Reviews

Best Car Seat Travel Trays: Make Every Drive Fun and Playful 

Make every road trip a memorable one with these top car seat travel trays

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BY Alice Musyoka , Mike Knott / LAST UPDATED ON October 10, 2019

Driving with kids can be fun when it’s filled with singalongs and laughter. But when they get bored, the drive can become a hassle. The solution is a car seat travel tray. It is a child’s personal play and study center and keeps them occupied during long drives and road trips. This guide covers some of the best car seat travel trays for babies, toddlers, and small kids.

Best Overall
Kenley Kids Travel Tray
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Summary
Summary

This is a fully collapsible and portable tray with multiple compartments.

Pros
Pros
  • Has two cup holder
  • Padded strap makes it easy to carry.
  • Has 4-inch, reinforced sidewalls to ensure nothing falls down
  • Heavy-duty buckles make it safe and secure
Cons
Cons
  • Has a strong factory odor
  • Velcro straps easily attach to any fabric
  • There’s only one front buckle
Best Overall
Kenley Kids Travel Tray
Best Value
Lusso Gear Active Toddlers Travel Tray
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Summary
Summary

With multiple fun features, this car seat tray keeps kids actively engaged. Its waterproof surface makes for quick cleanup and adds durability.

Pros
Pros
  • Features a built-in dry-erase board for artistic kids, which doubles as an easy-to-clean eating surface
  • Adjustable cup holder and flexible pockets keep toys close by
  •  With safe pockets to protect screens, this tray is suitable for long trips
Cons
Cons
  • Can be tricky to attach this tray to car seats
  • Though the straps are adjustable, it can be challenging to get them in the right position
  • Pockets are best for smaller toys
Best Value
Lusso Gear Active Toddlers Travel Tray
Honorable Mention
ecoZen Lifestyle Car Seat Tray
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Summary
Summary

This bright pink and purple travel tray has a fun unicorn print on the tray. It has front buckles for securing the tray to the seat and prevents tipping.

Pros
Pros
  • Non-toxic and PVC-free nylon 
  • Waterproofing treatment
  • Flap keep items from falling
  • Features a universal fit
  • Easy to clean
Cons
Cons
  • Not very sturdy 
  • Shallow sidewalls
Honorable Mention
ecoZen Lifestyle Car Seat Tray

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Benefits of a Car Seat Travel Tray

  • Use them as a feeding table. You can keep your car mess-free by making the travel tray a feeding table. The cup holders can hold sippy cups and water bottles.
  • Turn it into an entertainment center. The best car seat travel trays have a tablet holder or a small sleeve for a phone. They can help your child stay entertained.
  • Organize your kid’s stuff. If you thought Lego pieces are a pain, you haven’t spent much time picking up toys, crayons, and coloring books from a car floor. Kids travel trays are great organizers, as they have numerous mesh pockets, side pockets, and sleeves.
  • Store various items. Car seat travel trays that transform into backpacks are great. They keep all your kid’s stuff in one place, which is very convenient when you’re traveling.  

Types of Car Seat Travel Trays

Lap Desk Travel Trays

Lap trays don't have attachments at the back to secure them to seats and are usually placed on the lap. They are more suitable for older kids who can sit still as they play or watch a movie. Some lap trays have a strap and buckle that fasten behind the body or the seat. Lap trays are also suitable for air travel.  

Secured Travel Trays

A secured travel tray is what you need if you want to keep your young one occupied and in one place. It has a strap that firmly secures it to the car seat, stroller, or child’s back. It is one of the best kids' car travel trays, as your child doesn’t have to stay put for it to stay balanced.

Hybrid Travel Trays

Hybrid travel trays are the best activity trays. They are collapsible and have stable surfaces where kids can play and learn. They serve as travel trays and organizers and can be zipped up and carried as backpacks. They usually attach to the front seat, creating a safe distance for watching screens. 

Top Brands

BabySeater US

While it has only been around for a short time, BabySeater goes the extra mile to make products that make parenting easier. It has a global presence and adheres to American quality standards. One of its top products is the BABYSEATER Erasable Surface Play Tray

Star Kids Products

Necessity is the mother of invention. That’s what led Alyson Starr Probst to come up with Star Kids, a company with a presence in the United States, Canada, and Australia. The company launched in 2012. Although it now boasts a wide catalog of products, The Snack & Play Travel Tray is considered one of its most popular.

Kids Bright Toys

Kids Bright Toys makes products that can be used both in the car and outside. Its products are comfortable, low maintenance, and practical, making it a leader among its peers. The Kids Car Seat Tray for Toddlers has earned sterling reviews from parents. 

Car Seat Travel Tray Pricing

  • $10-$20: These travel trays for car seats are an affordable addition to your travel gear. A travel tray in this price range typically features a sturdy surface for activities, such as coloring, writing, and drawing.
  • $20-$30: You will find most car seat travel trays for toddlers and older kids at this price point. As you go higher on the scale, you’ll find travel trays with more storage. Most trays in this category convert into backpacks kids will love.
  • $30-$50: Here, you will find kids car travel trays that have much better construction and more attachment options. These trays are comfortable, functional, and fashionable.

Key Features

Seat Compatibility

The best car seat travel tray is compatible with every car seat. However, since car seat travel trays are made with different specifications, compatibility is not always guaranteed. Some trays are compatible with both strollers and infant car seats. Make sure you buy the right one for your kid.

Storage Options

Feeding kids and keeping them occupied takes plenty of toys and snacks. You need storage for all the items to ensure they are easily accessible. Most travel lap desks for car seats have mesh pockets and side pockets for stationery, snacks, and media players. 

Practicality

Most travel trays can hold tablets, toys, and books. But how effective are they out of the car? Some travel trays for car seats easily convert into a backpack. That way, your child can carry it wherever he or she goes and use it outside the car.

Other Considerations

  • Maintenance: Anything designed to keep a child busy will get dirty. Get a car seat travel tray that is made from a material that doesn't stain easily. The material should be machine washable, easy to clean, and waterproof. 
  • Sidewalls: The side walls are a key determinant of the stability of a travel tray. High, sturdy sidewalls keep all your kid’s playthings in one spot and save you the extra work of picking up tiny pieces from the car floor.

Best Car Seat Travel Tray Reviews & Recommendations 2021

Best Overall
Kenley Kids Travel Tray

This travel tray is a great addition to a family trip. Not only does it come in a neutral color, it also features a divider for easy partitioning. It will keep your car’s interior mess-free, since its side walls are high. Playtime is fun with this tray. The multiple storage options can hold varying sizes of toys and play materials to last an entire trip. There is also a dedicated iPad holder, so your little one will stay entertained. 


You will love how you can incorporate feeding time into your drive. The multiple compartments can hold small snack boxes, while the collapsible flap has two cup holder pockets deep enough to hold large drinks. The carrying strap is well padded as is the strap that fastens around your child’s body. The latter keeps your child secure and does not chafe the skin. 


While the tray’s reinforced sidewalls help keep everything in place and heavy-duty buckles enhance its safety, you will have to air it out to get rid of the factory odor. You also need to be extra careful with the velcro straps, since they easily attach to fabric. The tray also lacks two front buckles, and if you keep items in all the pockets, they can easily fall out.

 

Best Value
Lusso Gear Active Toddlers Travel Tray

Going on the road with children poses some unique challenges. It can be tricky to get them to enjoy sitting still, making the Lusso Gear Active Toddlers Travel Tray really useful. It has enough storage to keep lots of supplies within reach. The dry-erase board engages their creative side and doubles as an eating surface. 


This tray enables easy clean up. A built-in cup holder keeps drinks close by, holding them steady to prevent spills. The tray incorporates a clear cover to protect touchscreen devices. Mesh pockets with elastic attachments make it easy for your child to access his or her toys. 


By reinforcing the stitching and using a durable textile, you needn’t worry about tears or frays. The tray is flexible enough to store easily, folding up compactly in between uses.

Most Colorful
ecoZen Lifestyle Car Seat Tray

Your child will love this bright pink and purple travel tray. It comes with a fun unicorn theme print on the tabletop portion. Unique to this tray is the proprietary front buckle straps that support the tray and keep it level. The walls are soft enough to make the tray safe yet sturdy enough to hold items within the confines of the tray. 


The construction material is non-toxic and PVC-free nylon that’s stitched together with top-quality craftsmanship. The surface also has a waterproofing treatment, making cleanup quick and easy. 


While the tray is pretty, it isn’t as sturdy as other trays on this list. It also doesn’t have deep sidewalls. This causes taller items to fall out of the mesh sidewall pockets while you’re driving.

Best Universal Fit
Becko Children’s Travel Toy Tray

Easily set up this universally compatible travel tray and organize everything in the mesh pockets. It measures 17 x 12.4 inches and is constructed of durable PVC material. When folded flat, there’s an adjustable shoulder strap for easy transport. You’ll appreciate the extra-large storage pocket that’s built into this travel tray. 


It also has a wet tissue pouch for convenience. The detachable mesh pouch makes it easy to bring some items with you. This travel tray stands out because it also comes with a doodle mat and water pen. 


The downside of this tray is that the smooth material is slippery, allowing items to slide around and off the tray. It’s also large when folded, making it cumbersome to store in your smaller-sized vehicle while not in use.

Honorable Mention
My Specialty Kids Shop Kids Backseat Travel Tray

Your child can bring their car seat travel organizer with them. It’s shaped like a carrying case that zippers shut with a long strap. It measures 15 x 2.5 x 11 inches and is constructed of 100 percent 600D polyester. There’s an abundance of pockets to keep everything from your tablet to crayons and snacks organized. 


The durable material is of the same quality that adult laptop carriers are made out of. You can customize it with a hole for a headphone cable. One drawback of this tray is that it hangs on the back of the front car seat. This can lead to a lack of space in some smaller vehicles or when used by larger children. 


You need at least 11 inches from top to bottom for it to rest in your child’s lap. The tabletop flap is 13 inches deep, so it may be too far away from your child in larger SUVs. 

Tips

  • While checking the travel tray’s compatibility with your car seats is important, it is also vital to check whether the straps are adjustable. Flexible straps make sure your little one stays comfortable. 
  • The first thing you should do after your car seat travel tray is delivered is air it out. Many trays come with a strong smell. If you’re planning to use it on a trip, buy it in advance so the odor can dissipate. 
  • Regularly wipe down the travel tray. Clean up any spills as soon as your child is done eating. When you get home, wash it. This keeps it ready for any drive or road trip. 
  • The best car seat travel tray for your child is the one that aligns with their favorite activities. Some travel trays even come with coloring books. 

FAQs

Q: Is a car seat travel tray safe?

A: Car seat travel trays are tested and adhere to health, quality, and safety standards. Each tray has to pass a quality assurance test to be deemed child-friendly. 

Q: Is a car seat travel tray compatible with every car?

A: Car seat travel trays are designed differently and are not compatible with every car seat. However, some car seat travel trays have a universal fit and can even be used in planes. 

Q: Which is the best car seat travel tray?

A: The best travel tray for toddler car seats merges comfort, ease of use, and adaptability. Features such as attachments, the height of the walls, and the storage options determine the quality of a travel tray. 

Final Thoughts

If you want a travel tray that will last, get the Kenley Kids Travel Tray. It is solidly built and is made with waterproof material. We also love the Kids E-Z Travel Lap Desk Tray by Modfamily for its multiple storage options.