Traveling with kids is a special kind of hell, one compounded by lugging a 28-pound convertible car seat through an airport (remember airports?). I was that dad, cursing, sweating, and hauling a behemoth through terminals en route to Europe last summer, making myself solemn promises to never repeat the experience. So I did some research and discovered the far more serene and civilized solution that is the WAYB Pico travel car seat, which weighs a mind-blowing eight pounds, while supporting 50 pounds’ worth of kid.
The lightest travel car seat you can buy — and sturdy enough to hold 50 pounds' worth of kid.
If you’re into convenience, the Pico is pure gold — even if you’re not flying anywhere anytime soon. It’s on the American Academy of Pediatrics’ 2020 list of approved forward-facing car seats, and works in front-facing mode for kids between 22 and 50 pounds, who are 30 to 45 inches tall. It has an AeroWing aerospace-grade aluminum frame, which means the thing is solid. Or rather, damn solid.
It’s also something of a design marvel. The Pico’s seat folds behind the backrest when not in use and flips forward to lock in place when installed in a vehicle. It’s anchored using the same three-point Latch anchors and over-the-seatback strap as any standard car seat, and for older (like… much older at this point) cars without the Latch system, it can be installed using a standard seatbelt as well as with a plane’s seatbelt. And — heads up, big families — because it’s so narrow (14.5 inches wide), you can fit three across in a standard backseat.
If you’re toting it around, whether from one car to another, or to a flight, it simply folds up; you can carry it around as is, or get a travel bag for it. It costs $50, but lets you wear the car seat as a backpack, put it on rolling luggage, or just carry it using a handle.
The Pico has an adjustable headrest so you can ensure your kid’s comfort and safety, and an adjustable sternum buckle and shoulder pads help there, too. The seat is great for use in warm weather as the backrest is made from a cool, breathable mesh (they call it “AstroKnit performance poly-wool” but um, I’m going with mesh).
The Pico isn’t what you would call cheap, especially for a car seat that you will use primarily for travel or if you’re switching cars.
Is it worth it, then? Oh, by all means, yes and then some. Having just traveled with the thing again, I can say with complete confidence that it’s worth the buy. Plus, my kids say it’s comfortable, and they don’t use that term lightly.
And dude… eight pounds. It weighs… eight pounds. And it packs up into a backpack. Sold.
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