The 5 Best Car Seat Organizers To Wrangle Your Family’s Clutter
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Your family spends a lot of time in the car, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be messy. The best car seat organizers help you control the chaos by offering a designated place to store all your commuting essentials. These range in size and functionality, but the best ones are secure, can be easily installed on front seats or backseats, and keep clutter at bay with pockets and compartments for things like snacks, books, water bottles, and tablets.
To keep installation simple, choose a car organizer that hangs from a front seat headrest or a freestanding one that fits snuggly beside your child’s seat in the back. Some hanging organizers won’t work with integrated headrests — so make sure to check that the organizer’s measurements will work with your car’s seats. And if you think you might need to stow the organizer to save space when it’s not in use or regularly relocate it (between different cars, for example), opt for a design that folds up or has easy-to-carry shoulder straps.
As you shop, think about your children’s specific needs. You might consider doubling up on over-the-seat hanging organizers if you have multiple children, or choosing one with pockets that accommodate more storage space for bottles and baby wipes if you have an infant. For older kids, consider an organizer with a clear pocket to fit a tablet, or one that has a tray table your child can draw, read, or eat on. If your children tend to leave scuff marks or muddy footprints on the backs of the front seats, a hanging organizer with a kick mat can protect your car’s interior. For long-distance trips, an organizer with a cooler or insulated pocket can keep snacks or drinks at the right temperature while you’re on the road.
1. The Best Budget Car Seat Organizers
- Size: 25.6 x 18.1 inches (width x height)
Made with a strong Oxford material, these budget-friendly hanging organizers come in packs of two and are a great option for families with multiple kids. The bottom portion of each organizer serves as a kick mat and has a large pocket that can easily fit a small pillow, stuffed animals, or books. Each of the organizers has a little clip attached to the larger pocket that’s perfect for hanging an umbrella or the bonus tissue box that comes free with your purchase. At the top, there are two mesh pockets to store water bottles or other small items, along with a clear PVC pocket that can fit a 10-inch iPad. The PVC pocket comes with hook-and-loop closures on the sides, which makes it easy to access and plug in headphones or a charger.
Many reviewers have appreciated that the organizers are easy to install — it just involves looping one strap around the headrest and one around the bottom portion of the seat — but the manufacturer claims it won’t work for every car, including those with integrated headrests. While it doesn’t have a tray table or cooler, and it’s not designed to be particularly portable, the straps shouldn’t interfere with the person sitting in front. One reviewer wrote, “It does go right about where someone would sit on it, however it was not an issue at all. I rode in the passenger seat with this organizer on the back of my seat and I never felt the buckle at my rear. The actual buckle is on the side of my seat anyway, so there is only a strap.”
Promising Amazon review: “We mainly purchased these to save our seats from those pesky little feet! These have lasted for at least 6 months and seem to be sturdy enough to last awhile. My son had shredded some fabric-like ones prior to these. All of the pockets are handy to toss a toy, trash, or whatever else to help alleviate clutter within the car. The section to place a tablet is handy and the clip-on tissue box is an added bonus for sure. The price point to quality is excellent...if you dirt on the seats stresses you out, these will do the trick!”
2. The Best Car Seat Organizer With A Cooler
- Size: 13 x 18 x 11 inches (width x depth x height)
Need something to keep your drinks and snacks cool during long road trips? Look no further than this versatile car seat organizer with a cooler. The inside of the cooler compartment is insulated and lined with vinyl to help maintain chilled temperatures when paired with ice packs. It also comes with an adjustable divider to keep the inside of the cooler nice and organized. Just avoid adding ice directly to the cooler — the manufacturer specifies that excess water may leak through and things could get messy. Fortunately, though, many reviewers have claimed that ice packs work great and last for hours in it.
Although it’s a pricier option, reviewers have reported that it is spacious. One person wrote, “It will hold 6 bottles of water as well as six cans of pop and keep them cool for 5 hour road trip in summer. And there was plenty of room for cheese strings and other kids snacks.” There are also plenty of outer compartments and pockets for storage. The two front compartments serve as cup holders, while the other eight side pockets can house everything from crayons to small books. When closed, the top portion of the cooler can be utilized as a tray. The freestanding organizer has a strap to secure it to a seatbelt — plus, it has an adjustable shoulder strap you can use to take it with you.
Promising Amazon review: “Bought this for a road trip from Maine to Florida. Did a great job keeping beverages cool and works as an arm rest for the kids. The cup holders work great as well. I plan to keep it in the trunk and use it for groceries until our next road trip.”
3. The Best Car Seat Organizer With A Lap Tray
- Size: 15 x 2.5 x 11 inches (width x depth x height, with tray closed)
This durable polyester car organizer is great for kids that like to eat, color, or craft in the car. It comes with two adjustable straps: a shoulder strap to carry it around and a fastener strap at the very top to loop it securely around the front headrest. On the outside of the case is a clear pouch that can fit a tablet. This also includes a hook-and-loop opening at the top to easily slide the tablet in and out. There is no side access to plug in headphones or a charger, but the manufacturer notes that you can easily cut a hole in the clear window for cords to pass through.
On the inside, there are four mesh pockets to store drawing supplies or small toys. The tray itself has an elastic band to help keep coloring sheets in place. When they’re done, kids can easily pack away everything by zipping up the edges. And this activity table isn’t just limited to arts and crafts — one reviewer wrote: “It fits perfectly on the back of the seat and worked as a desk for arts and crafts, a table for snacks, and a stand for his kindle to watch movies.”
While you can adjust the top strap higher or lower to adjust the height of the table, the manufacturer suggests taking a quick measurement before making your purchase — it measures 11 inches from top to bottom, so if your kid uses a booster or front-facing car seat, you’ll need to measure the length from the bottom of the headrest to their lap to see if it will be the right height for your child. If you find that it doesn’t work for your car, the manufacturer offers a 90-day money-back guarantee. This organizer doesn’t have a kick mat or cooler, but it’s a great option for containing kids’ messes.
Promising Amazon review: “We bought the Backseat Car Organizer because we frequently have long trips in the car. It was a godsend for our most recent trip across Texas! It fits perfectly on the back of the seat and worked as a desk for arts and crafts, a table for snacks, and a stand for his kindle to watch movies. The organizer is built well and of high quality. Internally, there are several pockets for crayons, papers, scissors, etc. My son loves it!”
4. A Great Collapsible Freestanding Organizer
- Size: 9.5 x 17.5 x 9.5 inches (width x depth x height)
This freestanding car seat organizer is a great option for giving kids easy access to their items in the backseat. You can secure it in place with a seatbelt and set it between two car seats or use the handles to transfer it to your trunk or car floor for extra storage. The best part is its ability to easily collapse when it’s not in use, which means you can easily fold it up and tuck it under a seat when you need the extra space.
There are nine different storage compartments: The two main cubes can house larger items like blankets or stuffed animals, while the four mesh pockets on the inside can hold drinks. There’s a zippered pouch on the back and two more outer pockets on the front to hold smaller knickknacks, like pencils and markers. It doesn’t have a tray table or insulation for drinks (or a kick mat, for that matter), but many reviewers have praised how much space there is. One reviewer wrote, “I like that this organizer has two large areas so each of my kids gets a space of their own. [...] We keep books, activity books and other items in the organizer in the car so the kids can read or do an activity while we are driving.”
Promising Amazon review: “I love this organizer! It is so well made and folds up so easily. I bought two, one to keep in the floor between two captain’s chairs for my daughters in a minivan, and another to keep folded in trunk area until we go on road trips and need to use them both. They have plenty of room to keep the kids’ DVDs, books, and activities. We will be using these for a long time! I’m glad I read the reviews on these and chose the best car organizer out there!”
5. An Adjustable Hanging Organizer For The Essentials
- Size: 10.5 x 7 x 10.5 inches (width x depth x height)
This adjustable hanging car seat organizer is the smallest option on the list, but its versatile design makes it ideal for busy parents. You can choose to hang it from the adjustable strap and face it towards the backseat like the other hanging options on this list — or swivel it to the front seat for easier access while you’re on the road. It has five pockets along the outside. On the inside, you’ll find two large compartments, three designated slots to hold credit cards, and an insulated cup holder to help keep drinks chilled or warm.
The manufacturer doesn’t list any types of cars or seats that the organizer won’t work with, instead specifying it to have a “universal fit.” Reviewers have reported that it’s “easy to remove,” too. Due to its compact size, you don’t need to worry about this car seat organizer taking up too much space, but if you need the extra storage or an organizer geared more towards kids with a tray table, transparent window for tablets, cooler, or kick mat, consider pairing it with one of the other options on the list.
Promising Amazon review: “I put this on the passenger seat headrest for a road trip I took with my two kids. It was so helpful to always know where essentials (wipes, hand sanitizer - this is during the pandemic- sunglasses, water bottle, some toys and snacks) were and that I could reach them while driving. It was sturdy and didn't get in the way at all.”