The first time I took a flight with my 18-month-old daughter nearly turned me off of traveling with toddlers for good. My husband schlepped the heavy car seat to and from the airport in a backpack almost as tall as my 4 feet 10 inches. Combined with our luggage, carry-on bags, the stroller, and our toddler herself, we carried a lot. We were like a Voltron of baby accessories. But that was six years ago, and technology has finally caught up with the needs of traveling parents. Like the new WAYB Pico, a lightweight, front-facing portable car seat I wish I'd had back then.
WAYB is a new company committed to making sustainable, travel-friendly products for families. Headed by a team of experts in outdoor industry manufacturing, WAYB considers it their mission to keep raising the bar on “family products that are safer, healthier, and responsibly-made.” I’ll be the first to admit that my family of five doesn’t do much ride-sharing on vacay primarily because of the stress of wrangling three small kids and all their car seats.
The WAYB Pico is small, sleek and minimalist, like seating you would imagine in transportation from a science fiction movie. For good reason: the car seat is built with aerospace-grade aluminum and high-performance mesh that delivers on both durability and comfort. It comes in four gender-neutral colors, Jet, Ocean (pictured below), Turquoise, and Earth.
But what it gives up in frills, it maximizes in functionality. The Pico keeps little ones safe while weighing just 8 pounds. (Pick your jaw up off the floor). It folds compactly enough to fit into its accompanying Pico Travel Bag, a 17.7-inch high bag that can be carried via its own handle, used as a backpack, or slung over the handle of a suitcase. This video demonstrates just how easy the car seat is to use:
WAYB caught my attention because lightweight family gear would make it so much easier to get around on family vacations. It's also impressive that they won a Juvenile Products Manufacturers Award for "Best in Show" in their first year out the gate. Even better, the WAYB Pico provides that awesome portability without sacrificing safety — it exceeds standards set by the FAA and NHTSA.
If your child is still an infant, you’ll have to wait a little longer before they can safely use the Pico car seat, since it’s forward-facing only. The Pico is designed for children who are between 22 and 50 pounds and a minimum of 30 inches tall. Toddlers should be at least one before using it, but the Pico is recommended for toddlers 2 years of age and older. So it’s a no-go for my 8-month-old son, but perfect for my 3-year-old daughter.
The one downside to the Pico Car Seat is its hefty price tag. At $320 for the car seat itself and $50 for the travel bag, you’re shelling out almost $400 for the complete set.
However, for parents who want to travel frequently without the hassle of a heavy car seat, the WAYB Pico more than pays for itself in convenience. Its easy installation is also a plus for multi-vehicle families like mine who might need to transfer a car seat between vehicles quickly. As if it needed any more bonus points, you can also fit three car seats across in a back seat. The Pico travel bag and the car seat together weigh in at less than 10 pounds. You can certainly find a less expensive car seat and backpack combo, but you’ll have a hard time finding one this ultralight and portable.