So your baby just turned one. And here you are, thinking if it’s now time to change him over to a different car seat.

If you already have one, my advice is “don’t.”

The best choice for a one-year-old is still an infant car seat. These rear-facing car seats stay in the back passenger seat, the safest set-up. And most of these car seats have an age limit of two years old before needing a replacement.

Unless your child is quite big and beefy, staying in this car seat for as long as possible is the way to go – until such time that your little one meets the height and weight limit.

If you opted for a convertible seat, then you’re covered for a few more years depending on the model.

A 2-in-1 convertible car seat transforms from rear-facing to forward facing, so your child can still use it until his toddler years.

Now, if you got an all-in-one convertible, then that’s even better.

This type of car seat is usable from the first day you take your newborn to your house until your child can use the adult seatbelts.

Do note that there are a couple of things that you need to carefully consider when choosing the best car seat for your one-year-old.

These buying considerations are pretty much the same regardless if you go for an infant car seat or a convertible.

Here they are:

  • Fit – The fit is one of the first things that you need to check when shopping for a car seat. No matter how good its quality, it will prove useless if it doesn’t fit in your vehicle. If you have multiple children, consider something that has a slim profile. In most midsize cars, installing three compact car seats is possible.
  • Size and weight – These factors are important for portability. Admit it; we love taking our kids out. We bring them to the park, we bring them to the mall, and let’s not forget our frequent visits to grandma and grandpa. Lightweight and portable models allow for easier transfer to and from the car, minus the aching arms.
  • Ease of installation – Most of the reputable models brag about ease of installation. However, some look like they need professional help just to install. What’s worse, you get unclear and hard-to-follow instructions manual.

My advice is to check with your retailer before you decide to buy a car seat. If buying from an online store, consider checking the comments sections and watching video tutorials.

  • Adjustability – Kids grow incredibly fast, that’s for sure. As such, you’d need a car seat that can grow along with him. If possible, go for something that offers multiple height adjustment options.

So, without further adieu, here are the car seats that made it on our list as the best car seats for a one-year-old.

Graco 4ever All-in-One Convertible Car Seat

Graco 4ever All-in-One Convertible Car Seat

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An all-in-one convertible car seat is hard to top. Graco’s 4ever is truly a top-rated model that will last you a lifetime.

It offers four different modes as your baby grows: rear-facing mode, forward facing, high back booster, and backless booster. This car seat can do it all.

What made it possible for the Graco 4ever to do all of these modes is the way that it’s made. It’s got a steel frame for durability, energy-absorbing foam for protection, and a no-rethread harness system for easy adjustment.

It comes with the LATCH system so you can anchor it to your vehicle’s seat. It keeps the car seat from turning into a dangerous flying projectile in case a collision happens.

Installation is pretty easy and straightforward thanks to its InRight latch attachment. When you hear the audible click, you’d know that you did the installation right.

As for comfort and adjustability, it has a 10-position headrest you can change as your child grows. You’ll also find 6 recline options to make sure that your little one is as comfy as possible while traveling.

It’s also good to note that it has two integrated cup holders to hold drinks and bottles while you’re on the go.

But what if I have a smaller baby? No need to worry as Graco’s 4ever has plush inserts to keep your infant snug all the time.

The following may not be an issue yet for your one-year-old. But in booster mode, you may need to adjust the headrest of the passenger seat so the Graco fits. The straps also have a tendency to get twisted from time to time.

Additional Specs

  • Car seat weight – 23 lbs
  • Minimum weight recommendation – 4 lbs
  • Maximum weight recommendation – 120 lbs

Britax USA Marathon ClickTight Convertible Car Seat


Britax USA Convertible Car Seat

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Next on our list is the 2-in-1 convertible model from Britax. It starts out in rear-facing mode and can change over to forward-facing with little to no effort at all.

Staying true to its words as one of the safest car seat makers around, Britax made sure that this car seat is well-equipped.

SafeCell Protection is a system with a steel frame and an impact-absorbing base, and it’s present in the Marathon ClickTight.

In addition, the tether is also energy-absorbing with stitches that slow and reduce forward movement during a crash.

The bonus:

It’s FAA-approved, so it’s safe to use in airplanes.

When in rear-facing mode though, leg room is limited especially for children who are almost at the weight and height limits of the car seat.

Additional Specs

  • Car seat weight – 28.4 lbs
  • Minimum weight recommendation – 5 lbs
  • Maximum weight recommendation – 65 lbs

Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 Convertible Car Seat

Maxi-Cosi Convertible Car Seat

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The safety features of the Maxi-Cosi Pria are simply of the best you can find.

For starters, the FlexTech helps in distributing crash forces in the event of an accident. The Air Protect safety system, on the other hand, is an advanced type of side impact protection. It significantly reduces the force of an impact by releasing air in the headrest at the exact moment of impact.

Safety experts say that it’s best to keep your bundle of joy in a rear-facing car seat for as long as possible. Most car seats can only be in this mode until 35 lbs. But the Pria 70 took it one step further at 40 lbs.

The seat padding on this car is also of premium quality. Plus, the fabric is self-wicking, making sure your tiny passenger is comfy by deodorizing and keeping liquids away from the skin.

The only con:

It’s quite pricey. Nevertheless, you’d get what you pay for.

Additional Specs

  • Car seat weight – 18.4 lbs
  • Minimum weight recommendation – 9 lbs
  • Maximum weight recommendation – 70 lbs

Chicco NextFit Convertible Car Seat

Chicco NextFit Convertible Car Seat

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Chicco already has an infant car seat with the KeyFit. But the NextFit can do the work just as well thanks to the infant inserts. Plus, it’s convertible to forward-facing mode.

It has 9 recline options available so it can fit in just about any type of vehicle. You can also rest your mind at ease as your child is getting the most comfort since the headrest is adjustable up to 6 different levels.

It doesn’t fall behind as well in the safety department with its SuperCinch system. This system allows you to get the tightest, most secure connection possible.

Although it can fit a wide variety of vehicles, it’s a bit on the bulky side which might be an issue especially if you have multiple kids.

Additional Specs

  • Car seat weight – 25.1 lbs
  • Minimum weight recommendation – 5 lbs
  • Maximum weight recommendation – 65 lbs

Baby Trend Flex-Loc Infant Car Seat

Baby Trend Flex-Loc Infant Car Seat

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You probably noticed that the first four car seats on this list are all convertible. I figured this list will not be complete without an infant-only model so here’s one from Baby Trend.

The Flex-Loc is as straightforward as car seat go. Since it’s an infant-only model, it only has one mode to offer, rear-facing.

It comes with a 5-point safety harness together with side-impact protection to make sure your baby is safe and secure in case an accident happens.

Aside from simplicity, I also like the four-position height adjustment which works with a push of a button.

Some car seats have handles that are kind of rough on the skin when carried. But the Flex-Loc has a smooth build. However, it’s a bit challenging sometimes to move up or down when you take the seat out.

Additional Specs

  • Car seat weight – 18.8 lbs
  • Minimum weight recommendation – 5 lbs
  • Maximum weight recommendation – 30 lbs

Your one-year-old has a long way to go before becoming ready for adult seat belts. Until then, make sure that your baby gets the most comfort and security possible. Start by getting him the best car seat, and I hope that this list helped you a lot.

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