Child car seat fitting problems explored: How we conducted our test

Maxi-Cosi-Cabriofix

The Maxi-Cosi-Cabriofix - Isofix seat with support leg

Our car seat experts attempted to install three different child car seats in the back of 15 typical family cars to demonstrate the problems you might face when transporting your offspring. The seats cover the full age range, from birth to 12 years old, and were selected to illustrate the sorts of fitting problems real parents face every day.

Read the results of our crash testing, which is tougher than the R44.04 regulation requires, combined with our unique ease of use tests for over 130 child car seat reviews.

The seats we used

• Group 0+ Maxi-Cosi Cabriofix with Easyfix base (Isofix base with supporting leg), used rearward-facing from birth up to 13kg (about 12 months), installed using the the Isofix base with support leg or the three-point adult seat belt.

Maxi-Cosi Cabriofix with Easyfix base review

• Group 1 Britax Duo Plus, used forward-facing for children from 9-18kg, (about nine months to around four years), installed using Isofix mounts (two point) or the Isofix mounts plus the top-tether belt (three point) or with the three-point adult seat belt.

Britax Duo Plus review

• Group 2/3 Cybex Solution X used forward-facing for children from 15-36kg, (about four to 12 years old) with three-point adult seat belt.

Cybex Solution X review

What we did

We tried each seat in each position recommended by the car manufacturer. This included the front passenger seat (where recommended), second row outer and middle, and third row (where available).

3 seats in second row

We tried fitting three seats in the second row

We show ratings for each position in each car and provide star ratings for each of the attachment options (Isofix, top tether and adult seat belt.) 

We paid particular attention in our tests to checking seats installed on the middle seat, second row, which is the safest position and those on the outer seats in the second row, which is the most popular position. 

We assessed the amount of space and the fit of the seat, accessibility to install it, accessibility of Isofix and top-tether anchor points and the length of the seat belt for installing seats. A short belt doesn’t mean you definitely won’t be able to fit a seat, but it is a clear indicator that there may be a cause for concern.

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