Latest child car seats tested by Which? Inlcuding two new rear-facing Group 1 seats

27 May 2011

All the big brands put to the test

This latest test focused on two different types of child car seat: models for babies and toddlers and those for older children. We've included conventional seats from the big names like Britax, Chicco, Cybex and Maxi Cosi, as well as economy brand, Nania. 

Besafe iZi Combi X3 Rear-facing Group 1 seat

Find out how well this Besafe seat - and over 100 others - performs in the unique Which? test  

We've also tested two rear-facing Group 1 seats - designed to keep your child rear-facing up to the age of four - the Besafe iZi Kid X3 and iZi Combi X3, both new to the UK.  

What makes a seat safe? 

In theory, facing rearward should be safer in a front-on crash than facing forward. However, it's never as simple as that. Not even one of our seasoned child car seat experts can tell how good a seat is - any seat - simply by inspecting it. 

The truth is there are several factors affecting the protection offered by a child car seat, and only the unique Which? tests can reveal the true protection level offered by each seat. 

That's because our tests include front and side crashes using Euro NCAP derived crash loads, plus the most comprehensive and thorough ease of use assessments carried out anywhere. 

Why choose a Group 1 rear-facing child car seat?

The theory behind all rear-facing child car seats is based on two principles:

  • Spreading deceleration loads across the shell of the seat is preferable to having them concentrated on an adult seat belt or child seat harness.
  • The child's head movement is controlled more effectively, reducing the chance of neck and spine injuries.

Based on this, it is fairly clear that travelling rear-facing should offer the best protection in front crashes, and is therefore preferable up to the highest age possible. 

However, Which? child car seat experts have found that many of the rear-facing Group 1 seats (for children 9-18kg - about one to four years old) we’ve tested over the years have been so difficult to install that there was a high risk of getting it wrong, potentially seriously compromising safety.

On top of this, many of the rear-facing Group 1 child seats we've tested are fairly bulky compared with comparable forward-facing models, so they may not fit into a conventional medium family hatch. 

Our latest batch includes new Best Buys as well as seats we think you should steer clear of.

To find out how safe the latest child car seats are, including the new rearward facing Besafe iZi Kid X3 and iZi Combi X3, follow the link below. 

Already a Which? member? To see full test results and crash videos for all our rear-facing seat tests, click here.

Not a member yet? Sign up to Which? for just £1 and see full Which? test results, and crash videos for the Britax Multi-Tech, Besafe iZi Combi X3 and iZi Kid X3, the Volvo Convertible and the Recaro Polaric, plus many more.