Things change when you have children to take care of. Having a child with you can add a level of difficulty to the most mundane of tasks. Be it travelling in a car or going to the mall, your child’s safety and comfort should take precedence over everything else. Children have different needs depending on their age, weight and size. This guide aims to inform you of everything you need to know when buying a portable car seat for your 1 year old, as well as the 10 best options to meet the different requirements you may have.
In addition to adding to your child’s safety and comfort, car seats are a legal requirement in different states and countries when travelling with a child. Research conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) finds that vehicular accidents are a leading cause of death in children and that buying and installing the right seat can lead to a significant reduction in injuries and death. Using a car seat, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), can reduce these risks by 71%.
Car seats can be put into three main categories – front facing, rear facing and convertible seats. The AAP recommends using rear facing seats as long as the child does not cross the size and weight limits suggested by the manufacturers. Rear facing seats are, therefore, recommended for toddlers. Alternatively, convertible seats can also be used as they can be used as, both, rear and front facing seats depending on the age, weight and size of your child.Merely buying the right seat, however, is not enough.
Research suggests that a large number of car seats in use have not been installed properly. Therefore, optimal safety can only be achieved once the seat has been correctly installed. This requires a thorough understanding of the car’s security and seat belt systems. You should spend some time going through the manuals for your vehicle as well as the seat. This requires knowing if your car is LATCH (lower anchors and tether for children) compatible or if you can only use seat belt friendly seats. Seat placement is of great importance. The car seats should also be tested for movement once you’re done with installation. An underrated aspect of the installation process is seeking help. Don’t hesitate in asking expert advice and help – your ego is not bigger than your child’s safety needs.
Top 10 Portable Car Seats for 1 year old
There are many things you should think about when deciding what car seat to buy for your 1 year old. The Combi Coccore is a lightweight and compact convertible car seat that can be easily used in smaller vehicles as well. You can easily place up to 3 car seats on the back seats of most vehicles.
The Combi Coccore comes with the Tru-Safe Side Impact Protection system.
This car seat has deep side walls and a layer of energy absorbing foam that diverts potentially harmful force away from the head, neck and spine.
It comes with a removable infant insert pillow to improve the positioning and comfort of smaller children. It has a seat buckle that provides a visual confirmation when the harness is secured properly. It also features a tether connector strap for rear faced tethering.
The Cosco Apt 50 is ideal for children younger and older than 12 months as it can be used as, both, a rear or front facing car seat. You can use it as a rear-facing seat for a child that weighs between 5 and 40 lbs and as a front facing seat between 40lbs and 50lbs.
The car seat is LATCH equipped and has a 5 point, easily adjustable harness. It features 6 heights and 3 buckle locations.
The easily removable seat pad makes it machine washable and safe for drier use. It can also be used for air travel and even for just carrying your child around the mall. It meets all FAA and ASTM standards and comes with a 1 year warranty.
The Cosco Might FIT DX is a convertible seat – it has two modes of use and can accommodate a child within the weight range of 5 to 40 lbs as a rear facing seat and up to 65lbs as a forward facing seat. It is LATCH equipped and compact, making it ideal for travel.
It has a 5 point harness that has 5 heights and 3 different buckle locations. Additionally, it has side impact protection to keep the child safer on all sides.
The size allows you to place 3 of these seats in almost any car’s back seat.
The seat is easy to clean, and the premium fabric cover can be easily removed and washed in a machine. The fabric is drier safe as well.
Cosco products have a 70 year long history and can be relied on for quality. Additionally, this seat meet all federal, ASTM and JPMA safety standards. The company also provides a 1 year warranty.
The Evenflo Sonus 65 is meant for extended use – you can use it as a rear facing seat when a child weighs between 5lbs and 40lbs and as a front facing seat for a child weighing between 22lbs and 65lbs. The seat has a highly adjustable harness that can be used to provide a snug and secure fit. Furthermore, the 5 point harness can be used for 6 different positions.
This car safety seat comes with 2 cup holders to keep drinks and snacks within your child’s easy reach. The seat also has a built in ventilation system to ensure that it stays comfortable and pleasant through all seasons. The seat uses durable and comfortable fabrics. They can be easily removed and washed in a machine. They are dryer safe as well.
The Chico Key Fit 30 is one of the highest rated and most recommended car seats in the United States. It is a rear facing seat that can be used for infants weighing between 4 and 30 pounds. It is one of the easiest seats to install. It has a spring loaded leveling foot and two easy to read bubble levels that can help achieve the most secure angle during installation.
It uses a SuperCinch Latch Tightener. This amplifies the tightness and snugness with the minimum amount of effort. This seat is highly adjustable and has several removable head and body support mechanisms for new-borns. It has a 5 point harness that can be used efficiently even with just one hand. Additionally, there are two handles that prove a solid and comfortable grip for easy carriage.
Some variants feature canopies, visors and boots to add shade, protection from rain and to keep the child more comfortable. Some of these variants also provide better airflow and ventilation to areas that need it most.
The Graco Extend 2 Fit car seat is recommended for those parents that wish to see their child in a rear facing seat for longer. When used as a rear facing seat, it can be used until the child exceeds 50lbs. It can, then, be used as a forward facing seat until the child reaches the weight of 65lbs or grows taller than 49in.
The seat has a 4 point extension panel that can be adjusted to provide up to 5 inches of extra leg room.
Graco seats are extensively crash tested, and are known to provide protect from all sides. They are also able to protect the child to a limited degree in extreme temperatures.
The seat can be reclined in 6 positions or angles to maximize your child’s safety and comfort. The 10-position headrest can be adjusted easily to suit the needs of your growing child. The height or the harness and headrest can be adjusted in a single motion using the Simply Safe Adjust Harness System. The seat also comes with built-in harness storage to make it easier to place and remove the child.
This seat provides a level indicator which makes installation even easier. It useful features include a steel reinforced frame and 2 cup holders.
Graco’s Snugride Snuglock 35 provides an easy 3-step installation process. It is a rear facing car seats for infants weighing between 4 and 35 lbs and up to a height of 32in.
The seat has an adjustable base and allows 4 recline positions to fit your vehicle and add to your child’s comfort. A level indicator makes installation even safer and easier.
Connecting the Snugride Snuglock 35 seat to all Graco strollers is just 1 easy step away. This light weight seat can then be used easily beyond the car.
It comes with a range of features and functions that are worth looking into. The seat has a compartment for storage of LATCH connectors and instruction manual when they’re not needed. It has a rotating canopy that can provide protection from the elements. It comes with removable newborn head and body support cushions and an easily adjustable 5-point harness. The seat meets call safety standards and provides protection on all sides as well as against extreme temperatures. A simple push can securely lock your child in the seat.
The Baby Trend Secure Snap Tech 35 car seat should be used for infants aged 0 to 24 months. Alternatively, it can be used by infants that weigh between 5 and 35 lbs and less than 32 inches tall.
The seat uses energy absorbing foam to provide extra side impact protection. It has a 5 point harness that allows easy one handed adjustment and a simple push button release.
The seat also comes with a removable 4 piece insert to account for the changes in the infant’s size.
The seat has an extra-large 3-panel canopy to block out the sun and a multi grip carrying handle for convenience beyond the car. It also allows an easy one handed seat release. The boot is designed to provide extra warmth and comfort. The base is high adjustable and allows 4 recline positions. It has flexible latch connectors that can be put away in the built-in storage. It comes with a built-in belt lock for seat belt based installation.
The EZ Flex Loc is a rear facing seat that can be used by infants until they exceed 30lbs in weight or grow taller than 30 inches. The seat, itself, is compact and can be carried around easy thanks to the comfortable and well-designed handle.
The harness has an easy 5-point adjustability. It can be access with one hand can has a push button easy release.
The seats comes with foam padding around the head to provide side impact protection. It also comes with a soft and plush insert for head and body support.
The base allows a 4-position recline push button recline and height adjustment. You can achieve easy one handed access for seat release. The name of the seat itself refers to the base’s flexible latch straps. The seat is LATCH and seatbelt compatible. It can also be easily removed from the vehicle and used with a stroller.
The MICO 30 is considered one of the lightest rear facing infant car seats. It should be used until a child exceed a weight of 30lbs or a height of 32in. It comes with a highly adjustable and detachable base.
It is compatible with Maxi-Cosi and other quality strollers. In addition, it has a contoured handle that curves around the hips to improve convenience in carrying the child outside the car.
The car seat also has a greatly and easily expandable canopy that can protect your child from the sun.
The base has an anti-rebound bar that provides superior protection. It uses a one-click LATCH system or easy installation and removal. The seat uses a self-wicking fabric that smells good and makes your child more comfortable by keeping them dry. The fabric can be removed easily and washed and dried using machines without the need fpr rethreading the harness.
Portable car seats for toddlers: Safety considerations and additional features
Here is a list of safety considerations that are applicable to most rear facing and convertible seats:
- Make sure to take the bulk and fluffiness of your child’s clothing into account. The belts and harnesses may actually be looser than they appear.
- If the seat is too big for your child, you can use towels or blankets to fill the extra space.
- Ensure that the manufacturer’s instructions have been followed to the letter.
- Ready manuals, look at online guides and seek expert help and advice. You can never be too safe.
- Have a thorough understanding of the car’s safety features.
While the car seats are, primarily, there to add to your child safety while travelling in a vehicle, they may also come with different features and accessories. These may depend on the model and manufacturer. However, here are some things you can look for:
- Colors, sizes, materials and designs
- Types of safety systems – For example LATCH or seat belt based systems
- Removability, portability and storability
- Cup holders, canopy, pockets and storage capacities etc.