Best Value Baby Car Seat 2019 - Birth to 12 Months
Mothercare Ziba review
Practical, light, robust, easy to fit and fabulous value, the Mothercare Ziba provides everything you need for a first car seat without the hefty price tag.
At a glance
- Age range: Group 0+ (birth to 12/15 months or maximum 13kg/29lbs)
- Safety credentials: ECE R44/04; side impact protection
- Fixing system: Seatbelt
- Dimensions: 71 × 41 × 41cm
- Weight: 3.5kg
- RRP: £35
- Guarantee: Two years
- Quick and simple to install
- Three-point harness that can be tightened with one hand – great if you’re in a rush or if you have your hands full
- Did we mention the price?
- Sunshade is quite flimsy
- Inner padding feels a little basic
- Not machine-washable – could be a pain for busy parents
- Not compatible with travel systems
- Comes supplied with a newborn body support cushion
- Chest and buckle pads for comfort and safety
- Sun canopy
- Easily tightened three-point harness
- Side impact protection
- Certified United Nations standard ECE R44/04
- Two-year guarantee
- Free ‘safe fit’ service – you can book an appointment online
How safe is the Mothercare Ziba?
With so many baby car seats on the market and so many additional extras available, it’s important to remember that the most crucial aspects to consider when choosing a seat are the safety and the comfort of your new baby.
It can feel as though you need to spend hundreds of pounds to make sure that you get these two things right – but the Mothercare Ziba is proof that it’s not all about the money.
The Ziba been tested to comply with the R44/04 regulation, but it also has side impact protection. Mothercare’s free ‘safe fit’ service also means you can be completely confident that your seat is fitted correctly.
It’s simple to install, reducing the opportunity for error, and once the seatbelt is pulled nice and tight it feels stable, sturdy and secure.
There’s nothing to catch little fingers and nothing that could be a choking hazard and the fabric doesn't cause skin irritation either.
How does it look?
This may be a low-priced car seat but it certainly doesn’t look it. It’s sturdy while being lightweight, and the simple design looks sleek rather than cheap.
There are only two colour options, black with a grey inner or red with a red/off-white inner, but the colours are tasteful – our tester, Sam, really liked the red option she tested.
The cover is made from polycotton and the material is soft and well put together. The inner padding is a little on the basic side, but it feels soft to the touch and Sam’s baby certainly found it comfortable.
This seat proves that no frills doesn’t have to mean no style – it’s a good-looking seat overall.
Sam found the Mothercare Ziba car seat an absolute breeze to install. Take it out of the box and it’s ready to go – nothing to fit together and no awkward extra parts to assemble.
You can really fit this seat with confidence, even in a hurry, as it would be very difficult to get the seatbelt routing wrong.
The user guide is really helpful if you do get stuck though as it is very thorough and very reassuring, with user-friendly diagrams to boot. There is also a website and a helpline, and although these don’t point you to a video, it’s easy to find online instructions.
And, of course, this is a seat from Mothercare – if you have any problems at all, you can simply take the seat into a branch.
The straps are really easy to adjust to ensure your baby is secure and the seat has a simple, but safe, three-point harness. You can even tighten the harness with one hand – a real bonus if you have your hands full (which you probably will!).
Finally, the Ziba comes with a two year warranty.
What's it like to use day-to-day?
Thanks to the roomy interior, it’s an absolute doddle to put a baby into the Mothercare Ziba and get them out again – hopefully without waking them up. Because it's so spacious, and not overrun with excess padding, our tester's baby was really comfy and happy during journeys.
The straps are frustration-free and the harness is easy to do up, tighten and adjust so you can be sure your newborn is really secure at all times.
It was the simplest and easiest car seat to use out of all the products we tested – from the fuss-free seatbelt routing to the simplicity of the straps and harness.
The seat is very similar to the Maxi-Cosi Rock, but lighter, easier to cart around and a whole lot cheaper too (although there is no ISOFIX option with this seat unfortunately).
There’s also nothing about this car seat to distract the driver – the seat is minimalist, safe, and a dream to use on an everyday basis. You can pop your baby in, carry them out to the car and install the seat quickly and easily, which means no stress during busy mornings.
The Ziba was comfortable enough for longer journeys too – our tester’s baby fell asleep in no time and seemed content throughout.
Plus, there’s the added advantage of not having to take your baby out of the seat at the end of the journey – the seat only weighs 3.5kg and the carry handle means you can take the seat from house to the car and back again. Although do bear in mind that you shouldn’t leave your child sleeping in their car seat once you’re home again.
It's certainly light and small enough to take on holiday too, so it's a really practical option overall.
How easy it it to clean?
While the seat covers are really easy to remove, they’re unfortunately hand wash only, which means a long drying period – not great if you need to use the seat every day. This was the only real issue with the Mothercare Ziba.
With that said, the material is very practical, and small spills can be wiped clean. In our spill tests, juice and milk was easily sponged away, although there was a slight mark left which looked a bit like a watermark.
Sam felt that this was due to the colour of the fabric so this may not have been the case with a darker seat.
It's probably a good idea to give the seat a thorough wipe over every day, and remove the seat for hand washing when you know you won’t be using it for a day or two. Not great – but not an insurmountable issue.
What about value for money?
The Ziba was the least expensive seat we tested but it received one of the highest scores, dropping only half a point for the fact that it isn’t machine-washable.
It held its own against far more expensive seats so there’s no doubt at all that it is really is excellent value for money.
This seat really ticks all the boxes for a first car seat and our tester absolutely loved it. It’s easy to install, practical, lightweight and robust, and the £35 price tag also means that you’re not going to be that concerned if you scratch or stain it.
Scoring almost full marks during testing, the Mothercare Ziba really proves that you don’t need to spend a fortune on a car seat to make sure your baby is happy, safe and comfortable.
It's simple but stylish and well worth the money – what's not to love?
About Mumsnet Reviews
All Mumsnet product reviews are written by real parents after weeks of research and testing – this includes recommendations from the Mumsnet Talk boards. We work hard to provide honest and independent advice you can trust. Sometimes, we earn revenue through affiliate (click-to-buy) links in our articles. However, we never allow this to influence our coverage. Read our how we test page to find out more.
For more information about what to look for when buying a baby car seat, check out our buyer's guide.
All prices correct at time of publication
How we test
After lots of research, we handpicked 14 of the best car seats on the market to put to the test, collating the models most frequently searched for and most highly rated both on Mumsnet and across the web.Read more »
Agree? Disagree? Leave your comment below...