to this. <strong>Twelve headrest positions and sides that expand mean your big kid can find a comfortable fit.</strong> It can safely accommodate kids up to 120 pounds. You install this forward-facing using LATCH connectors, then strap your child in with the car's seatbelt.</p><p>What impressed our testers: This actually folds down for storage and travel and includes carry straps to make it easy to cart around. Families who use rideshare vehicles or are in and out of different cars like this option for a big kid. This does not become a backless booster, however; the back stays attached. If you want just a booster seat with no back, we have one of those below.</p>

6) Monterey 5iST FixSafe

This new booster car seat, a 2023 Family Travel Awards winner, does not look babyish, so your older child who still needs a booster in order to have the seat belt hit at the right height likely won't object to sitting in this.

Twelve headrest positions and sides that expand mean your big kid can find a comfortable fit. It can safely accommodate children up to 120 pounds. You install this forward-facing using LATCH connectors, then strap your child in with the car's seat belt.

What impressed our testers: This actually folds down for storage and travel and includes carry straps to make it easy to cart around. Families who use ride-share vehicles or are in and out of different cars like this option for a big kid. However, it should be noted that this does not become a backless booster; the back remains attached. If you want just a booster seat with no back, consider the Graco TurboBooster on our list.

RELATED: Best Booster Car Seats

<p><strong>$40.68</strong></p><p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09NPLX1WT?tag=syndication-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C2160.g.41819075%5Bsrc%7Cmsn-us">Shop Now</a></p><p>If you're looking for something that you can switch between cars easily, consider the LX Turbobooster. Graco's backless option offers a <strong>super portable</strong> booster seat for kids who don't need added neck and back support. At $40, it's also more affordable than highback models, and it still offers the height and seatbelt guidance your child needs to stay safe. </p><p>The <strong>machine-washable</strong> seat pad makes it easier to clean up those crumbs, and the easy-to-install cupholder is great for storing drinks and snacks. Plus, this booster has a <strong>hidden storage compartment</strong> for keeping snacks or toys safe while en route. With a front-adjust LATCH system, installation is a piece of cake. Several GHI testers noted how this made it easier for their kids to buckle themselves in. This booster is great for older kids who aren't quite ready to transition to sitting unaided in the car.</p>

7) TurboBooster LX

The LX Turbobooster is for older kids who don't require additional neck or back support but do need to be literally boosted up a few inches so the seat belt fits them correctly. It's portable, affordable and features a machine-washable seat pad so you can clean up inevitable messes. Testers loved the hidden storage compartment and easy-to-install cupholder.

Once your kid hits the age when you'll be carpooling them and their friends to different events and activities, it can be a lifesaver to have one or two of these in your trunk to be able to pull out for visiting passengers. Just know that a convertible car seat, with its five-point harness and high sides, is a safer option for kids up to about 65 pounds, so don't be in too much of a rush to change to this kind of booster seat. It is best for elementary-school kids.

<p><strong>$550.00</strong></p><p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07HML1BT5?tag=syndication-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C10055.g.23363834%5Bsrc%7Cmsn-us">Shop Now</a></p><p>It's a splurge, but with Doona's innovative approach to an infant seat, you can transition this model from a car seat to a stroller in seconds. The process is super simple and <strong>doesn’t require any extra adapters or equipment</strong>. It’s great for travel or families who use multiple cars or rideshares since you don’t have to lug around a separate stroller (or even a car-seat base, because though this comes with one, it can also be installed with just a seat belt). We like this model so much, it's our best overall pick for <a href="https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/childrens-products/g38902453/best-stroller-car-seat-combos/">car seat and stroller combos</a>.</p><p>Testers who use this rave about it during their baby's first few years. It does become obsolete, however, around or just after your child's second birthday, when they will outgrow it. At that point, you'll want a convertible or other forward-facing car seat.</p>

8) Car Seat Stroller

It's a splurge and heavier than the typical infant car seat, but the Doona is innovative because it transitions into a stroller in seconds without the need for any extra adapters or equipment .

Ideal for travel, this infant car seat means you won’t have to lug around a separate stroller. It's also great if you're a family that uses multiple cars or ride-shares, because, though this comes with a car seat base, it can also be installed with just a seat belt. We like this model so much, it's our best overall pick for car seat and stroller combos — plus, it has over 11K five-star reviews on Amazon.

Testers who use this rave about it during their baby's first year. It does become obsolete, however, around or just after your child's second birthday, when they will outgrow it, or even a bit sooner. At that point, you'll want a convertible or other forward-facing car seat.

<p><strong>$549.99</strong></p><p>Another new category that has emerged in the car seat market: convertible car seats that rotate, so you can strap your baby in with them facing the car door, then spin your baby back into a rear-facing position. This makes the <strong>load-in easier, since you can face your baby as you clip the harness buckle into place</strong>. No more leaning into the backseat and twisting yourself like a pretzel!</p><p>While testing, we loved how exceptionally comfortable the padding is on this seat, which along with the rotation helps justify the high price. But the swivel feature does not work in for the forward-facing setup, and this does not become a booster seat. There are five recline positions but tilting the seat forward and back is a little tougher with this than with other seats. Finally, due to the innovative swivel base, this seat is rather large and doesn't fit in all vehicles, so if you have a sedan, pay attention to the seat's dimensions to make sure it will fit inside.</p>

9) City Turn

Another new category that has emerged in the car seat market: convertible car seats that rotate, so you can strap your baby in with them facing the car door, then spin your baby back into a rear-facing position. This makes the load-in easier, since you can face your baby as you clip the harness buckle into place . No more leaning into the backseat and twisting yourself like a pretzel!

While testing, we loved how exceptionally comfortable the padding is on this seat, which along with the rotation helps justify the high price. But the swivel feature does not work in for the forward-facing setup, and this does not become a booster seat. There are five recline positions but tilting the seat forward and back is a little tougher with this than with other seats.

Finally, due to the innovative swivel base, this seat is rather large and doesn't fit in all vehicles, so if you have a sedan, pay attention to the seat's dimensions to make sure it will fit inside.

<p><strong>$320.99</strong></p><p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08SCN9M45?tag=syndication-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C10055.g.23363834%5Bsrc%7Cmsn-us">Shop Now</a></p><p>Another new category that has emerged in the car seat market: convertible car seats that have rotation, so you can strap your baby in with them facing the car door, then spin your baby back into a forward- or rear-facing position. This makes the <strong>load-in easier, since you can face your baby as you clip the harness buckle into place</strong>. No more leaning into the backseat and twisting yourself like a pretzel!</p><p>Like other all-in-one convertible car seats on this list, the Revolve is designed to last all through childhood: first as a rear-facing infant car seat, then a forward-facing convertible car seat and finally a belt-positioning booster for a big kid. Our testers have had a couple of caveats, however, including the fact that there's no recline on this seat in the forward-facing position.</p>

10) Revolve Convertible Car Seat

Another new category that has emerged in the car seat market: convertible car seats that have rotation, so you can strap your baby in with them facing the car door, then spin your baby back into a forward- or rear-facing position. This makes the load-in easier, since you can face your baby as you clip the harness buckle into place . No more leaning into the backseat and twisting yourself like a pretzel!

Like other all-in-one convertible car seats on this list, the Revolve is designed to last all through childhood: first as a rear-facing infant car seat, then a forward-facing convertible car seat and finally a belt-positioning booster for a big kid. Our testers have had a couple of caveats, however, including the fact that there's no recline on this seat in the forward-facing position.

<p>Our luggage evaluations are conducted in the Good Housekeeping Institute's Textiles Lab and combine proprietary test methods using specialized equipment with an obstacle course for consumers testers. Each piece of luggage is reviewed for the following factors:</p><ul><li><strong>Size and weight:</strong> The case is weighed while empty (and it doesn't always match the claimed weight in the online listing!) then we check to make sure it meets measurement restrictions for common airlines.</li><li><strong>Ease of packing:</strong> We rate how easy it is to open and close the zippers, along with accessibility and convenience of the packing compartments. </li><li><strong>Packing capacity: </strong>Using a standard load — for instance, carry-on luggage gets clothing, accessories and toiletries for a three-day, two-night trip — we score the cases based on how much they are able to hold.</li><li><strong>Extra features:</strong> We inspect whether there are any additional components that make the luggage noteworthy, such as handles on the side that make it easy to lower and lift, whether it has built-in locks, if the telescopic handle has multiple height options and more.</li><li><strong>Drop test:</strong> Our specialized machine drops luggage from a three-foot height and analysts check for signs of damage. The luggage is filled with a standard weight and repeatedly dropped from different angles to mimic real use.</li><li><strong>Abrasion and scratch tests:</strong> To check the durability of the outer surface, we perform scratch tests on hardside luggage and abrasion tests on softside luggage using lab equipment.</li><li><strong>Water resistance: </strong>Using blotting paper on the inside of the zipper, we pour on water and measure how much seeps through to the inside.</li><li><strong>Consumer tests:</strong> After filling each case with a standard weight and setting up an obstacle course that requires lifting and rolling around cones, in and out of doorways, over different surfaces and more, our reviewers provide feedback on aspects like ease of use, sturdiness, wheel performance and maneuverability. They also share their feedback on appearance and overall satisfaction.</li></ul>

11) How we test car seats

When the parenting and engineering experts at the Good Housekeeping Institute assess car seats, we review safety compliance, ease of use and features for the car seats as well as how responsive the company's customer service is.

We test out the car seats in vehicles of varying sizes and with consumer testers who have children at every age and stage so we can get real-life feedback. In the past six years, we've tested 25 car seats.

Ease of use if a huge factor, so we evaluate how easy it is to perform each of the following actions with each car seat:

  • Installing the car seat
  • Adjusting the angle of the car seat
  • Adjusting harness height
  • Adjusting harness tension
  • Securing a child in the car seat
  • Removing seat from base (for infant car seats)
  • Removing car seat cover
  • Cleaning the car seat
  • Following the instruction manual

<p>The GH Beauty Lab regularly tests the lastest body and <a href="https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/beauty-products/reviews/g2487/best-sunscreen-for-face-reviews/">face sunscreen</a> formulas on the market. In the most recent sunscreen test,<strong> Beauty Lab scientists analyzed 62 new body sunscreens and polled 1,139 people on their sunscreen habits </strong>to inform the testing.After narrowing the field to the top 29 sunscreens, GH Beauty Lab Director <a href="https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/author/12432/birnur-aral-ph-d/">Birnur Aral, Ph.D.</a> and chemists <a href="https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/author/1473/sabina-wizemann/">Sabina Wizemann</a> and <a href="https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/author/12466/danusia-wnek/">Danusia Wnek</a> enlisted the help of consumer testers across demographics and races to evaluate the products. Each tester used a label-masked product at least twice over the course of one week, then reported their feedback on factors such as ease of use, scent, texture, look and feel on skin and sun protection ability. </p>

12) What type of car seat is right for your child?

Infant car seats: As the name implies, these are car seats specifically designed for use from birth, and this is often the kind of car seat families drive a newborn home from the hospital in. Infant car seats can only be used rear-facing, which is the safer position for babies until the second birthday.

  • Infant car seats are designed specifically around the needs of an infant with extra support for their neck, head and spinal cord.
  • You can easily remove an infant car seat from your car, taking it off its base (which stays in the car) and carrying your baby in the seat for easy transitions in and out of your vehicle.
  • Infant car seats are often compatible with strollers and can clip right on a stroller seat or a stroller frame. This allows you to use some lightweight strollers from birth. Car seats and strollers sold together are called a travel system . If you'd like a stroller from one brand and an infant car seat from another, they can usually work together when you buy a separate adapter.
  • Height and weight limits vary by brand and model, but usually, the weight limit maxes out at 30 or 35 pounds. Whenever your child hits either the height or the weight limit (usually after the second birthday), you have to stop using your infant car seat and move to a convertible car seat.
  • If you have more than one car, you can buy an extra base for your infant car seat. Each base stays installed in a car so you can readily click the car seat in and out.

Convertible car seats: These are designed to convert from rear-facing to forward-facing. They're meant for use from birth through the toddler years and beyond. Many families start with an infant car seat and move to a convertible car seat for their toddler.

  • Infants can often use a convertible car seat. If you want to start with one of these from birth, check the age grading first. Many convertible car seats have additional inserts that can be used for the comfort and safety of smaller children.
  • The downside is you can't click a convertible car seat out of your car and carry it — there's not a base or a carry handle. In addition, no convertible car seat can fit onto a stroller. Installation takes a bit more time, so it's not practical to frequently move a convertible car seat between different cars.
  • Increasingly, many convertible car seats have the option to convert further into booster seats, meaning you could get a full 10 years of use out of one of these.

Booster car seats: These literally boost a big kid up so that the adult seat belt will hit across the center of the child's shoulder and chest correctly.

  • A high-back booster includes a backrest, which is helpful for small children, and sometimes side wings that give kids a place to rest their head when they want to sleep.
  • A backless booster is just a little seat and nothing else. For children who weigh over 100 pounds who might be embarrassed by the babyish look and feel of a high-back booster, these portable seats keep them correctly positioned with their tween dignity intact. Read all the rules for having a child of any age safely buckled in, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

13) What to look for when shopping for a car seat

✔️ Weight and height limits: Make sure you get a seat that fits your child’s weight and height. Car seats are limited by both. The specs should be specified on the packaging or in the car-seat description online. Many convertible seats have multiple configurations for your growing child. Whenever your child hits the maximum for either height or weight, it's time to move to the next.

✔️ Return policy: Some car seats may fit better in certain cars than others depending on the size of the car seat, the size of the car, the angle of the vehicle seat and the type of vehicle seat belt. There is no way of knowing which car seat will fit and install easily in which vehicle just by looking at it, so make sure you can test out the fit and installation in the vehicle you plan on driving. Every car seat will fit every vehicle differently.

✔️ NHTSA: Use the NHTSA guide (see below) to help you identify the appropriate car seat. It will help you narrow down to the best position (rear- or front-facing) and type (infant, convertible car seat or booster). You input your child's date of birth, height and weight and it will produce a list of appropriate car seats, along with their agency's ease-of-use ratings.

<p>This is an example of an NHTSA search for a 3-year-old that's three feet tall and 33 pounds. The blue bar indicates that they recommend a forward-facing car seat with a built-in safety harness, which often means purchasing a convertible car seat.</p>

14) NHTSA car seat guide

This is an example of an NHTSA search for a 3-year-old that's three feet tall and 33 pounds. The blue bar indicates that they recommend a forward-facing car seat with a built-in safety harness, which often means purchasing a convertible car seat.

15) Do's and don'ts for car seats

  • Pay close attention to the instruction manual when installing the car seat for the first time. Correct installation is essential for your child’s safety. Fortunately, many seats also have visual instructions on the product itself to help guide you, and increasingly brands have installation videos available on YouTube. Most also list a phone number that you can call to get help from a human who can walk you through the installation steps.
  • Register your car seat with the manufacturer to get updates about recalls. You can also sign up on the NHTSA recall alerts page.
  • After tightening your infant seat, double-check that the level indicator is in the correct zone. Install your seat on level ground (which might mean driving your car to a flat parking spot if your driveway is on a slope) to ensure the leveling aids are working properly.
  • Get your car seat inspected for proper installation. Check NHTSA.gov for more details on finding a pro in your area.
  • Adhere to state laws for appropriate restraint for your child.
  • Look for the FMVSS 213 (Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards) designation on your car seat. These are minimum safety requirements for child restraint systems including car seats for children who weigh up to 80 pounds. Seats with this designation have conditions to meet for crashworthiness, flammability and buckle and release pressure, among other things.
  • Use a car seat that is past the manufacturer’s expiration date (printed on the car seat) or one that has been in anything more than a minor fender-bender. Once the protective elements have done their job in a collision, they do not snap back into place; you will need a new car seat. For this reason we also recommend buying a new car seat unless you know a car seat's previous owner well and can trust that it hasn't been compromised.
  • Fasten children in car seats while they're wearing bulky garments like a puffy winter coat. The clothing can compress in a crash and the child may be able to come loose from the restraint. While grandparents may roll their eyes at you leaving the house with your toddler dressed in regular clothes and their coat packed separately, all car seat manufacturers recommend not restraining a child wearing bulky clothing . The best way to keep your child safe and warm is to secure them in the harness with normal clothing and then lay a blanket or jacket over them so it does not interfere with the harness.

16) Know the car seat lingo

  • Five-point restraint system : All infant seats use a five-point harness system, which consists of a crotch strap with harness buckle, chest clip and harness strap. Buckle your child in every time. You tighten the harness by pulling the strap located at the base of the seat.
  • LATCH: Most car seats can be secured either with a seat belt or with included LATCH connectors. LATCH stands for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children and is a required standard on car seats and cars made from September 2002 on. LATCH’s lower anchors attach to brackets often located between the bottom and the back of the car's seat cushion. The top tether anchor location varies from vehicle to vehicle, though it's traditionally located behind the seat you're trying to anchor.
  • Base and recline : Most infant car seats have a base that helps you with installation and makes it easy to adjust your infant to the proper reclined angle, which is important for their safety since infants do not have strong neck control. If you start with a convertible car seat from birth, it's vital that it is installed rear-facing and at a properly reclined angle for a newborn. Levels or reference lines are designed to help the installer get the proper angle, and again, many brands post installation videos on YouTube so you can check their images against your own work.

17) Why trust Good Housekeeping?

The Good Housekeeping Institute is a go-to resource for parents and their product needs, as its team of engineers and product experts (many parents themselves!) thoroughly evaluate everything from car seats to strollers, toys and more.

GH's lead engineer and head of testing, Rachel Rothman , has been evaluating juvenile products for more than 15 years using her product knowledge as a mechanical engineer, coupled with her real-life experience as a mother of three kids age 6 and younger. She also oversees the auto testing for the Best Family Car Awards , which means she gets to marry her two areas of expertise when car seats enter the testing calendar. The majority of the picks included in this round-up have been tested by her and used for continued long-term testing with her family (among other testers).

This article was written by contributing writer Jessica Hartshorn , a veteran of Parents magazine who has reported on the car-seat market for more than 20 years.

18) More kid-safety product buying guides

For car seats:

  • Infant car seats
  • Convertible car seats
  • Booster car seats
  • Car seat and stroller combinations

For strollers:

  • B est strollers
  • Lightweight strollers
  • Double strollers
  • Jogging strollers
  • Travel strollers

For other baby necessities:

  • Baby humidifiers
  • Convertible cribs
  • Crib mattresses
  • High chairs

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Best car seats 2024: the safest child seats for newborns and toddlers

Looking to buy a new child car seat we’ve tested and rated 11 leading examples to help you find the best one for your needs....

Child car seats rated

Navigating the world of child car seats, with all its jargon and advertising spiel, can be confusing. A child seat can also be a big expense, and it’s one of the most vital pieces of safety equipment you’ll buy for your child, so it’s important to make an informed choice.

Once you've chosen the best family car for you, you'll need to know how to choose the best child seat - and how to fit it. We explain all.

But if you're looking for a quick ready reckoner:

  • Best seats for children aged up to four - Joie i-Spin 360
  • Best seats for children aged up to seven - BeSafe Stretch B

Best seats for children aged up to 12 - Cybex Solution S2 i-Fix 

You can read the full verdict, plus our scores below.

How to choose a child car seat

When choosing the best child car seat, the first thing to check is that a seat complies with the latest R129 safety regulations rather than the older R44 certification. R129 seats are put through more rigorous testing than R44 seats. In addition to the front and rear collisions that are required for R44, R129 seats undergo a side impact collision, and the crash test dummy has 32 sensors, compared with just three before, so more information can be gathered about potential injuries.

R129 also states that seats should be sold with information on the height of the children they’re suitable for, instead of their weight or age. This is intended to help parents know when to switch to a larger seat. They must also keep children facing rearwards up to the age of 15 months, whereas R44 stipulated that this was required only up to nine months.

child car seats rated

R129 seats can be secured either with a car’s seatbelt or Isofix mounts, and so can the latest i-Size seats – an enhancement of R129 that stipulates a maximum size for the seat, ensuring it will fit in any i-Size-approved car.

To help you find the best child seat for your needs, we’ve tested and rated 11 examples in four age brackets, using a Volvo XC90   7-seat SUV . Although you can still buy R44 seats right now, we haven’t included them in our tests, because they won’t be available after September 2024.

How we test child car seats

To create an overall rating for each child seat, we considered four key areas: ease of use, practicality, value for money and safety, giving a rating for a number of aspects within each category.

child car seats rated

Four factors were considered for ease of use: how easy the seat (and base if there is one) is to install; how easily a child can be installed in the seat; how clear the instructions are on the seat and online, and whether there’s an easily accessible fitting video; and whether there’s a printed or online car compatibility list that is simple to use.

To find out how easy seats are to install, we fitted each one into the rear of a large car (a Volvo XC90) and a small hatchback (a Ford Fiesta) and we sat a 5ft 8in tall adult comfortably in the front. For fitting instructions, our starting point was to try to use a QR code or other information on the seat to get either to an app or website; this is the best scenario because it means parents can check how to fit a seat when they're outside with their car. If we couldn't find a link to an app, we went on the seat maker's website, and searched for fitting instructions there. 

Practicality encompassed five areas: how heavy the seat is; how much space it takes up in the car; how well padded it is; whether the child sits in a good position; and whether the seat cover and any other elements are easy to remove and wash. To assess how much space the seat takes in a car, all seats were fitted into the rear of our two test vehicles. When testing the position of the child, we used a lifelike dummy as well as real children, as this gave us more time to assess each seat. 

To assess value for money, we looked at the cost of the seat (and base where one is needed), and how long it can be used for, calculating a monthly cost for each seat.

Child car seats rated

Our safety ratings are based on the crash performance of each seat in German ADAC tests , because these are carried out at higher speeds than the R129 (i-Size) certification tests and measure both frontal and side-impact collisions in a real car instead of a test sled.

While we’ve taken into account 100% of the scores for ease of use and practicality when calculating the overall scores, we’ve put more emphasis on safety and less on value for money. So, the scores for safety have been boosted by 25% in the overall rating, and the value for money ratings account for 25% less. 

The products or services referenced in this story have been reviewed independently by our experts. When you click on links to various merchants on this site and make a purchase, this can result in this site earning a commission. Affiliate programs and affiliations include, but are not limited to, the eBay Partner Network. However, this will never influence our opinion or ratings.

The 2024 What Car? Reliability Survey is live, tell us about your car now

Best infant carriers

1. Silver Cross Dream i-Size with Isofix base

Child car seats rated Silver Cross Dream

Suitable for children from 40-85cm tall 

The seat and base of this rear-facing infant carrier are light and compact, and the natural bamboo seat fabric is soft and breathable.

There is a QR code on the seat to allow quick access to a five-step installation video with voiceover on the Silver Cross app, which is is clear and easy to understand. You can also access the QR code on the website, but the videos on the site itself have no captions or voiceover and aren't that helpful. 

Fitting the base into a car using Isofix mounts is simple, and the seat clicks easily into place on top of it. The five-point harness has five positions for adjustment as the baby grows; these can be fiddly to set. The straps don’t adjust all that smoothly, either, while the studs on the seat cover are stiff to undo. The newborn insert’s foam pads can be removed for washing.

Because this seat can be used only from birth to around 18 months, it doesn’t score well for value for money, costing £24 per month. It’s versatile, though, because it can be used without the Isofix base and secured via a seatbelt instead. Its ADAC crash test score is the best for an infant carrier. 

2. Joie Calmi and i-Base Encore

Child car seats rated: Joie Calmi

Price £390  Suitable for children from 40-70cm tall 

The Calmi is a modern take on the traditional carrycot. It fits sideways across the rear seats and enables an infant to lie flat – the best posture for breathing and sleeping.

The cot clicks onto an Isofix base, so it’s stable and secure in the car. The base and seat are easy to install, and buckling the child in is easy. Although the QR code on the seat doesn’t take you to fitting instructions, the video on the Joie website is clear and tells you in text form how to fit the base and cot.

The Calmi can be slotted onto the base in one direction only on each side of the car, so the baby’s head is always in the centre of the car – a safer position than next to a door. While this seat doesn’t match the best in its class for crash safety, it is still rated as good.

It’s rated highly for practicality, not only thanks to its ideal seating position but also because it’s extremely light (weighing just 3.6kg). However, it has the lowest score for value, because it can be used only for infants from birth to 12 months old, so it works out at a costly £33 per month.

That said, if you buy a larger Joie car seat afterwards, you will save money, because you can use the same base with child seats for toddlers and older children. The carrier can also be fitted onto a Joie pushchair as part of the Calmi travel system.   

Best seats for children aged up to four

1. Joie i-Spin 360

Child car seats rated: Joie i-Spin 360

Suitable for children from 40-105cm tall 

As the name suggests, the i-Spin has a rotating function that lets parents twist the seat around to face them when they’re buckling in a child. It can be rotated with one hand and can’t be locked into the sideways position, so there’s no chance of it being misused. There’s also a sliding lock on the front that can be set to ensure that the seat can only be fitted facing rearwards for children up to 15 months old.

The seat covers are made from recycled materials. They have good padding and a washable infant insert with sizing information on it. The seating position is good for both babies and older children.

Fitting is simply a case of attaching the Isofix mounts and positioning the foot. There’s an indicator on the top of the foot that tells you when the Isofix points are inserted correctly. A QR code on the seat takes you to a comprehensive fitting video, but the online car compatibility list isn’t that easy to read.

Although the i-Spin doesn’t score quite as well as the Maxi Cosi Mica Pro Eco for ease of use, it gains a higher rating for practicality. And while both seats are rated as good by ADAC for crash protection, the i-Spin offers more protection in a side-on crash, with a very low risk of injury to a child. 

2. Maxi Cosi Mica Pro Eco 

Child car seats rated: Maxi Cosi Mica Pro Eco

Suitable for children from 40-105cm tall

The Mica Pro Eco is one of the easiest seats in our test to use. It can be rotated through 360 degrees or reclined using just one hand. In addition, its harness straps glide smoothly when they’re being adjusted, and its shoulder pads are attached to the body of the seat, so they don’t move when the straps are adjusted.

The seat covers are made from 100% recycled fabric. The seat has plenty of padding and a soft, thick newborn insert.

The fitting instructions on the seat and online are good. Installation is easy using the car’s Isofix mounting points, and an indicator on the bottom of the stability foot turns green when it’s positioned correctly.

In terms of value for money, the Mica Pro Eco is reasonably affordable to buy and, like the Joie i-Spin, works out at £6 per month. It can be used facing rearwards for infants and then forwards for older children, but it takes up a lot of space in rear-facing mode.

Nor is its safety rating as good as the other seat in this group, because it doesn’t provide as much protection in a side impact. ADAC says the risk of injury to a child in a side-on crash is low (rather than very low for the Joie i-Spin). As with the i-Spin, the risk of injury in a frontal impact is low, too. 

Best seats for children aged up to seven

1. BeSafe Stretch B

Child car seats rated Besafe Stretch

Price £539  Suitable for children from 40-125cm tall 

The Stretch B is a seatbelt-secured seat that keeps children facing rearwards from birth to the age of seven. It’s our top scorer in this group mainly thanks to its exceptional performance in safety tests; ADAC says it presents a very low risk of injury to a child in a front or side impact, and it has passed the stringent Swedish Plus Test.

This seat scores strongly for practicality, too. It has five reclining positions, enabling babies to lie almost flat and older children to sit more upright. There’s a bar at the foot of the seat that extends by up to 26cm to provide more leg space as youngsters grow. There are comprehensive fitting instructions on the seat (via a QR code) and on a laminated paper guide. 

The Stretch B is fiddlier to install than Isofix-mounted seats such as the Cybex Anoris T, though, requiring you to fit two floor-mounted tethers and a stability foot after securing it with a seatbelt. The tethers have a tensioner to help you get a sturdy installation, and the foot sounds a warning if it’s not touching the floor, so you won’t forget to fit it. While it’s not the cheapest to buy, the Stretch is still good value for money, working out at £7 a month. 

2. Cybex Anoris T i-Size 

Child car seats rated Cybex Anoris

Suitable for children from 76-115cm tall 

The Cybex Anoris is the world’s first child seat with a full-body airbag built into the impact shield, which is a thick band that also acts as a restraint for the child, meaning there’s no need for a five-point harness. The airbag inflates in milliseconds and distributes the force of the impact, reducing neck strain, making it up to 50% safer than other forward-facing child seats. It gained the same exceptionally high ADAC score as the rear-facing BeSafe Stretch, offering very good protection in front and side crashes.

This is the best seat in this group for ease of use, being a doddle to install using the Isofix fittings and stability foot. There’s an electronic indicator on the top of the foot with an image of the seat and lights that turn green when each element has been fitted correctly. The fitting instructions are on Cybex’s website and include a good video (with captions) that is easy to follow.

At 12kg, the Anoris isn’t the lightest of seats, and it can’t be reclined as much as others here, so it doesn’t put younger children in the best position. It also loses marks for value, because it’s fairly expensive to buy (with a monthly cost of £9) and is suitable only for children from 15 months to six years old. 

3. Axkid One+2

Child car seats rated Axkid One

Price £625  Suitable for children from 40-125cm tall 

The One+ 2 is an extended rearward-facing seat that can be used up to the age of seven. It’s the first rearward-facing i-Size seat suitable for children up to this age, its Isofix fittings make it easier to install than seatbelt-secured alternatives.

Fitting instructions aren’t as good as what some rival brands provide – there’s no QR code to let you watch an installation video – but numbered stickers dotted around the seat guide you through the correct procedure. There’s no car compatibility list in the printed user manual and the online checker is hard to navigate.

The infant insert comes with printed information on the size of the child it should be used with, and the seat recline feature is a button you twist – great for getting a precise seat angle.

While the One+ 2 takes up quite a lot of space, it can be slid forward by up to 30cm to allow better access, if your car has enough room. It's the priciest of all our seats to buy but can be used for a full seven years, so it’s still reasonable value for money, at £7 a month.

As for safety, the One+ 2 has passed the Swedish Plus Test, but it didn’t do as well in the ADAC test as its BeSafe Stretch and Cybex Anoris T rivals, being rated as good rather than very good. 

4. Avionaut Sky 2.0

Child car seats rated Avionaut Sky

Suitable for children from 40-125cm tall 

This rear-facing Polish seat is suitable for use from birth to around seven years old. If used for the full term, the Avionaut Sky 2.0 represents great value for money (just £4.50 per month), but so-so scores for ease of use and safety mean it’s at the tail end of this group overall.

Although it has passed the Swedish Plus Test, it is rated as only good for safety by ADAC, being criticised for its “slightly unfavourable” seatbelt routing.

The Sky 2.0 comes with an infant insert and a wedge for smaller babies. There’s decent padding for younger children, but the pads don’t have removable covers, and the main cover is fiddly to unzip for removal. There’s no bar for children to put their feet on, and the seat should be fitted with it touching the car’s rear seatback, so taller kids might have to sit cross-legged.

At 6.6kg, the Sky is one of the lighter seats of its type. Installing it can be fiddly, though; after securing it with a seatbelt, you have to attach and tension two straps and fit a stability foot. Indicators on the foot turn green when it’s installed correctly.

Fitting instructions on the seat are minimal, but the user manual and website provide comprehensive information, including a captioned video. 

Best seats for children aged up to 12

1. Cybex Solution S2 i-Fix 

Child car seats rated Cybex Solution

Suitable for children from 100-150cm tall 

This high-back booster seat can be used for children from three and a half years old up to the age of 12. Although the seat doesn’t recline, it has a tilting headrest that can be angled to prevent a child’s head from tipping forward when they’re asleep. It also has 12 height settings and can be adjusted with one hand. Its safety rating is very good, too.

Fitting the Cybex Solution S2 is simply a case of slotting the Isofix fittings into place and using the car’s seatbelt to secure the child. The seatbelt routing is clearly marked on the seat, and fitting instructions are in a book stored in the seat and online. The fitting video is clear and has captions, while the Cybex website has a good car compatibility checker.

At 6.2kg, the Solution S2 is light enough that it can be swapped between cars easily. It’s fairly compact, but the headrest can potentially clash with that of your car’s seat in its higher settings. The seat is well padded yet fairly wide and roomy, so it might not suit slim children. The covers can be removed and washed.

The Solution S2 is the best value for money of all the seats we tested; use it for eight and a half years and it will cost you just £1.45 per month. 

2. Maxi Cosi Titan Pro i-Size 

Child car seats rated: Maxi Cosi Titan

Suitable for children from 76-150cm tall 

This multi-age, forward-facing seat accommodates children all the way from 15 months to 12 years old, making it a very cost-effective option, working out at just £2 a month.

Fitting involves slotting the Isofix points into place and securing a top tether – a task that can be fiddly if there’s a headrest to negotiate. The instructions are good and can be found on the seat, via a QR code or on the brand’s website.

The seat offers good head and neck protection, but it isn’t as well padded as those specifically for younger children. The harness – which is employed up to age four, with older children using the car’s seatbelt – slides easily for adjustment and the shoulder pads have two useful features: they stay in place next to the seat, so they don’t need to be altered when tightening the straps, and they have magnets in them, so they can stick to the bottom of the headrest, keeping them out of the way while the child gets into the seat. 

The seating position is good for both younger and older children, and there are four recline settings for children less than 105cm tall. The seat is relatively heavy (12.5kg) and the base is wide, but it’s not too deep, so it should fit in smaller cars. 

3. Silver Cross Motion All Size 360 

Child car seats rated: Silver Cross Motion All Size

Suitable for children from 40-145cm tall 

Suitable for a wide range of children from newborns up to the age of 12, this seat represents fine value, working out at just £2.60 a month if you use it for the full length of that term. It can be mounted facing rearwards for children up to age four, then rotated to face forwards for older children. The 360-degree swivel function works no matter which way the seat is facing. There’s no lie-flat option, but there are three reclining positions.

The seat materials are a combination of recycled plastic and bamboo. There’s plenty of padding and soft inserts for keeping newborns snug, while the harness is easy to buckle up and adjust.

Fitting instructions can be accessed via an app or the website, but the website video has no voiceover or captions, so it isn’t the most informative. However, fitting is easy using the Isofix mounts and support leg. It’s not a seat you’ll want to move too often, though, because it weighs 14.4kg.

The foam padding in the infant insert can be removed for washing. Although the information in the book on when to remove the additional padding is good, the website doesn't provide specific information on this. 

What Car? says…

Before you buy a child car seat, think about how you’re going to use it so you can pick the one that best suits your needs. If you have a premature baby or have concerns about an infant being scrunched up in a seat for long periods, a lie-flat seat or carrycot might be the best option. Alternatively, if you just need a seat for the occasional transport of your grandchildren, a multi-age seat that can be used from birth up to 12 years old will be much cheaper than buying two or three different seats.

However, safety experts advise parents to keep children in rear-facing seats for as long as possible, because these are generally better at minimising injuries in front-end collisions, and the latest rear-facing seats that can be used up to the age of seven are well worth considering.

Child car seats rated

As well as ensuring your child is the right size for the seat they’re using, it’s vital to make sure the seat fits well in your car and is properly installed because user error is the main issue with seats checked by police and road safety experts.

So, don’t just buy the cheapest seat you can find online; check the car compatibility lists on seat makers’ websites and visit a shop that has a trained seat installation expert who can give advice about how well various seats will work in your car and how to fit them correctly.That way you won’t find yourself standing in a hospital car park with a newborn baby, wondering how to put the seat in the car. 

Latest innovations in child car seats

Maxi Cosi FamilyFix 360 Pro

Maxi Cosi’s latest child car seats don’t just rotate for easier access; they can also be slid towards the parent, helping to prevent backache and lessening the likelihood of anyone bumping their head on the door aperture.

Child car seats rated Maxi Cosi FamilyFix base

That’s because they sit on the FamilyFix 360 Pro seat base, which features two rails on which the child seat can slide.The base is compatible with the Pebble 360 Pro infant carrier and Pearl 360 Pro, which accommodates children up to the age of four.

BeSafe Go Beyond 

A growing number of seat makers are introducing from-birth seats that provide a flat base for a baby to lie on, because this ensures their lungs aren’t compressed and they can breathe easily.

Norwegian car seat maker BeSafe has taken the concept one step further and introduced an infant carrier with a base that can be stretched out flat but will automatically return the seat to the safest 45-degree angle when it detects a frontal impact, offering the best protection for the baby.

The Go Beyond infant carrier can be used from birth to 85cm. Like other BeSafe seats, it has a spirit level at the top of the stability foot to let parents know when it has been installed at the correct angle. 

What is the Swedish Plus Test? 

Swedish safety experts introduced a tough new child seat crash test in 2007 to encourage European seat makers to develop safer seats. The Swedish Plus Test is primarily concerned with the stress that is put on a child’s neck in a frontal impact.

Studies of real crashes revealed that children suffer more severe head and neck injuries than adults in car crashes, and that they cannot withstand impacts of more than 130kg. The Plus Test measures the force put on a child’s neck in an impact and only awards a pass to seats that keep this below 122kg.

Child car seats rated Swedish Plus Test

(photo supplied by Axkid)

There are three important differences between the Plus Test and the tests that are carried out during homologation for European approval. The vehicle is doing 56km/h in the Swedish test, rather than 50km/h; the braking distance is shorter, so the impact on the car seat is greater; and the forces exerted on the neck of the crash test dummy are measured using more precise sensors.

The Swedish Plus Test is optional and tests only rearward-facing seats suitable for children from 87cm tall. While it’s useful if you’re looking for a rearward-facing seat, it’s not relevant for all child seats, so we’re not currently factoring its findings into our safety ratings.

The brands with seats that have passed the Swedish Plus Test are Avionaut, Axkid, BeSafe, Britax Romer, Joie and Nuna.  

About the author and testers

Claire Evans has been a motoring and consumer journalist for more than 30 years. Prior to joining What Car? she worked as motoring editor for Which?, overseeing its child car seat testing and reviews. She has also contributed to the motoring supplements of The Times , The Telegraph and various parenting magazines including Junior .  

Child car seats rated

Two child car seat experts from the independent advisory organisation Child Seat Safety assisted Claire Evans in assessing the child car seats for practicality and ease of use. Between them, Claire Waterhouse and Julie Dagnall have more than 50 years’ experience in the road safety industry, and they specialise in child car seat fitting.

The pair run the UK’s only child seat fitting courses accredited with the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health, providing training to a wide range of people, including the retail experts who help parents pick the most suitable seats. Julie is also Road Safety GB’s national expert on in-car safety, advising local authorities on all aspects of child car seats.  

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Kid Travel

Free Car Seats in California

uppababy mesa car seat

The state of California has a myriad of free, low-cost, or discounted car seat programs. From fire stations to county health departments to private organizations, there are many programs across the state to help families obtain a safety seat for their child. 

Here, you’ll find a comprehensive, researched, and verified list of car seat programs and resources for California.

Related Reading : Free Infant Car Seats in All 50 States

CALIFORNIA CAR SEAT PROGRAMS

Who’s got car seats .

The California Office of Traffic Safety has done the work for you and created Who’s Got Car Seats , a county-based directory that gives resources and information for car seat education and distribution. This should be your first resource in your search for a free or low-cost car seat.

Police and Fire Stations

While most of the individual California police department and California fire department websites don’t state it outright, they do have access to free or low-cost car seat replacements for families. California Highway Patrol also has similar resources. Many stations offer free car seat checks with or without an appointment, and at that appointment, they can help you obtain a replacement car seat for free in exchange for your old or expired seat.

Related Reading : Best Baby Car Mirrors

CITY AND COUNTY CAR SEAT PROGRAMS IN CALIFORNIA

Amador County

The Amador County Public Health Department is able to offer free or reduced-price car seats to qualifying families through their partnership with the Safe Kids Amador Car Seat Program . Availability is not guaranteed, and you’ll have to contact the county to schedule an appointment and see if you need to provide proof of financial need. 

Butte County  

The Butte County Public Health Kids in Safe Seats Program has a free 2-hour car seat class for county residents. In conjunction with the class, there are car seats and booster seats for qualifying low-income families.

Colusa County

Colusa County Public Health Child Safety Seat Program spearheads a partnership with Family Action Centers and First 5 Colusa to hold monthly classes for $20. Participating families may qualify for a free car seat, but you must register and pay for the class at least 3 days in advance. 

Fresno County 

The Fresno County Child Ride Safe Program gives low-income families in Fresno County the opportunity to complete a 3-hour class and receive a new car seat. A $25 fee for the class is required.  

Kern County

The Kern County Public Health Services Car Passenger Safety Program is an educational program that offers a free car seat. Kern County residents must complete online education classes based on your child’s age, then you can fill out a form and receive a free car seat and free personalized consulation with a trained car seat technician. 

Merced County

The Merced County Department of Public Health Child Passenger Safety Program has classes monthly for a $25 fee. Qualifying families can get one free car seat with the class, and additional car seats are available for $25.

Orange County  

The Orange County Health Care Agency Car Seat Safety Program offers free car seats for those low-income families on public assistance, such as WIC, Medi-Cal, AFDC, etc. Families can get help with car seat installation and education as well. The OC Health Agency has also compiled a helpful list of car seat resources for the OC area at large. 

Plumas County

The Plumas County Public Health Agency Car Seat Program can issue a free car seat to eligible families. To qualify, you must meet their specific requirements, such as completing car seat education and installation of the car seat by a certified car seat technician. 

San Bernadino County  

San Bernadino County’s Car Seat Safety Program has brand new car seats at low cost. Families must meet eligibility requirements and complete a car seat safety class.  

Santa Clara County 

The Santa Clara County Public Health Department offers education on car seat safety as well as additional services to low-income families already receiving public assistance. While it doesn’t state outright on their website that free or discounted car seats are part of those services, other agencies in California have them listed as a free car seat resource. 

Santa Cruz City

The Child Passenger Safety Resources department for the City of Santa Cruz offers free car seats. To qualify, you must have proof of low income or a referral from another community agency. Car seats are limited and appointments are required. 

Santa Cruz County 

Santa Cruz County’s Health Services Agency’s SEATS for KIDS Program is run through the Central Fire District. Low-income families may receive a low-cost car seat with a $15-$30 donation. There are two locations: north Santa Cruz County and south Santa Cruz County.

Shasta County

Shasta County Health and Human Services Department offers two ways to receive free or discounted car seats. The first way is by taking a car seat safety class and proving low-income status in order to receive a low-cost car seat. The second way to earn a free car seat is by attending 3 CPSP classes. For this second way, only pregnant women on Medi-Cal are eligible. For both ways, you must call to qualify and pre-register. 

Solano County

Solano County Car Seat Connection is run by the Health Promotion and Community Wellness Bureau. Solano County residents with low income may receive a gift certificate for the purchase of a car seat. They also have lots of free educational resources on car seat safety.

Tuolumne County

Keep Baby Safe from the Tuolumne County Public Health office offers car seat education classes where participants can receive a $20 gift card toward a new car seat at Walmart. You must call to register.

Yolo County

The Yolo County Car Seat Safety Program has a program where families can have a one-on-one appointment with a child passenger safety technician. Families already receiving AFDC, CHDP, Medi-Cal or WIC benefits qualify for a low-cost car seat as part of the program.

Related Reading: Best Baby Car Sunshades

HOSPITAL, CLINIC,  AND HEALTH CENTER CAR SEAT PROGRAMS IN CALIFORNIA

Children’s Health of Orange Count y (CHOC) 

The CHOC Child Safety Seat Distribution Program is for CHOC patients that have been referred by their doctor. Car seats and booster seats are available to families that show financial need in regards to purchasing a safe car seat. A car seat or booster seat is available for $30 after completion of the car seat distribution class.

Camarena Health  

Camarena Health’s Car Seat Program offers in-depth car seat education classes for all. Prenatal patients are eligible to receive a free car seat once they complete the classes and demonstrate an understanding on how to properly use the car seat.

Family Health Centers of San Diego  

Patients enrolled in the FHCSD Prenatal Program may be eligible for a free car seat. Families must schedule an appointment for a car seat education class with one of San Diego County’s certified child passenger safety technicians.

Venice Family Clinic

For low-income families in LA County, Venice Family Clinic offers periodic car seat safety classes. This class can include a free car seat for eligible families.

St. Mary’s Medical Cente r

Dignity Health’s Welcome Baby Program has referrals to free or low-cost baby essentials, including car seats, for pregnant women in LA County.

Children’s Hospital Los Angeles  

CHLA has virtual car seat safety classes twice monthly and a free car seat for those families receiving public assistance. You may only take the class once and you must pre-register.

St Francis Medical Center

Families receiving public assistance may complete one of St. Francis’s free virtual car seat classes and receive a free car seat. Classes are held throughout the year, contact them to get dates and to register.

East Valley Community Health Cente r 

EVCHC has free virtual car seat safety classes for new or expecting parents. Families can get a free car seat if they meet certain qualifications and successfully complete the class.

Whittier Hospital

Whittier Hospital has an all-encompassing maternity services department. Patients delivering at the hospital will receive one complimentary rear-facing car seat and even a new diaper bag.

UC Davis Health

The Injury Prevention department at UC Health has free many virtual car seat services. One of these services is a free car seat for qualifying families on public assistance. Families must schedule a virtual appointment to receive a free car seat.

COMMUNITY CAR SEAT PROGRAMS IN CALIFORNIA

New Economics for Women’s (NEW) Child Passenger Safety Program has a NEW Child Passenger Safety Seat Workshop at two locations in LA County. Families that meet the income requirements and complete the class will receive a free car seat. 

Clinic in the Park’s Boosters in a Bag

Parents referred to the Boosters in a Bag Program will complete a short but in-depth online course and receive a booster seat for free. Conta ct their office to find out how to join the program without a referral.

Pacific Safety Center

Pacific Safety Center’s Keep Em Safe Program , located in San Diego, provides free car seats for low or median-income families, active-duty military families, Native American families, or refugee women who are at least 8 months pregnant. Eligible families can have children up to the age of 9 to qualify for a free car seat.

Vibe Solano

In conjunction with Solano County Health, the Solano Car Seat Connection offers car seat safety classes by appointment. Eligible families can receive vouchers for the purchase of a low-cost car seat.

Safe Kids Sacramento

Low-income families already enrolled in public assistance programs may qualify for a low-cost or even free car seat upon completion of an online class from Safe Kids Sacramento .

River to Coast Children’s Centers  

The Car Seat Safety Program at River to Coast Children’s Centers offers safety training and education by certified car seat technicians. They also have car seats available for families in need at a cost of $20 per car seat. Booster seats are also available and cost less than car seats. 

travel car seat for infant

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Best pushchairs and travel systems

Lucy Toseland-Bolton

Mamas & Papas Ocarro Pushchair

Icandy peach 7, cosatto giggle 3 bundle, kinderkraft 3-in-1 moov, uppababy vista v2 pushchair.

Pram, buggy, stroller, carrycot, pushchair, car seat… the sheer number of terms can confuse you when you're trying to work out what you'll need to transport your newborn. That's why so many parents choose a travel system, to cover all their needs. A travel system is a type of pushchair that has a wheeled-chassis base plus car seat and carrycot. You can then clip the car seat onto the base to push your baby around, switch to the carrycot or use it as a pushchair. With some brands, the carrycot can convert into a pushchair seat with a few tweaks and clips. Others include a separate pushchair seat as part of the package. Either way, it means one travel system can be an option that lasts many months, from those newborn weeks through to your baby becoming a toddler. Being able to attach the car seat onto the wheeled base also means you won’t have to wake your newborn to get them into their pushchair if they've fallen asleep in the car. Shopping for the right travel system can be costly. So, there's a lot to think about. Our editors have chosen these travel systems through research, supported by the recommendations our parents in the BabyCentre Community have shared.

The best travel systems in the UK – at a glance

  • Best all-round travel system: Mamas & Papas Ocarro
  • Most popular travel system: iCandy Peach 7
  • Most stylish travel system: Cosatto Giggle 3 bundle
  • Best value travel system: KinderKraft 3-in-1 MOOV Travel System
  • Best off-road travel system : UPPAbaby Vista V2

Our picks of the best pushchairs and travel systems in the UK 2024

Why trust us.

If you want a travel system that does it all, the Mamas & Papas Ocarro is hard to beat. It’s easy to fold even with one hand, can be used on all terrains and fits in smaller cars, so has become a hit with BabyCentre parents. You can buy it in a range of bundle deals with a lot of add-ons, so check just what you’re getting for your money. Most of the travel system bundles have eight pieces, which include the chassis base, a carrycot, pushchair seat, car seat, car seat base, adapters, umbrella and rain cover. The car seat that's included is the Cybex Cloud Z i-Size seat. It's suitable up to 18 months, with the bundles also including the Cybex Base Z so you can fit the car seat into your car. Parents love that it’s sturdy but easy to move, even up and down kerbs. And although it isn’t cheap, you can fold it with one hand when you need to put it in the car. As with any travel system, the pushchair seat can face you or face outwards. The hood is large and shields from the sun, and the base has reflective wheels to make you stand out that little bit more for safety. You can lie your baby flat in the pushchair seat as well as the carrycot, and both have vents to help prevent your little one getting too hot. If you’re switching between users, the handle also moves up and down, which is a help if you’re different heights. BabyCentre parents say "Lovely strong sturdy pram that should last as long as my little one needs a pram for. I wanted strong wheels that could go on any ground, and a pram that could be used from birth." "It's very sturdy, beautiful and so easy to move. I would have got something cheaper but we wanted a system that would be easy for me to take out and about in the city, and would do just as well off-road on the weekend. I hope this is an investment that will last a few years. The resale value is also good if we make sure we look after it." "It’s a great system. It folds flat, is sturdy and turns on a sixpence." "The Ocarro flattens, and it has a newborn insert so we didn’t even have to purchase the carrycot at an extra cost. I like how the hood is very long, so it covers baby and helps keep strangers’ hands out of the pram! It’s also a one-hand fold, so you can have baby in one hand and fold the pram. The back wheels come off and you can fold the pram without the chassis, making it fit in most car boots. But it is quite heavy to lift."

The love for the iCandy Peach travel system has stood the test of time. Parents love how compact it is when folded up, as well as how lightweight it is to push around or move. It also has a lot of functions that can be done with one hand, like folding it down. The great thing about the iCandy is you can add on an extra seat for another child. So, if you’re planning another baby in the not too distant future, then this may be a good one for you. Parents and carers also like how this is a great option if you’re tall, as the handles can be moved up to 105cm. The shopping basket can also carry up to 10kg. BabyCentre parents say "I chose the iCandy Peach 7 because it’s easy to fold and I love the way it pushes around." "I love that the carry cot can be brought up and the handle height adjusted, as we are 6ft tall. It came with all we needed: car seat, base, carry cot, chassis, rain cover and pram seat... plus a large shopping basket."

Who says you have to choose between black or grey? Not Cosatto who offer some of the best-looking travel systems on the market. Animal print, cute patterns and bright colours are their thing, so if you want to stand out on the street, this may be the choice for you. The Giggle 3 travel system isn’t style over substance either, delivering a lot with the three-wheeled compact chassis plus carrycot or car seat. It's a more affordable option than some, too. The carrycot design can be either a pram for your newborn to lie flat in, or a more upright pushchair for when your baby is a little older. You can also have it facing away from or towards you. BabyCentre parents say "The pattern is really cute and my baby loves looking at it, plus it's so lovely to push. It's very lightweight and the units are higher than they are in other systems, so we don't have to bend as much to get our baby in and out. It's super easy to fold and put up, and is very compact. The price was also fab. The only complaint I have is that the basket is very small and oddly made; when the carry cot is on, it’s hard to get much in there." "I love the colour and pattern, but also that is fits in smaller spaces and is easy to fold, so it can fit in the boot of my Peugeot 208. It’s much lighter than my other one, too."

Chassis, carrycot which converts to pushchair seat, car seat and extras are all included in most of the bundles you can get online, so you don’t even need to factor in buying additional items elsewhere, making this even better value for money. Parents love every aspect of the KinderKraft MOOV, like how well it steers, its easily adjustable handles and stylish looks. This travel system doesn’t scrimp on comfort for your baby either, with large wheels and shock absorbers to ensure they aren’t in for a bumpy ride. BabyCentre parents say "It’s very stylish to look at, very easy to push and is rear and world facing. It has a huge basket and what I love about it is that it has an adjustable handlebar, which makes it a lot easier for me as I am short." "We got the Kinderkraft 3-in-1 MOOV. We needed something within budget and one that folded down quite small. This fit the bill. It came with plenty of extras - changing bag, parasol, fly net and waterproof cover. It has great wheels for bumpy surfaces and they come off easily when you need them to. It’s very simple to use and put together."

There’s a lot to love about the UPPAbaby Vista V2, but one of the biggest things for parents is the ease of using this buggy off-road. It’s a solid and sturdy travel system, with large wheels and a large basket – another aspect mums and dads rate. The handle can be extended, and there are lots of great add-ons, including a ‘rumbleseat’,which is an extra seat to turn it into a double buggy. You can also buy a buggy board, which you can clip on if you have a child who can stand rather than sit when going from A to B. Plus, there's a carry cot stand, so you can use the bassinet as a Moses basket. BabyCentre parents say "Strong chassis and large wheels for all terrain. The fabrics are great quality and it has a huge shopping basket. It can convert to a double if we have another child, and has a simple fold. It cost a lot, but it's solid and I think it will last. It feels like it's good value." "I like it because we are both tall and the frame sits quite high. We can add an extra seat if we want another baby in the future, and it folds quickly into both our car boots."

Travel system buying guide

What you need to know With a wheeled base plus car seat and bassinet or carrycot, a travel system is a great option when you’re on the move with your newborn. The flat-based carrycot means a travel system functions as a pram for your baby, which is the best way for them to lie until they’re at least six months old. Being able to clip on your baby’s car seat for short trips when out and about is a great option to prevent waking them up to move them. But it’s advised that a baby shouldn’t be left in their car seat for longer than 90 minutes at a time. And newborns, or babies that were premature, should ideally only be sat in one for up to 30 minutes in one go. If you're planning a long journey, factor in lots of breaks! If you’re unsure about how a travel system differs from a buggy or stroller, our pushchair article outlines the differences. Put simply, a travel system is one item that can adapt to meet all your baby's travel needs, from newborn to toddlerhood. Good Egg Safety CIC Opens a new window , the UK's leading child seat specialist said, 'The most important item we will ever buy for our children is their child seat. Some parents buy their travel system first, then find the child seat isn't a fit for their car. To avoid this, we always suggest choosing a car seat by a reputable manufacturer and then picking a travel system that is compatible with it. Buying the car seat and travel system separately offers more options.' The one that's right for you may depend on many factors: the price, size, whether it fits in your vehicle, and how heavy it is to push or lift into your car, as well as how easy it is to fold or change between functions. Lifting it in and out of the car, adding the carrycot pram attachment or putting the car seat into place may be done a few times a day. That's why getting a travel system that’s easy to adapt and not too heavy to use is vital. If you’re planning lots of off-road walks, it’s worth getting one that's great for all-terrain use too. If you’re pregnant with twins , or planning another baby in the near future, check to see if it can become a double buggy. Some include lots of extras, like foot muffs or rain covers. If you’re pricing up a total amount you need to spend, make sure you include these too, as needing to buy them as extras later down the line may not make your travel system such a bargain after all. Some travel systems come with their own brand of car seat, others use car seats from other manufacturers. So you might well want to look into the safety of the car seat itself, too. Travel systems can cost from a few hundred pounds into the thousands. Given how much you'll use it, you may decide to invest more in a system that has great reviews and is built to last.

See something you like? Don't forget to add it to your Amazon baby wishlist Opens a new window .

More must-have baby products

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  • Save money with these brilliant budget baby buys

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COMMENTS

  1. The 5 Best Travel Car Seats of 2024

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    Best Lightweight: Wayb Pico Travel Car Seat at Amazon ($495) Jump to Review. Most Compact: Safety 1st Guide 65 Convertible Car Seat at Amazon ($90) Jump to Review. Best for Bigger Kids: Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat at Amazon ($200) Jump to Review.

  9. 6 Best Travel Car Seats for Your Next Trip

    Best affordable travel car seat. Cosco Scenera NEXT DLX at Walmart, $59.98 Jump to Review. Best travel infant car seat. Nuna Pipa lite RX Baby Car Seat & RELX Base at Nordstrom, $550 Jump to Review. Best travel convertible car seat. Evenflo Tribute Convertible Car Seat at Walmart, $119.97 Jump to Review. Best travel car seat and stroller system.

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    Best Car Seat: Chicco Bravo Trio Travel System at Amazon ($380) Jump to Review. Best Value: Graco Modes Pramette Travel System at Amazon ($300) Jump to Review. Best Portability: Baby Jogger City Sights Travel System at Amazon ($900) Jump to Review.

  13. Choosing a travel infant car seat (2024 reviews)

    First, it's heavy compared to other infant car seats. The Doona weight is 16.5lbs. Most infant carriers weigh more like 9-10lbs, but of course they don't have a whole stroller built in. If you prefer a lightweight infant car seat, you'll find great options here. Second, it ain't cheap.

  14. Best travel car seat options by age

    If you don't have time to read through all the details to pick the right traveling car seat, here are the best options by age. Be sure to double check the size limits vs your child's growth curve! Infant: Clek liingo or Century Carry On 35 LX. 1 year old: Cosco Scenera Next DLX. 2 year old: Evenflo Sonus 65.

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    The Evenflo Shyft DualRide integrated infant car seat/stroller is brand new for 2023. If it looks similar to the Doona above, that's because it is. But the Evenflo has a few nifty tricks up its sleeve that are worth mentioning. First, the Evenflo Shyft DualRide is approved for newborns as small as 3 pounds (just like most Evenflo infant car ...

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  18. Britax B-Free & B-Safe Gen2 Flexfit Travel System, Vibe

    Rubber. Made in the USA and Imported. BRITAX TRAVEL SYSTEM: includes B-Free stroller (birth to 50lbs), B-Safe Gen2 FlexFit infant car seat (4-35lbs & up to 32"), car seat base & Click & Go adapters. COMFORT & CONVENIENCE: One-hand quick fold, XL front-access storage basket and no-flat rubber tires; expandable canopy has a peek-a-boo window ...

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    The Evenflo® Pivot® Modular Travel Systems are versatile infant car seat and stroller combos perfect for any outing. The modular frame can be configured with up to 6 modes of use allowing your child to be parent-facing or forward-facing. While the stroller can easily convert to carriage mode, toddler mode, or a frame stroller with infant car ...

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    More than one car seat may be in use in the same row and section of seats. Per FAA regulations, children under 2 years of age are not allowed to sit in a seat equipped with an airbag seat belt. When using a child safety seat, don't select seats in the following areas: ... When traveling with an infant or toddler, you may find it helpful to ...

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    Britax B-Free Premium & B-Safe Gen2 FlexFit+ Travel System - Clean Comfort Black. Albee Baby. $749.99 $562.49. Britax is well known for both their car seats and their strollers, so it's no ...

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  24. Free Infant Car Seats in All 50 States

    ARKANSAS Free Car Seats. Farm Bureau Federation (Statewide): Membership entitles you to advantages like the Infant Car Seat Program when you have auto, home, life, farm, or other insurance with Farm Bureau Insurance of Arkansas. A car safety seat costs as little as $15 when you participate in this program.

  25. Free Car Seats in California

    Shasta County. Shasta County Health and Human Services Department offers two ways to receive free or discounted car seats. The first way is by taking a car seat safety class and proving low-income status in order to receive a low-cost car seat. The second way to earn a free car seat is by attending 3 CPSP classes.

  26. The best pushchairs and travel systems in the UK 2024

    The best travel systems in the UK - at a glance. Best all-round travel system: Mamas & Papas Ocarro. Most popular travel system: iCandy Peach 7. Most stylish travel system: Cosatto Giggle 3 bundle. Best value travel system: KinderKraft 3-in-1 MOOV Travel System. Best off-road travel system: UPPAbaby Vista V2.

  27. Child Car Seat Safety

    Fax: (408) 937-2252. Toll free number: (800) 310-2332. Car crashes are the top cause of death for children under the age of 15. By law, all babies and children must use a well-fitting car seat to keep them safe while riding in a car. Our Child Car Seat Safety Program educates families and supports them to make sure their children's car seats ...

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