Choosing the right car seat pad is largely a matter of function and personal taste. There are a variety of color schemes, patterns, and fabrics that a car seat can be made out of. Choosing one that looks good and feels comfortable to you or whoever will be using the pad will make sure you keep the pad and use it continuously.
A common use for a car seat pad is for a child’s or infant's seat. Although typically not as expansive as adult car seat pads, they come in lots of colors and different styles that can brighten up the drive for a child. Choose a pad that will be stain-resistant or easily cleaned. It is also a good idea to get one that will not be easily damaged or torn.
If you are driving in extreme environments, choose a car seat pad that will keep the child warm or cool. Warm fabrics, such as wool or heavy cotton, can help on cold winter days, and specialty pads that wrap around or have cooling agents in them can help protect from a hot seat in particularly warm environments. There are several specialty stores that sell these kinds of car seat pads.
For the standard adult car seat, the first thing to consider is if the pad will cover the seat or fit it properly. Choosing a material should be the next concern. Many car seat pads are made of polyurethane or heavier material, and some are made of more expensive materials, such as sheepskin. If you are in a hotter climate, thick materials, such as the sheepskin, could be uncomfortable.
Consider if the car seat pad will need to cover the whole seat or just part of it. Attachable pads are not as easy to clean or move, but are more apt to stay in place. Easily movable pads are nice if you need to readily move the car seat pad to another seat.
Some pads are specially made for use as back or lumbar support. If you have back issues or get sore driving, one of these pads will be particularly helpful. Make sure they are made from good material and will hold up for a period of time. A thick, still foam will last longer than a soft, cheaply made support. If you have extra money, find one that has massage, cooling, or heating abilities. Some specialty stores will carry these.