LAST UPDATED: November 5, 2019
Best Car Seat Toys: Keep Your Baby’s Hands Occupied
Encourage your child to learn and play with these car seat toys.
The Review Team
How We Decided
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PUBLISHED ON November 5, 2019
Car rides with babies can either be successful or frustrating, depending on how you handle the situation. You must keep your child entertained throughout the trip or he or she may fuss and take your attention away from the road. One way to entertain a baby is by putting a toy on the car seat to distract him or her while you drive to your destination. Our guide below includes some of the best car seat car toys on the market.
An affordable mobile to-go toy that clips on any car seat, stroller, and infant carrier.
- Features high-contrast colors to aid in visual and multi-sensory development
- Lightweight and easy to pack
- Comes with reversible cards to keep your baby’s attention
- Cards are made of thin material and can rip or fold if grabbed
- Only suitable for car seats with an arch
- Makes fun sounds. Encourages the child to grab and improve their motor skills
- It has a mirror that helps with visual coordination
- Wraparound design can be attached to any car seat or stroller
- It may pull to one side of the car seat
- Has short strings that may be unreachable for younger children
A soft travel activity smiley face toy that can be clipped on to car seats, cribs, and strollers.
- Makes playful rattling, squeaking, and crinkling sounds
- Different textures on each toy encourage sensory interaction
- Encourages cause and effect learning. Has a self-discovery mirror
- The toy may fade when machine washed
- If one of the parts gets pulled out, it can be a choking hazard
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All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of Car Seat Toys
- Learning and growth. Many of the toys for a baby’s car seat are designed to promote their learning through cause and effect, sounds, safe mirrors, and encouraging learning. This will help your baby’s growth and healthy development.
- Entertainment. During long car rides or even short ones, you want to keep your baby entertained. These toys can help occupy your baby’s attention for long periods, giving you more time to yourself.
Types of Car Seat Toys
The majority of car seat toys you will find are attached to your baby’s car seat—some through hooks, others through Velcro straps, and others are clipped on as arches. Most of what you will find is designed to hang over your baby so they can stare at it and reach up to interact with it.
However, there are limitations to this type of toy. They will not fit all car seats, so you will need to ensure your dimensions before purchase. Some companies sell links to help with size adjustment, but not all do. And depending on the make, they may be difficult for your baby to grab, and no one wants a frustrated baby.
The other alternative is toys that are not attached to the car seat. These are toys that are handheld for your baby or ones that can have links clipped on to them so they then attach to the car seat. The benefit of these is that you don’t have to worry about car seat size. They will fit any type of carrier. They also tend to be more easily transportable and lightweight.
The downside is that the baby can lose these more easily. Since you don’t want to fish around for your baby’s toy on the car’s floor, you may want to link these to the car seat. This typically requires extra links or attachments to be purchased.
Manhattan Toy began in 1978 and was founded by Francis Goldwyn, the son of Hollywood studio mogul Samuel Goldwyn. The company was founded in New York, and when he later sold it, the new owners headquartered it in Minneapolis. Manhattan Toy uses research to back their toy design and has award-winning toy lines.
Infantino LLC was established in 1978, as well, and has its headquarters in California. It focuses on designing endlessly entertaining toys to make parents’ lives easier. It has thrived by making top-quality toys at affordable prices throughout the years.
Many of these toys for babies’ car seats have audio features such as songs, melodies, or noises. This can very easily be annoying for parents, but occasionally you will find a toy that allows the music to be shut off.
Many of these toys will also feature baby-safe self-discovery mirrors. While not as clear as real glass mirrors, these encourage your baby’s sense of self and understanding of the environment around them.
Nearly all of the car seat toys you will find have a variety of textures for your baby to explore. Some even come with teethers. While a few of these textures will make noises, like crinkly paper, these encourage your baby to interact with the environment and learn new things.
Best Car Seat Toys Reviews & Recommendations 2021
This set of toys for your baby’s car seat is our top pick due to its quality, price, and ability to keep your little one entertained for hours. It's from Manhattan Toy Store’s award-winning collection to support a baby’s development and growth. These toys feature designs and colors based upon laboratory research. This is perfect for infants up to five months old with three discs that have an image on each side. It is lightweight, so it is easy to transport between locations. So wherever your baby goes, it can go, too. The entire toy is eight inches from top to bottom and can easily be clipped on any carrier or car seat. The clamp will fit most baby carriers but not all, so ensure you know the dimensions before purchasing. The cards are made of paper-like playing cards, so they can tear if you are not careful with them. Because the discs are meant to be changed out, they can come apart more easily than you would expect. But for the price and only five months of usage, these should hold up well.
Another great pick to entertain your baby is Infantino’s spiral activity toy. Less expensive than the Manhattan Toy Store’s choices, it comes with a variety of toys. Its spiral design allows it to easily be hung on carriers or grasped by babies. You can choose from several different colors, shapes, and designs. It is perfect for babies up to one year old. It is designed to encourage baby motor skill growth and visual tracking. It is not machine washable, so you need to hand wash it. It doesn’t stretch out very well and tends to stay very tightly coiled. The toys do not hang down very far, so you will need to ensure it is within your baby’s reach wherever you hang it.
If you are looking for another great option from the Manhattan Toy Store, the Baby Whoozit is a solid choice. Professionally tested to stimulate a baby’s curiosity and development, it features bright contrasting patterns and designs. It’s soft so it can be held comfortably by a baby. It can be strapped to a car seat to keep it close by. It also features sounds with play, including a rattle, squeaker, and crinkle paper. This is meant for babies from 6 to 12 months old. This is not machine washable, so if it gets dirty you need to do a surface hand wash. It is not the most durable product, and babies can rip it apart. The hanging Velcro strap also tends to come apart quite easily.
This toy from VTech is made to strap across a car seat to keep the toys within your baby’s reach. It plays over 45 songs, melodies, sounds, and phrases. There is also a textured ring for your baby to play with as well as a baby-safe mirror. It’s intended for children from birth to three years old. The toys are farm themed with a cow, bird, and ladybug. This may not attach to all car seats depending on the way they are made. There are no extra connections, so if it doesn’t fit, you are out of luck. It requires batteries, and the toy comes with demo batteries. It also can sit quite close to your baby’s face dependent on the car seat type. The Velcro straps come apart easily for babies that pull on them. And while it comes with more than 45 different sounds, each time there is a break in the button being pushed, the sound list starts from the beginning—so the likelihood of hearing all 45 different sounds is unlikely.
This toy from Tiny Love is designed as a large arch that will clip onto a baby carrier. It comes in a variety of different animals and plants, depending on what you’d like to give your baby. It has eight different activities to keep your child occupied and help their learning. This includes different textures, a crinkling noise, a teether, a rattler, and a natural sun prism. This product is more expensive than the other toys featured here. It also may not fit every carrier firmly. It is also a bit bulky and not the best to transport around. You can buy a version that plays music when bumped. But for all the parents getting tired of the same songs over and over, the music can be turned off.
- Buy a car seat with side pockets so that you can add extra toys and snacks for the baby. It’s safe to attach one toy on the car seat and give another to your child to hold throughout the ride.
- If you don’t want your baby to get bored with one toy, use different toys for the stroller, baby crib, car seat, and general house toys. Note which one they like most, and always pack it for your trips.
- If your baby is over 5 months and can reach out to things, put all your personal items in the front seat. You don’t want to look back and see them chewing on your lipstick.
- Buy a baby car seat mirror to monitor the baby in the rear-facing seat and see if they are enjoying the toy. If not, look for alternatives.
- Carry an extra loose toy with you when you need to get out of the car with the baby. It can keep your child distracted when you are shopping or running errands.
Q. Are car seat toys compatible with all car seats?
Most can securely attach to car seats, strollers, carriers, and cribs. Look into the design of the toy to confirm that it will fit in the car seat. The more versatile it is, the more places you can attach it.
Q. Is a loose toy better than a car seat toy?
It depends on the baby. Some may throw away the loose toy and opt to play with the stationary one since it’s more interesting. Others may get bored or frustrated with a stationary car seat toy and would prefer a loose toy that they can take everywhere. Test what your baby likes by giving them both.
Q. Can I hook up more than one car seat toy?
If the car seat has space, you can hook up a few options for the baby to play with. For instance, you can attach one to the arch of the car seat and another to the handle. Just make sure that they are secure and don’t come too close to the baby’s face and irritate them
Our top pick is the Manhattan Toy Wimmer-Ferguson Infant Stim Mobile. It’s great for a growing child and will help them enhance their senses.
Our best value toy is the Manhattan Toy Baby Whoozit. It’s a cheap car seat toy.