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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Driving with kids can be fun when it’s filled with singalongs and laughter. But when they get bored, the drive can become a nightmare. The solution is a car seat travel tray. It is your child’s personal play and study center and keeps them occupied during long drives and road trips. This review covers three of the best car seat travel trays for babies, toddlers, and small kids.
- Best OverallKenley Kids Travel TraySummarySummaryThis is a fully collapsible and portable tray with multiple compartments.ProsProsIt has two cup holders. Its padded strap makes it easy to carry. It also has four-inch, reinforced sidewalls to ensure nothing falls down. Heavy-duty buckles make it safe and secure.ConsConsIt has a strong factory odor. The velcro straps easily attach to any fabric. There’s only one front buckle.
- Best ValueDMoose Kids Travel Activity TraySummarySummaryThis patented car seat travel tray has a sturdy base and works well with different seats, not just car seats.ProsProsTPU coating and ultra-soft pearl wool cushioning make cleaning easy and protect your child. The tray has secure straps with buckles and can hold an iPad. Its long strap makes it easy to carry.ConsConsThe pockets are not very deep. The tray also buckles around your kid or the car seat, which is uncomfortable.
- Honorable MentionKids E-Z Travel Lap Desk Tray by ModfamilSummarySummaryThis universal-fit travel tray has a sturdy base and allows your child to play games as they travel.ProsProsIt has an easy-to-clean, machine-washable material. It encourages your child to play creatively instead of watching screens. The strap performs an extra task of turning the tray into a backpack.ConsConsThe tray is a little flimsy and sinks in the middle. The sidewalls are not very high. Also, the depth of the cup holder is inadequate.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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 2019
Best Car Seat Travel Tray 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 sidewalls 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 the fabric. The tray also lacks two front buckles, and if you keep items in all the pockets, they can easily fall out.
Best Car Seat Travel Tray Value: DMoose Kids Travel Activity Tray
This is a patented, well-built travel lap desk for car seats that can be used on different seats. Pearl wool cushioning and TPU coating make it child-friendly and comfortable. Its strong base and sidewalls keep everything in place—even on bumpy rides.
We love the surface of this travel tray. It is a little play area that also serves as a feeding table. The mesh pockets are great for holding crayons and pencils if your child likes to explore their artsy side. The built-in strap keeps large-screen media players in place but can also secure books if you prefer screen-free travel. When not in use, the long shoulder strap makes the travel tray easy to carry around.
On the downside, you may need to wash it thoroughly to get rid of the odor it comes with. It may also be uncomfortable for some kids, as it buckles around the body or the car seat. In addition, the depth of the pockets is not very deep, so mealtimes could get a little messy.
Best Car Seat Travel Tray Honorable Mention: Kids E-Z Travel Lap Desk Tray by Modfamily
The E-Z tray gets our vote due to its ease of use and adaptability. This on-the-go play and snack tray is designed for older kids. It is perfectly built for screen-free travel. The surface of the tray contains foam and plastic inserts that make it solid and perfect for your child’s activities. At the corner, there is a cup holder to ensure your child stays hydrated.
The sides of this car activity table are collapsible. It has extra storage options for all your kid’s learning and playing materials. And because it's bound to get dirty, the manufacturer made it easy to clean. You can easily wipe it when it gets dirty and uses it again. When getting out of the car, use the strap to turn the tray into a lightweight backpack, and off you go.
However, we’re not too happy with its construction. The tray sinks in the middle, and the cup holder has a shallow depth. Also, its sidewalls are not high, and items may easily fall off of it.
- 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.
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.
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 DMoose Kids Travel Activity Tray for its multiple storage options.
Leave a comment below, and tell us about your favorite car seat travel tray.