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We've reviewed the UK's best baby car seats - what do you think?

(13 Posts)
HannahGMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 17-Jan-18 11:39:41

After weeks of research - scanning talkboards, talking to parents and researching bestsellers, we put the top baby car seats on the market through some serious testing to find the best of the best for parents.

We thoroughly checked how easy it was to attach and detach each car seat, and how useful and effective each safety feature, extra and car-seat adapter was. We also put each car seat through its paces for ease of getting a child in and out of the car, attaching to travel systems, adjusting straps and padding, switching from rear- to front-facing, reclining, and removing carry seats without waking the baby. We also checked out the safety features of each, looking for five-point harnesses that couldn’t be clicked open by small fingers and sturdy straps no tiny Houdini could wriggle out of.

The results are in and the Recaro Zero.1 came out on top. Take a look at our full list of Mumsnet Best Baby Car Seats to find out which did the best job, whether you're on a budget or looking to splash out.

Do you agree? Share your feedback below

OP’s posts: |
teaandbiscuitsforme Wed 17-Jan-18 13:13:20

Did you test any 25kg seats?

Many of these seats claim to be up to 4 years old but that actually means they're suitable to 18kg. Many children will be 18kg before their 4th birthday and most parents think that their only option is to put them in a high back booster. These are not suitable for children under 4.

It would be great to see MN do a campaign to improve people's knowledge of car seats, extended rear facing, isofix vs belted and 25kg seats. As I read earlier today, car seats aren't a parenting choice, they're about safety, but many people aren't aware of these safety basics.

HannahGMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 18-Jan-18 14:27:12


Did you test any 25kg seats?

Thanks for your response! Yes - the reviews for Toddler Car Seats will be here shortly, and we'll be sure to post on this thread to let you know when they're put up on the site.

And we definitely understand the importance of parents knowing the safe ways to use car seats, our information page here has lots of information on UK car seat regulations.

OP’s posts: |
KMoKMo Thu 18-Jan-18 14:29:55

The Joie stages car seat is not Isofix compatible. I think your review contains inaccurate information.

PineappleScrunchie Thu 18-Jan-18 14:37:00

Hi Hannah

Did you test that car seat with any older toddlers or was it just the 15 month old? I’ve found that Group 0+/1 seats can be a bit of a false economy as the seats aren’t tall for the straps to be used safely (ie start level with or just blow shoulders in ff mode) enough once they’re beyond about 2.5yrs and therefore the weight/age guides are a bit misleading.

I’d be interested in a 0+/1 seat that would genuinely fit a 3-4yr old.

PineappleScrunchie Thu 18-Jan-18 14:38:03

Sorry should have checked that before posting! I’m a bit sleep deprived. Hope it still makes sense!

teaandbiscuitsforme Thu 18-Jan-18 14:48:51

Pineapple This was my point about 25kg seats. If you're child is above the 60-70th centile, they're never going to fit an 18 kg seat but 25kg seats are rarely included with mainstream group 1 seats so people don't know they exist and then don't want to fork out for another once they find theirs it outgrown.

Hopefully the toddler reviews will show the availability of these otherwise people will think the advice is Group 1 -> High back booster

PineappleScrunchie Fri 19-Jan-18 05:26:55

It’s not just the weight that’s important though - height is too.
The average 4 yr old is under 18kg which is why they get away with saying suitable from 0-4 but the average child would outgrow the strap height way before 4.

BertieBotts Fri 19-Jan-18 11:31:40

The problem is with Group 1 - it doesn't make a difference whether this is a Group 0+/1 seat, a Group 1 or a Group 1/2/3 - the harness size is roughly the same, and for many children this only lasts until around 3 years or sometimes 2.5.

It's just because the group system is outdated - that's why R129 doesn't use set age groups, it works on height only. However, with the isofix weight limit, in practice you're still limited to this small harness size because they don't want you putting in a child who will potentially be over the weight limit for the seat.

Group 2 harnessed seats should be made more available/aware although personally I don't have a problem with a 3 year old in a well fitted booster. But parents should have the choice, not be made to feel they must move to a booster.

I mean, group 1 is normally marketed as being 9 months plus, which we know isn't appropriate for forward facing - and while many 9 month olds will be 9kg, not all will be. They will tend to work on a generous average to make the seat seem more versatile than it is, that's marketing! In real life a child tends to be either big for their age or small, so the real age range of a Group 1 seat (RF or FF) might be something like 6 months - 2.5 years, or 18 months - 4 years, but for most people it will be around 9/10 months - 3 years. If they were going to be totally honest, they should really say "This seat will fit a large 9 month old up to a small 4 year old". But they just go with approximate ages instead.

BTW - harness must be level with or above when FF. Level with or below in RF. Because FF crash movement tends to be forwards, but RF crash movement is upwards (as RF seats are more reclined).

PineappleScrunchie Fri 19-Jan-18 13:50:46

You’re right - straps above or level when FF - that means strap height is even more of a problem.

That’s why I was hoping that mumsnet had tested it with an older toddler instead of just believing the promotional material that it could fit up to 4yrs. Especially as that’s what they are using to justify the relatively high cost.

HannahGMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 26-Feb-18 12:44:43

Hello again everyone - thanks so much for all your responses, we're taking everything you've said on board.

We're excited to let you know we have now also got reviews categories for both Toddler Car Seats and Child Car Seats and Boosters live and ready to help you out.

Our overall winner in the Children's category was the Cybex Solution Q3-Fix, the car seat our tester lovingly nicknamed “The Throne”. Take a look at our review to see why we thought this car seat was best for children aged between approximately three and twelve years old.

Let us know what you think, we're looking forward to hearing what you have to say!

OP’s posts: |
teaandbiscuitsforme Mon 26-Feb-18 13:16:30

Just to point my out that you haven't actually tested any 25kg harnessed seats. You have only tested 18kg harnessed seats and high back boosters.

The problem with this is that people will be reading these reviews and use them to buy a car seat, placing their child's safety in a seat which has been well reviewed online. But these reviews have huge, huge gaps in car seat safety knowledge.

My DS is 98th centile and my DD is 75th centile meaning that both of them will outgrow an 18kg Seat well before their 4th birthday. My DS will reach 18kg at 2.5yrs!! Looking at your car seat section, my only choice is to move him to a high back booster - which is so incredibly unsafe for such a young child! 25kg are an absolute must for any child that is above the 50th centile on growth charts, but that category has been completely ignored, comprising the safety for how many hundreds of children who's parents have relied on a review from Mumsnet?

Mumsnet seriously needs to up their knowledge on car seats. IMO you should be reviewing:
• Infant car seats
• 18kg rear facing harnessed seats
• 25kg rear facing harnessed seats, stressing that a good proportion of children will need these seats if they are to rear face to 4 years old
• High back boosters for 15kg+ (but preferably for children aged over 4 who are mature enough to sit in this kind of seat safely)
• Forward facing seats for 18kg and 25kg - with the caveat that these seats cannot ever be safer than the rear facing seats.

Laquila Fri 23-Mar-18 06:09:23

Following as interested to hear response from MN to teaandbiscuits’ excellent points

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