5 Best Car Seats For 2 Year Old & Up [Toddler Edition]

Are you trying to find the best car seat for a 2 year old?

If so, you’re in the right spot!

Children from birth to 2 years old are supposed to be in a rear-facing car seat. Once they turn two, your child can switch to a front-facing car seat as long as they meet the minimum height and weight requirements specified on the car seat.

At this age, I think the best car seat option for a growing toddler is a convertible or combination seat.  Combination or convertible seats will allow your child to be elevated enough to have the 5-point harness wrapped around the necessary parts of their body while in forward facing mode.

These are also great investments since they can be used until the child is ready for a regular booster seat.

If you’re in a hurry to purchase a high quality AND safe seat for your 2 year old, here’s our top selection.

According to our thorough research and testing of numerous car seats, the best car seat for 2 years old is the Graco 4Ever DLX 4-in-1 because it’s budget-friendly and can accommodate your child’s weight from 22-120 pounds. It’s a forward-facing car seat with the ability to convert into a high-back booster seat when your child is ready. 

This car seat is loaded with useful features.

It has dual cup holders for a sippy cup, a Simply Safe Adjust Harness System that adjusts the harness and headrest in one easy motion, and the 5 positions adjustable headrest adapts to your child’s growth. It’s not overly heavy, weighing just 18 pounds, which means you can move it from vehicle to vehicle fairly easily.

We’ll have more details on our best seat pick in a moment, but first, let’s take a full look at our top 5 recommendations.

Image
Product
BEST OVERALL PICK
Lasts until your child is 120 lbs
Converts to high-back booster and backless booster
Cover is easy to remove and machine wash
BEST ON A BUDGET
A quality performer at a great price point
5 good looking color options
Very portable, weighs only 9 lbs
BEST FOR SAFETY
Allows for longer rear-facing and higher safety
Does not contain a backless booster seat
Easy installation
BEST COMPACT
Good for smaller cars
Very large head wings for plenty of cushion
Softer than expected fabric and padding
Plenty of padding from harness stage through booster stage
Solid cupholders and armests
Easy to install

Best Car Seats For 2 Year Old Children

Now that you know the highlights on each of our best seat, let’s walk through the details, starting with their specific height and weight requirements.

NameFront Facing WeightHeight Limit
Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 Convertible22-120 lbs57″
Graco Extend2Fit Convertible22-100 lbs49″
Evenflo Evolve 3-in-1 Combination Seat22-120 lbs57″
Chicco Myfit Harness and Booster Seat25-100 lbs57″
Evenflo Maestro Sport Harness Booster22-110 lbs57″

Pick #1: Graco 4Ever DLX 4 in 1 Car Seat – Best Overall    

Pros
Grows with your child through the age of 10
Simple installation
Multiple cupholders
Easy to remove machine washable cover
Cons
Bulkier than some other options
Fabric got a bit hotter in warm temperatures than other models we tried

I’ve seen a lot of car seats, and for your money I think this is the best forward facing car seat for a 2 year old that’s out there.

Plus, the Graco 4Ever 4in1 will last you many years due to its four modes of use.

Rear-facing, forward-facing, high back booster, and backless booster are all the arrangements you’ll need.

This seat will last until your child is big enough to ride without a car seat. Rear-facing it can hold 4-40lbs, and forward-facing it can hold 22-65lbs.

As a high back booster, it will occupy children from 30 to 100lbs, and 40 to 120lbs as a backless booster.

There are ten adjustable headrest positions and six recline settings. Installation is a breeze with the 1 second InRight LATCH system and the Simply Safe Adjust Harness.

Very Easy To Install

Graco 4Ever 4 in 1 Car Seat

The ease of installation was highly rated for the Graco 4ever. You can effortlessly move between cars, which makes life a bit easier. It also comes with a removable infant insert for extra padding.

This seat has been crash-tested, and side-impact tested, ensuring the full safety of your child when in a moving car by exceeding all the US safety standards. Safety features were rated 4.8/5 by numerous customers.

It has been insured by Graco ProtectPlus engineering and passed the New Car Assessment Program with flying colors. The EPS energy-absorbing foam and steel reinforced frame both add to the safety and durability of this car seat.

Material quality was given 4.8/5 star ratings. Its ten-year lifespan will save you from spending a chunk of money on car seats, as your child requires different modes as they grow. Expiration date: 10 Years after the manufacture date

6 Position Recline – Super Comfortable for Your Growing Child

Customer Reviews

Many customers say it can be heavy to travel with but appreciate the durability. Parents who were victims of car accidents with this seat have reported little to no injuries on their child when in this seat. It was also notable for parents that it lasts as long as ten years compared to other seats.


Pick #2: Evenflo Maestro Harness Booster Car Seat – Best Budget Option

Pros
9 lb weight means it’s easily portable between cars
Cover is machine washable and quality, despite the low price
Good sized cupholders will fit those odd shaped cups
Cons
Fewer recline and adjustment options than other models
LATCH installation wasn’t the easiest we’ve seen

It seems the list of things parents have to buy for their children never ends.

Add in the inflation were seeing in prices across the board, and having a great budget-friendly car seat option is a MUST for parents in 2022.

Enter the Evenflo Maestro Sport.

This is a value priced harness booster seat that doesn’t skimp on features or safety. For example, this car seat is rated a Best Bet by IIHS, and will carry children weighing between 22-110 lbs.

Compared to other front-facing booster seats that’s a very solid range.

I also loved how lightweight it was. I don’t know about you, but I’ve lost count on how many times I’ve had to switch my seat between cars. The seat only weighs 9lbs, making it easy to carry around from car to car.

It also does not take up too much space, allowing three car seats to fit comfortably across the backseat.

While it’s not the most luxurious seat on the market, the seat cover is triple-layered, giving it a cushion-like feel for a substantially lower price.

Evenflo Maestro Sport Harness Booster Car Seat

The cupholders are well sized for many different cups, so if you have unusual-shaped bottles, they will come in handy. This seat has passed various crash testing for side impact protection and passed US safety standards.

Installation was comfortable with the LATCH system, and readjusting was simple through up-front tightening and loosening of the harness.

The 5-point harness will support a child’s body safely. It comes with an optional head pillow that moms use for added comfort.

Expiration date: 6 Years after the manufacture date

Customer Reviews

A few parents that have gotten in a car accident with this car seat have said their children were fully protected. This has led them to recommend others trust this seat as it has been the best seat they’ve bought.

The amount of padding makes long rides comfortable for toddlers. Overall, this car seat for 2 year olds has been given a stellar safety and durability rating.


Pick #3: Graco Extend2Fit 3 in 1 Car Seat – Best For Safety  

Pros
Extension panel may allow your 2 year old to stay rear-facing longer
Easy to use LATCH installation clips
High quality machine washable cover
Cons
Bulky
Doesn’t come with a backless booster seat
Taller children may not benefit from the extension panel

Remember, the safest car seat for a 2 year old is one that allows them to them to ride rear-facing for as long as possible.

With the Extend2Fit model, Graco has done just that.

The Graco Extend2Fit can hold children from 4-50lbs when rear-facing, and 22-100lbs when forward-facing.

Rear facing until our child is 50 pounds may not sound like a big deal, but that’s 10 pounds (or 20%) more than our top overall pick.

 Up to 5″ of Additional Legroom =  Longer Rear-Facing

The Extend2Fit works in rear-facing mode longer because of a 4-position leg extension panel that gives your child up to 5 inches of additional legroom while in a rear-facing position (the space between their child safety seat and the car’s permanent seat).

For any safety conscious parent that’s a big deal.

Graco Extend2Fit

With its six recline adjustments and ten headrest positions, your child will always be comfortable while sleeping between long rides.

Material quality for the Extend2Fit is as we’ve come to expect with Graco seats, plush, soft, and durable.

With the Simply SafeAdjust Harness System, the harness and headrest also easily conform to different heights.

The Graco Extend2Fit uses the InRight LATCH system that will hook onto your car within one second. The Fuss Free Harness Storage will keep the harness stored away from distracting you from your baby.

The cupholders are removable if more space is needed. This seat has exceeded the US safety standards for crash-testing and side-impact testing.

The Graco ProtectPlus engineering supports additional tests that validate safety for your child. Although the seatbelt installation can be a bit difficult at first, this seat has buckle pockets, so the seat stays in its place, as well as your child.

Graco Extend2Fit

Customer Reviews

Ironically enough, some customers have complained the warning labels can heat up excessively, making children’s backs very sweaty. We didn’t experience that ourselves. Instead, we found the is to be a very comfortable seat with some nice added safety features like the leg extension panel.

In conclusion, if safety is your top priority over convenience (this seat is a tad heavy and doesn’t come with a backless booster option), then the Extend2Fit is a thoroughly tested and proven car seat that will serve you well.


Pick #4: Evenflo Evolve Platinum 3-in-1 – Best Compact Car Seat   

Pros
Compact enough to fit 3 across
Super easy and fast installation
Fabric was much softer than we’ve seen from other comparable brands
Cons
Some might not like the bulky head wing padding
Straps seemed to loosen over time, so make sure you check regularly

If you need to fit multiple seats across one row of your car, or your car is really small to begin with, a compact seat option is a must have.

That’s why we rated the Evenflo Evolve our best compact car seat for a 2 year old.

The Evenflo Evolve is a forward-facing seat, a highback booster, and a backless booster seat. This seat can handle children weighing from 22-120lbs.

In forward facing mode it has a 5-point harness that acts as a seatbelt for your child.

Evenflo Evolve Platinum

Remember, after your child turns two, it is recommended to transition them over to a convertible or a combination seat. A combination seat will elevate your child enough to have the 5-point harness wrap around the designated parts of their body before converting to a booster seat later on.

Regarding safety, the Evolve has passed all crash tests with superior numbers, as well as the Evenflo’s Comprehensive Side Impact and Rollover test standards.

The harness buckle did have a tendancy to loosen up more and more as time went on, although this is eventually replaced with a seatbelt in the later modes so it’s not a massive concern.

The Suresafe installation connectors made installing the seat very easy for me, and of course, the seat belt can be tucked into the buckle pockets.

With energy-absorbing material and a more significant area of protection, the Evolve has proven to be a very safe and sturdy car seat for 2-year-old.

Customer Reviews

Some parents have reported the head wings can appear to be bulky around children’s heads. Children have complimented the extra cushiony material that is on the bottom of the car seat for their 2-year old. Expiration date: 8 Years after the manufacture date

Comfort has been highly rated for this car seat. Many toddlers have been able to sleep soundly with the temperature-regulating material.


Pick #5: Chicco MyFit Harness + Booster Car Seat

Pros
2 Removable Cupholders
3 Colors to choose from
Removable covers
Locksure System
Cons
Difficult to tighten straps
Narrow around the headrest

Many booster seats can be bulky and heavy, forcing parents to lug around a 20lb car seat with a 20lb baby.

However, we found this seat to be very easy to move between cars

Of course, there’s nothing worse than a cranky child in the back of the car, and with a lighter weight seat option like this you might worry you’re sacrificing comfort.

That’s not the case with the Chicco MyFit Harness + Booster. There is plenty of padding in this seat.

Chicco Myfit Harness+Booster

There are also nine different levels to place the headrest that can be determined by if your baby is in the mood to sleep or stay awake.

There are also four recline positions and a five-point harness. This seat is for children weighing between 22-65lbs in a high back booster, and 40-100lbs when a backless booster. Expiration date: 8 Years after the manufacture date

The covers are also easy to wash in a machine as they are removable from the seat itself. There are two layers of side impact protection for the head and torso. The Lock Sure and SuperCinch systems guarantee your seat will stay in place when combined with the LATCH system.

There are also storage compartments for the harness and LATCH straps. The harness straps can be a little challenging to tighten. Some moms have agreed that this model does not have durable straps, but apart from that, it was still worth the buy.

Improved Child Comfort and Better Vehicle Fit

Customer Reviews

Parents love the sleek appearance of this car seat for their 2-year old. They also like how it lasts until their child grows out of a car seat. The straps have been straightforward to adjust, as opposed to other models of Chicco. Some moms have agreed that this model does not have durable straps, but apart from that, it was still worth the buy.


Buyers Guide

Pricing

A common misconception is more expensive car seats will function better and last longer. This is a myth. Cheap car seats can be just as durable as expensive ones. Although the expensive ones have their advantages.

Safety

Safety is imperative here. The whole point of a car seat is to minimize injuries during car accidents. So if the harness quickly loosens or the LATCH doesn’t tighten all the way, the car seat is not performing at its maximum capacity. Review safety precautions that are written in the manual to make use of 100% of the safety features.

Durability

Checking the date of expiration will tell you how long you can utilize the car seat. Some parents prefer to save money by buying one that lasts up to 12 years. All car seats range from 4-12 years of usage.

Ease of Cleaning

A machine-washable seat can significantly reduce the time needed to keep the covers clean. Hand-washing can be a hassle to parents who are used to doing laundry with a washing machine.

Moms everywhere have experienced how difficult it can be to choose a car seat for your 2-year-old. At two years, your child will begin transitioning to a combination or convertible seat.

The best car seat for 2-year-old is a convertible car seat. A convertible seat will usually start off serving as a rear-facing seat, then a forward-facing seat, and lastly a booster seat.

In certain cases, such as preemies, it may be needed to keep using an infant car seat for 2 year old children that do not meet weight and height requirements.  The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends parents keep their child rear-facing for as long as possible. Keeping them rear-facing is vital.

In this guide, we reviewed the best convertible car seats for 2-year-olds based on durability, ease of cleaning, and of course cost.

Frequently Asked Questions 

When should you transition from infant seat to front-facing seat?

The infant seat should always be rear-facing. Once the top of your child’s head and the top of the seat are longer than one inch apart, a new seat must be purchased.

This seat will no longer protect your child up to its full potential and can be dangerous if usage continues. The transition from infant to front-facing would be more dependent on the height of your child than their age.

What is the proper age, height, and weight requirements for a front-facing seat?

For a front-facing car seat, the minimum age requirement is two years old, and can typically carry toddlers from 22-110lbs. A multi-functional booster that can transform from highback to backless will usually last until your child no longer needs a car seat.

How can I guarantee comfort for my child?

Make sure to get a car seat that emphasizes the materials they use. The plusher or foamier, the better! Some car seats have a lot of energy-absorbing foam that makes long rides bearable and safe.

How can I guarantee safety for my child?

Installing your seat precisely as directed in the manual, is one of the main ways to guarantee your car seat will protect your child. Buckling the 5-point harness securely, or utilizing the seatbelt will also provide optimal safety. The LATCH system has changed the revolution of installing a car seat. LATCH is easy to secure and can be completed within minutes.

What type of car seat does a 2-year-old need?

Some many factors and decisions go into a good car seat. Start by making sure the seat is suitable for your child’s age, height, and weight. All manufacturers are required to put this information in the manual.

The rest is your preference, but it’s good to have a list of things that you would not be able to settle with. Do you want cupholders? Something compatible with the LATCH system? Is there a budget you’re trying to stick with? Questions like these will guide you on the right path.

When Should You Switch Out The Infant Seat For A Toddler Seat?

Your child will require more legroom at this point. The rear-facing seat will get too small for your child as they grow. Forward-facing combination seats are the best kind for a child at 2 years old. However, make the transition only after your child no longer fits in their infant seat, as rear-facing is the safest mode for them.

Which Car Seat is Best For Toddlers?

The best car seat will be dependent on the preferences of the parent. But a high back booster seat that can later transition to a backless booster will get the job done until your child officially grows out of a car seat.

Can A 2-year-old Use a Booster Seat?

Yes, it is ideal to purchase a booster seat after the infant seat gets too small so it can last until your child is 13. Keep in mind; the seat must be a high back booster when using it for a 2-year-old.

Safety Above All

It can be vital to have a car seat with the LATCH system, breathable material, and excellent crash-test results. By recognizing these elements, you can significantly narrow your search for a car seat that is highly compatible with your child.

The one thing that matters most above all is your child’s safety. Knowing that your child is safe in the backseat is the only thing a mother needs when taking them places in a car.

Taking all of these factors together, we firmly believe the best pick you can make for your 2-year-old is the Graco 4Ever 4-in-1.

Which car seat for 2 year old have you tried? Drop us a message and let us know.

Author

Welcome to my car seat blog! As a mom of 3, I put together with other hard-working moms a highly informative one-stop car seat resource, full with many reviews and buyer guides. I hope you find it invaluable. Thank you for trusting me & my team! - Keren