Deciding on what baby car seat your child seats in while you’re driving can be a difficult task. Should you choose a forward-facing seat or a backwards-facing one? A traditional seat or is a booster seat adequate? We’ve done all the legwork for you and give you a list of the safest, easy-to-fit baby car seats available today.
Every year in the UK, just over 30 children under the age of 12 are involved in fatal car accidents and a further 5,000 are injured. In a lot of these car accidents, it’s possible the children could have avoided injury or death if a decent baby car seat had been installed.
Currently, only a fifth of parents knows it is against the law for children under the age of 12 to travel without a baby car seat or booster seat. According to the Transport Research Laboratory, in instances when children are placed in the right baby car seats, about 80 per cent are used incorrectly. The belts are sometimes too loose or not properly fitted. In other cases, the actual seat is found to be unsuitable for the child’s size or age.
Many health experts advise your child should go through childhood having used at least three car seats;
- First, a rear-facing infant carrier (up to 13kg);
- Second, a rear or front-facing full harness seat (8-18kg);
- Thirdly a booster seat, with a back (15-36kg).
Also available for a child weighing from 22kg and upwards, a booster cushion is available that raises the child up allowing the seat belt fit over their shoulder and pelvis.
This guide has us looking at a wide range of baby car seats that have topped their individual charts for safety, durability and practicability.
When making your choice on which baby car seat to get, it’s important you explore the Kiddicare childcare range. They have experts available to ensure you’re buying the right baby car seat for the right car for the right child. If your budget allows, it’s better to avoid pre-used car seats. Mainly because you’ll be unaware of any knocks it had previously had and even the slightest bump in a car can affect its safety.
Kiddy Phoenixfix Pro2 Group 1 Car Seat – See Price
Designed for kids between the ages of nine months to four years, this is easy to fit and offers great crash protection from the side and front, especially if you fit it with the Isofix base (a safety system which anchors the chair without using seatbelts). One rare feature for typical car seats is that your child is restrained by an adjustable impact shield cushion instead of a traditional five-point harness.
Diono Monterey 2 Group 2/3 Highback Booster Car Seat – See Price
This high-backed booster seat has the option to be secured using a seat belt of isofast connectors, meaning that it won’t come flying into the front of your car’s windscreen if you brake abruptly when the kids aren’t around. It’s ideal for children aged around four up to 12.
High-back booster seat designed to fit a growing child up to 36 kg. Deep, reinforced sides lined with energy-absorbing EPS foam for side impact protection. A dial on the back adjusts the width of the expandable seatback to fit a child’s shoulders up to 50.8 cm wide. 11-position headrest adjusts up to 16.5 cm in height with one hand for an easy, precise fit. As a fixed-position booster, integrated ISOFAST connectors and a front adjuster allow for safe and secure installation in seconds (ISOFAST use is optional). The seat bottom has extra length for leg support and features thick AirTek™ foam and tapered sides for total comfort. Dual cup holders are extra deep and angled to keep drinks upright. Monterey packs flat for convenience.
Concord Car Seat Group 0 + – See Price
This baby carrier can be used with or without an Isofix base and is ideal for newborns from birth up to 13kg. It has amazing front and side impact protection and good head support and is really easy to install. It is also a lot lighter to carry than a lot on the market.
- Suitable from Birth – 12 months (approx)
- Innovative double-wall shell concept
- Solid plastic outer shell with full body polystyrene inner for maximum protection
- Soft, padded covers for extra comfort, easy to remove and wash
- Air circulation system for your child’s upper and lower back
- Adjustable variable-size sun canopy (can be used as a sun-blind in the car window)
- Rocker function combined with handle (for use outside the car)
- Single hand carrying handle adjustment
- Single handed release of pushchair locking device Ergonomic carrying handle design
- One-pull harness system for changing belt length
- Easy-to-remove inner shell, cover can be changed easily
- Seat belt clamp (part of an anti-rotation system). GROUP 0+ / up to 13kg.
Maxi Cosi 2 Way Pearl – See Price
This is the first car seat in the UK to meet the forthcoming i-size legislation, which means it’s ultra-safe. Its designers have it aimed at kids between the ages of six months up to four, it’ s rear facing but can also be used for forward- facing travel from 15 months.
Maxi Cosi 2-Way Pearl From 67 to 105 cm (approx. 6 months up to 4 years) Meet the safest toddler car seat in the Maxi-Cosi portfolio, the 2wayPearl. Offering extended rearward facing travel for children up to 105cm or approximately 4 years of age, the 2wayPearl is our first i-Size compliant car seat.
If you are a looking for a rear facing toddler car seat, the 2wayPearl is the solution for you. The Maxi-Cosi 2wayPearl i-Size car seat allows children to travel in the recommended rearward facing position for longer (to 105cm / approx 4 years old) to offer improved head and neck protection when travelling. The 2WayPearl can also be used for forward facing travel from 15 months. Offering full recline options in both positions, this is one of our most flexible Maxi-Cosi car seats.
Compact, safe and stylish, the 2wayPearl toddler seat will fit in almost every car with ease. Installed in the car with the 2wayFix Base using the Isofix fitting points in your car, the 2wayPearl toddler car seat is compatible most cars with Isofix and all i-Size cars. Note: The 2Way Pearl can only be used in connection with 2Way Fix Base (Sold separately).
Trunki BoostApak – See Price
This is a spacious, hand-luggage approved rucksack which doubles as a booster seat. It’s not a car seat you’ll want to use every day as it won’t protect your child from side-impact crashes, but it’s ideal for car-sharing and holidays. It’s just the ticket for four to 12-year-olds, with room for all their toys too.
BoostApak is a spacious, hand luggage approved children’s rucksack that doubles as a car booster seat for 4 – 11 or 12-year-olds, making it perfect for car-pooling with other parents, grandparents or relatives. Ideal for Fly-drive holidays, BoostApak’s handy features make it the ideal solution to save on excessive hire charges for child car seats from rental firms.
- QUICKLY TRANSFORMS – Kid’s bag to portable booster cushion in seconds (featuring internal hard shell and fold out seatbelt guides)
- AVOID HIRE CHARGES – On fly-drive holidays! Can also be used as dining, cinema or stadium booster to see the action
- HAND LUGGAGE – 8-litre capacity for packing toys/games/stationary keeping children entertained on the go
- EU CERTIFIED – for everyday car use including car hire, lift sharing, taxi trips and even bus & coach journeys
- ECE R44.04 – Group 2 and 3 (girls & boys weighing 15kg-36kg approx. 4 – 12 years) Hand wash cover
Cybex Solution Q Fix – See Price
Most car seats aimed at kids aged three or four up to 12-years-old are heavy. Weighing just 7.1kg, the Cybex Solution Q Fix is easy to transport from one car to another without compromising on comfort or safety.
Test winner 2009 with German Stiftung Warentest (6/2009) and top awards in the most renowned European consumer tests such as the ADAC, Auto, Motor und Sport as well as Autobild.de and Autobild tests. Next, to the patented 3-position headrest the ISOFIX Connect system offers enhanced safety and greater stability while being lightweight and user-friendly
- Sturdy and high-quality child car seat for long-term use – For children aged approx. 3 to approx. 12 years (15-36 kg), Suitable for cars with and without ISOFIX
- Maximum safety – 3-way adjustable reclining headrest, Built-in side impact protection (L.S.P. System)
- 11-way adjustable, comfortable headrest, Adjustable backrest, Comfortable seat cushion
- Easy installation in the car with seat belt and with optional ISOFIX connection for extra stability, Removable cover – machine washable (30°C), Optional accessories available: summer cover
7. Britax King II LS – See Price
Aimed at children aged nine months to four, this new front-facing car seat features a light and sound harness indicator that tells you if your child is secured safely. Other nifty features include a five-point safety harness with one-pull adjustment and a tilt forward option.
To give you even greater peace of mind throughout your journey, the KING II LS features an innovative Light System (LS) which gives you a visual and audible signal to help you know when you’ve tensioned the harness correctly. Just look for the flashing green light when you hear the click and you can be sure your child will enjoy a safe and comfortable journey.
- Easy installation – with tilting seat and patented seat belt tensioning system
- Optimum protection – performance chest pads, deep, padded side wings
- Simple adjustment – height-adjustable headrest and harness with easy single-handed adjustment
- Comfort in any position – multi-position recline
- Practicality in mind – quick-remove cover, no need to remove the harness
8. Graco Snugfix – See Price
This lightweight rearward facing car seat – designed for infants in their first year of life – is first-rate for both front and side crash protection and is easy to install. Particularly impressing is the comfortable padding which gives great head and leg support.
The excellent overall level of safety provided by the Concord Air makes this the top recommended car seat on the above list. It’s easy to fit and use and provides great crash protection fitted with or without an Isofix base. For children over six-months-old, the Maxi Cosi 2 Way Pearl is really versatile and come coupled with an outstanding safety record.
Finally, for kids aged between 3 and 12 years, the best car seat to go for is the Cybex Solution Q Fix. It has a sophisticated crash protection system and has the bonus of being light as well.