7 Best Car Seats For 3-Year-Olds To Have Safe Travel In 2022


When traveling in a car with your toddler, you must take every precaution. A car seat is a must-have if you often travel with a baby or toddler. The best car seat for a 3-year-old lets you comfortably strap the baby in place, thus removing any risk of fall or impact in case of a sharp turn or sudden brake.

Car seats for toddlers come in different varieties, and often, you’ll have to check if they would fit your car. Read on as we have listed some of the best car seats you can bring home and install in your car for your three-year-old. We also tell you the benefits of car seats and tell you how to select the best car seat for your toddler. So, keep scrolling.

Types Of Car Seats

There are different types of car seats available in the market as follows.

  • Rear-facing car seats are suitable for infants and toddlers up to 40 pounds. This provides the safest seating position for babies and toddlers.
  • Forward-facing seats come with a three-point or five-point safety harness. These are suitable for children up to 65 pounds.
  • Booster seats are suitable for children older than five years or exceeding the weight and height limit of a forward-facing harness seat. There are also back support booster seats that are safe and comfortable than the booster seats with no back support.
  • Convertible car seats are convertible from one face to another or a booster seat. These seats can last longer as they grow with your child.

Benefits Of Using The Car Seats For Three-Year-Olds

Using a car seat for a three-year-old can provide the following benefits:

  1. Saves your child during an accident
  2. Helps reduce the risk of severe injuries up to 80% and fatality by 28%
  3. Positions your child during the long rides and helps them take a quick nap
  4. Makes them independent and active in the car
  5. Help reduce their movement and is safe for them when sudden breaks are applied

7 Best Car Seats For A Three-Year-Old

1. Best Convertible: Safety 1st Grow And Go All-In-One Convertible Car Seat

Safety 1st grow and go convertible car seat can keep your child in the rear-facing position up to 40 pounds, front-facing position up to 65 pounds, and in booster position up to 100 pounds. This convertible seat grows along with your child. In all three positions, the padding is comfortable for your baby to sit and rest the head.

The harness is easy to buckle your child in front and rear positions and will keep your child safe. Provides seven inches extra room in the front as it occupies less space. The two cup holders in the car seat make on-the-go feeding easy and comfortable. The height recommendations for the rear-facing is 19 to 40 inches and for the forward-facing is 29 to 49 inches. If you want to find out more about this product and its usage, make sure to check out this review on YouTube.


  • Exceeds federal safety standards
  • Side impact protection
  • Adjustable harness and headrest
  • Five-point safety harness with open adjustment
  • Easy in and out with the held-back harness holder
  • Three-position seat recliner
  • Easy to clean the machine-washable seat pad
  • Dishwasher-safe cup holders


  • Could be difficult to install in some smaller vehicles
  • Doesn’t fit three across the back seat


2. Best With Adjustable Headrest: Graco Atlas 65 Two In One Booster Car Seat

When your child is ready to shift into the forward seating position, this car seat from Graco will make the transition easy with safety features. This is a two-in convertible seat that can convert to a high-back booster seat from the forward positioning harness seat. It has a five-point safety harness to keep your child safe during a ride.

The car seat includes two cup holders to serve an easy on-the-go drink for your little one. The weight recommendations for the forward positioning is 25 to 65 pounds and for the high-back belt-positioning booster, it is 30 to 100 pounds. The design meets the US safety standards. If you need further convincing, check this YouTuber’s review out.


  • No-rethread adjustable harness and headrest with one hand
  • Ten positions adjustable headrest
  • Inbuilt harness storage
  • Machine-washable seat pad, harness, and buckle covers
  • Two-position seat recline


  • No rear seating position


3. Best Travel-Friendly: Safety 1st Guide 65 Convertible Car Seat

Guide 65 convertible car seat from Safety 1st is convertible to two seating positions based on your child’s safety requirement. This car seat can hold your baby in the rear-facing position until your baby reaches 40 pounds and can be converted to a front-facing position when your child is ready to shift.

The car seat comes with an inbuilt removable cup holder for easy maintenance. The height specifications for the rear-facing position are 19 to 40 inches and for the front-facing is 29 to 49 inches. The adjustable headrest and removable body pillows can keep your growing child comfortable with no compromise in safety. Check out the review of this product on YouTube to know why it is one of the best out there.


  • Five-point safety harness
  • Side impact protection
  • Open front easy harness adjustment
  • Meets safety standards
  • Ease of installation
  • Lightweight and travel-friendly


  • Not convertible to a booster seat
  • Non-adjustable seat recline


4. Best Easy-To-Install: Maxi Cosi Pria Three In One Convertible Car Seat

Pria three-in-one convertible car seat from Maxi Cosi can be used right from birth until your child reaches the weight of 100 pounds. You can place your baby in the rear-facing position up to 40 pounds and then you can shift to the forward-facing position. When your child exceeds the height and weight limit of the harness seat, you can shift them to a booster seat. This car seat meets all the safety standards and can keep your child safe and comfortable through the years.


  • Easy-to-install one-click latch system
  • Gcell foam side impact protection
  • One hand headrest adjustment to five positions
  • Adjustable harness
  • Harness holders keep the buckles out of your way
  • Three-position seat recline
  • Sturdy and durable
  • Soft and comfortable cushioning
  • Dishwasher-safe cup holders


  • Occupies more space
  • Difficult to clean


5. Best Stylish Design: Kidsembrace Combination Booster Car Seat

Kidsembracecar seat is made of a pretty Minnie mouse design. This convertible car seat is perfect for children who are ready for a forward-facing position. The five-point safety harness will keep your child safe and comfortable in the weight range of 22 to 65 pounds.

When your child outgrows the limit, you can shift them to a booster seat until 100 pounds. The height range for harness mode is 29 to 49 inches and for booster-mode is 38 to 57 inches. Its headrest is made from energy-absorbing EPS foam to protect your child from side impact.


  • Easy to install
  • Two cup holders
  • Adjustable headrest to three positions
  • Stylish design
  • Meets the safety standards


  • No rear-facing position


6. Best Colorful: Kidsembrace Cinderella Combination Booster Car Seat

Kidsembrace cinderella car seat is a combination booster car seat available in multiple other prints and colors. This car seat is perfect for children ready for a forward-facing position and can easily convert to a booster seat as they grow.

The height and weight specifications for the forward-facing position are 29 to 49 inches and 22 to 65 pounds, respectively, and for the booster seat, they are 38 to 57 inches and 30 to 100 pounds, respectively. The car seat comes with a five-point safety harness and three harness positioning slots for safety and comfort.


  • Easy to install
  • Detachable cape doubles as a blanket
  • Inbuilt cup holders
  • Three-level headrest adjustment


  • No rear-facing position
  • Uncomfortable for chubby kids


7. Best Side-Impact Protection: Graco Milestone Three In One Car Seat

Graco offers a convertible car seat that grows with your child. It can keep your little one safe through the years as it converts from rear- to forward-facing and then to high-back booster mode. You can buckle up your baby in a rear-facing position up to 40 pounds. Gradually you can shift your child to the forward-facing harness up to 75 pounds and then to the booster seat. The five-point safety harness with headrest and padding will keep your baby safe on a ride. It also comes with a removable cup holder to help your baby have a drink on the go.


  • Easy to install with latch system
  • Four-position seat recline
  • Headrest and harness adjustment at one go
  • Ten-position adjustable headrest
  • Inbuilt harness storage compartment
  • Side impact protection


  • Occupies more space


How To Choose The Right Car Seat For A Three-Year-Old?

Consider the following points before you pick a car seat for your baby.

  1. Harness: Car seats either come with a three-point harness or a five-point harness. A five-point harness is safer than a three-point as it can spread the force during an impact and keeps the child safe.
  1. Impact protection: Look for a car seat with side impact protection to protect your child from a side crash or a hard collision. The cushions around the head and body and the strong seat frame with foam padding will act as shock absorbers and keep your child safe.
  1. Head and neck support: Choose a car seat that has an adjustable headrest and harness. This helps you to adjust the padding according to your child’s height and will support the head and neck as they grow.
  1. Padding and cushion: Choose the well-padded car seat as it will let your baby sit happily during long rides.
  1. Size: Choose a car seat that is compact if you have space issues; otherwise, look for more spacious car seats as they can accommodate your child better.
  1. Durable and convertible: Look for a car seat that is sturdy and will last longer. It is advisable to choose a convertible car seat so that you don’t need to buy a booster seat in later years.
  1. Design and style: Choose vibrant colors with characters to attract your child. It makes them happy and comfortable.
  1. Easy maintenance: Choose a car seat with dark colors, removable cup holders, and washable seat pads to keep the car seat clean and easy to maintain.

Why Trust MomJunction?

After checking the durability, dimensions, and other important features, we have compiled this list of the best car seats for three-year-olds. The list includes detailed descriptions and features to ensure the car seats are safe, durable, high-quality, and have various accessories for your convenience. We also included a buying guide and an FAQ section to help you choose the right product. These car seats are chosen based on user reviews to offer you an unbiased opinion.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How long should a child be in a five-point harness?

A child should be in a five-point harness until they reach the maximum weight and height limit. It is recommended to use the harness as long as possible or until the child reaches the limit of the harness seat.

2. Is a five-point harness safer than a booster?

Yes, the five-point harness is safer than a booster. The booster seats use the seat belt as a restraining system and will have no extra protection and support for the head, neck, and spine.

3. Can I put my three-year-old in a booster seat?

Your little one might look like they are ready for a booster seat at three years, but it is a big no. It is safe for your children to be harnessed as they reach five. So, it is recommended to use either a rear-facing or a forward-facing harness seat for a three-year-old.

4. At what age do you change car seats?

If you are using an infant car seat, you should switch to a convertible car seat once your baby reaches the maximum height and weight limit of the infant car seat. This happens anywhere before two years of age. A three-year-old should be placed in a rear-facing seat position as long as possible until at least four years or when they exceed the limit of height and weight.

5. Does the car seat go behind the driver or passenger?

The car seat should be placed in the back seat and can be placed either behind the driver seat or the passenger seat.

6. When can a child use a three-point seat belt?

It is safe to move the child to a three-point seat belt between the ages of eight to 12 years or when the child reaches the maximum height limit of four feet nine inches (1).

When traveling with a toddler, their safety is the biggest concern for parents. Getting the right car seat for your 3-year-old child will take away that stress as your child is safely seated when you drive. It helps when you look for a car seat with a harness and a secure locking system to stay locked as the baby is seated comfortably. The car seat should also provide impact protection with good neck and head support for a bump-free ride.


MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.

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Vibha Navarathna

Vibha is a coder turned content writer. She holds a Masters degree in Computer Applications from Osmania University, Hyderabad and a certificate in 'Introduction To Child Psychology'. Her passion for writing fresh and informative content made her a full-time writer. Holding certifications in content writing and creative writing, she writes on electronics, baby and health products for MomJunction. Apart from...
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