2015 saw the introduction of the new child car seat regulation (R129). The first part of this is i-Size, which applies to baby car seats, the car seats your baby uses from birth, but we’re now seeing more i-Size toddler seats.
The main benefits of i-Size car seats include Isofix connectors (to make installing the seat easier) a mandatory requirement for babies to be rearward facing for longer (up to 15 months) and the standard testing is tougher with side impact crash tests included – something Which? has been testing with for many years already. Find out more about i-Size car seats in our guide.
Most importantly, i-Size seats use height as a fitting guide and not weight.
We crash test every car seat we review – find out which ones are Best Buy car seats.
New i-Size car seats
Car seat manufacturers have been hard at work bringing i-Size approved car seats to the UK market, to offer consumers more choice. They previewed these new i-Size car seats at the recent Kind und Jungen baby exhibition in Germany. Our car seats experts were there and have rounded up these five i-size car seats as those to watch out for next year.
1. Britax BabySafe
The Britax BabySafe i-Size seat addresses the problem of angled car seats, which sometimes can’t take a child car seat base properly. It comes with a choice of two bases: Fixed base or Flex base, which has four different angles, with visual indicators, to compensate for the angle of the car’s back seat.
The Babysafe is suitable from birth up to 83cm, about the height of a 15 month old baby. It comes with adjustable side impact protection, adjustable harness and a backrest angle that automatically flattens for smaller babies, to give them a better position to be in, and adaptors for use on a travel system.
Before this one launches, you can have a look at all of our Britax child car seats reviews to see how previous models have performed.
Which? expert view: The choice of base is an innovative answer to a genuine problem some parents face when fitting a car seat into their car.
Available: Summer 2016
2. Cybex Sirona i-Size
The stunning Cybex Sirona has been given an i-Size makeover and is now approved to the new regulation. It’s the first toddler seat with a harness from Cybex, rather than having an impact shield (what Cybex is better known for). It’s part of the Cybex Gold range and features a five-point harness and side impact protection. But unlike the original Sirona, it doesn’t rotate 360 degrees.
It’s not only the Sirona that’s approved to the new i-Size testing, Cybex plans to launch other i-Size approved car seats during 2016, including the Aton Q and the Cloud Q. To see how older Cybex models did in our tests, head to our Cybex child car seats reviews.
Which? expert view: It’s great to see more choice in the toddler seat category and we look forward to testing this model.
Available: Spring 2016
3. Recaro Zero.1 Elite
The problem with some from-birth extended rearward facing car seats is that they have to be permanently installed in your car, so aren’t travel system compatible (you can’t use them on a pushchair).
The clever people at Recaro have come up with a great solution to this issue, by creating the Recaro Zero.1 Elite i-Size car seat. It’s a rearward-facing seat, suitable from birth up until around four years old (105cm), but comes with a very cute removable newborn seat which can be used like a normal infant carrier.
Designed to be used for the first few months, it means you can take your little one out of the car and use this part of the seat on a pushchair to use as a travel system. Browse all of our Recaro child car seats reviews to see how they scored.
Which? expert view: This is another innovative idea that solves a genuine problem parents face with extended rear facing car seats.
Available: June 2016
Price: around £425
4. Kiddy Luna i-Size
The Kiddy Luna i-Size is an i-Size approved version of the Kiddy Evo Luna-Fix. It’s a car seat with a difference. It creates a ‘lie-flat’ position in the car (the best position for newborns and young babies to be in – not only for comfort, but also to help their breathing).
While a lie-flat car seat isn’t unique (Jane has carrycot-style car seats for example, and the Cybex Cloud Q reclines once on a pushchair) the Luna is installed on a base the same as any other infant carrier. It doesn’t take up the whole of the back seat, which is a common issue with carry-cot style car seats.
The Luna i-Size is suitable for babies up to 83cm and is travel-system compatible. How have Kiddy car seats fared in our tests? See all of our Kiddy child car seats reviews to find out.
Which? expert view: The position a baby is held in the car seat is very important, so the ‘lie-flat’ option the Kiddy Luna i-Size provides is definitely a good one.
Available: Early 2016
5. BeSafe iZi Modular
The BeSafe iZi Modular is a complete system comprising of the i-Size base, the infant carrier and a toddler seat, both of which fit the same base. The iZiGo i-Size infant carrier is suitable to be used from birth (40cm) up to 75cm in height. At this point you’ll need to swap to the iZi Modular that’s suitable for babies from 61cm up to 105cm, which should be around four years old. The Modular toddler seat features a big recline for this type of seat, as well as adjustable legroom on the Isofix mounts.
Which? expert view: This is an interesting offering from BeSafe which means you only have to buy one base for both seats, and is good to see a decent recline on the toddler seat.
Available: End of 2015
Price: IZI GO £179 – £199, IZI modular toddler seat £195 – £215, base £179All prices are approximate costs, as at 29th September 2015, and could change once the car seats finally reach the shops. We aim to test these seats as soon as we can. Before then, you can check out all of our existing BeSafe child car seat reviews.