The 10 Best Car Seat Protectors

Updated October 24, 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

10 Best Car Seat Protectors
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 45 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. All parents know that to transport baby in the car safely you need an appropriate car seat. But what you may not know is that the constant installation and removal of those seats can damage your existing car upholstery. Not to worry. These car seat protectors are designed to prevent just that, and can also mitigate kicks from active feet and food and drink spills. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best car seat protector on Amazon.

10. Ohuhu Baby

For under $15, the Ohuhu Baby offers great bang for your buck. It works with both forward-facing and rear-facing seats and has been crash tested to stay in place in an accident, but the mesh pockets are a bit scratchy against dangling legs.
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • lightweight and easy to maneuver
  • only comes in one color combo
Brand Ohuhu
Model pending
Weight 1.5 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

9. Baby Caboodle

The Baby Caboodle is an affordable solution to keep your car upholstery looking like new. It's made with tight pockets of foam that increase compression and create maximum resistance for great protection, but the fabric isn't as luxurious as others.
  • headrest strap is easy to tighten
  • resists stains from spillage
  • doesn't conform to the seat well
Brand Baby Caboodle
Model pending
Weight 4.6 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

8. StayNpro CSP01BK-01

The StayNpro CSP01BK-01 comes in a black body with blue contrast stitching for an attractive, sporty look. It is made of a 600 denier Oxford fabric with PVC leather-look grain on all corners and offers a universal fit for most car makes and models.
  • includes an e-book for tips and info
  • adjustable headstrap for stability
  • backing isn't very grippy
Brand StayNpro
Model CSP01BK-01
Weight 12.8 ounces
Rating 3.5 / 5.0

7. Munchkin Auto Seat

The Munchkin Auto Seat is a functional accessory that ensures your child's safety, while maintaining a sanitary space. It features a stabilizing wedge that keeps it securely in place for peace of mind while on the road, plus the price can't be beat.
  • easy to fold up for storage
  • fabric repels liquids
  • sticky back tends to melt off
Brand Munchkin
Model 27301
Weight 1.3 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

6. Summer Infant Elite DuoMat

Designed with thick, molded foam, the Summer Infant Elite DuoMat keeps your car free from scratches or dents caused by heavy car seats. It is super easy to install with side slots for easy access to latch anchors and seat belts.
  • textured vinyl front
  • back panel folds for the perfect fit
  • sticky back may ruin leather seats
Brand Summer Infant
Model 77710
Weight 2.3 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

5. Smiinky SM-252

The Smiinky SM-252 sets itself apart from the rest with its unique combination of materials, wide base and use of just the right amount of padding height to minimize damage to your car seats. The convenient headrest straps also help to keep the back upright and in place.
  • machine washable for easy care
  • safe to use on leather seats
  • not as tall as others
Brand Smiinky
Model SM-252
Weight 13.6 ounces
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

4. Prince Lionheart 2

Parents rave about the Prince Lionheart 2 because of its durability and smart design that grows with your child. Its 2-part construction offers total protection from infant car seats to boosters, plus the kick plate prevents scuffs from dirty shoes.
  • comes in 3 neutral colors
  • bottom tray keeps it level
  • base connects with heavy duty velcro
Brand Prince Lionheart
Model 0560
Weight 1.4 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

3. Bebe by Me Royal

The Bebe by Me Royal is a high-end seat protector made for darker colored seats. Its superior quality can be seen in the custom handmade red stitching, luxurious Oxford fabric and PVC leather combination and advanced transparent antislip PVC dots that give it a good grip.
  • heavy duty double layer design
  • spacious mesh organizer
  • heat resistant backing
Brand Bebe by Me
Model pending
Weight 15.2 ounces
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

2. Diono Super Mat

If you want to prevent permanent indentations to your upholstery seats, check out the Diono Super Mat. This affordable option is made of a tear-resistant waterproof fabric that has individual panels of high-density foam and contours to the shape of the car nicely.
  • works with all carriers and boosters
  • latch compatible
  • tuck-in panel for a secure fit
Brand Diono
Model 40499
Weight 1.3 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

1. Brica Seat Guardian

The Brica Seat Guardian is the #1 choice among parents looking to prevent damage to their car upholstery. The extra tall back panel is specially designed to fit today's larger car seats, plus it has raised walls to catch crumbs and spills before they do any damage.
  • simple to clean with a wet cloth
  • antislip grips on both sides
  • color doesn't bleed onto seats
Brand Brica
Model 60007
Weight 2.3 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

Why You Need A Car Seat Protector

Using a booster seat can be rough on your car’s interior, especially if you have a more delicate, luxurious fabric inside, like leather or suede. And if you frequently need to switch your booster seat between other vehicles, you are essentially doubling the amount of wear and tear you're putting on your car's upholstery, which can quickly lead to dents in the seat and premature wear The problem is further exacerbated if you’re using certain booster seat models that have designs with sharp corners or edges that can dig into your car’s interior, possibly leading to more serious damage on the seat that you might not be able to fix.

While these problems pale in comparison to the benefits of ensuring a secure fit for your child’s booster seat, finding a good car seat protector enables you to have the best of both worlds: a pristine interior and a safe ride for your little one. The quality and safety of these items varies widely from product to product, however, so it’s very important for you to have the right protector for the job. An inferior model can lead to your booster seat’s installation shifting over time, making the fit looser and more dangerous for your child.

When you do find the ideal combination of protector and booster seat, not only will you enjoy the benefits of a much cleaner interior, but depending on the style of car seat protector you end up using, you may even have exrta some places to store your child’s things. It’s a sight easier than fishing for them blindly on the ground.

A Brief History of Car Seat Protectors

The booster seat may date back to 1962, but one of the first patents for a car seat protector only dates back to 2006. It was a soft, flexible mat the user placed on the vehicle’s seat, providing a non-slip surface on which to place the booster seat. It featured a pocket panel that hung off the front of the seat for storage.

Interestingly enough, one of the reasons for the advent of the protector was to reduce the the chances of the booster seat slipping upon the surface of the vehicle's seat itself. While many websites claim the opposite is true, the dense plastics manufacturers use in the construction of most booster seats may not get the best traction on materials like leather and vinyl. Katherine Gold and Lynn Rosen, the car seat protector inventors, designed the first car seat protector to combat this issue, while also being easy to clean and maintain.

The nylon used in the initial model was washable and inexpensive to produce, making it ideal for such an application. Rubberized rectangles made up the non-slip surface for the booster seat to sit upon, effectively holding it in place. Finally, a retaining member secured the car seat protector to the vehicle's seat.

There’s not much of a difference between that first soft car seat protector and the ones we see on the market today. There are now models that cover both the bottom and back of the vehicle's seat for enhanced protection, and the materials used to create them have changed, but that's about it. If you are so inclined, you can still quite easily find models that only cover the bottom of the vehicle's seat, just like the very first version.

The Ins And Outs Of Owning A Car Seat Protector

In short, you want a protector that will do its job, while it also lets the booster seat do its job. There seem to be two different schools of design when it comes to the car seat protector: the hard-style protector and the soft-style. This refers mainly to the materials used in fabrication. Soft-style models are a flexible sheet or mat, while hard-style protectors are solid and inflexible.

Most manufacturers make soft-style protectors from nylon or polyester, with a gripping material like rubber or PVC to create a secure hold on the booster seat. They’re easy to install and easy to take out. While not in use, they take up much less space than hard-style models due to their flexibility. However, over time crumbs and juice may seep into the fabric, deteriorating the look. But at least it’s better and much less costly to replace than damaging your actual upholstery.

Hard-style protectors are usually crafted from hard rubber or dense polyurethane. They are akin to car mats in how they look and feel, but instead of protecting your car's floors, they protect your vehicle's seats and provide a solid base for the booster seat. The hard surface means that it’s going to be much easier to clean than soft-style models. But if you have a lighter-toned protector, they might have a tendency to stain more easily than darker soft-style or hard-style models. Car seat protectors of this type are more susceptible to scratches and scuffs, as well. Again, it’s a worthwhile trade to replace a relatively inexpensive accessory instead of reupholstering your vehicle's seat. While knowing the difference between the two types of car seat protectors is important, making sure the booster seat you have is compatible with a car seat protector at all should be a top priority.

Always consider the instructions of the booster seat manufacturer when purchasing a car seat protector. There are some manufacturers who do not recommend car seat protectors with their products for safety purposes. Incorrectly installing a booster seat is one of the leading causes of death for children involved in a car accident. So, always err on the side of caution and follow the manufacturers recommended use guidelines. Ideally, you’ll be shopping for a car seat and car seat protector simultaneously, so you can ensure the correct combination.

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Last updated on October 24, 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as behind the computer screen, Brett can either be found hacking furiously away at the keyboard or perhaps enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He hopes to one day become a modern day renaissance man.

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