There are a million car seats that are widely available for purchase. And if you are a parent who is simply seeking to upgrade your existing car seat for your toddler.
You may feel a bit overwhelmed as to the seemingly unlimited options that are available.
In this car seat guide, we will be exploring some of the best car seats that are available on the market and are all perfect for options to keep your 3-year-old child safe, and are sure to fit your budget as well!
Best Car Seat For 3-Year-Old
|Britax Marathon G4.1 Convertible Car Seat|
|Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat|
|Britax Frontier Clicktight Car Seat|
|Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat|
|Evenflo Maestro Booster Car Seat|
Our Top Pick: Britax Marathon G4.1 Convertible Car Seat – The Safest Car Seat on the Market
The Britax Marathon G4.1 Convertible Car Seat not only looks awesome but it incredibly reliable, super safe and very durable.
It is super quick and easy to install and is sure to grow with your child. It is also super easy to clean and the pads are simple to remove and put back on and are machine washable as well.
This is a great option for parents or grandparents because the ease of use is a cut above the rest!
- 10-point adjustable harness is not rethreaded
- One of the top-rated car seats on the market
- Fits your child’s weight from 5lbs (rear facing) to 65 lbs. (forward facing)
- Not compatible with a stroller
- Doesn’t recline
- No booster seat
Safety: (5 / 5) Ease of Cleaning: (5 / 5) Durability: (5 / 5) Pricing: (5 / 5) Average: (5 / 5)
Our Second Choice: Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat – The Most Convertible Car Seat Available
Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat is noted to be crafted to grow with your children, from as small as 5 lbs (rear facing) to 65 lbs (forward-facing) and 100 lbs (belt positioning booster seat).
It also is super easily adjustable in terms of both the headrest and the harness, which means that your child will always be comfortable and secure, no matter how big they get.
Safety First car seats are always noted to have some of the top safety features, and this is certainly one of the finest available on the market.
- Adjustable three-position recline
- Has harness holders that keep the harness open, which makes getting your child in and out of the car seat super easy
- Two integrated cup holders
- Super easy to clean, with easy to remove pads that are machine washable
- Fits pretty tight in smaller vehicles
- Not stroller compatible
Safety: (5.0 / 5) Ease of Cleaning: (5.0 / 5) Durability: (4.0 / 5) Pricing: (4.5 / 5) Average: (4.6 / 5)
Our Third Choice: Britax Frontier Clicktight Car Seat – Most Durable Car Seat For 3 Years Old Kids
Britax Frontier Clicktight Car Seat is one of the longest lasting car seats available on the market, fitting kids upwards of 120 lbs in the booster position.
It also is top rated for its incredible safety features as well, with a steel frame, 2 layers that provide side impact protection, harness that reduces forward movement and an impact-absorbing base.
This seat is insanely comfortable for your little one as well!
- Easily transitions from 9-position harness (that is never rethreaded) to a belt-position booster
- Easily installs
- Secure fit
- No rear facing compatibility
- No adjustable headrest
Safety: (5.0 / 5) Ease of Cleaning: (4.0 / 5) Durability: (4.0 / 5) Pricing: (4.5 / 5) Average: (4.4 / 5)
Our Fourth Choice: Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat – The Most User-Friendly Car Seat
Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat is truly built to last and is highly regarded for its durability and also ease of use. It looks great and fits in virtually any sized vehicle.
It’s a bit more on the higher end of the price range, but if you can find it priced on sale (or the regular price fits your budget) this is going to be a great option for your 3-year-old!
- 4-position extension panel gives your child 5″ of extra legroom
- Simply Safe Adjust Harness System which can adjust the headrest and harness in one simple motion
- Easy installation
- 6-position recline
- Super sturdy frame
- 10-position headrest
- Super hard to remove/replace the cover and wash
Safety: (5 / 5) Ease of Cleaning: (2 / 5) Durability: (5 / 5) Pricing: (4 / 5) Average: (4 / 5)
Our Fifth Choice: Evenflo Maestro Booster Car Seat – The Lightest Car Seat Around
Evenflo Maestro Booster Car Seat is super light-weight and it fits in most standard sized vehicles without a problem, is easy to install, and provides your child with a ton of legroom, which is very helpful for fast-growing little ones!
This one is also very affordable making it a great option to save you the time and hassle of having to change out car seats between vehicles. It looks great and has a top safety rating as well!
- A 2-in-1 combination car seat that adjusts to fit
- Incredibly comfortable with secure padding throughout
- Extends to fit upwards of 110lbs
- Top rated for safety
- Feels a bit flimsy
Safety: (5 / 5) Ease of Cleaning: (4 / 5) Durability: (3 / 5) Pricing: (4 / 5) Average: (4 / 5)
Car Seat Types
To start, it is of the utmost importance to understand some of the things that you need to take into some pretty serious consideration when it comes to narrowing down what specifics you should look for in a car seat.
If your child is ready to make the transition from rear facing to forward facing, you are going to want to consider investing in a forward facing car seat with a 5 point harness.
There are very forward facing car seats available that are not either a booster seat or a combination seat.
And if you are looking to save some money, in the long run, opting for a forward facing/booster car seat is going to be your best option.
3 Years Old’s Transition To High Back Booster Car Seat
A lot of these seats can conveniently transition from a harnessed car seat to a high-back booster seat to be used with a seatbelt, and then to a booster seat that is backless.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that your child stays in a rear-facing seat for as long as possible.
If you are seeking to be able to interact more and actually see your child from your rearview mirror, however, you may be interested in checking out some of the top-ranked forward-facing car seats that are reliable, dependable and sure to keep your child safe at all times.
What Are The Most Important Factors in Buying a Car Seat For 3-Year-Old?
When it comes down to selecting the best car seat for your child, there are three main factors that you should take into consideration before investing in a car seat.
Those factors are durability, ease of cleaning and, of course, safety. Here we’ll be examining those vital features a bit more in depth.
Car Seat Safety
Booster seats are created to raise your child up so that they are able to sit high up enough where your vehicle’s seat belt will strap them in properly (across both the shoulder and the lap).
Your child’s shoulders and head shoulders also need to be fully supported. If the seats in your vehicle are high enough, you can most certainly opt for investing in a backless booster seat and, more often than not, your existing headrest can offer plenty of support as well.
However, if your child’s head extends above the back of your vehicle’s seats than you will want to be sure that you select a high-backed booster seat for both comfort and safety.
You will also want to ensure that the booster seat you are considering offers plenty of cushion support which can help in supporting your child’s body in the event of a car accident.
Be sure to opt for a car seat that keeps your child strapped in tightly and that they slide around as little as possible.
It should be noted that your little one is going to be using their booster seat for quite a while, so it is important to put some careful consideration into making sure that you are choosing the right one for their needs.
A combo seat, as previously noted, is going to be one of the best options for you because it is a worthy investment in terms of how long it will last you.
Keep in mind that you are going to want to choose the most durable car seat (or combination seat) that is sure to be able to grow with your child and also last as long as they are going to need it for as well.
Ease of Cleaning
Spills are inevitable. Even if you do not permit your child to have food, drinks or snacks in your vehicle, messes still happen!
That is precisely why you are going to want to seek out a car seat that can easily be wiped down without actually having to remove the cover for quick clean-ups, and also one where the pad can easily be removed and tossed into your washing machine to tackle tough stains.
Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of car seat should my 3-year old be in?
This is a commonly asked question and knowing when your child is ready for a forward-facing seat or a booster seat is based specifically on your child’s personal weight and height, as well as your states, own laws, and regulations.
How long should a child be in a 5-point harness?
Your child should remain in a forward-facing 5-point harness car seat between the ages of 4 and 7. Once your child reaches the recommended height and weight requirement, they can then move up to a booster seat that works with your cars seat belts.
Is a 5-point harness safer than a booster?
Yes. A 5-point harness is safer for your child because it straps them in at 5 different parts of contact on their body (shoulder to shoulder, hip to hip, and crotch). When your child is properly secured in their 5-point harness it prevents them from moving out of their seated position.
Get The Car Seat That Meets Your Child’s Needs
There are most certainly a number of things that you will want to consider when it comes to choosing the perfect car seat for your 3-year-old to meet the needs of your child, who is ready to move from rear-facing to forward-facing.
Be sure to put forth a bit of research in terms of ensuring that the combination car seat or forward-facing/booster seat is going to be one that is not only the safest option.
But also one that is the most durable, easy to clean and reliable option for both you and your child.