Traveling with children, even on short journeys, can be challenging. They get bored easily, tend to spill things, and often leave a trail of crumbs and discarded food all over the rear seats. However, there is a way of making your rides more fun for them and less stressful for you. Investing in a car seat travel tray provides a flat, stable surface that your child can use for art, games, and other activities. It also provides a safe place to store everything they need and captures the crumbs and spills that would otherwise go all over your child and your vehicle. However, there are a wide variety of car seat travel trays available, making it difficult to know which is best suited to your needs. To help point you in the right direction, our panel of car enthusiasts and experts in traveling with children, have compiled a list of the best car seat travel trays.
The Best Car Seat Travel Tray
The Star Kids Snack & Play Travel Tray is made of nylon and is easy to clean. It is also waterproof, so spills do not soak straight through onto your child. The tray includes two mesh pockets, one of which is designed to safely hold a standard drink bottle. The reinforced sides help to keep snacks, games, and crayons on the tray and stop them from rolling off onto the floor. The tray is easy to use and simply sits across the car seat, and the strap passes around the back of your child and is secured with a click lock. The strong and durable tray can be used with most car seats, booster seats, and strollers.
- Durable, waterproof, nylon construction
- Includes two mesh pockets
- Reinforced sides
- Easy to fit
- Works with most car seats, booster seats, and strollers
- Brand Star Kids
- Model 100
- Weight 1 pounds
If you are looking for a seat tray for an older child, then the Kids Backseat Organizer by My Specialty Kids Shop might be just what you need. Rather than strapping around your child or his car seat, the tray hangs from the seat in front. The tray zips up into a convenient carry case, making it easy to transport between uses. The tray is lead-free and uses non-toxic PAHs. It is fully adjustable, so you can change the height and the angle of the tray to suit your child without having to compromise his safety or your driving position. The strong solid surface is ideal for laptops, tablets, drawing, writing, or playing games. The handles and straps are reinforced to ensure durability and longevity.
- Made from the same fabric as adult laptop bags
- Reinforced around straps and handles
- Zips up into a convenient carry case
- Fully adjustable and hangs from car’s front seat
- Strong sold base
- Internal pockets for storage
- Brand My Specialty Kids Shop
- Model FBA_K001-16
- Weight 1.7 pounds
The Kids E-Z Travel Desk Tray by ModFamily offers a large flat surface to hold your kids’ activities, snacks, and coloring supplies. The plastic tray insert creates a solid surface, while the foam insert makes the tray more comfortable. The tray is easy to clean, and the material parts can be machine washed if needed. The tray can be folded and turned into either a backpack or messenger bag for easy transportation. It contains zipper protected and expandable pockets to keep all your child’s activities and snacks safe and secure.
- Large activity tray measures 12” x 15” x 3”
- Solid plastic surface
- Easy to clean and machine washable
- Foam insert included for comfort
- Includes storage pockets
- Can be carried as a backpack or messenger bag
- Secured around your child with strap and buckle
- Brand ModFamily
- Model MOD-7
- Weight ModFamily
The Play Tray Kids Travel Tray by BABYSEATER is sturdy, waterproof, and includes a built-in dry erase board for hours of doodling fun. The pens your child needs come with the tray, so you have everything you need to get started on your journey. The tray has tall sides to stop things from rolling off and mesh storage pockets, so your child has everything they need close by. There is even a pocket specially designed for wet wipes to deal with all those little issues. The adjustable straps mean that the tray is suitable for children of all ages and can grow with your child.
- Includes a built-in dry erase board and suitable pens
- Sturdy and waterproof
- Tall sides
- Mesh pockets
- Adjustable strap
- Brand BABYSEATER
- Weight 1.72 pounds
The Toddler Car Seat Travel Tray by DMoose offers greater stability and durability than many traditional traveling trays. It offers nylon construction with a sturdy reinforced base as well as high reinforced side walls. The walls have built-in elastic straps that can be used to keep tables and other items secure and still during your journey. The long strap ensures that it can fit most toddlers and leaves room for growth. The tray is easy to clean and includes a spill-proof finish. The additional soft pearl wool cushioning with TPU coating not only makes cleaning easier but also acts as additional cushioning for your young child. The one-click removal system means that the tray is simple to remove, even while in transit. The stretchable mesh pockets mean that you can store your child’s favorite snacks, toys, or activities close by. The pockets are also able to hold most sippy cups or a standard water bottle.
- Durable, waterproof, nylon construction
- Includes two mesh pockets
- Reinforced tray and sides
- Easy to fit
- Includes additional padding and elastic holding straps
- Works with most car seats, booster seats, and strollers
- Brand DMoose
- Model TT-1
- Weight 1.17 pounds
The Ambabe Kids Travel Tray is compatible with most infant car seats and strollers. The activity tray allows you to store and organize your kid’s activities, coloring equipment, books, and snacks. It includes side pockets to help keep everything your child needs close at hand. The tray is waterproof and includes raised sides to stop objects from falling or rolling off the tray during your journey. The tray is longer than many others and the back side of the tray can be opened to provide easy flat access for your child.
- Measures 15” x 11” with a 1.5” edge
- Waterproof for easy cleaning
- Side pockets for storage
- Suitable for use with most car seats and infant strollers
- Brand Ambabe
- Weight 1.45 pounds
The Kids Travel Tray with Coloring Activity Set by BO Innovation features high walls to keep everything safely on the tray and detachable mesh pockets for easy storage. The tray also has a pocket designed for a standard drink bottle. The tray is made from 900D Gucci nylon for flexibility and durability and has extra long straps, making it compatible with most toddler and baby car seat makes and sizes.
- Measures 17” x 12.6” x 3.9”
- Made from 900D Gucci nylon
- Detachable mesh pockets
- High side walls
- Extra long straps
- Brand BO Innovation
- Weight 2.01 pounds
The Kids Travel Activity & Snack Tray by On The Go Families has a solid base that includes an inch of foam. It also has a smooth table surface and heavy-duty walls on each of the four sides to keep everything in place. The table has zippered side mesh pockets for useful storage and a strap and buckle for easy fitting. It is easy to clean and can be machine washed when necessary.
- A solid base that includes 1-inch thick foam
- Smooth table surface
- Heavy-duty walls on each side
- Machine washable
- Strap and buckle fitting
- Brand On The Go Families
- Weight 14.4 ounces
The Kids Travel Tray for Girls by Autozon is designed for kids who love pink. It is designed to fit most car seats, booster seats, and toddler’s strollers. The tray is sturdy, durable, and waterproof. It is also easy to clean and includes stretchable mesh pockets on the sides for easy and convenient storage.
- Pink portable travel tray
- Universal fit
- Sturdy, durable, and waterproof
- Stretchy mesh side pockets included
- Brand Autozon
- Weight 2 pounds
The Kids Travel Play Tray by KIDS BRIGHT TOYS has a sturdy, solid plastic surface for your child’s toys, activities, and crayons. The side walls are kept in place with Velcro at the corners and can be removed for easier access if needed. The tray includes a tablet holder and mesh pencil holders, so your child always knows where everything is. The waterproof surface includes printed animal characters to keep young children entertained, and the tray folds and includes a shoulder strap for easy transportation.
- Sturdy tray
- Removable side walls with Velcro attachments
- Mesh pencil holders and tablet strap
- Foldable for easy transportation
- Brand KIDS BRIGHT TOYS
- Weight 2.38 pounds
The right car seat activity tray can make all the difference to your journey. It can provide entertainment for your child and peace of mind for you. However, to achieve this it must be the right tray for your needs. With that in mind, in this section of the buying guide, we look at the things you need to consider when buying a kids’ travel tray and explore the benefits of such trays in more detail. Finally, we answer the most frequently asked questions about travel trays.
Things to Consider When Buying a Car Seat Travel Tray
Car seat trays come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and designs, so it is important to know what the key considerations are when buying a car seat travel tray. When buying a car seat tray for your child you want to ensure that it is fit for purpose and that it is comfortable and safe for your child to use. To achieve this, make sure you consider the following points before parting with your hard-earned money.
What does the car seat tray attach to while it is in use? Most sit across the arms of your child’s car seat and then have an adjustable strap and buckle that goes around your child. This keeps it in place while you are driving and ensures that your child does not have to learn too far forward to reach items on the travel tray. For older children, this type of attachment may not be suitable. In this case, you may want to consider a folding tray that attaches to the seat in front of your child and then opens into a tray that they can use. This type of tray needs to be adjustable to suit the available space between the front and rear seats as well as adjusting to meet the height requirements of your child.
It is important that you choose a kid’s travel tray with a sturdy base. If the base starts to droop, then it will become uncomfortable and difficult for your child to use. A drooping base is also more likely to cause spillages and encourage objects to roll off the tray. Avoid trays that have cup holders built into the base as these can be uncomfortable and the weight can encourage the base to droop quicker.
A flat car seat table without walls will be a disaster. The slightest movement will result in toys, crayons, and snacks sliding off the tray and causing utter chaos in the back of your car. Look for sturdy reinforced fabric walls on at least three sides of the tray. If you have a tray with all four sides enclosed, then the side closest to your child should either be removable or much lower than the other three to allow your children to reach and play comfortably.
Depending on the age of your child, the car seat activity tray will get messy and probably wet each time it is used. You want a tray that is covered with durable, waterproof, and washable materials. These also need to be lightweight so that they do not add undue weight and pressure to your child’s legs. Nylon is a popular fabric because it meets all these requirements.
The best car travel trays have pockets hanging down at the sides of the tray. These allow your child to store the things they may need without having everything on the car tray at once. The pockets should include one that has space for a drink bottle or sippy cup. They should be made of mesh so that they are easy to access, breathable, and expandable so that they hold things tightly without compromising accessibility.
Any car seat tray travel you are considering should sit across the arms or sides of your child’s car seat and should not interfere with any of the safety aspects of that chair. It should also be easy to remove or move out of the way should you need to retrieve your child from their seat in a hurry.
Benefits of Using a Car Seat Travel Tray
The main benefits of a car seat travel tray are a calmer and less stressful journey with your child. Using a travel tray allows your child to have easy access to their games, toys, tablets, and snacks without constantly having to ask for them. It also means that they can store items they are not using, so things are a lot less likely to get lost.
Using a car tray table increases the scope of activities that your child can undertake while on a journey. The sturdy flat surface is great for coloring, drawing, and playing board games. It can also hold their tablet, phone, or another mobile device so they have their own entertainment at their fingertips.
A car travel tray can also help to improve your child’s posture and reduce the risk of soreness in the neck and shoulders. Your child is not needing to lean as far down and over to complete activities or watch their screen. This is better for them in both the long and the short term. It also means that they are sat at a better angle should you need to stop suddenly, reducing the risk of injury to them.
Another important benefit is that using a car travel tray reduces mess and spillages in your car. Crumbs and other debris are trapped on the tray until you remove and clean it. Water bottles and sippy cups can be kept upright and stored in the side pockets when not in use, and raisins and other small snacks are less likely to roll off under your seats never to be seen again.
Best Car Seat Travel Tray FAQ:
Q: What is a car seat travel tray?
A: A car seat travel tray is a sturdy tray with raised sides that sits across your child and their car seat so that they can engage in their favorite activities while you are driving. Most travel trays secure around your child with a simple adjustable strap and buckle. Some attach to the back of the seat in front and drop down to create a table. Travel trays are designed to hold their shape and remain stable while your child writes, draws, plays games, or has screen time. Most of the top car seat travel trays also have side pockets that can hold a variety of objects such as snacks, drinks, and additional toys.
Q: Are these trays compatible with all car seats?
A: Car seat travel trays are generally universal, meaning that they can be used with all sizes and types of car seats, including booster seats. Most can also be used for airplane travel and to fit into infant strollers. Those that attach around your child with a strap and buckle do not need any further attachment points, making them easy to use and suitable for a host of different situations. It is, however, a good idea to check the width of your child’s car seat against the width of the tray, just to ensure that the tray will sit comfortably across your child and the sides of the car seat. If it is not quite wide enough it may be difficult to keep the travel lap tray straight while it is in use.
Our Top Pick
Our top pick is the Star Kids Snack & Play Travel Tray. It is made from made from nylon and is easy to clean. It is also waterproof, so spillages do not soak straight through to your child. The tray includes two mesh pockets one of which is designed to safely hold a standard drinks bottle. The reinforced sides help to keep snack, games, and crayons on the tray and stop them rolling off onto the floor. The tray is easy to use and simply sits across the car seat, the strap passes around the back of your child and is secured with a click lock. The strong and durable tray can be used with most car seats, booster seats, and strollers.
Related Post: Best Convertible Car Seats