Are Car Seat Toys Safe, or Should You Stay Away From Them? (2023 Guide)

Car seat toys have been used for decades to encourage development and keep children entertained while out on the road.

But are car seat toys safe for your little one? If you're among many parents wondering about that, then you're in the right place! In this guide, we will explore all the potential dangers of infant car seat toys and discuss if they should be avoided altogether or implemented with caution.

From choking hazard warnings to materials toxicity concerns, here's everything you need to realize when it comes to selecting appropriate toys for your precious bundle of joy in 2023.


Take Away Key Points:

  • Car seat toys can provide entertainment for children but must be used safely and appropriately.
  • Always read the manufacturer's safety guidelines before purchasing any infant car seat toy.
  • Check the age, size, and ability recommendations of the child's car seat toy to make sure it is age-appropriate for your child.
  • Never leave a toddler unattended with an infant car seat toy, whether that is in a car, crib, stroller, carrier, or swing.

Is your car seat toy a safety hazard?

is it safe to put toys on car seat

Keeping your little one safe in the car is an essential part of parenting - and that includes making sure their car seat toys are not a safety hazard. But how can you tell if your car seat toy is unsafe?

Hanging toys are meant to keep kids entertained while traveling in the car, but they can also create a distraction from the proper use of the car seat.

It's important to ensure the toy is firmly attached to the car seat to keep the baby safe so it doesn't become a projectile risk in case of sudden braking or a car crash.

Additionally, the size and weight of the toy should be appropriate for safety. Anything heavier than one pound could cause serious injury and should be avoided.

Finally, all straps and attachments should always remain securely fastened for maximum security during travel.

Purchasing age-appropriate toys with safety standards approved by ASTM International can help provide peace of mind regarding your child's safety in the car.

Despite the numerous rigorous standards, which include crash testing pass, to guarantee child safety seats are secure, there remain NO such regulations or tests for products sold as accessories (mirrors, hook-on toys) to be used with a given car seat - despite not being included in it.

Safer alternatives for child's car seat toys

To make sure your little one is safe while they are enjoying their travels in the car, consider these safer alternatives:

- Stuffed Animals & Soft Toys: Soft stuffed animals can provide comfort and entertainment to kids traveling in the car without worrying about sharp edges or heavy weight. Stuffed animals easily attach to car seats with adjustable straps and often come with various fun features like rattles and squeakers.

- Books & Puzzles: Fun books and puzzles can help keep kids occupied during long drives or flights. Many puzzles and stickers are specifically designed for car seat use, with pieces that easily stay put, so no one is picking up pieces off the floor during travel!

- Music Players: Music players for cars are an excellent way to provide educational entertainment for young travelers. They're portable and come equipped with age-appropriate songs, stories, games, and more, especially a good idea if your kiddo loves noise!

How to spot dangerous car seat toys?

When you're shopping for toys and gadgets to keep your children entertained while they are traveling in the car, it's important to be aware of any potential safety hazards. Here are a few tips to help you spot dangerous toys hanging over the stroller, bassinet, or car seat:

- Read Labels Carefully: Any toy or gadget used in a car seat should be labeled with safety standards approved by ASTM International. This label indicates that the product is safe and has been tested according to industry guidelines.

- Check the Weight: Any car seat toy heavier than one pound can cause serious injury in the event of an accident or sudden braking. Make sure that all car seat toys are lightweight and easy for kids to hold securely while traveling. Unsure about a toy's safety and weight? Simply conduct the Ouch Test: take the toy or object and hit it gently against your head. If you find yourself exclaiming, "ouch!" then it will undoubtedly cause harm to your little ones riding in the car seat in an accident situation.

- Inspect Attachments: All straps and attachments should be securely fastened for maximum security during travel. Check for frayed edges or loose stitching before purchasing any car seat toy, as this could indicate poor quality and possible danger in case of an accident.

Safety tips on using car seat toys

when to put toys on car seat

Here are some safety tips to keep in mind when using car seat toys in a riding vehicle:

Adjust Straps Securely: Always double-check that harness straps and attachments for car seat toys are securely fastened before hitting the road. This will help ensure that your child's toy stays put even during sudden braking or sharp turns. Some straps on the toys stretch, so keep that in mind as well.

Introduce Soft Toys: Soft and light toys like stuffed animals can provide comfort and entertainment without worrying about sharp edges or heavy weights, making them ideal candidates for car seat use.

Monitor Use: Supervise children while they are playing with their car seat toys to make sure they don't trap their fingers or hands in straps or attachments, as this can result in injury.


Can babies play with toys in a car seat?

Babies can play with toys in a car seat. However, it's important to make sure that the toy is securely attached or held in place so that it won't move all over the place and become a distraction when you're driving. 

For example, it's also best to select toys that are designed for car seats and don't have any small parts or sharp objects that may pose a choking hazard.

Is it safe to add things to a car seat?

It is not recommended to add anything to a car seat that was not included with it originally. Adding items to a car seat carrier can potentially interfere with the safety features of the seat and/or make it difficult to install properly.

Additionally, if any of the added items have strings or straps attached, these could create a choking hazard for your little one. If you want to add some accessories like plush toys or mirrors, make sure that they are designed specifically for use in car seats, and always use them under the supervision of an adult.

Why are there no toys in car seats?

By not including toys with car seats, manufacturers ensure the safety of babies and toddlers. Toys can be a distraction when you are driving, and they may also interfere with the safety features of the car seat or create a choking hazard if they have small parts or sharp objects.

Additionally, many car seats now have an integrated activity bar and/or mirror to keep your little one entertained during car rides.

is it safe to hang toys from car seat

Are spiral car seat toys safe?

Spiral car seat toys can be dangerous if they are not used properly.

The straps of these toys can wrap around a child's neck and possibly cause an injury or strangulation. If you choose to use spiral car seat toys, ensure the straps are firmly secured and no longer than 5 inches long.

Additionally, never leave your child unattended with this type of toy. Be sure to supervise them at all times while playing with them.


Despite their potential for providing entertainment, car seat toys should be used carefully and with appropriate supervision.

Always check the safety guidelines supplied by the manufacturer before purchasing a car seat toy to ensure that it is suitable for your child's age, size, and abilities.

Additionally, never leave a child unattended with any type of car seat toy. By taking these precautions, you can help to keep your little one safe while they enjoy playing with toys in their car seat in the backseat.

Avatar of Kathy Warner

Kathy Warner

Kathy is a busy mother of two and a CPS technician for more than eight years. Her mission is to awaken parents to the importance of child passenger safety and show them the right practice. You can read more about her here

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