The Best Car Seat for 1 Year Old with Pros, Cons & Recommendations


Welcome to the Best Car Seat for 1-Year-Old Awards!

After spending the last 2 months testing car seats for one-year-olds with my own baby and talking with other moms, checking reviews, investigating recalls and doing all the chores while sometimes my little one screamed her lungs out while my husband was kicking back and relaxing at home (the check is due honey…), I’m finally ready to reveal which are the best seats.


Finding the perfect car seat for your 1-year-old comes down to three things, how big is your car, how many safety features you want and of course your budget. As soon as you know this it will be super easy to pick one from the list below.

You see I’m on my 3rd rodeo so I have a bit of experience that I love to share. Since it’s been a few years, I’ve thought it would be a great idea to test out what’s the latest and greatest in the car seat department. Best of all I have the perfect candidate to see which are truly the best seats.

I’m ranking the top 7 car seats for 1 year on how safe they are, how comfortable they are, how much cursing you need to get it installed and of course price.

Let me assure you that picking any car seat from the list below is a guaranteed winner these are the best of the best both in safety and comfort.

Let’s see those car seats already!




#1 Diono Radian 3RXT 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat – Best Overall Car Seat for 1 Year Old

We have a WINNER!

After your child has outgrown the infant carrier, the next stage would be the convertible car seat. Now if you want to invest in the future then the Diono is the right choice because it will serve your baby for the next 10 years.

Yes, you won’t need another car seat with this one. It will last as long as they are secured with the seat belt only.

Safety-wise it’s one of the highest-rated car seats. It has everything to keep your little darling safe and sounds no matter what happens. Diono has nailed the design from multiple angles. First of all, it’s so easy for your child to crawl in and out of the seat.

And secondly there’s no floppy head syndrome so your kid’s airways aren’t affected.

Did I mention it allows extended rear-facing? So no wonder it’s the safest.

This is why this car seat got top of my list:

  • Safety and Comfort at its Best: You will be getting all the latest and best safety features so your child will be protected no matter what; plus it’s super comfy and there will be no sound from the back
  • The Last Car Seat You Will Ever Need: This Diono car seat grows with your child so you won’t have to buy a new seat for the next stage; it’s a real money saver
  • 3-across Approved: This car seat has a narrow profile so you can easily do 3 across in most vehicles so no car upgrade is needed

A few drawbacks I’ve found:

Well it’s not the prettiest car seat you will ever own because it has plastic and exposed metal parts but this is not a beauty contest and after installation you can’t even see it.

Confirmed it’s a heavy car seat you won’t be tempted to swap it between vehicles any time soon.

All in all the Diono 3RXT is an excellent choice for a 1-year-old. It has everything that you need and coupled with the easy installation, this is a real winner.

Now the last time I’ve checked there were only a few in stock you need to act quickly or risk waiting for weeks on end for the next shipment.

If you want something cheaper, then check out #2 on my list.

  • It has all the safety features that you will ever need plus there’s an ARB as well
  • It’s a GAME CHANGER chair that lasts for ten years
  • It’s not a baby seat this car seat is a beauty the colors are so alive
  • It’s a challenge to transfer in and out from the car
  • It’s a wide chair, and three-across will not be possible


#2 Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat – Best Convertible Car Seat For 1 Year Old

This is by far one of my favorite car seats. It has incredible safety ratings plus has plenty of padding and even comes with a footrest for extra comfort. From the looks of it, the kids have a better seat than I do.

The #1 frustration with car seats after being heavy and bulky is the installation. Now Graco has nailed this part to the T. I can assure you that you won’t be tempted to throw it across the yard or swear so much that the neighbors would think that you’re a foul-mouth sailor.

The installation is quick, easy and as straightforward as possible. Did I mention that it’s a budget-friendly convertible car seat?

Oh yes Graco manages to deliver all the best safety features packed with comfort without an insane price tag.

This is why it’s a must-buy:

  • Extended Rear Facing for Safety: You child can ride in rear-facing mode until 50 pounds around 4 years of age and that’s the safest travel position
  • So Comfy that I Want To Sit in It: I’m not joking it even comes with leg support, this isn’t a car seat it’s a La-Z-boy for the car
  • No More Throwing the Seat Across the Yard: Finally a car seat that’s easy to install without any frustration and swearing

Here are a few drawbacks to consider:

This is a big and wide seat so if you’re hoping to do 3 across you will need to get a different car seat because this isn’t it.

I wish Graco would’ve made a better release button because it’s not that easy to operate, I had a lot of difficulties while accessing it with my fingers

You can’t go wrong with the Graco Extend2Fit car seat. It not only will keep your child safe from harm with the extended rear-facing mode but it will serve for many years to come because it grows with your child.

The secret is out and now everybody wants their Graco Extend2fit car seat. This means that you have to move fast or risk missing out on a great car seat such as this.

  • It’s one of the easiest to install can be done in less than 5 minutes
  • There’s no manual rethreading of the straps ever
  • The fabric is easy to wash even after a vomiting incident
  • The release button is hidden, and if you have big hands it’s hard to reach
  • You need to watch videos to put the fabric back into place


#3 CYBEX Sirona S – The Safest Car Seat For 1 Year Old

And I thought car seats can’t be upgraded after a certain point and that’s when the Cybex Sirona appeared.

This car seat has brought a whole new level to the game. This car seat swivels. This means that with a simple push of a button you can turn it from rear-facing to front-facing mode. No painful and hard seat reconfiguration is needed.

This will make loading and unloading your child so simple. Best of all if you happen to have low back pain those nerves won’t be irritated anymore.

Plus this car seat comes with special sensors which will alert you if your child is too hot and if you accidentally left them there.

There were a few comments that this seat wobbles. It shouldn’t. If it does it means that it’s not installed correctly. In these cases I highly recommend seeking professional help.

No matter from which angle you’re looking at it this is an engineering masterpiece.

This is why it’s a must-buy:

  • High Safety Ratings: This car seat is simply one of the best and safest ones to get for your child plus it has a load leg that will absorb the shockwaves if the worst happens
  • The Finest Luxury: Not only this car seat is super comfy relaxing your child immediately but it comes with sensors that alert you if it’s getting too hot for your child
  • Miracle Seat: With a simple push of a button it can be turned from rear to front-facing and loading and unloading will be a godsend without lower back pain

Here are a few drawbacks to consider:

You definitely need a budget for this seat because it’s the most expensive one you can get and the price is justified!

Since it’s a swivel chair, you won’t be able to remove your sleeping baby out of it, so I highly recommend getting it after reaching toddlerhood.

I was simply blown away by the Cybex Sirona it’s one of the best car seats to get for your child. You can’t go wrong with it.

Even though it has a high price, people are grabbing it like hotcakes, so you need to take action now if you want to get it as soon as possible.

  • Every possible safety feature is added and it even comes with a load leg
  • Filled with sensors that will keep your child from overheating or left behind
  • It makes loading and unloading kids a child’s play
  • Not recommended for sleeping infants because the seat is hard to remove
  • It’s an expensive car seat you will need a budget for it


#4 Graco 4Ever DLX – Best 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat for 1 year olds

By far it’s the best 3-in-1 convertible seat for 1 year olds. It has everything that your child needs to keep him safe and comfy on the road.

Being a 3-in-1 car seat you will be able to use it from infancy all the way to early adulthood. Now I have some exciting news for 1 year olds and safety conscious parents.

It’s one of the safest car seats plus it allows extended rear-facing up to 50 pounds or until age 4. We all know that rear-facing offers the best protection possible and many European countries require it. Did I mention the huge legroom for rear-facing? Wow I was blown away.

The fabric is breathable so your child won’t get sweaty even in the Arizona heat. 

I know that 1 year olds have occasional accidents been there and done that, but now the good news is that the padding can be easily removed, washed and added back in.

This is why it’s a must-buy:

  • Built Like a Tank: Wow this car seat is as safe as any seat can get plus it allows extended rear-facing up to 50 pounds.
  • No Swearing During Installs: Finally a car seat that won’t force you to do frequent donations in the swear jar because it’s so easy to install
  • Great Lifer Seat on the Budget: Graco managed to nail all the best safety features compounded with comfort and not requiring an arm and a leg to pay for it.

Here are a few drawbacks to consider:

This car seat is big and bulky so there’s no way to do 3-across with this one.

Graco focuses on safety and not the looks so the straps are visible in the back however once installed nobody can tell and your child will enjoy all the safety it has to offer.

This car seat is for anyone who wants a safe long-lasting car seat and they are on the budget. You get everything that major brands offer without the high price tag.

Since it’s a quite popular car seat the stocks are running low. I hate to say this, but you need to act quickly or it will be gone.

  • It’s easy to install might be the easiest of them all no rocket science diploma needed
  • No more rethreading the straps ever; it’s real time saver
  • The fabric removal is super-fast easy to clean and dry plus adding it back in
  • The straps tangle up too fast, and it’s a pain to undo them with a protesting child
  • The cup holders fall off way too easily.


#5 Evenflo EveryFit 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat – Best Car Seat For Toddlers

If you want to save money in the long run you will have to get this car seat.

Not only can you use it from infancy (which I don’t recommend and more on that a bit later) but you can use it as a booster seat for young adults. Best of all you won’t have to pay an arm or a leg to get it.

Evenflo is an ever-growing company. With this new EveryFit car seat there has been a ton of upgrades which this car seat even better.

Finally they have gotten rid of those pesky old-school cheap latches. Now the installation has become a breeze.

As for your one-year-old you can use it both in rear or forward-facing mode, however I highly recommend rear-facing until the 2 age and even longer.

There’s a ton of value plus it’s made in the USA, and it grows with your child so it can be the last car seat that you will ever need.

This is why it’s a must-buy:

  • Safe Car Seat for Toddlers: This car seat comes with a lot of safety features that will keep your child protected no matter what
  • Serious Upgrade: If you look at the previous models you can clearly see that Evenflo has improved many things like the clip and chest buckle is a lot nicer
  • Affordable Car Seat: You’re getting a ton of value with Evenflo and you don’t have to think about getting a second mortgage either

Here are a few drawbacks to consider:

Even though it’s advertised as an all-in-one car seat I highly not getting it for an infant because you won’t be able to remove it easily from the seat and carry your sleeping baby inside.

On the top half, the plastic felt a bit flimsy and I had to be careful not to bend it during the installation.

I really loved the Evenflo EveryFit car seat. It has everything that is needed to keep your child safe on the roads plus it’s super affordable.

For this reason people got wind of it and started buying like crazy. You need to move fast if you want this car seat.

  • Excellent choice for toddlers it will keep them safe no matter what
  • New and improved they have upgraded so many things and it has become super comfy
  • It’s an affordable car seat without they cutting corners the price is a steal
  • Not recommended for infants because you can’t easily get the seat out of the car if they are asleep
  • The plastic could be a lot more durable


#6 Nuna Rava – Best Nuna car seat for One Year Old

This is one of the most luxurious car seats on the market today. From the great looks and excellent safety ratings, this car seat seems to have it all.

I have tested many car seats through these years and in many of them my infant child was crying and when she sat in the Nuna she was quiet and super comfortable. The lining is soft and there’s memory foam in the seat.

We shouldn’t forget that with this car seat, you are keeping your child safe from chemicals and fire retardants.

From the looks of it my kids have better seats than I do.

With the Nuna Rava you’re getting both front and rear-facing options.

This is why it’s a must-buy:

  • Safety First: This car seat comes highly rated for safety, you name it this car seat has it and will serve your child well no matter the situation
  • Skin Friendly: The Nuna Rava is one of the best car seats because it doesn’t contain toxic, dangerous flame retardants so it’s allergic friendly
  • SOOO Comfortable: People at Nuna thought of everything the lining is soft and it’s filled with memory foam they make the best products on the market

Here are a few drawbacks to consider:

It’s luxury at its fines so you definitely need a budget for this car seat because it could break the bank

There’s no beating around the bush this car seat is big and heavy, and it won’t be a great travel companion for this you need to look at my best travel cart seats post.

All in all this Nuna Rava is a great choice for any parent. It has all the safety features ever needed plus it’s so comfortable that there won’t even be a squeak from the back.

Even though it’s an expensive car seat people are lining up to buy it. At the moment they are out of stock check back later and it might be in stock by then. 

  • Highly rated for safety it has everything ever needed to keep your child safe
  • Perfect for allergic or skin sensitive kids since it doesn’t contain harmful chemicals and fire retardants
  • Comfort is out of this world I’m quite envious because my seat isn’t that comfy
  • This car seat wasn’t meant for travelling because it’s big and heavy
  • It’s expensive consider a budget for it

Out of Stock


#7 Joie 360 Spin

Wow simply wow. Ever since I got a taste of the swivel seat I can’t really think any other seat will be safe and comfortable.

With one simple button push, you can turn the seat from rear to front-facing or the other way around. For example, I left my toddler to doze off in his chair and push the button, and she was rear-facing in the safest travel position.

Do you have low back pain? No problem with this swivel seat things will become a lot easier especially getting your child in and out of the seat.

The Joie 360 Spin is a bit higher than the rest of the car seats so your child would be able to look out and enjoy the view and not pester us with different things.

Best of all it comes with extended rear-facing which means that you can have your child facing the rear for a longer period thus keeping them a lot safer.

This is why it’s a must-buy:

The Safest Car Seat: It not only has all the bases covered but it comes with a load leg for added protection

Journeys are Fun Once Again: This car seat is so comfortable that there’s hardly any noise coming from the back

Loading and Unloading is Easy: Say goodbye to the days of back pain after getting your child in and out of the car, everything just got a lot easier

Here are a few drawbacks to consider:

The spin button is hardly accessible in rear-facing mode luckily the engineers at the Joie have fixed it in the I version of the product.

I couldn’t make my peace with the buckle it was way too flimsy for my liking and it seemed that I could never get it right.

All in all the Joie 360 Spin will be a great addition to any family. Now currently they are out of stock so it might be a great idea to try Halfords

  • It has every safety feature imaginable it comes even with a load leg
  • It’s so comfortable that kids don’t wine and cry through the entire trip
  • No more back pain, frustration while you’re loading or unloading your child
  • There were issues with the floor leg fixture
  • Design makes it difficult to carry the seat to and from the car

Out of Stock


Why didn’t the Chicco Keyfit 30 make it on the list?

The Chicco Keyfit 30 didn’t make it on the list because that’s for infants. It’s extremely rare that a 1-year-old would fit in the Keyfit. In most cases they outgrow it before their first birthday.


Which is the best car seat for 2 year old?

The best car seats for 2 year olds are as follows:

  1. Britax One4Life ClickTight All-in-One Car Seat – Best Car Seat For 2 Year Old in 2023

  2. Graco 4Ever DLX 4 in 1 Car Seat – Best Car Seat For 2 Year Old 30 Lbs

  3. Chicco Fit4 4-In-1 Convertible Car Seat – Best Car Seat For 2 Year Old Boy

  4. Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat – Best Car Seat For Toddler

  5. Evenflo Tribute 5 Convertible Car Seat – Best Travel Car Seat For 2 Year Old

  6. Graco SlimFit 3 in 1 Car Seat – Best Cheap Car Seat For 2 Year Old

  7. Nuna Rava – Best Small Car Seat For 2 Year Old


Which is the best convertible car seat 2023?

The best Convertible car seats in 2023 are:

  1. Britax Boulevard Clicktight – Best Convertible Car Seat

  2. Graco 4Ever – Best Convertible Car for the Money

  3. Diono Radian 3RXT – Best Value Convertible Car Seat

  4. Chicco Nextfit – Best Cool Looking Convertible Car Seat

  5. Maxi-Cosi Pria 85 – Most Comfortable Convertible Car Seat

  6. Graco Extend2fit – Best Extended Rear Facing Convertible Car Seat


Conclusions for the Best Car Seat for 1 Year Old

We have reached the end of this award ceremony. I hope you have already picked a favorite. As I’ve mentioned earlier, these are the very best car seats on the market so your child will be safe and comfy no matter what.

I’ve done my best to select car seats that will fit in most car seats and I mostly looked at the safety and comfort. Also I’ve picked those car seats that are easy to install to save you a fortune from swear jar donations.

Maybe you can help me out with a little something. Can you please share how this post helped you pick a car seat for your 1-year-old? It would mean the world to me.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):

What car seat should a 1 year old be in?

A 1 year old should be in a convertible car seat. Typically the carrier is outgrown between the ages of 9 months and 2 years, and the next stage is convertible and in the rear-facing mode because that’s the safest way to ride.

Can a 1 year old sit forward-facing?

Theoretically yes a 1 year old could sit forward-facing, however it depends on your state’s law. Also, the AAP now recommends that kids until the age of 2 should be in rear-facing or even longer because that’s the safest for them.

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

Yes, a 1 year old should be in a rear facing car seat because that’s the safest for them. Furthermore the AAP now recommends that kids should stay rear-facing until the age of 2 or even longer.

What car seat does a 11 month old need?

An 11 month old needs a convertible car seat in rear-facing mode also an all-in-one car seat in rear-facing mode would be fine as well. If your 11 month old has outgrown their carrier, these seats would be your best option.

Last Updated on November 7, 2023 by Brian Beasley

Written by Linda Reid

Hey there, I'm Linda, a mom of three cool kids. I've tried so many car seats, you could call me a "Car Seat Detective." Searching for the perfect car seat can feel like finding a needle in a haystack, but don't worry! I've committed to researching and reviewing car seats that are super safe, cozy, and great for growing kids. Together, we'll find the perfect car seat that keeps your child safe and cozy, and makes you feel like a super-parent!