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The Best Baby Car Mirrors to Keep an Eye on Little Ones

Driving with your kiddo in tow can be stressful. A car mirror may give you peace of mind, but you’ll want to use it thoughtfully and with caution.
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profile picture of Danielle Halibey
Published
December 9, 2022
Gif animiation of three car mirrors in rotation
Image: Walmart, Maisonette, Target
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Leaving the hospital and driving home with your newborn for the first time ignites all kinds of worries: Is baby breathing okay? Are they warm? Cold? Is the car seat harness too tight or, maybe, not tight enough? There are suddenly so many things to stress about after finally feeling like the pregnancy anxieties were in your rear view mirror. Driving with baby is certainly an adjustment. Some parents find that a baby car mirror helps abate their anxiety. But is a car mirror for baby necessary, helpful and safe? Read on for all the important information.

In this article:

Do You Need a Baby Car Mirror?

Wondering if you need a car seat mirror? The short answer: no, you don’t. If you’re concerned about driving with baby, consider scheduling a consultation with a certified car seat expert. They’ll be able to walk you through everything you need to know about car travel with your infant, toddler, preschooler or older child, and hopefully have you feeling empowered to strap your kiddo in and take off without looking back.

“If the car seat is installed properly, and the baby is harnessed properly, they’re not in danger, and there’s no need to look at them,” says Lainie Choy, a child-passenger safety technician and consultant for Safe in the Seat. You may feel the burning need to buy a baby car mirror for quick peeks to ease your nerves, but in actuality, the accessory isn’t necessary. That said, some parents find that a car mirror brings them peace of mind. That said, it’s certainly a purchase that should come with careful deliberation and parental discretion. Here’s what to consider:

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Safety concerns

It makes sense for parents to wonder what their rear-facing infant or young toddler is doing when they’re out of sight—and it’s tempting to turn around and survey the baby car mirror for confirmation that everything is, in fact, okay. But during that cursory glance, you’re not focusing on the road in front of you. “In just a few seconds of not looking at the road, you could easily get into a crash. You could veer into another lane, off the road or the vehicle in front of you could slam on their brakes,” says Choy.

The secondary concern, then, is what can happen in the event of an accident. A car mirror can act as a projectile, and it’s aimed right at baby. Choy cautions that it can come off in an accident and hit the baby in the face. This is especially conceivable if the car mirror hasn’t been installed correctly or securely.

Lack of federal safety regulation

Unlike your child’s car seat, which has been put through rigorous safety testing, federal safety standards for baby car mirrors simply don’t exist. Brands can freely release car mirrors with “shatterproof” or “crash-tested” labels, but you’ll need to take these claims with a grain of salt. The testing is done on a much smaller scale. Choy adds that “there are so many different vehicles, and each has a unique interior style.” She wonders: “Do these companies crash-test their car mirrors on every type of vehicle (sedan, SUV, minivan, etc.), with every different headrest?” Probably not.

If not being able to see your little one while you’re on the road puts you on edge, but a car mirror mellows your stress, then by all means, buy one. Just use it prudently. “Look in the mirror when stopped at a red light or stop sign, and be very quick about it,” urges Choy.

What to Look for in a Car Mirror or Monitor

If a baby car mirror is a must for you and your family, then keep these features in mind before you add to your cart.

Go for a Lightweight build

If an accident does occur (and hopefully that’s never the case!), you won’t want a heavy car mirror coming undone and barreling towards you or baby. So look for car mirrors that are lightweight and crafted from acrylic versus glass (for the mirror) and a pliable, soft-edged frame, versus thick, clunky plastic.

Opt for extra-secure fasteners

How can you make sure a car mirror doesn’t fly off? Snap it and strap it so it doesn’t move—some can wobble or rattle while the car is en route, and that’s the last thing you need when you’re trying to limit distractions. The best car mirrors will have straps that fasten tightly around a headrest so they’re firm and steady even on the bumpiest of rides. Some even use intricate stitching to prevent breakage and wear-and-tear over time. As for suction cups? Choy advises you take those options off your list. “The kind that have suction cups and go on the window are less likely to stay attached,” she warns.

Make sure installation is easy

Quick and simple installation is always preferred. But what’s the point of a baby car mirror if it’s not put up the right way? Some mirrors are heavier than others; some boast more straps. But, for the most part, they “really only attach securely to headrests that move up and down,” says Choy. “For the headrests that are fixed and don’t have any space under them, it’s hard to attach the mirror as securely as it should be.” If you can find a mirror that pivots, ideally 360 degrees, positioning it on a passenger headrest (if no one is sitting there, of course) is also a smarter choice (to avoid it being affixed directly above baby). Fasten the buckles (much better than Velcro, by the way), tilt the mirror to your preferred angle and ride off into the sunset.

Avoid car baby monitor options

In your search for car mirrors, you might come across baby car cameras or baby monitors for the car. These can certainly curb your need to keep glancing back at baby, but Choy warns against them, sharing that they still pose a projectile risk. It’s also worth noting that car cameras are illegal in some states and territories (namely, California, Washington, D.C., Florida and New Jersey), so you’ll want to do some research on your local laws before purchasing one.

Best Baby Car Mirrors and Monitors

If you’ve had time to reflect on all of the above and still find yourself in the market for a car mirror, then check out these six options for their low-risk features and incredibly secure installation methods. (One or two might have even won us over for the bonus benefit of letting baby see you in the front. If a calmer and more relaxed child means a less stressful ride—with no turn-around temptations—then we’re here for it!)

Overall best baby car mirror

Travel Bug Soft-Sided Rear- and Forward-Facing Safety Mirror for Baby
Soft-Sided Safety Mirror in grey
Image: Walmart

Truth be told, it’s challenging to find a car mirror that checks all the boxes for safety and gives Mom and Dad a break with an easy, simple install. But this wide-angle safety mirror by Travel Bug strikes that balance, and has thousands of parents buzzing with tried-and-true testimonials. At 11.3 oz, the shatter-resistant mirror is a lot lighter than most, and with its soft sides, parents don’t have to worry about baby getting hurt in the event it gets loose and flies off. And thanks to a super-secure system of attachment straps, that’s not likely to happen. Extra credit? This popular mirror has a lighted counterpart, which works perfectly for night driving! The soft-glow illumination lets parents see their little lightning bug without rousing them if they fall asleep.

What We Love
  • The large size makes it easy for parents and babies to see each other
  • Universal fit means it works for most headrests
  • Can be used for both rear- and forward-facing car seat positions
  • Very affordable
Things To Consider
  • Not adjustable; some parents say they really had to tinker with the attachment to get the best view of baby

Best car mirror for moveable headrests

KeaBabies Car Seat Mirror

If you have a car with removable headrests, this convex car mirror (available in two sizes: regular and large) from KeaBabies should absolutely be on your list. Wide-angled, crystal-clear view: check. Flexibility to position the mirror vertically or horizontally: check. Stringent testing complete to ensure the acrylic mirror is shatterproof and safe for your precious cargo: check. This one comes fully assembled, so all you need to do is attach it to your removable headrest via high-quality adjustable buckle straps, remove the protective film over the mirror face and hit the road. And if you have an aesthetic vibe in your car that you just don’t want to mess with, no worries, the premium quality matte or sleek black finish on this mirror will literally go with any interior.

What We Love
  • The reinforced dual-straps and backside padding provide utmost stability
  • Convenient 360-degree rotational ball hinge lets you adjust for the best viewing angle
  • Mirror comes with an installation instruction manual and video to show correct positioning on headrests
Things To Consider
  • Will not fit or be secure if tried on fixed headrests (unsafe)
  • Mirror is heavy at 1.4 lbs

Best car mirror for fixed headrests

Diono Easy View Mirror

Most baby mirrors are designed with moveable headrests in mind. So finding a reputable mirror that will be compatible with fixed headrests is a bit like finding a needle in a haystack. We found it though, in the award-winning Diono Easy View Mirror. This extremely lightweight (under 10 oz.) circular mirror is constructed with baby-safe shatterproof acrylic and—for what it’s worth—the brand notes that it has been crash-tested as an additional measure of safety. The adjustable straps and back panel allow the mirror to be attached firmly to any headrest without blocking rear visibility. Plus, Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate (EVA) foam padding on the back panel protects upholstery from any scratching and ensures a correct angle for the mirror even when the road gets rough.

What We Love
  • The unique 360-degree pivot mechanism lets you adjust the large, crystal-clear reflection mirror to see baby from any seating position
  • Easy install with any vehicle headrest (fixed and moveable) in seconds
  • Comes in a two-pack so that each caregiver can have one
Things To Consider
  • The round mirror is smaller, so some parents say it’s harder to see details in their child’s picture
  • With a very simple, one-strap fastening system, it can slide (especially on leather)

Best car mirror for forward-facing car seats

Diono See Me Too Forward-Facing Baby Mirror

Diono is definitely a brand you want on your radar when it comes to baby mirrors. And if your baby has transitioned from a rear-facing car seat to a front-facing one, this mirror is just what you need to have a full view of your backseat—with zero need to turn around. The design is simple, and the installation is pretty straightforward: Screw the mirror and the base together, attach to your current rearview mirror using the clamp feature, tighten for extra security and then adjust for a full view of baby in the back. One Amazon reviewer applauded the mirror for letting her keep an eye on her kids without having to adjust the main mirror away from where it should be (a definite safety pro).

What We Love
  • Crafted from shatterproof materials
  • Easy to put together, adjust, clean and take down
Things To Consider
  • Mirror can slip (prompting adjustments) after going over especially bumpy roads
  • Some parents say that the mirror rattles every so often

Best car mirror for seats without headrests

Pikibu 180-Degree Rear View Family Car Mirror
Rear-view mirror showing both children in the passenger seat
Image: Amazon
Buying Options
Amazon | $34.99

We searched high and low for a car mirror that would work without headrests. Unfortunately, most options to accommodate sans head restraints feature suction cups that can attach to the window—and using that type of product just isn’t advisable. We did manage to find a rare but intriguing 180-degree rear view family car mirror from Pikibu though. This interior car mirror attaches over your car rearview mirror, and with unique dimensions and curvature, it maximizes the viewable area within your vehicle. You can see all of your children, and your children can see you (hence: peek-a-boo), without any of your blind spots being obscured. Kind of genius, right?

What We Love
  • High-quality independent spring connectors secure mirror in place, covering car factory rear view mirror
  • Great for a family with more than one kiddo
Things To Consider
  • Biggest caveat: It can work for parents with forward-facing toddlers and preschoolers
  • A bit more expensive, but worthwhile for the expansive viewing opportunity

Best wide-angle car mirror

Skip Hop Style Driven Backseat Baby Mirror

Wide-angle, but make it fashion. That’s exactly what this Skip Hop faux-leather convex mirror is serving. The huge, crystal-clear mirror face is ideal for babies who are just starting to love checking out their reflection, and the wide-angle view that it casts is just the thing to eliminate your desire to look back—the picture comes right up in your rearview mirror. Lightweight (less than 10 oz.) and easy to install, the shatter-resistant mirror with a soft-padded frame is a total cinch to put up. And it features a 360-degree rotating ball joint on the back for added adjustability. There’s a Silver Lining Cloud version that comes with music, white-noise sounds and multicolor lights for baby’s delight and amusement, but it’s much heavier (1.9 lbs.), and the cut-out of the cloud provides a much smaller viewable area. We like the Tonal Chevron colorway much better!

What We Love
  • The chic faux-leather look is a classy addition to any car
  • Clear wide-angle view can ease parental anxiety (and discourage parents from taking their eyes off the road)
  • Super-easy to install with safe and secure criss-crossing straps
Things To Consider
  • Hasn’t been crash-tested
  • - Not compatible with fixed headrests
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