Child car seat fitting problems explored: How well do child seats fit?

Bigger than average family

Keeping your family safe and happy in your car

Most people choose a child car seat that suits their child, their car and their lifestyle. But it’s never as simple as it sounds and safety is about more than just the seat. The car plays a big part too, so we’ve installed three popular child car seats from Maxi Cosi, Britax and Cybex, in a range of typical 'family cars' to see just what pitfalls might arise.

If you still need to choose your car seat, head to our child car seats reviews - based on actual crash test data - to find out which ones are Best Buy car seats.

What we found

Our findings show that it is impossible to carry a newborn in the front seat of some top-selling MPVs - heavily promoted to families - because the front passenger airbag can't be disabled. We also found that the middle seat in the second row of some popular medium family hatchbacks and some supposedly 'large' family estates can’t be used to carry a child either.

Try before you buy

We always recommend you try any seat in your car before you buy, and this guide explains the things you'll need to consider when you’re looking. We check out the suitability of the space, accessibility of Isofix mounts and top-tether strapping points, the length of the adult seatbelts and whether installing seats could compromise other aspects of the car’s use.

  • Our expert assessments of more than 100 child car seats include full crash-test and ease-of-use results.
  • Thinking of changing your car? Read our comprehensive guide to buying a second-hand car.
  • For expert, impartial advice on the best way to finance your new car, call our Money Helpline

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