Buckle up: 10 best child car seats

Forward-facing, rear-facing, traditional seat or booster. What your child sits on while you’re driving can be a minefield. We find the safest and easiest-to-fit chairs on the market

Every year in the UK, around 30 children under the age of 12 are killed in cars and a further 5,000 are injured. In many of these accidents, the children could have been saved by a decent car seat.

As it stands, only a fifth of parents know it’s illegal for children to travel without a car seat or booster seat until the age of 12. And even when children are put in them, 80 per cent are used incorrectly, according to the Transport Research Laboratory. The belts are too slack or not properly adjusted or the actual seat is unsuitable for the youngster’s size or age, for example.

Experts advise your child should go through childhood having had 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); and thirdly a booster seat, with back (15-36kg). Also available for 22kg upwards is a booster cushion that raises the child up so that the belt fits over their shoulder and pelvis.

Our guide has involved us analysing which car seats, across all these different types, have achieved the best results in safety tests, as well as which are the most durable and practical.

When it comes to buying your car seat, try to use a retailer where there are experts on hand to make sure you have the right car seat for the right car for the right child. Mothercare stands out here. Get them to show you how to use it too. Always avoid second-hand car seats and hire car company’s car seats because even the slightest knock in a car can affect a car seat’s safety.

 

1. Kiddy Phoenixfix Pro 2, £179.95, johnlewis

Designed for children aged nine months to four, 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). Unusually, your child is restrained by an adjustable impact shield cushion instead of a traditional five-point harness.

Buy now

2. Diono Monterey 2, £99, amazon

The high-backed booster seat can be secured using a seat belt of isofast connectors, which means it won’t come flying into the front of your car if you brake abruptly when the kids aren’t around. Use it for children aged around four up to 12.

Buy now

 

 

 

3. Concord Air, £130, amazon

This carrier, which can be used with or without an isofix base, works from birth up to 13kg. It has great front and side impact protection and good head support, and is a doddle to install. We also found it lighter to carry than a lot on the market.

Buy now

 

 

 

4. Maxi Cosi 2 Way Pearl, £200, johnlewis

This is the first car seat in the UK to meet the forthcoming i-size legislation, which means it’s ultra-safe. Aimed at kids from six months up to four, it’ s rear facing but can also be used for forward- facing travel from 15 months.

Buy now

 

 

 

5. Trunki Boostpak, £45, johnlewis

This is a spacious, hand-luggage approved rucksack which doubles as a booster seat. It won’t protect your child from side impact crashes, so you won’t want to use it daily, but for car-sharing and holidays, It’s just the ticket for four to 12-year-olds. And there’s room for all their toys.

Buy now

 

6. Cybex Solution Q Fix, £190, johnlewis

Most car seats aimed at kids  aged three or four up to 12-years-old are heavy. Weighing just 7.1kg, this one is easy to transport from one car to another without compromising on comfort or safety.

Buy now

 

 

 

 

 

7. Silver Cross Simplicity, £130, johnlewis

Research shows that a worrying number of people install car seats incorrectly, compromising the safety of their child. So the guys at Silver Cross have come up with this genius car seat that’s super-safe and impossible to get wrong. Team it up with the Silver Cross Wayfarer or Surf pushchairs to form a stylish travel system. Aimed at birth to 13kg.

Buy now

8. Britax King II LS, £190, amazon

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.

Buy now

 

 

 

9. Graco Snugsafe, £118, amazon

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. We were particularly impressed with the comfy padding giving great head and leg support.

Buy now

 

 

 

10. Cybex Aton Q, £175, amazon

Building on the success of its multi-award-winning predecessors, the new Aton Q keeps new arrivals protected up until around 18 months. Stand-out features are the high-spec side impact protection and a headrest with eight height settings – a good one for premature babies.

Buy now

Verdict:

The excellent overall level of safety provided by the Concord Air makes this our top recommendation. It's easy to fit and use and provides great crash protection fitted with or without the Isofix base. For kids over six-months-old, the Maxi Cosi 2 Way Pearl has an outstanding safety record and is really versatile too. Finally, for children aged three or four up to 12, our vote goes to the Cybex Solution Q Fix, which is lovely and light, as well as having a sophisticated protection system.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Extras
FASHION+BEAUTY
Extras
HOME+GARDEN
Extras
KIDS
Extras
FASHION+BEAUTY
Extras
FASHION+BEAUTY
Extras
HOME+GARDEN
Extras
FASHION+BEAUTY
Extras
OUTDOOR+ACTIVITY
Extras
HOME+GARDEN
Extras
ARTS+BOOKS
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate