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There are many different types of car seat toys for infants and toddlers. The most common types clip onto the car seat, making them accessible for the baby to look at and play with. This clip-on feature allows toys to be easily swapped for others or moved from the car seat to the stroller. For infants who sit in rear-facing seats, the most common car seat toys are mirrors, arches, and clip-on toys. For forward-facing toddlers, age-appropriate hand-held toys and books may replace the clip-on toys.
Mirrors can be affixed to the vehicle's seat back so that infants can look at themselves, which they love to do. These mirrors are constructed of soft material, making them safe if the baby kicks them or knocks them over. If a mirror is positioned properly, parents in the front can maintain visual contact with their baby, or, at least, see what they are doing.
Toy arches attach directly to the sides of the car seat and raise up over the infant, with several toys dangling from the arch. Hanging toys move and sway with the movement of the vehicle, providing even a young baby with entertainment, especially if the toys rattle or have motion-activated music. Some styles allow one to remove and replace the toys that drop down from the arch, and most styles can be transferred from the car seat to the stroller.
Clip-on toys attach to the car seat or its handle, allowing baby to play with them but not to toss them or drop them. For older babies who can grasp and hold toys, car seat toys stimulate their senses with crinkly materials, rough textures, and bright colors. A large number of car seat toys for infants and toddlers resemble animals, with bright, vivid colors and a combination of textures. Smooth textures, bumpy surfaces, and hard plastic parts for teething are just a few of the features these toys may have. Others squeak, rattle, and play music when they are moved.
As children get older, car seat toys change to keep them entertained in the vehicle. Soft books, handheld toys, such as keys with buttons that make noise when pressed, interactive steering wheels that light up and play music, and small stuffed toys can replace the clip-on toys. The downside to toys that aren't clipped onto the car seat is that if the child drops them, they may not be easy to retrieve.
We have a little car seat toy steering wheel that clips on to our son's car seat. My son loves it and he spends most of the drive twisting it back and forth making car sounds.
There have even been times when we have put him in his car seat inside the house so that he can play at driving even when he is not in the car. I swear that boy is going to grow up to be one heck of a race car driver.
I have what is basically a mobile that clips onto my son's car seat. It is the best baby car seat toy I have been able to find because it can't fall off and it seems to absolutely hypnotize my son.
Another thing I should mention is that my son seems to be the rare baby who is not lulled to sleep at all by a ride in the car. In fact, it seems to give him energy. Even on long rides he will be wide awake. Having a good toy to keep him preoccupied is crucial.
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