No parent gets excited about car seats.
They’re hard to install, a hassle to set up, and a pain to strap your kid into.
This problem only becomes more apparent as your child grows, especially with the terrible twos.
Finding a safe, affordable, multipurpose car seat isn’t easy, but finding one that also suits a two-year-old can seem downright impossible.
With that said, we found the best solution.
The Evenflo Sonus 65 is the best car seat for 2-year olds. Due to its portability, comfort and medium price, we couldn’t find any other that checked more boxes.
In this guide, you’ll learn all you need to know about car seats for two-year-olds, including the 11 best car seats, car seat laws, and common car seat mistakes to avoid.
What Kind Of Car Seat Should A 2 Year Old Be In?
Two is a tricky age to work with when it comes to finding a suitable car seat. It generally comes down to your kid’s weight and height rather than just age.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends kids stay in rear-facing car seats for as long as possible as it is the safest position.
However, a leggy two-year-old isn’t going to fit in a rear-facing car seat.
Forward-facing harness car seats are the next step after rear-facing. They usually accommodate two-year-olds better and are very safe. Convertible car seats make this switch super easy.
What to Avoid
Don’t switch to a forward-facing car seat if you don’t have to. Putting a kid that is too short or too light in a forward-facing car seat is quite dangerous.
You should always adhere to state law but follow federal recommendations first as some state laws are quite lax and, frankly, unsafe.
The biggest mistake to avoid is not following the seat’s manual. If it says there’s a weight limit of 65 pounds and your kid weighs 75, you need to upgrade.
Similarly, don’t put a kid in a booster seat if they are only 20 pounds and 25 inches.
Lastly, do your research to make sure the seat you are buying is up-to-date and legal. Many illegal car seats look safe but don’t meet US standards.
What Is The Best Car Seat For 2-Year-Old Children?
Two-year-olds are a fussy lot.
They need safety and security but also comfort and freedom.
These car seats are the best of the best, offering room to grow and move without sacrificing safety or childproofing mechanics.
Here are the 11 best car seats for two-year-old children.
1. Evenflo Sonus 65 Convertible Car Seat
As far as design goes, this car seat is fairly compact. It’s roomy enough to be comfortable but not so bulky that it becomes a hassle to move.
The Evenflo Sonus 65 Convertible Car Seat takes the number one spot as the best overall car seat for several reasons.
It’s a middle-of-the-road item as far as cost is concerned, so you won’t be splurging on something you’ll only need for a few years, and it isn’t worryingly cheap, so you don’t have to question its safety features.
Weighting just 11.5 pounds and measuring 19.23 x 19.13 x 29.63 inches, this car seat is quite portable and will fit in any car.
It has a maximum forward-facing weight limit of 65 pounds and a rear-facing weight limit of 40 pounds.
This seat is fully tested for all possible accidents, including side impacts and rollovers.
The installation is straightforward, and the harness has six adjustment points to keep your child fitted snugly as they grow.
The harness also has a quick-adjust to fit it properly for your child.
The seat features dual cup holders, machine-washable fabric, and a variety of positioning.
High maximum weight
Front and rear-facing
No strap pads
2. Graco Extend2Fit Convertible
Coming in on the upper side of the price range, the Extend2Fit is the best of the best when it comes to safety.
If you’re looking for the all-time safest car seat, then you’re going to want to get the Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat.
This car seat is ideal for frequent driving in high-traffic areas, off-road, and on highways.
If you live somewhere where car accidents are a regular occurrence, you will want to invest in this car seat to protect your little one.
It’s passed every crash test and will keep your kid safe from front, rear, side, and rollover accidents.
Another fabulous feature of this car seat is that you can adjust it as your kid grows.
It has a rear-facing weight limit of 50 pounds and a forward-facing weight limit of 65 pounds. There is a four-position extension panel to provide an extra 5 inches of legroom.
The harness and headrest adjust together for faster fitting, and the harness comes equipped with neck pads. There are also two cup holders.
Altogether the seat weighs 22.61 pounds and measures 24.8 x 22.24 x 19.1 inches.
Comes with neck pads
Difficult to tighten the harness
3. Cosco Scenera Next DLX
While safety is the primary concern, you may also need to make allowances for price. Not everyone can afford designer car seats.
The Cosco Scenera Next DLX Convertible Car Seat is the perfect option for those working on a budget who still want to keep their kid secure.
The Cosco Scenera is the most affordable car seat on the market. It has no bells or whistles and is strictly designed to keep kids safe.
The seat accommodates up to 40 pounds rear-facing and forward-facing. It measures 17.63 x 15.75 x 30.25 inches and only weighs 10.4 pounds.
The harness is standard and easy to adjust, and the chair does come with one cupholder. This car seat is ideal for those looking for a basic design that is easy to transport.
Comes in many fun colors and patterns
Very adjustable straps
No strap pads
4. Cosco Finale DX 2 in 1 Booster
The seat design resembles an armchair, making it a more comfortable place for your child to relax and sleep during long car rides.
Nothing is harder than dealing with a fussy toddler when you need to get in the car and go. That’s why car seats like the Cosco Finale DX 2 in 1 Booster Car Seat are so important.
The Cosco Finale DX 2 in 1 Booster Car Seat is the most comfortable car seat for two-year-olds.
This car seat measures 28.5 x 18 x 21.5 inches and weighs 11 pounds. It can accommodate children up to 30 pounds rear-facing and 65 pounds forward-facing.
It has a soft cup holder. The harness has five adjustment points and in its second mode, with the belt booster, it can hold up to 100 pounds. Despite the form choose, the seat ensures the comfort of the child.
No lumpy pillows are sticking out in odd places or hard plastic surfaces to contend with.
Front and rear-facing
No neck pads
5. Graco 4Ever 4 in 1
It can act as an infant car seat with or without plush inserts, a high back or backless booster seat, a forward or rear-facing chair, or a reclining seat.
The Graco 4ever 4-in-1 Car Seat is a versatile convertible car seat with a bit of everything.
Rear-facing the chair can handle up to 40 pounds of weight, 65 pounds forward-facing, 100 pounds as a high-back booster seat, and 120 pounds as a backless booster. It measures 30.94 x 24 x 19.6 inches. The seat weighs 49.6 pounds with all pieces included.
The seat has an adjustable headrest and harness that move together with 10 positions, removable washable covers, two cup holders, and six positions of recline.
Four styles of seat
Good for a wide age range
The release can be hard to reach
6. Evenflo Evolve Platinum 3-in-1
It has a versatile three-in-one design that allows it to act as a harness booster, high-back booster, or backless booster seat.
The Evenflo Evolve Platinum 3-in-1 Combination Booster Seat is the best booster seat on the market.
The seat can handle up to 120 pounds and weighs 20 pounds. It measures 20 x 19.5 x 27.8 inches.
This seat is ideal for any fast-growing two-year-old.
High max weight
Good for a wide age range
Can be too narrow for some kids
7. Graco Contender 65
The seat has a five-point adjustable harness, energy-absorbing foam, latch equipment, an eight-position headrest, and a cup holder.
The Graco Contender 65 Convertible Car Seat is another affordable option for parents looking for a compact design.
This car seat weighs 20.24 pounds and measures 21.14 x 20.8 x 26 inches. It can accommodate up to 40 pounds rear-facing and 65 pounds forward-facing.
The overall design is very compact and sleek. It works as a unit and integrates all parts seamlessly.
A compact design fit for travel
Front and rear-facing
Easy to use
A little heavy for the size
8. Britax Boulevard ClickTight Convertible Car Seat
The high-performance fabric is made with 30% bamboo charcoal that wicks away moisture and keeps the seat comfortable and dry.
If you’re looking to spoil your kid with all the fixings and have extra money to burn, the Britax Boulevard ClickTight Convertible Car Seat is just the luxury item you need.
This car seat comes with everything you could ask for.
The special Britax Cool N Dry fabric keeps kids cool with improved airflow, feels as soft as silk, and is immensely comfortable.
This seat works for rear and forward-facing setups and has two layers of side-impact protection. The headrest is adjustable, and the seat reclines.
This car seat weighs 30.2 pounds, so it’s quite heavy compared to other seats. It also measures 28.74 x 18.9 x 17.91 inches.
The maximum weight for rear-facing is 40 pounds, and the maximum weight for forward-facing is 65 pounds.
Easy to install
Easy harness adjustment
9. Diono Monterey XT 2-in-1
With an expandable height adjustment of up to 69% or 6.5 inches, your child can comfortably fit this seat as they grow.
While all modern car seats have excellent side-impact protection, Diono Monterey XT 2-in-1 High Back Booster Car Seat goes the extra mile.
This seat can also be a backless booster. Additionally, it features two retractable cup holders. The covers are machine washable, too.
The overall design is slim and lightweight, weighing 15.21 pounds. It measures 17.52 x 22 x 27.17 inches.
The side pads come forward much farther than most car seats to provide extra side-impact protection, but they will block your kid’s peripheral view and, therefore, may cause carsickness in sensitive children.
Very comfortable to sleep in
Enhanced side-impact protection
Not good for kids that get carsick
10. Baby Trend Hybrid 3-in-1
This car seat can extend and adjust to match children of any height, even those 99th percentile kiddos.
The Baby Trend Hybrid Plus 3-in-1 Booster Car Seat is the best car seat for tall and rapidly-growing kids.
This car seat is a three-in-one affair that can act as a harnessed car seat, a high-back booster, or a backless booster seat.
The headrest can raise in height to accommodate kids from 29 to 57 inches in height and 22 to 100 pounds in weight.
For smaller kids, the harness has three height positions, and the removable pads are reversible. There are also two integrated cup holders. The harness and armrests are padded, too.
This car seat is also quite affordable and comes in a few different colors and patterns. It weighs only 7.17 pounds and measures 21.5 x 19.5 x 29.75 inches.
Perfect for tall and rapidly-growing kids
Large weight and height range
Difficult to install
11. Evenflo Maestro Sport Harness Booster Car Seat
It comes in four colors, has two cup holders and snack trays, has a removable headrest for smaller kids, and features a shoulder belt guide.
The Evenflo Maestro Sport Harness Booster Car Seat is the best if you’re looking for one that you can hand down to kid after kid or offer to other parents.
This durable car seat can hold up for as long as you need it to and longer.
This seat weighs 12.5 pounds and measures 17 x 19 x 27.5 inches, so it’s quite easy to move.
It can handle a maximum weight of 110 pounds and act as a harnessed car seat or a high-back booster.
Part of what makes this seat so durable is its high weight limit and the fact that it’s one solid unit; there are fewer parts to get broken or lost along the way.
Very durable and long-lasting
No neck pads
2-Year-Old Car Seat Law
Child car seat law varies wildly by state. Here is a helpful site to check the specific laws in your home state.
In general, the US Department of Transportation recommends that all children under two be in a rear-facing car seat as it’s the safest position.
If your child’s height and weight allow it, they recommend keeping your kid in a rear-facing seat as long as possible.
A forward-facing harnessed car seat is the next phase and can be used from ages one to seven depending on the height and weight of your kid.
Some two-year-olds may be too tall or heavy to continue using a rear-facing car seat and may need to switch to forward-facing.
Convertible car seats are great for this.
Booster seats are only recommended for kids four to twelve, again, depending on weight and height.
Always follow the laws of your state and the guide that comes with your particular car seat.
Foldable Car Seat For 2-Year-Old
Foldable car seats are a tricky subject.
While properly regulated foldable car seats that meet the NHTSA FMVSS 213 standard are safe and legal, many foldable car seats aren’t.
Always read the full description and reviews before purchasing any car seat.
If the car seat doesn’t have a rigid back, looks more akin to a seat cover, relies entirely on the seat belt as a strap, or straps onto the seat in any way that looks flimsy, it’s probably not legal or safe.
Additionally, most foldable car seats are booster seats and have a higher weight and head requirement, making them unsuitable for younger and smaller kids like two-year-olds.
While buying something your child will soon grow out of may seem like a waste, keeping your kid safe should be your number one priority.
Take preventative measures and invest in the best car seat for your two-year-old. It may be the thing that saves their life, so choose wisely.