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Which child car seat/booster seat would you recommend?(31 Posts)
We're making plans to test and review child car seats/booster seats and we'd love to know which ones you recommend.
If you've used and loved a child car seat in the past two years we want to hear about it. Tell us the make and model of the seat you rate, and why you'd recommend it to others.
As well as listening to your recommendations, we'll be speaking to independent experts and studying a variety of crash safety test results before putting together a shortlist of 15 car seats to test with a real family.
This shortlist of car seats will represent the highest performing and best value products on the market. All the car seats we test will meet (or exceed) government safety guidelines, by having one family test all the seats we’ll get a clearer idea of with the differences between each car seat and how they fit into family life.
Help us find the best products to test by sharing your car seat recommendations below
Anything that is extended rear facing as it is much safer. I wouldn't buy something that has many age groups in one, as to cater for all means not the best for each age/size. I would get an infant carrier (Joie brand is good) and use that until the height and weight limit is maxed out then move to an ERF sear. We currently have Joie Tilt for our 19 month old and Britax 2 way elite (suitable for cars with bucket shape back seats)
We love the joie seats - currently using the every stage rear facing for my (tall, skinny) 3 year old, and both 5yos are using joie high back boosters, which seem to be sturdier than either the britax hbb ds1 is using, or the graco hbb that dd1 had.
We also have a spare every stage, which is ideal as a spare as every child can use it, from my newborn niece to my 11yo nephew, with just a little adjustment.
Another vote for the Britax 2 Way Elite
For Newborn - Maxi Cosi Cabriofix
For Group 0+-1 Cybex Sirona - Amazing and so so easy to use. Patented it's that good.
For Group 2-3 - Cosatto Skippa Fix - Proper Isofix anchors; gorgeous patterns and a cup holder! Lasts until 12 years old too
Ps the Cybex Sirona is extended rear facing to 4 years old. And it swivels!
Axkid minikid as it rear faces until 25kg, is very comfy and has self adjusting headrest so always fits well.
I highly recommend the Britax Maxway (ERF to 25kg). I love that it reclines and is compact so we can fit 3 seats in a row in our car.
I do think that using one family to test all seats probably isn't the way to go. One family of one size/shape isn't going to really give people and informed decision about car seats. Far better to get a handful of families to test all seats. It just won't give a balanced view of what works best for different body shapes.
Joie stages. Bought it when DD2 had just turned one, still under 9kg when her infant carrier broke unexpectedly. t the time it was the only ERFseat we could get on the high street. It's been fantastic. Used it RF until she was 2.5 years, FF with harness until she was 5.5, and been using it as a HBB since then. I love that you can remove the covers without removing the harness (very important with scar sickness prone child). She still has plenty of growth room left.
DD1 is using a French brand HBB. It is so much taller than the one we bought in England. She's not even on the tallest setti g yet and at 136cm she doesn't need a seat under British law.
Love the britax romer dual fix. Swivels and rear facing.
Joie every stage also great.
Joie Bold for longer 5 point harness use.
Group 2/3 - Cybex M-Fix solution.
Foldaway isofix points, deep side wings, padded seat and back, quick latch shoulder belt positioned, one hand height adjustment and reclining headrest.
Also found out this weekend after a bout of travel sickness that every bit of fabric can be easily removed, washed on a gentle machine wash and replaced quickly.
Far superior to our old Britax Adventure booster!
By child car seats I assume you mean Group 2 (or i-size 100cm+) and above? Not baby or toddler car seats? Or are you including Group 1/isize equivalent?
We recently used a Diono Hip high back booster in a hire car. They don't seem to make that one any more, but what I especially liked about it is that they are designed to go up to 160cm, rather than the more usual 150cm. I found in reality with my 10yo that most normal booster seats don't go anywhere near the 150cm they promise and he was unable to fit into them once he was about 140cm tall, so has been on a backless booster since then. However, the Diono seat did actually fit him, and he said that it was very comfortable. All of their current models go up to 160cm so it's a general recommendation for any current Diono HBB seat. The Cambria 2 looks like a really good deal on their website.
In the last 2 years DS1 has also used a Cybex Solution (non isofix) high back booster - was OK but outgrown sooner than I expected and would have liked. He said it was comfy. We have also had a Britax Adventure, which I bought because I was a non driver at the time and it was excellent for this purpose - cheap but sturdy, lightweight, easy to store/use. Lovely little seat as a spare, travel seat or occasional use one. He did struggle in that one aged 6 when we used it for a very long drive. His legs went numb and we had to make him a foot rest from a suitcase. Unfortunately it got damaged in a plane, so I didn't get to see how it worked long term.
I'm planning to buy soon the Joie 360 Spin, which I think is brilliant in terms of what is offered for the price. I'm in Germany so we're getting the GT version which has the side impact pop-outs and better handle placement of the i-spin version when looking at the UK models.
I would love to see a 25kg ERF seat such as the Axkid Minikid reviewed/used by a family who wouldn't necessarily have considered rear facing at that age - the only reviews you ever see of these are by enthusiasts which is all very well but never really seems a very balanced opinion.
Would be very interested to see reviewed the Britax Advansafix IV R, as it's a seat I'm considering for the future (but can't tell if it will meet future needs), and the Apramo One, which sounds like the holy grail of car seats (25kg ERF aside) - it's rear facing and swivel to 18kg, forward facing with harness to 25kg, and then a high back booster until 150cm, and all isofix and for a compelling price ticket. It doesn't seem very well known or popular so I'd be interested to see it tested.
What I'd love to see in reviews is kids of different ages/sizes (especially the top end of weight/height ranges) fitting in to see how they do, or comparisons of different seats e.g. how much space they take up in a car in comparison to each other, the max/min height of the harness, headrest, etc. They always seem to say this one has 3 positions for the headrest and this one has 11 etc, but if the 11 positions are all millimetres apart it's not much use. The same for recline functions - it always seems such a gimmick to have loads of recline positions, when really you're going to use the most upright and the most reclined position, and want to know the difference betwee those, not so much the ones in between. Also, opinions of the child themselves if they are old enough to express them
Please prioritise reviews of extended rear facing seats for group 1! IMO it's not good for a parenting site to give such precedence to forward facing seats given the evidence of the vast safety differences. Car seats shouldn't be an area for parental preference; parents need to be given the facts about safety, blunt as those may be.
It would be great to see Mumsnet become a champion of extended rear facing and therefore quite possibly saving the lives of children.
Please review the highly rated 25kg ERF seats such as the Axkid Minikid and the Britax Two Way Elite. This would be much more valuable than reviewing a load of 18kg seats which many parents will find to be a costly mistake when their child outgrows the seat before being old enough for a high back booster.
Great seat and have had to deal with numerous slip discs while having to lift in a heavy and tall little boy. Would recommend to anyone wanting to save their back.
We love our Axkid Minikid. It is quite expensive, but rear facing to 25kg which was important to me as a Mama of a 91st centile lad! Rear facing is just so much safer but finding seats suitable for bigger kids is surprisingly tricky!
We justified the cost by only buying one, and it switches between our car and Granny & Grandads. We bought an extra set of tethers that they keep in their car so that we only have to switch the seat, so it takes only a few moments! This should last us until 4y+ so super longevity for the price.
Also I just worked up the courage to remove all the upholstery and wash it, and it was so easy! It went back on really easily too, which was a nice surprise.
Another vote for Joie 360. Makes getting in and out of the car so much easier.
I think the most important things are to recommend extended rear facing until 4 (please present the stats in the intro) and also advise parents to buy according to the centile their child is on (25kg for the bigger ones, can also consider 18kg for the smaller ones).
The britax dualfix romer is fabulous, robust and scores extremely high on safety tests. Also seems really comfortable.
The seats that seem to do lots of stages are often not rear facing for long enough.
I would like to see seats tested than can be fitted without isofix or a top tether as unfortunately my car doesn't have either of these
We have the be safe seats for 18kg+, these work well and are fairly unobtrusive whilst having good quality seat with good safety rating. We have the joie trillio as a spare car seat in grandmas car.
I just had to send back a maxi cosi Rudi fix as it was so uncomfortable for DD. I took a closer look at it and it was just hard plastic covered by thin cloth. No wonder her legs went numb! Was also that thin by head rest. No cushioning at all. Don't think that can be safe at all??
I'd like to include seats for bigger kids. Our 2 year old is over 20 kg and really difficult to know which seat to put her in!!
Cybex high back booster seat with isofix. Bought 3 yrs ago - one for my car, one for gp's car. Easy to fix into any car, super comfy, super sturdy, has a little head rest that tilts backwards if he falls asleep in the car. Cannot fault it. Would buy same again.
Wish it would clean itself as always covered in crisps and wish I had bought black rather than red as shows the muck (but I had a really boring car and it looks pretty cool in red and to be fair I don't clean it often
Another vote for the Axkid Minikid and Britax Two Way Elite. They are often left out of reviews on parenting websites and I cannot fathom why. They are some of the only solutions for larger toddlers to be rear facing until age 4, which is the only safe age to turn them forward facing, regardless of size.
I would also like to add that asking one family to try all the seats isn't a good testing method IMO. Different families have different cars, are different sizes, use the car very differently. It would be of absolutely no help to me, for example, for any seats to have been tested exclusively by an average height family with a small MPV who mostly do short drives. My children are enormous, and so is my DH. We have a Skoda Fabia, and almost exclusively do longer drives.
Joie 360 spin is fantastic although is the only isofix I've tried so I have no comparison. I bought one for DD when she outgrew her carrier at around 13m and got one for my DS as soon as he was born. It's a lifesaver for my back and they both look really comfy due to the removable padding. Great for keeping them asleep when putting them in and taking out also.
It's a bit of a squeeze having 2 in the back of my car (Peugeot 3008) when both facing the door but that's only an issue when both me and OH are trying to strap them in at the same time.