One of my least desired aspects of traveling with kids is worrying about a car seat. Even the light weight ones are big and bulky and trying to wrangle two kids through the airport with a car seat in tow is not my ideal scenario — but I do it as car seats are many times a necessity for family travel. I also prefer to bring my own car seat with me on vacations as I do not love relying on a rental car company providing the seat. I am also pretty extreme with car seat safety as even my six year old is in a 5-point harness at home. (Although she fights me on it every day).
Just recently, though, I was introduced to a game changing car seat: the WAYB Pico car seat. The car seat folds up into a small bag (with straps to wear as a backpack) and weighs just 8 pounds. The actual seat folds up behind the back and the headrest adjusts down. Everything locks into place making it as compact as possible. Best of all, it has a 5-point harness, which I find to be the safest option amongst car seats. As of right now, I’d say that it is the best car seat for travel.
My WAYB Pico Experience on Vacation
I received the car seat this summer right in time for our trip to Portugal. We rented a car in Portugal and instead of taking our big bulky car seat, which we used to, we tested out the WAYB Pico car seat instead. Carrying it on our back through the airport was a breeze and we didn’t even have to gate check it — it fit right in the overhead bin on the airplane. I love not having to check a car seat as there is risk with it being damaged or even lost in cargo.
Installation was extremely easy once we picked up our rental car, although we did practice at home prior to our trip. Everything clips into place, which was very easy to figure out. The only challenging component was figuring out how to loosen and tighten the straps. Instead of tightening from a strap between the legs, there are two pulls — located at either side of your child’s hips. But after doing it once, it was easy to use moving forward. There are even two install options — LATCH or seatbelt.
Since the experience was extremely painless, we used the car seat again on a recent domestic flight on Southwest Airlines. Again, the car seat fit into the overhead bin. This time we only needed the car seat to get from the airport to the hotel, but it came in quite handy. It also meant that we did not have to hire a more expensive car service ahead of time simply for the car seat option. With this trip, we were able to hail a cab, install the car seat and be on our way. This was a much more economical option too. (I’ve also had bad a few bad experiences with car services forgetting to bring the car seat and have learned that they are not always reliable).
Although we did not use the car seat on the plane either time, it is narrow enough to fit in any airplane seat. It is also FAA approved. Since it can go in the overhead bin, if your child ultimately fights you on sitting in their car seat mid-way through the flight, you have the option of putting it away too.
My WAYB Pico Experience at Home
While my ideal purpose of this car seat is for travel, I’ve actually been using the car seat around town. We are now in the thick of car pools and because of the WAYB Pico car seats compact nature, it easily fits as a third car seat in my back row. I prefer using this over the bumble bum as it is a safer option with the 5-point harness. I can also just keep it in my trunk and take it out when needed. It has also worked out quite well as a car seat for grandma and grandpa’s car when needed.
Who Can Use This Car Seat?
WAYB Pico recommends this car for anyone between the ages of 2 to 5 years old. I like that this caters towards younger kids as there aren’t many other safe travel options for the little ones. The weight limit is 22-50 pounds while the height limit is 30-45 inches tall.
It fits my 3-year old perfectly. Even at 2-years old he would have still been within the proper guidelines and he is a peanut — 3rd percentile for weight at 2 years old.
My 6-year old, however, it too big. At 5 years old my daughter was actually right at the 45 inch mark (95th percentile for height). For weight alone, she actually would have been able to fit up until almost 6 years old and she is above the 80th percentile. This tells me that the average child, even those slightly above average, should fit in the seat until 6 years old.
Using my kids as a baseline, I agree with their 2-5 year old suggestion. Bigger kids might outgrow the car seat at 5 while smaller kids might even be able to use the car seat at 6. And pretty much all kids should be able to use the car seat at 2 years old.
The WAYB Pico is Not Cheap
Although there are so many pros to this car seat, there is one major con — the cost. This car seat cost a whopping $320 which might be hard for many families to swallow, especially since it only has a three year lifespan per child. With that being said, it truly does make air travel significantly better. And it could save you money by not having to rent a car seat from the rental car (which is quite pricey) or hire a car service solely for the car seat option. It also gives you the level of comfort knowing that you do not have to worry when you get to your destination.
The WAYB Pico is a great addition to make family travel less complicated, but it does come at a high price point. If you travel often enough and have multiple kids that it can go through, then the price might be worth it. Being so compact and lightweight is truly a game changer and if you can swing it, I highly recommend.
Note: The WAYB Pico car seats have a voluntary recall for those manufactured between February 1 and August 23, 2019.
Disclosure: WAYB Pico sent me a complimentary seat and bag for me to review. All opinions are my own.