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If you find yourself in the market for a new car seat for a 1-year-old, you might be quite confused with all the different options available!

There seem to be so many different car seats to choose from. You want to ensure you choose one that is not only safe for your child, but which is portable and easy to travel with if you spend a lot of time on the go.

Your 1-year-old will probably be growing out of their infant car seat and need something a little bigger soon. However, you don’t want to buy something too bulky that makes traveling difficult, and you would want to look for a convertible car seat that they can use for a good few years.

Do you need a portable car seat for your 1-year-old?

If you travel as a family and find yourself moving the car seat around often, then you do need to purchase a portable car seat for your toddler.

When choosing the right portable car seat, you need to ensure that it is lightweight, simple to use, and last your child a few years, providing essential support for your little 1-year-old.

How To Choose A Portable Car Seat For Your 1-Year-Old

Choosing a car seat for your 1-year-old doesn’t have to be too difficult. With a few factors to keep in mind, you can choose the perfect portable car seat!

Here are some considerations when purchasing a portable car seat:


It is essential to choose a lightweight car seat to travel with. If you choose one which is too heavy, you might end up never using it or hate the fact that you have to haul it around the airport!

Some wonderful portable car seats weigh under 15lbs and still offer premium safety for your toddler.

Easy To Use

Do not choose a car seat that takes ages to set up and ages to strap your child in before you can get going. Make sure that the car seat has a good 5-point harness system and that it can be put together easily.

Safety Features

You are using a car seat to keep your 1-year-old safe, so it makes sense to choose one that has good safety features. Make sure it passes industry standards and that it is strong enough to give your child the best protection possible.

Your 1-year-old is still in the phase between baby and toddler, so they do need some extra support. Try to find a car seat that provides this support and then which can be converted to change as they grow.


If you are using the portable car seat for traveling, it will mean that your child will be in the car seat for extended periods of time. Because of this, you need to make sure that it is comfortable for your child to sit (and maybe sleep) in for long periods. This will make traveling more enjoyable for everyone!

Easy To Clean

You know that 1-year-olds aren’t the cleanest eaters and drinkers around, so expect there to be some mess on the car seat at some point! Make sure the car seat is easy to clean. It should either have mesh material that can be spot cleaned or removable covers that can be placed in the washer.

The Best Portable Car Seats For 1-Year-Olds

Below are the best portable car seats for your 1-year-old, that will not only make traveling a pleasure but which will keep your little one safe and in their seat!

Cosco Apt 50 Convertible Car Seat

The Cosco Apt 50 Convertible Car Seat is such a great option for your 1-year-old. Not only will it provide them with a comfortable and safe seat while traveling, but it will last for a good few years as well.

This car seat has 2 different modes of use. It can accommodate infants from 5 pounds up to 40 pounds in a rear-facing mode, and toddlers up to 50 pounds in front-facing mode. Your 1-year-old can start off rear-facing for safety and move to front-facing as they grow.

Using LATCH, this portable car seat can be securely placed in a car, taxi, or plane seat, and stay in place during the duration of your travel. A 5-point harness system adjusts easily from the front of the seat for added convenience.

There are 6 harness heights and 3 buckle locations to better fit your child as they grow and their needs change.

The cover is easily removed, can be washed in the machine, and can then be placed in the dryer, keeping it as clean as possible!

The Cosco Apt 50 Convertible Car Seat is certified to be used on an aircraft and being lightweight, it is ideal to travel with.

Click here to view this product on Amazon.

Cosco Mighty Fit 65 DX Convertible Car Seat

Once again, you cannot go wrong with a Cosco Car Seat for safety and for ease of use when traveling.

There are 2 different modes of use with the Cosco Mighty Fit 65 DX Convertible Car Seat. It can be used rear-facing for your 1-year-old and forward-facing for older kids. The max weight for the car seat is 65 pounds, so it will last your child for many years.

A 5-point harness is used to keep your child safe and secure, and it can easily be set in place from the front of the seat. There are 5 different harness heights and 3 buckle locations which can be changed as your child grows.

Built-in side impact protection keeps your little one safe during your travels. While as safe as possible, the portable car seat has been designed to be the right size to give you extra legroom if you are sitting next to your child in their car seat – which is always welcomed on a plane!

Plush padding and premium fabric make the Cosco Car Seat incredibly comfortable for your child, from 1-year-old and onwards.

The cover is removable and machine washable and dryer safe, and you can spot clean the fabric if there are any spills or messes.

Weighing under 13 pounds, it is a lightweight car seat that is both comfortable and safe, making it perfect to take along on your travels or when catching a taxi to run errands with your little busy-body in tow.

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Tribute LX Convertible Car Seat

The Tribute LX Convertible Car Seat was made to provide a safe seat for your child on the go, no matter where you are traveling to.

There is a travel and storage bag available to be bought with the car seat, which allows you to easily carry it along on your journey.

The car seat has been designed and tested for structural integrity at nearly 2x the crash test standard, so there is no doubt that it will keep your child protected.

For your 1-year-old, you are able to use the rear-facing option and when they are old enough and ready, you can convert the car seat to forward-facing. Both options are easy to set up and quick to strap your child in, whether it be in a car or on a plane.

An upfront harness adjustment and buckle release give you the freedom to adjust and clip in your child from the front, with little fuss needed with straps and clips.

The integrated body cushion gives added comfort to your child, which is important for longer trips when comfort is definitely needed. There is also a removable head cushion for your child to use later on.

Click here to view this product on Amazon.

Evenflo EveryFit 4-In-1 Convertible Car Seat

The Evenflo EveryFit 4-In-1 Convertible Car Seat comes highly recommended as a travel car seat, and for good reason.

It offers your child protection for up to 10 years and is perfectly suited to be used by your 1-year-old. It can be used as an infant seat, a high-back booster, and a no-back booster seat to see to your child’s changing needs.

There are four different modes, which include a rear-facing harness that accommodates children weighing between 4 and 40 pounds. There are also 3 different recline positions to provide ultimate comfort.

Innovative cooling mesh fabric is used to be breathable while your child is on the chair, and it keeps them cool and comfortable during long trips. A cup holder is found on either side of the chair, with a removable snack tray as well.

A one-hand movable headrest can be set in 12 different positions and can be adjusted easily with little effort.

While the car seat is a little heavier – weighing in at around 19 pounds – the convenience it offers and the extended years of use is worth the little bit of extra effort.

Check out this product on Amazon by clicking here.

Disney Baby Apt 50 Convertible Car Seat

The Disney Baby Apt 50 Convertible Car Seat will be your little one’s favorite travel accessory! It is available in two sweet Minnie Mouse themes or the signature red Mickey Mouse theme.

The car seat allows for extended use and is suitable to be used as rear-facing for between 5 and 40 pounds, and forward-facing between 22 and 50 pounds.

You can easily remove the seat pad and place it in the washing machine for easy cleaning and maintenance between trips. The 5-point harness can be adjusted from the front, making it easy to adjust on the go.

There are 6 different harness heights and 3 buckle locations to adjust to your child’s changing size.

The extra-lightweight design of the car seat makes it easy to transport, and it comes with an adjustable stay-in-car base for your own vehicle. However, the car seat can be used without the base on a plane or in a taxi.

To view this product on Amazon, click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should my 1-year-old be in a rear-facing car seat?

Your 1-year-old should continue to be in a rear-facing car seat until after they are 3 years old. This does not mean that you have to only use a rear-facing car seat.

At around this age, you can look at purchasing a convertible car seat which can be used as a forward-facing chair later on.

Can my child be forward-facing in a car seat?

It is best to keep your child in a rear-facing car seat until they are old enough to be forward-facing. This is usually when they reach a certain weight, which is indicated with the car seat you will be using.

Does my 1-year-old need a car seat when traveling?

Whether you are traveling by plane or car, it is safest to have them buckled into a car seat. They are too little to withstand any crash force on their own, and it is essential that they have the extra protection. It also keeps them still and in one place!

Choosing The Best Portable Car Seat For Your 1-Year-Old

Your 1-year-old still needs good support from their car seat, but they are likely ready to move up to a bigger seat. Choose one which is lightweight and compact, but which will give them the comfort and support they need while being the right size for them and lasting for a few years.

It seems like a lot to ask for, but there are some great options above that offer all of this!

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Rebecca Brown_One of the stuff4tots authors
Rebecca Brown

Rebecca Brown is a mom to two and writer on all things parenting. She has been focussed on content creation and article writing for the last four years, drawing on the inspiration she gets from her own experience as a mother, and the expansive research the job requires.

When not writing, you can find Rebecca outside with the kids, or hidden away enjoying a good cup of coffee!