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.

Click on the gallery to see the IndyBest buys

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.

Buy now

1. Kiddy Phoenixfix Pro 2, £179.95

2. Diono Monterey 2, £99

3. Concord Air, £130

4. Maxi Cosi 2 Way Pearl, £200

5. Trunki Boostpak, £45

6. Cybex Solution Q Fix, £190

7. Silver Cross Simplicity, £130

8. Britax King II LS, £190

9. Graco Snugsafe, £118

10. Cybex Aton Q, £175 

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