Keep your kids entertained and your car organized on your next family road trip with a car seat tray
Are you wondering what a car seat travel tray is and what the fuss is?
A car seat travel tray is your tot’s own personal activity area that will keep them entertained and busy during long journeys on a road trip.
A toddler’s attention span is normally short, but it shortens even more while on a road trip, and they are confined to a seat.
With a travel car seat tray, your toddler or child will be able to draw pictures, eat in the car, watch their favorite show on their tablet, and play games It will help keep your young ones’ activities and mess in one place.
Put short: a car seat travel tray is a must for a long family road trip.
What To Look For In A Good Car Seat Travel Tray
When looking for the best car seat travel tray that will make your trip more manageable, there are some factors that you need to look out for. They are:
Car Travel Tray Portability
How portable is the car seat tray for travel? Portability is a factor you can’t overlook as it will come when your bub wants to rest, and the tray has to create space. Can it fold flat? Does it have a storage bag? Can it be zipped up and carried by your child when not in use without losing anything?
Car Travel Tray Design
There are plenty of different designs for car seat travel trays; which will suit you best?
– Secured or over the seat
To ensure you buy the right tray for your kid, you need to ensure that it is compatible with every car seat. Some lap trays for the car can be secured to your child’s car seat and attached to the seats in front of them.
However, since lap trays for the car are made with different specifications, compatibility is not always guaranteed. In large SUVs, for example, the driver’s seat may be too far away from the rear seat, and your child may be unable to reach it. Likewise, a child in a center seat may not have a seat in front of them to attach the tray to.
The stability of a car seat tray for travel is highly determined by its sidewalls. A car tray with high and sturdy sidewalls will help keep your kid’s playthings in one spot. This will save you the pain of having too often to bend over and pick up tiny things from the car floor.
Car Travel Tray Size
How large do you need your child’s car tray to be? Or rather, how wide is your tot’s car seat? These are some of the questions that will help you choose the right size for your young ones’ car trays:
- Do you plan to fit the tray inside other luggage once the trip ends?
- How many children will the car tray serve?
- How wide is your vehicle?
Car Travel Tray Practicality
Most car seat trays for travel can hold tablets, toys, and books. This means that you must consider which features will mostly appeal to your little one. There are some add-ons that you can consider for your little one. These include:
- Inbuilt cup holders
- Tablet holders (will it be the right size for your child’s device?)
- Dry erase board
- Mesh pockets and side pockets for snacks and stationery
Most car seat travel trays are inexpensive, but some come with extra extras like coloring kits. Do factor this in when deciding overall value for money investing in a car seat travel tray.
Car Travel Tray Maintenance
Anything designed to be near your little one is bound to be really dirty and very first at that. Getting a lap tray for the car made from a material that does not stain easily and is machine washable, waterproof, and easy to clean will help.
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Best Kids Travel Trays For Car Seats
Let’s take a closer look at the leading brands of car seat travel trays here:
1. Best Car Seat Travel Tray: Kenley Kids Travel Tray
One of the reasons we love the Kenley Kids Travel Tray is its lots of storage space. It also comes with an adjustable padded strap for convenient transportation once you are out of the vehicle.
With its different-sized pockets along the exterior, your tot’s slim items have a place to be stored.
- Waterproof, padded surface
- Removable pockets for additional space
- Has two available cup holders
- Its sidewalls are perfectly reinforced to keep your tot’s toys and snacks from spilling.
- Spacious zippered pockets
- Comes with a lifetime warranty
- Fitted with a medium-sized tablet pouch
- It has fewer color options
- Your young one has to push through the paper while coloring or drawing because of its padded surface
2. Best Car Seat Travel Tray: Lusso Gear Kids Travel Tray
The Lusso Gear Kids Travel Tray is the most popular among parents as it is jam-packed with great features for kids. We love it because it has a simple yet affected design. It also has a detachable tablet holder; therefore, it can be left when there is no need for it.
There is a lot of storage space on it, which will be kept in place thanks to its safety strap that fits around the car seat.
- A detachable cup holder and multiple storage compartments.
- Comes with a built-in dry erase board which is huge, offering your tot enough space for hours of doodling fun
- Easy to clean thanks to its oxford material
- Has a sturdy tablet holder
- Plenty of space, dimensions are 16″ x 12.5″
- It has sturdy sides and back walls that help keep your tot pieces of accessories from rolling off
- Some parents complain the pockets are too small
- It does not include a carrying case/ bag
- It has no color options other than black
3. Best Car Seat Travel Tray: BUENAVO Car Seat Organizer Kids Travel Tray
This car seat organizer kids travel tray comes equipped with a buckle and strap to ensure it is well-secured during trips. Its strap is made from heavy-duty nylon, while the buckle is a solid press-to-release plastic fastener.
- High side walls that ensure your kid’s accessories do not keep on falling
- It easily folds for easy transportation and storage
- Mesh pockets to add to the media pockets storage
- The pepper card liner is replaceable so can be drawn on
- It has a see-through media storage slot that helps keep things in place while viewing media
- Easily attaches to car seats
- It has a dedicated side pocket for beverages
- Comes in pink, blue, or grey
- Some parents have found the wrap-around strap is too short for some car seat models.
4. Best Car Seat Travel Tray: EcoZen Lifestyle Car Seat Tray
This EcoZen Lifestyle Car Seat Tray is sturdy for your tot to snack on and play super easy games. This tray is durable and simple, with extra long straps that allow it to fasten on any car seat. It is made from waterproof nylon fabric.
- A soft flap that ensures your little ones’ things do not fall off the tray
- It has a padded front barrier and sturdy sidewall
- Dimensions are 16″ x 12″ x 4″ which should fit most standard car seats
- It has side storage pockets for convenient access
- The tray is capable of folding relatively flat for storage purposes
- Made with an easy-to-clean waterproof fabric
- Available in brightly colored pink or blue designs
- While it is a sturdy built, the sidewalls can tend to bend inwards if anything a bit heavy is sitting on top
- The bottle holder only works with quite small drink bottles or sippy cups
5. Best Car Seat Travel Tray: Beloved Belongings Kids Travel Tray
If your tot is a predominant media viewer, then the Beloved Belongings Kids Travel Tray is the best car seat tray to get. This portable activity tray offers a viewing sleeve that fully encloses and protects an iPad, thus being a perfect option for your tot who can not hold the iPad for long.
- It has an extra tall back for protecting the iPad sleeve when in use
- Generous mesh side pockets are perfect for small toys, crayons, markers, and other accessories
- It has a pouch that can be custom adjusted to any cup size
- Attaches with a nylon strap and a plastic buckle
- It has anti-sag walls with a thick zipper
- Waterproof and easy-to-clean
- It comes with bonus activity sheets and marker pens
- This travel tray may not create an even surface with all car seat types
- Larger tablets may not fit the media pocket without having bulky covers removed
6. Best Car Seat Travel Tray: ZEAZU Kids Travel Tray With Bag
The Zeazu Kidds Travel Tray works well for both road trips and air travels. It comes as a sturdy tablet holder, has a tissue dispenser, and a paper storage compartment. You also get a carrying bag for convenient transportation. It is also great for eating snacks while on the go.
- Made of a material that is durable and waterproof
- The surface is made from a dry-erase board
- It has an on-the-tray cup holder
- Easy strap attachment, it is compatible with most car seats
- It has storage areas for tissues, utensils, snacks, and wipes
- Includes a travel bag for ease of carrying and storage
- Its iPad/tablet holder does not accommodate cases. Therefore you need to remove the gadget’s case before using it
- It is slightly wider than other models, and may not fit if you have several kids side by side
7. Best Car Seat Travel Tray: Kids Bright Toys Travel Tray
The Kid’s Bright Toys Travel Tray may appeal to your tot who feels they are a bit grown. It has a built-in tablet holder that keeps the touch screen accessible.
It’s a sturdy travel tray with three of its sides with an extended height, with the fourth, which is closest to your tot with a smaller lip. The smaller lip ensures that your young one is not hindered access to the playing area.
- It has a pocket for your tablets to rest in
- The top of the tray is a hard plastic surface that helps keep it in shape
- It has mesh pockets, plus a zippered pocket for any valuables
- It’s waterproof and made from polyester
- Dimensions are 17″ x 14″ x 1″
- When your child is finished, it can be carried a shoulder back, ideal for those roadside stops
- It includes a soft pillow for it to rest comfortably on your tot’s lap
- Once unpackaged, it needs airing out to avoid lingering odor from the packaging
- It is on the bulky side compared to other models, so would suit an older preschooler or elementary-age child
Are Car Seat Travel Trays Worth It?
Some of the major benefits of using a car seat travel tray on road trips include:
- Your child will have a smooth, flat surface to work with, expanding their play area and the types of games they can plan in the car.
- Most come with multiple storage spaces, so all the important things they need on the journey, from tablets to drink bottles, are within arm’s reach
- Not just car journeys, a good car seat travel tray will equally work well on planes, trains – anywhere you travel to really, ours even take them out for meals sometimes.
More Road Trip Gear Tips
Whilst a travel tray for the car might be key to your road trip entertainment plan, there are several other essentials you’ll need for kids on a family road trip. These include:
- Age-appropriate toys for the car as well as a few additional toddler-friendly activities up your sleeve
- An appropriately fitted car seat or booster for those too small to safely sit in a standard car seat
- Comfort items, such as well-fitted neck pillows or seat belt cozy
- Tools you’ll need for keeping your car clean and odor-free – including protective covers for your seats, a trash organization system, and basic cleaning gear
Never forget an important road trip item again! Jump over here to see our road trip essentials checklist – this page includes a downloadable PDF checklist you can tick off as you go.
Over to you, will a car seat travel tray help on your next family road trip? Have you had success using any of the brands we mention here?
© Family Road Trip