The Best Car Seat Options For Your 2-Year-Old Toddler
Parents understand that the safety of the child is paramount in all situations, and this becomes no less true when it comes to their safe transport. Even the best drivers can find themselves in a car accident, and regardless of who’s at fault, the main concern of all parties should be that nobody is hurt.
When one of those parties is an innocent and blissfully unaware toddler, ensuring they’re safely buckled into an appropriate car seat for their size before putting your foot on the accelerator is crucial to reducing the risk of injury.
Infants and toddlers are the most likely to be injured in these situations, and the use of safe, secure restraints are key, so below we’ve outlined some of the best car seats on the market for two-year-olds.
|My Top Picks|
|Britax Marathon 70 Car Seat|
|Chicco NextFit iX Zip Convertible Car Seat|
|Graco Smart Seat All-in-One Convertible Car Seat|
|Orbit Baby G3 Toddler Convertible Car Seat|
|Evenflo Triumph 65 LX Convertible Car Seat|
The Benefits of Rear Facing Car Seats
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, parents are advised to keep their toddler in a rear-facing car seat until they surpass the weight and height limits of their current seat as it is said to be five times more safe than facing forward in a moving vehicle at young ages.
Many convertible car seats allow kids to stay in a rear-facing position until they are over thirty-five pounds, which is more than enough to take them through the age-two guideline. To be sure, check the weight and height requirements of the model you are using.
That being said, the upper weight limit isn’t the only thing you should judge your car seat on, in fact, there are many factors worth considering when purchasing a new car seat. The seated height, which is the height at which your child’s bottom sits up to the top of the seat itself, is very important. All kids should have at the bare minimum an inch of space between their head and the top of the seat when they are in a rear-facing position.
Since many children have growth spurts that put them well beyond this limit long before they hit the weight limit, it’s important that your car seat has ample room for them to grow in the seated height position.
Once You’ve Purchased Your New Car Seat
Before you go ahead and take your child out for their first car ride, it’s important to take time to practice buckling the seat itself into your car. Depending on the make and model of the car seat this can be trickier, and it may also show you that the car seat you’ve purchased is too big or too bulky for your vehicle.
Ensure that the harness straps with your car seat fit nice and snug on your child. When in the rear facing position, be sure that the straps are kept in the slots or below your child’s shoulders. Additionally, ensure that the harness fits well over the legs and shoulder areas.
This is crucial to protecting your child should an accident occur and could very well be the defining factor in saving your child’s life. When using car seats, put your child in comfortable loose fitting clothes that allow them to move their legs freely.
If your child is on the smaller side of the weight requirements, you may want to use something to fill any empty spaces or gaps for added support; a blanket tends to work well.
Tuck the blanket between your child’s shoulders, and if they’re still slumping over, you can place something behind the crotch strap as well. It is not advised to put any sort of thick padding beneath a small child in a car seat. By following these guidelines you’ll ensure you have the best car seat for 2-year-old children and under.
Recommended Car Seats Explored
The Britax Marathon 70 is a convertible car seat and one of the highest rated ones on the market today. Given its reputation, incidentally it is also one of the higher priced options but that could be considered worthwhile to you once you see its quality.
Its rear-facing weight range is between 5 and 40 pounds, which may be a little too roomy for a newborn but tends to work very well as they grow. It can also be used as a forward-facing seat with a weight limit of 70 pounds which is ideal for toddlers 1 and up.
The maximum height is 49 inches with an internal seat height of 23.5 inches.
Its SafeCells design is manufactured with safety in mind and functions to compress in the event of a crash which lowers the center of gravity and works to counteract the forward motion of a child during impact.
It includes a Quick-Adjust harness to easily change shoulder height without actually physically disassembling the harness as a whole which is ideal for quick adjustments. You can rest assured that your child is snugly fit in the Marathon 70 as it also integrated lock-offs which ensure that your child’s lap and shoulder straps are sitting right where they should be.
Finally, it also comes equipped with energy-absorbing EPP foam in its side walls for further safety and compression.
- Energy-Absorbing EPP foam
- Utilizes SafeCell Technology
- Fast and Easy Installation
- No infant insert
- Heavier than comparable model
- Seat is considered short for above-average height toddlers
Designed with child safety at the forefront, the Chicco NextFit iX convertible car seat is a very comfortable and durable seat option for your toddler.
Coming from the #1 rated NextFit, the iX is the latest innovation from Chicco that features a SuperCinch latch installation and brand new LockSure belt-tightening systems that make adjusting the seat for your toddler easy and quick.
It’s designed to very comfortably accommodate your fast growing toddler and can hold up to 40 pounds in its rear-facing position upwards of 65 pounds in forward facing position. With reinforced steel as its frame lined with EPS energy-absorbing foam to give it superior protection from side-impacts, the iX was engineered to last.
It features a 9 position headrest and easy one-pull tightening so you can load your toddler into the vehicle and go in a flash. Additionally, its zip-off seat pad makes cleaning up a breeze as it can be quickly tossed into your next laundry load.
- 9 Reclining Positions
- Reinforced-steel frame for added protection
- iZip-off washable seat pad
- Bulkier than comparable models
- Difficult to get into straps in the rear-facing position
If you’re only looking to buy a single car seat throughout your toddler’s growing years, the Graco Smart Seat All-In-One is a fabulous option as it can hold as little as five pounds for infants and upwards of 100 pounds for growing kids.
In its rear-facing position it can hold upwards of 40 pounds, but then it can be converted into a front-facing position upwards of 65 pounds. Once your child reaches that threshold it can be repositioned again as a belt assisted booster seat up to 100 pounds. It has a firm and steady car base and also comes equipped with five reclining options and six adjustable headrests.
The Graco Smart Seat is recognized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as having achieved the highest government rating for ease of use and additionally, it has surpassed Federal Safety standards in crash performance testing. Overall, it received a 5-star rating in its evaluation
- An all-in-one option that can be used for growing toddlers up to 100 pounds
- Well made and highly durable
- Multiple headrests and recline options
- Heavier than comparable models
- Maybe too boxy for some vehicles
The Orbit Baby Toddler Car Seat can be used in a variety of configurations as well as it easily transforms to fit an infant up to a toddler of 65 pounds. It can easily dock itself into the G3 Stroller Base (unit sold separately) which make it a great choice for busy parents on the go who are regularly moving their child from the vehicle into their stroller.
It has 360-degree impact protection meaning that your child will be safe from accidents regardless of the direction the impact comes from. With its Smart Hub Installation system is the key to this innovative technology as it is the car seat industry’s only circular seat base designed with multi-directional impact in mind.
The units four radial latches lock the car seat into the SmartHub Ring to provide great energy absorption and protection while making it easy to load.
- Multidirectional impact protection
- Variety of configurations
- Holds 5 pounds upward of 65 pounds for many years use
- Infant seat can be tight on larger infants
- Heavier than comparable models
- Larger than comparable models.
The Evenflo Triumph 65 LX Convertible car seat is an award-winning car seat that also boasts both rear facing and forward racing sitting options for children upwards of 65 pounds. It includes the Infinite Slide Harness to easily and securely adjust the fit for a comfort and safety on every usage without the need to rethread the straps.
It has a five-point harness system designed to be able to tighten with just one hand. It was government approved and passed the Federal crash standard by two making it a standout amongst its competitors. Additionally, the Evenflo Triumph comes with removable and washable seat pads, body pillows and even an infant head pillow making it one of the more cost-effective options on the market.
- Comfortable and easy to adjust
- Highly durable
- Exceeds Federal Crash Safety Standards
- Difficult to install
- Heavier than comparable models
Given how much car seat design has been innovated to meet new government safety regulations in recent years, there is ample selection to choose from that will certainly ensure that you’re getting your money’s worth as they are all heavily safety-focused.
Of course, there is always one design that is just a little more comfortable, a little more affordable, and a little more impact-conscious than others, and for that reason, we believe the Graco SmartSeat All-In-One stands above the competition and is the best car seat for 2-year-old toddlers.
Not only can it be used for longer than most models designed for toddlers given that it hold upwards of 100 pounds, but it is also designed to withstand heavy duty impacts from every direction. It is highly durable, and while that makes it a little heavier than some models, it can fit nicely into most vehicles without issue and includes such a wide variety of features that your toddler will love getting in the car for every trip.
That being said as you may have noticed from the above overview, there are ample models with specifications that may better suit your needs, so as with any car seat purchase, do your due diligence and choose the one that best suits your personal needs while offering a safe and practical transport for your child.