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10 best toddler car seats for 2024: tested by parents

After months of in-depth testing by parents, here’s our roundup of the UK’s best toddler car seats to buy right now.

By Lucy Cotterill & Laura Westerman | Last updated Apr 16, 2024

five of the best toddler car seats

Choosing the best and safest car seat for your toddler can be a tricky business. You may have spent an eternity choosing the best baby car seat, but once your child reaches the maximum weight limit (at approximately 12 or 15 months), you'll need to move them up to the next stage seat.

Whether you're aiming to keep your child rear-facing for as long as possible, looking for a 360 spin car seat to quickly get your child in and out, or want a seat that'll last all the way through up to 12 years old, we've got you covered.

How we chose the best toddler car seats

To help you wade through the car seat minefield, we spent over 100 hours knee-deep in research to find the safest and best car seats for toddlers:

  • We scoured the Mumsnet forums, home to eight million users a month, as well as other trusted review sites for honest opinions from parents.

  • We consulted independent crash test results undertaken by German automobile club ADAC, which performs stringent safety tests, as well as lab test results from consumer champion Which?. This ensured that we were only recommending the safest toddler car seats on the market.

  • We conducted our research with the latest UK car seat laws and regulations in mind and spoke to leading experts in the field. These experts included Jan James, Chief Executive of Good Egg Safety, Nick Lloyd, Acting Head of Road Safety at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), Margaret Bolt, founder of Rear Facing Toddlers, and Claire Waterhouse, founder of Child Seat Safety.

  • After assessing all of the above as well as price, overall design and age range, we created a longlist of 30 seats, which was later narrowed down to a shortlist of 16.

  • We then partnered with parent testers to really put each seat through its paces to bring you the UK's best toddler car seats as listed below.

All the car seats were tested for a minimum of one week each and scored on the following criteria: safety and stability, installation, day-to-day use, comfort, aesthetics, ease of cleaning and value for money. Here are the best toddler car seats you can buy right now.

Best toddler car seats at a glance

  • Best overall toddler car seat: Maxi-Cosi Pearl Pro2 i-Size | Buy now

  • Best budget toddler car seat: Cozy N Safe Arthur | Buy now

  • Best 360 toddler car seat: Joie i-Spin 360 i-Size | Buy now

  • Best toddler car seat for safety: Axkid Spinkid | Buy now

  • Best toddler car seat up to age 12: Cosatto All in All Ultra 360 Rotate i-Size | Buy now

  • Best toddler car seat for comfort: Cybex Sirona Gi i-Size | Buy now

  • Best extended rear-facing toddler car seat: Axkid ONE 2 | Buy now

  • Best toddler car seat for travel: Maxi-Cosi Nomad Plus | Buy now

  • Best combination toddler car seat: Britax Römer Advansafix IV R | Buy now

  • Best toddler car seat with rebound bar: Britax Römer Dualfix M i-Size | Buy now

Best overall toddler car seat
What we like
  • Rear-facing until approximately age four

  • Easy to fit with the ISOFIX base – visual and audible feedback confirms correct fitting

  • Five-point harness stays open so you can get your child in and out of the seat easily

  • Adjustable headrest

  • Four-position recline

  • Comfortable padded seat 

  • Machine-washable covers 

What we don't like
  • ISOFIX base must be bought separately

  • Has lots of padding, which means it takes a long time to dry

  • Not as much legroom for rear-facing toddlers as offered by other extended rear-facing seats we tested such as the BeSafe iZi Modular i-Size

Key specs

Price: £220 (also requires £139 ISOFIX base sold separately) | Age range: 67 to 105cm (six months to around four years) | Safety credentials: R129 (i-Size) – includes side impact protection | Fixing system: ISOFIX with 3wayFix base (sold separately) | Dimensions: 47.5 × 61 × 500-595cm | Weight: 7.55kg | Guarantee: Lifetime warranty

What Mumsnet users say
Mumsnet parent tester, Anna · Tried & Tested
Extended rear-facing, looks comfy, very easy to fit, easy to wash vomit out of - I love it!
See Post
Our verdict

Tested by Mumsnet: Read our full Maxi-Cosi Pearl Pro i-Size review

An upgrade on the original 2wayPearl, the Maxi-Cosi Pearl Pro i-Size is an extended rear-facing car seat suitable from six months to around four years of age (or 105cm in height). 

The most recent edition, the Maxi-Cosi Pearl Pro2, now includes a reversible padded comfort cushion, offering additional support for babies under two years old. With a breathable 3D mesh side that keeps your child cool during the summer and cosy on colder days, this temperature-controlled cushion is a brilliant upgrade.  

The Maxi-Cosi Pearl Pro2 is quick and easy to install in your car using the FamilyFix3 ISOFIX base, with interactive light and sound indicators to confirm that you’ve installed it correctly. It doesn’t come cheap, however it’s also compatible with the Maxi-Cosi Pebble Pro, Jade and Rock infant car seats, meaning you may have already made this investment. 

Weighing less than 8kg, it’s relatively light to carry to your car, but unlike other lightweight options such as the Britax Römer Evolva 1/2/3 SL SICT (see below), you’d also need to move the ISOFIX base, so it’s not a seat you’ll want to be swapping between cars or taking with you on holiday.

The Maxi-Cosi Pearl Pro2 has been approved to the latest European i-Size (R129) safety standards, offering a secure high-density seat with robust side impact protection. While it’s recommended you keep your child rear-facing as long as possible, you can easily switch this seat to forward-facing from 15 months, however it doesn’t swivel like the more expensive Maxi-Cosi Pearl 360 model. Our parent tester Anna noted that although it didn’t offer as much legroom as the BeSafe iZi Modular i-Size, her baby was content and comfortable in rear-facing mode. 

Anna also loved the five-point safety harness on this seat, which stays open when unfastened to help get even uncooperative toddlers in and out of the car with ease. A seat that easily grows with your child, the headrest can quickly be adjusted to suit your child’s height as they grow. There are four recline settings (from sitting upright to a relaxed sleeping position), so you can be confident your child will be calm and content during your journey. 

The covers on the Maxi-Cosi Pearl Pro2 are easy to remove and freshen up in the washing machine as and when required, however due to the significant amount of padding, it can take quite a while to dry, so choose your timing wisely. 

Overall, this car seat is a great all-rounder - a safe and comfortable car seat that can easily adapt to suit your toddler’s needs. If you’ve already got a Maxi-Cosi baby car seat, this makes a great follow-on choice with a lifetime warranty for additional peace of mind. 

Read next: The best car seats for 4-year-olds and beyond

Best budget toddler car seat

Cozy N Safe Arthur

What we like
  • Frame reinforced with steel and padded with high-density polyurethane foam

  • Covers are machine-washable

  • Easy-adjust headrest

  • Four recline positions

  • Choice of ISOFIX and seatbelt installation 

What we don't like
  • Tricky to install when using seat belt fixings – you can only use ISOFIX for forward-facing travel

  • Heavy

Key specs

Price: £130 | Age range: Birth to 12 years – rear-facing from birth to 18kg (or four years) and forward-facing from 9kg to 36kg (approximately nine months to 12 years) | Safety credentials: R44/04, side impact protection, steel frame for improved structural strength and energy absorption | Fixing system: Seat belt for rear-facing and seat belt or ISOFIX for front-facing | Weight: 12.5kg | Guarantee: 12 months

Our verdict

Tested by Mumsnet: Read our full Cozy N Safe Arthur review

When it comes to longevity, few seats offer value for money as great as the Cozy N Safe Arthur. A hard-wearing extended rear-facing seat that is suitable for up to 12 years, it offers four different recline positions, including a lie-flat angle that makes it suitable from birth. 

A modern and stylish design that’s designed to grow with your child, it’s described by our parent tester Sam as giving ‘Star Wars’ vibes - far less likely than some to result in reluctant eye rolls when using it with your preteen. 

The seat has been created with comfort in mind, with a strong steel frame that is fully lined with high-density foam for a cocoon-like cushioning during travel. With well-padded, anti-slip chest pads, it has a secure and comfortable harness that can adjust automatically as your child grows, simply raising the headrest with one hand to accommodate your child’s increasing height. 

It’s tested to the older R44 regulations, so it’s worth noting that it can only be fitted with ISOFIX when used forward-facing. In rear-facing mode (which you can use until your child is around four years of age), installation is via the seatbelt alone, which our parent tester found a little fiddly to secure. 

While the seat is sturdy and robust with strong side impact protection, there is an increased risk of installing it incorrectly when using the belt and, as such, it’s not a seat that you’d want to move between cars regularly. Given its heavier design (weighing 4kg more than the Britax Römer Evolva 1/2/3 SL SICT), it’s more suited to leave this seat permanently installed until you’re ready to switch to forward-facing.

For convenience, the covers are easy to remove and machine-washable and, with significant padding and an in-built ventilation system, the Arthur will keep your child safe and comfy for many years to come. 

Read next: The best baby carriers, as tested by parents

Best 360 car seat for toddlers
What we like
  • Chunky padding

  • Multi-height headrest and harness system adjust simultaneously – requires no re-threading

  • Six recline positions

  • Easy installation

What we don't like
  • The floor leg fixture is a bit fiddly

  • The bulky design makes it difficult to carry the seat to and from the car

  • Takes up substantial space due to support leg 

Key specs

Price: £280 | Age range: Rear-facing from birth to 105cm or four years old; forward-facing from 15 months to 105cm | Safety credentials: ECE R129/02; Smart Ride™ lock-off; Guard Surround Safety™ panels for side impact protection; Tri-Protect™ headrest | Fixing system: ISOFIX | Forward-facing dimensions: 65 × 58 × 51.5-76cm | Weight: 13.9kg | Guarantee: Two years

What Mumsnet users say
Cosybelles · Tried & Tested
We have the Joie i-Spin 360 and it's brilliant. It lasts until they are about four, so good value too.
See Post
FrugiFan · Recommended
We have a Joie 360 and it's great. We had it since my daughter was six months old. She’s three and a half now and still uses it and is still happy going rear-facing.
See Post
Our verdict

Tested by Mumsnet: Read our full Joie i-Spin 360 i-Size review

If you're after a great all-rounder, the Joie i-Spin 360 i-Size is worth the spend. Recently voted Mumsnet’s best 360 spin car seat, this extended rear-facing car seat is suitable all the way from birth until your child reaches four years old.

While this 13.9kg car seat is a bit too heavy to be carried between cars, our parent tester Sam loved the integrated ISOFIX base. It also has a convenient spinning design, allowing you to fully rotate the seat to the door side and place even the most stubborn of toddlers inside without breaking out in a sweat. Should you wish to do so, this seat can also be turned forward-facing from the age of 15 months, however for the safest journey we recommend that you keep your child rear-facing for as long as possible.

A large, well-padded seat, it features impressive side ventilation for warmer days and with six recline positions, you can find the most comfortable seating position for your child over long journeys. It’s easy to adapt to your child as they grow, with the five-point safety harness adjusting automatically when the headrest height is raised. 

The Joie i-Spin 360 is also packed with excellent safety features and there is very little chance of installing it incorrectly. Using ISOFIX and a slightly fiddly support leg for stability, it offers visual indicators to reassure you that it’s set up correctly before you start your journey. The protective side impact panels and three layers of shock-absorbing padding in the headrest provide significant protection for your child’s head in the event of a front or side-on collision. This is reflected in the Joie i-Spin 360’s good rating with ADAC, also performing well in Which? crash tests.

We love that the covers are easy to remove and machine-washable for convenience, although they can be tight to put back on after cleaning. 

Read next: The best 360 car seats as rated by parents

Best toddler car seat for safety
What we like
  • Supports rear-facing from birth to age four

  • Exceptionally safe - has passed the Swedish Plus Test

  • 180-degree swivel

  • Easy five-step installation

  • Multiple recline positions for extra comfort

  • 12 different headrest positions

What we don't like
  • Swivel action requires two hands

  • Buckle is fiddly

Key specs

Price: £399 | Age range: 0-4 years; up to 18kg | Safety credentials: i-Size, R129 European car seat safety standard, force-absorbing technology, rear-facing for longer | Fixing system: ISOFIX | Dimensions: 63 x 44 x 63cm | Weight: 14.5kg | Guarantee: Two years

What Mumsnet users say
Claire, Mumsnet tester · Tried & Tested
If safety is your priority when buying a car seat, the Spinkid is certainly worth considering. It's well made and seemed very secure and comfortable for my little one.
See Post
Our verdict

Tested by Mumsnet: Read our full Axkid Spinkid review

Made by Swedish manufacturers, Axkid, the Spinkid prioritises safety at every turn. It supports extended rear-facing travel until your child is 105cm (around age four) and has passed the Swedish Plus Test - the most rigorous crash test in the world. You’ll also find it equipped with a high-quality harness and safety system from the Swedish technology provider Holmbergs.

We like that the seat can be used straight from birth with the padded newborn insert and that the luxuriously padded fabric cover can be removed for machine washing.

The big selling point of the Spinkid is the 180-degree rotation to make getting your baby or toddler in and out easier. However, during testing, we found that it didn’t quite live up to the hype. 

Our parent tester Claire says, “The spin feature is fantastic but unfortunately is let down by the positioning of the button to spin the seat, which means you always need two hands - not ideal when holding a baby.”

Read next: The best lie-flat car seats

Best toddler car seat up to age 12
What we like
  • Suitable from birth till age 12

  • Extended rear-facing to age four (or 105cm)

  • Excellent safety features

  • 360-degree rotation

  • Colour indicators confirm correct installation

What we don't like
  • Heavy

  • Magnets to hold straps back are not very effective

  • Underside of padded straps have a rubbery feel, which could cause friction

Key specs

Price: £370 | Age range: 0-12 years (40-150cm) | Safety credentials: i-Size, R129 European car seat safety standard, pop-out side impact protect, five-point anti-escape system | Fixing system: ISOFIX | Dimensions: 58 x 46 x 62cm | Weight: 14.5kg | Guarantee: Four years

What Mumsnet users say
Rachel, parent tester · Tried & Tested
A highlight of the All in All Ultra is its smooth, one-handed 360-degree rotation, which allowed me to easily get my baby in and out of the car seat. [My daughter] finds the car seat so comfortable that she often drifts into sleep within 10 minutes on most car journeys.
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Our verdict

Tested by parents: Read our full Cosatto All in All Ultra 360 Rotate review

Cosatto’s brand-new All in All Ultra 360 Rotate is an extended rear-facing car seat with excellent safety credentials. I-Size-compliant with pop-out side impact protection and a quick-release five-point anti-escape system (the ideal additional safety feature if you have a particularly wriggly child), this car seat has been tested beyond the usual R129 requirements, in line with strict crash testing conducted by the ADAC.

As its name would suggest, one of the All in All Ultra’s best features is its 360-degree rotation, which allows you to easily get your child in and out of the seat as well as seamlessly switch from rear- to forward-facing when the time comes.

We also like how easy this car seat is to install, with green/red colour indicators which reassure you of correct installation, as well as the extendable sun hood which offers essential UV protection.

While she was less impressed with the magnet feature, which are meant to hold the harness straps back while you lift your child in and out of the seat, our parent tester Rachel, who tested the car seat out for two months with her seven-month-old, says, “The Cosatto All in All Ultra 360 Rotate offers incredible value for money considering it can be adjusted and extended for a child from birth up to age 12. It comes with all the features you could possibly need [...] and has a hard-wearing fabric that’s easy to clean. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to other parents.”

Read next: Best toddler reins to keep your little ones close

Best extended rear-facing toddler car seat
What we like
  • 360-degree rotation for easy in and out

  • Integrated air ventilation and mesh fabrics to keep your toddler cool

  • Easy recline with five different settings

  • Lovely padded seat

  • Great value for money

What we don't like
  • 360-degree rotation mechanism sometimes quite stiff

Key specs

Price: From £280 | Age range: From birth with newborn inlay; otherwise from 3 months to 4 years (or 20kg); 61 to 105cm (from 40cm with newborn inlay) | Safety credentials: Integrated linear side-impact protection, energy-absorbing shell and energy reduction technology for safer forward-facing | Fixing system: ISOFIX | Dimensions: 75 x 46.6 x 74.4cm | Weight: 13kg | Guarantee: 2 years

What Mumsnet users say
Mollyandmine · Tried & Tested
I’d really recommend the Cybex Sirona Gi i-Size. We’ve recently just upgraded our daughter’s car seat to this and completely fallen in love with it. It’s an ISOFIX car seat that is suitable up to age four. It has 360° rotation and five recline settings for extra comfort and perfect for on the go naps. My little one looks so comfortable in it and it’s definitely the perfect seat to grow with her while staying rear-facing for as long as possible.
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Our verdict

Tested by Mumsnet: Read our full Cybex Sirona Gi i-Size review

Released in 2023, the Sirona Gi i-Size is Cybex’s latest 360-degree spin car seat and the newest addition to the brand’s popular Sirona line. Suitable from birth with the newborn insert or from three months old without, this extended rear-facing car seat will last until your child is around four years old.

Parent tester Laura tried the Sirona Gi i-Size out with her one-year-old and praised this car seat for its plush and breathable fabrics. The Plus version of the seat, which we tested, includes an upgraded air ventilation system and mesh fabric, which meant that Laura's daughter was comfortable on all car journeys. According to Cybex, the mesh “increases breathability up to six times compared to regular fabrics.”

Laura says, “The padded seat is of excellent quality and feels lovely to the touch, which keeps me reassured that my daughter is safe and comfortable at all times when rear-facing. The fact that the fabrics are super breathable is a big plus, particularly during the warmer months.”

Installing this seat is relatively easy, with simple instructions included on the side of the seat so that you have them to hand at all times. While our tester initially had some trouble connecting the seat to the anchor points in her Ford Fiesta (which was more an issue with her car then the car seat itself), the Sirona Gi i-Size has helpful green and red installation indicators both on the base and the load leg to reduce any margin for error. 

While this car seat hasn’t yet been tested by the ADAC, Cybex have done their own internal testing using the 2022 ADAC frontal crash test criteria. The Gi i-Size promotes rear-facing for longer, which is the safest way for a baby and toddler to travel, with settings that mean you can’t turn the car seat to a forward-facing position until your child is 15 months old. The seat also features linear side-impact protection and an energy-absorbing shell to help protect your child in the event of a crash, whatever the direction of impact.

One of our tester’s favourite features of this car seat is the 360-degree rotation, which she found invaluable when getting her wriggly toddler in and out of the seat. While we don’t think the rotation mechanism is as smooth as that on the Joie i-Spin 360, it’s nevertheless a great addition to an otherwise high-performing extended rear-facing toddler car seat.

Read next: The best running buggies

Best extended-rear-facing toddler car seat
What we like
  • Easy 30-second installation

  • Triple secure, with an alert system to tell you if it’s not installed correctly

  • Rear-facing up to age seven (or 23kg)

  • Lightweight and easy to lift in/out of the car

  • Fixed shoulder pads

What we don't like
  • When reclined fully, it doesn’t leave much legroom for older children

  • The newborn insert to be used from birth is sold separately (but is included in the Axkid ONE+2 version)

  • Limits how much the adult car seat in front can move back/recline

  • Expensive

Key specs

Price: £650 | Age range: 6 months up to 7 years old (23kg or 61 to 125cm) | Safety credentials: i-Size (R-129)-approved up to 23kg, shock-absorbing materials, ventilation holes, travel rear-facing for longer | Fixing system: ISOFIX | Dimensions: 44 x 76 x 54cm | Weight: 10kg | Guarantee: Two years

What Mumsnet users say
xkr · Tried & Tested
We have (or rather, had) four Axkid ONE 2s and they're amazing - the only thing is if you love the spin feature you might find this one a bit frustrating.
See Post
missmarplesapprentice · Recommended
We have the Axkid ONE 2 and I love it. It does take a little getting used to with the no swivel (our infant carrier swivelled) but not too long. My husband was happy with extended rearward-facing. His only request was ISOFIX as he would feel more comfortable knowing he hasn’t messed up the installation
See Post
Our verdict

Tested by Mumsnet: Read our full Axkid ONE 2 review

The Axkid ONE 2 excels when it comes to safety, passing one of the world’s toughest crash tests, the Swedish Plus Test. This test really puts car seats through their paces, with incredibly robust crash tests in high-speed collisions and across short braking distances. 

Lightweight but sturdy, with a 30-second installation method (achievable once you get the hang of it), the base on the Axkid ONE 2 has a support leg with light indicators that leave little margin for error. This, combined with shock-absorbing materials to minimise forces during an impact, makes it, according to Axkid, the safest car seat they’ve ever built.

An update on the popular Axkid ONE, the Axkid ONE 2 boasts over 150 updates, most notably the headrest adjustment, which now slides to extend at the push of a button, as well as new ventilation holes for maximum safety and comfort on long car journeys, particularly in warm weather.

While the price tag is nothing short of eye-watering, the Axkid ONE 2 is currently the only ISOFIX car seat on the market that allows your child to sit rear-facing up to age seven (or 23kg, whichever comes first), making it a worthwhile investment if your keen for your child to travel rear-facing for longer. The seat slides back seamlessly to allow for more legroom as they grow, but you may find that legroom is compromised slightly when the seat is fully reclined.

With three recline options, we love Axkid’s ‘Sleepwell System’, which allows the seat angle to be positioned at 42 degrees, helping toddlers nap more comfortably during longer car journeys. Alternatively, if you’d like to use this seat from birth, you can opt to buy the high performing Axkid ONE+ 2 model instead, which includes extra support inlays to make it suitable for babies from day one.

Our parent tester, Beccy, who tested this car seat out over the course of two months with her children aged three and four, says, “Whenever I discuss rear-facing car seats with a well-meaning family member, I’m usually faced with ‘but what about their legs?’ and ‘won’t he be uncomfortable?’ Unlike our other car seat, which my child will outgrow when he reaches four years old, the Axkid ONE 2 offers ample space. The seat is mounted on rails, which allows the car seat to be adjusted up to 30cm. That’s 30cm of space to play around with and to find the most comfortable position.”

Read next: The best lightweight strollers

Best toddler car seat for travel
What we like
  • Super lightweight at just 4.26kg

  • Foldable for travel

  • i-Size-compliant with Side Impact Protection

  • Integrated carry bag

  • Universal installation

What we don't like
  • Forward-facing only

  • Installation takes time to master

Key specs

Price: £130 | Age range: 15 months up to 4 years old (76 to 105cm or 9 to 18kg) | Safety credentials: i-Size (R-129)-approved, reinforced Side Impact Protection | Fixing system: Seatbelt | Dimensions: 50 x 37.5 x 57cm | Weight: 4.26kg | Guarantee: Two years

What Mumsnet users say
Laura, parent tester · Tried & Tested
The Nomad Plus is the ideal car seat to use if you tend to hire a car while on holiday, especially if you need reassurance that you always have a safe car seat to hand.
See Post
Our verdict

Tested by Mumsnet: Read our full Maxi-Cosi Nomad Plus review

Ultra-compact and super lightweight, the Maxi-Cosi Nomad Plus is a foldable car seat that’s a game-changer for family holidays abroad.

I-Size-compliant, with Side Impact Protection, an easy-to-use five-point harness and comfy yet breathable padding, this car seat can be installed in any car.

Our tester, Laura, who used the Nomad Plus with her 22-month-old toddler, says, “After recently taking it with me on a two-week [family] holiday to Mexico, I was impressed with just how lightweight and adaptable this travel car seat is. It proved to be a reassuring bit of kit to have around, especially as my family were jumping in and out of different modes of transport while abroad. The fact that it’s foldable just adds to its charm.”

One-third of the size of a regular toddler car seat according to Maxi-Cosi, it folds down compactly for travel, with an integrated carry bag that makes carting it around a breeze. 

Laura adds, “I was astounded at just how small the car seat is when folded, especially when I compared it to the ginormous toddler car seat another family of three was lugging around at the airport.”

This car seat is forward-facing only, so can’t be used before your child is 15 months old, and the installation process does take time to master. That being said, it’s an affordable travel option and offers good longevity all the way through the toddler years.

Read next: The best car seats to take on the plane

Best combination toddler car seat
What we like
  • Seat can be fitted with ISOFIX up to 18kg, then ISOFIX and/or seatbelt after that

  • Three-position recline

  • Safety features include highback booster protection, SafeGuard lap belt positioner (once your child has outgrown the five-point harness) and advanced side impact protection, which fits onto the side of the car seat that's nearest the door

  • No need for a separate ISOFIX base

  • Height-adjustable V-shaped headrest that grows with your child

What we don't like
  • Cover is hard to remove and takes a long time to dry

  • The five-point harness is a little stiff to release

Key specs

Price: £299 | Age range: Group 1/2/3 (nine months to 12 years or 9kg to 36kg) | Safety credentials: ECE R44/04; ADAC – 'Good' 2.3; pivot link ISOFIX system; SecureGuard; SICT advanced side impact protection | Fixing system: ISOFIX with top tether (Group 1); seatbelt with ISOFIX (Group 2/3); seatbelt (Group 2/3) | Dimensions: 60-83 × 44 × 47cm | Weight: 11kg | Guarantee: Two years

What Mumsnet users say
BertieBotts · Tried & Tested
We have the Britax Advansafix and I really like that. It's wide in the hip area though, so best suited to older children aged two and above. My four-year-old is in it and says it's comfortable. I like the large leg support as he can pull his legs up onto the seat if he wants to.
See Post
Our verdict

Tested by Mumsnet: Read our full Britax Römer Advansafix IV R review

If you’re looking for longevity, the Britax Römer Advansafix IV R is a stage 1/2/3  forward-facing-only car seat that not only comes with a very reasonable price tag but can be used from nine months all the way up to 12 years old, meaning it may easily be the last car seat you need to buy. 

A large and comfortable seat, the Advansafix is well cushioned, with a v-shaped headrest that offers additional support and can be adjusted to the height of your child as they grow. It doesn’t have quite as many recline options as fellow forward-facing car seat Cosy N Safe Galaxy, however the choice of three recline options allows you to switch between upright, relaxed or slightly angled for comfort.

Unlike the Maxi-Cosi Pearl Pro2, there’s no need to buy a separate ISOFIX base with this seat. The Advansafix IV R clips directly into your ISOFIX ports, with a top tether for additional stability. Thanks to the visual indicators that turn green when it's installed correctly, it's highly unlikely you can install this seat incorrectly. Once your child reaches four years of age, the Adavnsafix can be installed with the seatbelt and ISOFIX or seatbelt alone, with the now redundant five-point harness tucking away beneath the seat. 

It may be forward-facing only, but the Advansafix has more safety features than you can shake a stick at, meeting the R44/04 European safety regulations and scoring a ‘good’ score of 2.3 in ADAC testing. The ‘SecureGuard’ safety feature ensures the lap belt stays optimally positioned, so even with a wriggly child, it won’t dig into their abdomen in the event of a collision. The seat also boasts enhanced Side Impact Cushion Technology (SICT), which will absorb momentum in the event of a side-impact collision. 

With a relatively ‘grown up’ design, this seat won’t feel too babyish for school-age children. The covers are removable and machine washable, but like many padded seats of this nature, they do take some time to dry after refreshing. 

It's worth bearing in mind that this is a big seat, one that you'll want to keep permanently fixed in the back seat of your car. You should be able to fit another car seat next to it, however, it's unlikely you'll fit three in a row if you have a larger family. If you want a car seat suitable for up to 12 years but you’d prefer to keep your child rear-facing until they’re four, the Cozy n Safe Arthur (see below) is also worth considering. 

Read next: The best pushchairs

Best toddler car seat with rebound bar

Britax Römer Dualfix M i-Size

What we like
  • Extended rear-facing car seat 

  • Deep protective side wings, a V-shaped headrest and a height-adjustable support leg

  • A machine-washable seat cover that can be removed in a flash

  • Rotates full 360 degrees

  • Multiple recline positions 

What we don't like
  • Heavy

Key specs

Price: £269 | Age range: 3 months to four years (61 to 105cm) | Rearward-facing from 61-105cm; forward-facing from 76-105cm | Safety credentials: ECE R129; Stiftung Warentest 2.3; ADAC 2.1; ÖAMTC – good; optimised side impact protection; pivot link ISOFIX system | Fixing system: ISOFIX | Dimensions: 55 x 44 x 74 cm | Weight: 12.2kg | Guarantee: Two years

What Mumsnet users say
BertieBotts · Recommended
The Britax provides a bit more room for the child widthways [than the Joie 360], better leg room for child due to the rebound bar, fabrics are nicer, and the pads on the harness aren't as bulky as they are on the Joie which makes it a bit easier to adjust them. I also find it fits a bit more stable in most cars because the rebound bar is adjustable which gives it a really solid, secure fit.
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Our verdict

Tested by Mumsnet: Read our full previous model review - Britax Römer Dualfix i-Size review

A variation of the original Britax Römer's Dualfix i-Size car seat, which was suitable from birth, the Britax Römer Dualfix M comes without a newborn insert, making it a more affordable price point that offers comfortable rear-facing for your child from around three months (61cm) till approximately four years. While we would recommend keeping your child rear-facing as long as possible, you can also use this seat forward-facing from 15 months without needing to reinstall the seat.

There’s no doubt about it - this seat is a huge contraption that'll likely dominate the back seat of your car. But it’s easy to install thanks to the integrated ISOFIX base and support leg, with handy visual indicators that offer reassurance it’s positioned correctly. 

With a full 360-degree rotation, placing your child inside the car couldn't be easier. Simply rotate the seat to the door side and allow your toddler to climb in themselves, or place your child in the seat without straining or stretching your back.

The seat is also packed full of safety features for parents’ peace of mind, including an impact-absorbing steel shell, integrated side impact cushions and a unique V-shaped headrest, offering additional cushioning for your child’s head and neck in the event of a collision. The seat performs well across Which? lab testing and scores a good 2.1 score in ADAC crash tests, offering excellent safety ratings across front, rear and side-impact collisions.

The rebound bar is adjustable to ensure a secure and comfortable fit as your child grows. With good padding and no less than 12 recline positions, you can be confident your child can be content and comfortable even if they nod off during your travels.

The best part - the brand’s ‘easy remove’ cover, actually does what it says, lifting away from the frame easily for refreshing in the washing machine.

Read next: The best baby carrier backpacks

How do you choose the best car seat for your toddler?

When choosing the best car seat for your toddler, consider the following:

  • Excellent safety ratings: Keeping your toddler safe and secure is by far the most important factor when choosing the next-stage car seat. You should investigate the car seat's safety features including side impact protection, a five-point safety harness and well padded side wings. You should also consider the product's safety ratings, specifically whether it’s been measured to the R44/R129 European safety standards, the views of impartial lab testing at consumer champion Which? or from trusted safety regulators, such as ADAC. Not all modern seats have been ADAC or Which? tested yet, so a lack of score does not mean the seat is unsafe.

  • Extended rear-facing: Not all toddler car seats offer rear-facing travel, with forward-facing car seats legally allowed from the age of 15 months. Other toddler car seats allow extended rear-facing, deemed to be the safest way for your child to travel, until the age of four. 

  • Age, weight and height: What are the minimum (and maximum) age, weight and height limits for the seat? Depending on which regulations they’ve been tested to, some seats use your child's height or weight rather than age when outlining suitability. Check each seat carefully to make sure you choose the correct size seat for your toddler.

  • Easy and secure installation: How easy is the seat to install and what are the chances of installing it incorrectly? Can it be installed by the seatbelt alone for easy switching between cars, or does it use ISOFIX for additional stability? If using ISOFIX, does the seat require a separate ISOFIX base or does it come as one complete unit? Some of the best toddler car seats use visual or sound indicators to provide reassurance that you've installed your car seat correctly.

  • Comfort and support: How comfortable is the seat? Is it well padded, or is it ventilated or made from breathable fabrics for warmer days? Does it recline for maximum comfort and support and how much legroom does it allow when used in rear-facing mode? 

  • Compatibility with your vehicle: How big is the car seat and will it fit in your car? Car seats with separate ISOFIX bases tend to take up more space on the seat and footwell, with the support leg often protruding forward for stability. If you have other car seats already, it's also worth considering whether there is space for additional seats to be placed side by side. 

  • Ease of use: How easy is the car seat to use? Will your toddler be able to climb in without assistance, and can the harness straps stay open for more simple securing before setting off on your journey? Consider whether the seat offers any additional features that may make your life easier - from magnetic straps to one-handed reclines. 

  • Does it recline?: Does the seat offer several recline positions and if so, can they be easily adjusted once the seat is installed? If your toddler is inclined to nod off during longer journeys, a seat that can be angled backwards can offer a more comfortable position for your child. 

  • Does it grow with your child?: How easy is it to adjust the seat as your child grows? How many headrest settings are there and is the headrest easy to adjust one-handed? Does the harness automatically adjust as the headrest is raised, or does it need to be manually rethreaded? 

  • How easy is it to clean?: Are the covers easy to remove and are they handwash only, or can they be popped in the washing machine for a quick and easy refresh? You may also want to consider whether spare covers are available, as many well-padded seats can take a while to fully dry after cleaning. 

  • Does it come with a warranty?: Toddler car seats can be expensive, so a product that comes with a long manufacturer warranty can provide additional peace of mind 

Read next: The best car sunshades for babies

What safety features should you look for in the best toddler car seat?

The following safety features will provide maximum security and protection for your child in the event of a collision:

  • Five-point harness: A five-point safety harness not only ensures that your child is positioned correctly inside the seat, it also keeps your child safe in the event of a collision. Using various points of contact across your child’s shoulders, hips and legs, they distribute any forces in the event of an impact, reducing the risk of injury. They also hold your child securely in their seat and prevent slumping or slipping inside the seat To ensure the best fit, the safety harness should be adjusted as your child grows. Some seats have harnesses that adjust automatically as the headset is raised - this is preferable, as it reduces the risk of rethreading incorrectly. 

  • Side impact protection: Car seats generally offer good padding and protection in the event of a front or back collision, but enhanced side impact cushioning can also protect your child’s head, neck and torso in the event of a collision from the side. Whilst many car seats have wide side wings and deep headrests for additional protection, some toddler car seats also have additional side impact cushioning that can be triggered on the door side, reducing the forces against the seat in the event of a side-on crash. 

  • Adjustable headrest: When using a car seat over a longer period, it’s important to adjust the headrest as your child gets taller. Not only does this make the seat more comfortable for your child and reduce the risk of their head falling forward, but it also ensures sufficient head and neck protection in the event of an accident. 

  • Energy-absorbing foam: To keep your child safe, the shell of the car seat should be robust and well-padded, creating a comforting cocoon around your child in the event of a crash. Many toddler car seats use multiple layers of energy-absorbing foam, which can cushion and reduce the forces experienced upon impact to protect your child. 

Read next: The best travel cots, according to Mumsnet users

How do you install a toddler car seat correctly, and what are some common mistakes to avoid?

Here are some steps to make sure you install your toddler’s car seat correctly:

  • Read the instructions: No matter how simple it may seem, you should always read the manufacturer’s instructions and follow them carefully to ensure that the seat is securely fastened to the vehicle. If you find written instructions confusing, we recommend checking for installation videos online, which can often make the steps far easier to follow.

  • Check for visual indicators: many toddler car seats, especially those with ISOFIX bases, offer visual or audio indicators to advise when a seat has been correctly installed. Look out for the green lights or audible clicks to confirm that the seat is in the correct position before adding your child. 

  • When to switch to forward-facing?: Some seats allow easy switching between forward and rear-facing modes. It’s worth remembering that even if the car seat allows you to do so, you should not switch to forward-facing mode until your child is 15 months or above. Where possible, it’s recommended you keep your child rear-facing till approximately four years of age. 

  • Secure the harness: Ensure the seat belt is properly secured, one of the most common mistakes with car seat installation is not tightening the harness enough. According to experts at, the straps should feel quite tight “so that only one or two fingers can fit between the child's chest and harness” 

  • Remove layers: Remove coats and jackets before placing your child in the seat - as tempting as it may be in the winter months, you should remove thick clothing before placing your child in the seat. explain why: “In a car crash, fluffy padding in a coat immediately flattens out from the force, leaving extra space under the harness.”

Are there any drawbacks to using a certain type of toddler car seat?

While each type of toddler car seat has its advantages, there may be some drawbacks to consider. Rear-facing seats may take up more space in the car, front-facing seats may have weight restrictions, and 360 seats may be more expensive. It's important to weigh these factors before making a decision.

A car seat expert’s top tips for buying the best toddler car seat

  • Don’t move your child up to the next stage seat too early – it’s safer to let them reach the limit of their baby car seat before moving them to a bigger one

  • It's important to keep them rear-facing for as long as possible because it's the safest way to prevent serious injury in a collision

  • Check that your new seat will fit all the cars you want to use it in. For additional piece of mind, recommend you find a retailer that will allow you to try the seat in your car before you buy it.

  • Try to find a seat that has easily removable covers – toddlers will be toddlers after all 

  • We love this handy car seat shopping list from consumer champion Which? which may be helpful if you’re shopping in a physical store. 

Read next: Tips for keeping your family safe on the road

What type of car seats are available for toddlers?

i-Size car seat: Extended rear-facing seat

  • Suitable from 67 to 105cm (approximately six months to four years) – some can even be used from birth

  • Can typically be used in both rearward and forward-facing positions – some allow your child to rear-face until they're four years old

  • Fitted with an ISOFIX base

Combination seat: Group 0+/1, Group 0+/1/2 and Group 0+/1/2/3

  • Group 0+/ 1 used from birth to 18kg (approximately four years)

  • Group 0+/1/2 used from birth to 25kg (approximately five or six years)

  • Group 0+/1/2/3 used from birth to 36kg (around 12 years old)

  • ISOFIX and seatbelt fittings are available

  • Some combination seats offer an extended rear-facing option for toddlers

Forward-facing car seat: Group 1

  • Used from 9kg to 18kg (approximately nine months to four years old)

  • Forward-facing only – it’s recommended that you keep your baby rear-facing until at least 15 months

  • ISOFIX and seat belt fittings are available

High-back booster with harness: Group 1/2/3

  • Used from 9kg to 36kg (approximately nine months to 12 years old)

  • Forward-facing only

  • ISOFIX and seatbelt fittings are available

Read next: UK car seat regulations explained

three siblings in car seats

What does extended rear-facing mean and why is it important?

In a collision, a child’s head can be thrown forward with great force in a forward-facing car seat because the body is held in place by the harness but the head and neck are not. An infant’s neck muscles are weak and their head is disproportionately big compared to their body, so this can cause serious injury.

In an extended rear-facing seat, the force pushes the child into the seat, so the head neck and spine are protected, which reduces the risk of injury.

While they can be more expensive, keeping your child in a rear-facing position as long as you can will generally be safer for them, especially if you know you'll be driving a lot. It also depends on the size of your vehicle and how the seat is fitted.

What's the difference between R44 and R129 (i-Size)?

At the moment, both R129 and R44 car seats are available to buy and legal to use in the UK, but eventually i-Size will replace all R44 seats.


  • Classification is based on weight

  • Side-impact tests aren’t required, although some manufacturer’s do them anyway

  • Frontal collision testing is done at a speed of 50km/h and rear impact collision testing is done at 30km/h

  • Seat can be fitted using a seatbelt or ISOFIX fittings

  • Seat must be rear-facing until the child weighs 9kg (around nine months)


  • Classification is based on height

  • Side-impact tests are mandatory

  • Seat can only be fitted using ISOFIX – ISOFIX reduces the margin for error

  • Seat must be rear-facing until the child is older than 15 months

  • Side-impact protection, which usually takes the form of padding around the headrest and sides, absorbs the force of the impact in the event of a car accident to prevent serious head injuries

How we tested the best toddler car seats

How we tested for assembly, safety and stability

  • We analysed what tests the seats had passed and, crucially, how easy each seat was to attach and detach in addition to how useful and effective the designated fixing systems (seatbelt or ISOFIX) were in order to avoid making any dangerous mistakes. We also switched from rear- to front-facing and reclining positions where possible.

  • We analysed the materials used, studying everything from padding to the straps, and we thoroughly checked the safety features of each, looking for five-point harnesses that couldn’t be clicked open by small fingers.

How we tested for comfort

  • We made sure that babies were comfortable, that there were no parts that could rub or cause irritation, and that all fittings were baby-proof, with no chance of parts being removed or buckles and belts being undone by the child in the seat or others sitting with them.

  • We noted if there was anything that was distracting about the seat when driving – did the seat obscure your view? Were the colours too ‘jazzy’ or bright?

How we tested in day-to-day life

  • We tested how quick and easy it was to get little ones in and out of the seat, if they were able to fall asleep comfortably if they usually did so in a car, if the seat was able to accommodate them when removed from the car if still sleeping, and if they seemed happy in the seat.

  • We also evaluated if the seat was easily adjustable to grow with your child. We took the seats on busy school runs, shopping trips, longer journeys and quick trips out throughout the day, observing how happy and comfortable babies were and how convenient seats were to get in and out of the car if necessary.

About the author

Lucy Cotterill is a mum of two and Content Writer at Mumsnet, specialising in baby/child product reviews and round-ups. Having written product reviews on her own blog Real Mum Reviews since 2012, Lucy loves to research and explore the pros and cons of baby products, scrutinising reviews and consumer feedback to help parents make confident purchases that benefit their families.

Lucy has personal experience of researching, buying and using car seats with her own children, including the first car seats compatible with her travel system to 360-degree swivel seats and the multi-stage car seats that her children still use today.

Originally from a HR background with a degree in Business Studies, Lucy developed a real passion for blogging and writing when her children were young, going on to write for several online publications including US parenting site Pregistry and the Evening Standard.

When she’s not manically tapping the keys of her laptop, Lucy loves nothing more than to cosy up with her Kindle and enjoy the latest thriller, or compete in Nintendo Switch rallies with her daughters aged six and 10.

About the editor

Laura Westerman is an editor, writer and Deputy Head of Editorial Content at Mumsnet. With over seven years' experience as a full-time editor, five of which have been spent writing, commissioning and editing product reviews and round-ups, Laura has a keen eye for what parents love and likes nothing more than putting together honest reviews to make parents' lives that little bit easier. 

In addition to her work as a writer and editor, she has also appeared in a number of baby product review videos for Mumsnet's YouTube channel. She is mum to a one-year-old.

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