Let’s talk the best front-facing car seats.
Safety experts agree: it is safest for babies and young toddlers to ride rear-facing until age 2. But after that, what’s the best car seat?
To answer that question, we looked at the current crop of front-facing car seats (we’ve been reviewing and rating car seats for 25+ years). Then we asked our parent readers for their real-life experiences. Finally, we interview car seat techs regularly for their insights—which seats are easiest to install in the real world, for example.
After all that research, we pick the Graco Tranzitions 3-in-1 Harness Booster Seat as the best bet for 2 year olds. One big reason: that five-point harness. While a two year old may think they are a big kid (and no one can argue with a toddler), the five-point harness keeps them in place during vehicle rides—and that’s safer.
Here’s more on why this seat is a top pick:
What We Liked
• Lightweight so it’s easy to move from vehicle to vehicle.
• One-hand adjustment for harness and headrest.
• Dual cup holders.
• Works up to 65 lbs. in harness mode; 30-100 lbs. as a booster—then morphs into a backless booster up to 100 lbs.
• Side-impact tested.
• 8-position headrest allows for growing child.
• Machine washable seat pad.
• Can be used on an airplane (with harness only).
What Needs Work
• Armrests could be bigger.
• Buckle button can be hard to press for younger toddlers. Toddlers love their independence, so a few may be frustrated that they require a bit of strength to release the button on their own.
• No seat recline. If that is an important feature, consider this next pick.