Did you know that not all toy cars are suitable for toddlers? Some have sections where tiny fingers can get pinched or caught, and others have button batteries or small parts that could become choking hazards. And not all cars are comfortable for small hands to grasp.
As moms of vehicle-loving littles, we understand what makes a toy appealing to little ones and which styles are best avoided.
We’ve spent a lot of time searching for the best toy cars for toddlers. Whether your little one is a 3-year-old car smasher, a 2-year-old who loves emergency vehicles, or a 1-year-old who prefers big-wheeled, easy-grasp cars, we’ve got the perfect car for them.
We chose these 21 toddler cars based on their safety ratings, ease of use, and overall toddler appeal. Read on to learn what to look for in a toddler vehicle. And check out our top picks to find the perfect roll-around toy for your toddler.
- 4 safe, soft vehicles
- Great for fine motor skills
- Removable wipe-clean wheel piece
- Easy-roll, bead-filled wheels
- 6 Disney-themed character cars
- Perfect for traveling
- Easy grasp design
- Dishwasher safe
- 100% recycled plastic
- Phthalate and BPA free
- Crafted of durable plastic
- 3-piece set
- Friction powered
- 60-piece Prextex building blocks
- Temperature-resistant plastic
- Wear-resistant and odorless
- Educational building playset
- Made with non-toxic materials
- Creative & educational pastime
- Durable truck toy
- No metal axels for safety
- Environment-friendly materials
- Set of 5 play vehicles
- High-quality sturdy plastic material
- Fun, multicolored design
- Clean, contemporary design
- Easy to grab, push, and roll
The Best Toy Cars for Toddlers of 2023
Here are our favorite toy cars for babies and toddlers.
Melissa & Doug Soft Baby and Toddler Toy Set
Best Soft and Squishy Option
This fantastic, baby-friendly set includes four vehicles: a school bus, a family car, a fire truck, and a police car. They zoom forward easily and quickly with a simple, low-effort pull back.
The cars are bright and colorful, with fun little characters sitting in the front seats. They have no sharp edges, and their soft, squishy nature makes them extremely safe for your baby to handle. The set also includes a carrying case for easy and convenient transport.
Rattle and Roll Race Car
Best for Fun Sounds
There are a lot of great features in this baby race car. The top of the car is round, which makes for gentle handling. Inside the wheels are little rattle beads for fun sound effects.
If your baby likes to put toys in their mouth, you won’t need to worry about this car. The entire toy is soft and flexible, perfect for teething as well as racing.
This toy is cute, safe, and fun. Its multiple benefits make it a great all-rounder for your little one.
Disney Baby Go Grippers
Best for Easy Grip
These cars are ideal for your toddler as they have a ball-like design that makes them easy to hold. They are hardy, rugged, and ready for play. They’re also adorable. All of the cars are Disney-themed. Besides Mickey and Minnie, you can also purchase cars with Pooh, Tigger, Mike, and Sully faces.
Young children are able to grip these cars easily and roll them smoothly.
Green Toys Tractor Vehicle
Best Earth-Friendly Toy Car
This environmentally-friendly tractor will provide great quality entertainment while giving you peace of mind. Made in the U.S. from 100% recycled plastic, it has no external coatings and no metal axles, which means no rust.
The tractor has a detachable trailer pull and large, sturdy wheels that can handle any terrain, indoors or out. This tractor toy is fun, good quality, and kind to the earth. You can feel good about giving it to your children.
The tractor is available in orange and pink.
WolVol Push and Go Friction Powered Car Toys
Best Truck Set for Boys
These brightly-colored toy cars are made from good quality materials that make them strong and sturdy. Included in the set of three are a street sweeper truck, cement mixer, and harvester.
Each car has an automatic twisting or rotating part that activates when the car is pushed. No batteries are required. This adds a realistic aspect to the toys as the actions mimic real-life scenarios.
Build Your Own Toy Cars
This versatile set comes with 60 pieces that can be combined to create over 20 different vehicles. Possible vehicles include construction trucks, police cars, and regular cars. The number of possibilities will have your toddler’s imagination working overtime.
The chunky pieces are designed with round corners for safety and are made from wear-resistant and odorless plastic. Older kids will enjoy these as well.
Take-Apart Toy Set
Best for Problem Solving
This set has three colorful and imaginative options: an airplane, a race car, and a train. Your children can take these apart and put them back together, helping them develop critical thinking skills. When fully assembled, the cars have the ability to roll around smoothly for creative play.
These toys also come with safety in mind. They have no sharp edges for you to worry about. They are made entirely from non-toxic materials and are safe if put into a child’s mouth.
However, some parts are small, so younger children should be supervised when playing with this set.
Green Toys Pink Dump Truck
Best Truck for Girls
This dump truck has a sleek and simple design with a soft pink color. It rolls back and forth and is made to be the perfect size for a child’s small hands.
The Green Toys company prides itself on being eco-friendly. The truck is manufactured in the U.S. with 100% recycled plastic. It is phthalate and BPA-free. And it’s even dishwasher-safe!
The car is made without any external paints, dyes, or coatings. This makes it safe for the earth and the kids who play with it.
Friction-Powered Bulldozer Truck
Most Durable Toy Car
This set of five includes a variety of vehicles for your toddler to play with. They can take their pick of a forklift, bulldozer, cement mixer, dump truck, or tractor with a removable trailer. No batteries are required as these are powered by friction.
The set is made of sturdy, high-quality plastic, and they are small enough that your child can take them anywhere. Pack these little cars in your bag, and your toddler will be entertained no matter where you are.
Early Learning Push and Pull Toy
Most Sleek and Simple
This toy car is modern and sleek in its design. It’s available in several different colors and is easy for youngsters to grab onto. The easy-to-grasp handle makes pushing and pulling simple for even the tiniest fingers.
The car is about 6.13 inches long and is entirely round and smooth, with no sharp edges or removable parts to worry about.
Dinosaur Toy Pull Back Cars
Best Educational Option
This set comes with six different dino vehicles to play with. The potential for creativity is endless as you have a wide variety of dinosaurs represented here, like the T-Rex and Triceratops, to name a few. These are hand-painted realistic dinosaur cars that are made of non-toxic plastic.
The cars will zoom forward if you pull them back first. They are durable and glide effortlessly along the floor. These cars will stimulate the imagination and encourage the development of hand-eye coordination.
Transforming Robot Race Car
Best for Young Robot Enthusiasts
Using the included play drill and other tools, your child can transform this super cool race car and mini robot into an equally cool mega robot. This car encourages the use of thinking and problem-solving skills, as the car does not transform on its own.
To create the big robot, you must combine parts from the car and the mini-robot. It’s suitable for children over age 3 due to some small parts that could be choking hazards for smaller children.
Disney Pixar Cars Color Changers
Best Cartoon-Themed Toy Car
This interactive toy car allows children to put a spin on the popular character Lightning McQueen. The set includes three Disney Pixar Cars characters: Lightning McQueen, Mater, and Jackson Storm. In addition to the traditional look, it transforms into different colors once the cars are dipped into warm water.
If you have a child who loves the “Cars” movies, they will be delighted to have their own car set to play with. They will have tons of fun recreating their favorite scenes.
The recommended age range is 3 years because small parts, such as wheels, could detach and become choking hazards. If your child is on the lower side of this range, you might want to supervise them with these toys until you’re sure they’re no longer interested in putting things in their mouth.
Disney Pixar Cars Mini Racers 10 Pack
Best for Party Favors
This set includes 10 mini cars, each with different details but all depicting a different character from the “Cars” movies. The cars are small and easy to handle, and they roll well.
You can use them as cake toppers, although they are also convenient for little party favors. A word of warning, though, these really are “mini” cars, at 1 to 1.5 inches long, so they’re not suitable for younger toddlers.
Coogam Take Apart Racing Car
Best Take Apart Car
This kit comes with its own electric or manual toy drill that can be used to take the pieces of the car apart and put them back together again. This encourages the use of problem-solving skills.
It’s suitable for kids older than 3 years old.
Light Up Monster Trucks
Best Light-Up Option
This fun and creative set include two 6-inch monster trucks with large, light-up wheels. But they don’t only light up; they also flash on and off, creating a mesmerizing light show.
However, the trucks require button batteries, making them a hazard for younger children who could ingest the dangerous batteries.
These vehicles are easy to operate, with just a push-and-go mechanism. If your toddler is as crazy about light-induced stimulation as mine is, this could be a good choice for you.
Fisher-Price Little People Wheelies
Best Classic Option
These little cars are fast, fun, and totally adorable. They’re a modern version of the classic push-and-go cars that have been around for decades.
This set includes six vehicles, each with a cute “Little People” character built in.
Many other characters are available if you want to add to your child’s collection. And these cars fit great with the various Little People tracks and towers.
Prextex Cartoon Vehicles
Best for Competition
This is a great toy for kids who loves car racing with friends. The realistic sounds add to its imaginative play, making it entertaining for the kids.
This duo will entertain kids for hours as they enjoy the challenge of competing against each other in a friendly way. It’s for ages 2 years and over, although I suspect older kids will love this just as much as your 2-year-old.
Little People Wheelies
Best Toy Cars for Both Genders
This adorable set of Wheelies from Fisher-Price allows both little boys and girls to race around with their favorite characters. The set includes six different characters on wheels. Each of them is built into their own colorful, unique car.
The use of recognizable characters will encourage story-telling and fuel the imagination immensely.
Giant Big Rig Hauler
Best for Truck Enthusiasts
If your little boy — or girl — is interested in big trucks, check this out. This set includes a large 26-inch hauler truck that can transport two sports cars on its detachable trailer.
With a realistic touch, it includes a folding tailgate so the cars can easily roll on and off. The front part of the vehicle even features a turning mechanism for easy steering.
Wooden Race Track and Cars
Best Wooden Option
Four mini race cars come with this wooden race track. The wood is BPA-free and stained with non-toxic, water-based paint. The colors are fun, and the cars roll smoothly up and down the ramps.
In addition to being fun, this toy is built with education in mind. The ramps are linked together, and your child will have to figure out how they work.
While toy cars are an excellent way for your child to learn and grow while also enjoying themselves, it is essential to choose an age-appropriate car. Not all cars that are suitable for a 3-year-old are going to be safe for a baby.
When choosing a toy car for toddlers, pay attention to the parts involved (1).
Are there small wheels that could come loose? Toy car wheels are a common choking hazard. Are there sharp edges to hurt themselves on? Are there moving parts where fingers could get stuck?
For toddlers, it’s best to choose simple, sturdy cars with rounded corners and no small or detachable parts.
Babies love to put anything and everything into their mouths. You must ensure the toy is made from safe, non-toxic materials because, at some point, they will attempt to chew on it. It is also important that parts do not detach.
For children who are 2 to 3 years old, cars with more complex features will be appropriate as long as they’re still safe. Detachable and moving parts become less hazardous and will add a level of interest and detail to the toy.
How to Choose a Toy Car for Toddlers
For a baby or young toddler, simple, straightforward designs that are easy to grab and hold on to will minimize frustration. Bright colors and patterns will keep their attention.
Push-along toys will encourage the development of motor skills and coordination. Toys with rattle sounds or music are great for developing sensory development (2).
Look for toy cars that move easily and roll around smoothly. Also, try to choose toys that have some effects, like bright lights or sounds. Pull-back or zoom-forward features may provide some excitement, and your child will feel a sense of accomplishment as they master the skills.
Older toddlers will benefit from toy cars that are a little more challenging. Cars that require some building or piecing together will encourage them to use their critical thinking skills.
Toy cars with characters included or attached will stimulate the imagination and encourage role-play. Those that include some numbers or letters will introduce them to reading and counting.