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Best child car seats

Top 10 best child car seats

By Anna Studman

Article 2 of 2

Which? experts round up the best child car seats from Group 0+/1 to Group 2/3. 

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Whether you’re looking for an Isofix or belted child car seat, our reviews and crash test results show you the safest models.

We’ve rounded up 10 of the latest Best Buy child car seats in the table below. These are selected from the top-scorers of the most recently tested models. We’ve also picked out three of the worst child car seats we’ve tested recently, so you know to avoid them. Or you can head straight to all of our child car seats reviews

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Top 10 best child car seats

Kiddy Evo-Luna i-Size
Typical price £360.00
Which? score 82%
Reviewed May 2016
Best Buy
Overall safety rating:
5 out of 5
Fitting in car:
5 out of 5
Avoiding misuse and instructions:
4 out of 5

We rated this seat highly because of its excellent crash test results and the position your baby is held in in the seat when it’s in the car. The seat can actually recline while it’s in the car with your baby in it, and it also doesn’t take up the entire back seat, as some lie-flat types do. It did so well in our crash tests that it achieved an excellent five-star rating across the board for overall safety, as well as for frontal and side-impact protection. Rearward-facing, Isofix installation only.

Cybex Aton 4
Typical price £150.00
Which? score 80%
Reviewed Nov 2015
Best Buy
Overall safety rating:
5 out of 5
Fitting in car:
5 out of 5
Avoiding misuse and instructions:
4 out of 5

A good-quality infant carrier seat that scored excellently in our safety tests, with five stars for the worst-case overall-safety rating. It’s quick and easy to install, with clear instructions and warnings. It has a carry handle that makes it easy to move around, and can be used as part of a travel system with a range of pushchairs. It’s comfortable and adjustable for different ages, and a soft seat inlay unfurls as you move the headrest up. Rearward-facing, Isofix and belt installation possible.

Maxi Cosi Pebble Plus (2Wayfix base)
Typical price £398.00
Which? score 79%
Reviewed Nov 2015
Best Buy
Overall safety rating:
4 out of 5
Fitting in car:
5 out of 5
Avoiding misuse and instructions:
5 out of 5

This is a really safe seat overall. It gets an excellent five-star rating for frontal-impact collisions, and four stars for side-impact protection with a low injury risk. There’s very little chance of incorrectly installing the seat and base in your car – the process is quick and easy. The seat’s quite bulky when used with the base, and parents should be aware that the weight restriction is 12kg instead of the usual 13kg. Rearward-facing, Isofix and belt installation possible.

Besafe Izi Kid X2 i-Size
Typical price £370.00
Which? score 79%
Reviewed May 2016
Best Buy
Overall safety rating:
5 out of 5
Fitting in car:
4 out of 5
Avoiding misuse and instructions:
4 out of 5

Our experts struggled to fault this i-Size seat: it gets an excellent five-star overall rating for safety based on the results of our unique crash testing. It’s fairly easy to install and use, and will keep your child rearward-facing until they’re around four years old. One thing to note is that it’s very heavy, but this helps keep it stable in the car. Rearward-facing, Isofix installation only.

Cybex Aton Q i-Size (Base)
Typical price £285.00
Which? score 79%
Reviewed Aug 2016
Best Buy
Overall safety rating:
5 out of 5
Fitting in car:
4 out of 5
Avoiding misuse and instructions:
4 out of 5

This car seat scores an excellent five stars for overall safety, which equates to a very low injury risk in a front or side-impact crash. There’s also a low risk of installing this car seat incorrectly. It comes with a range of features, including added side-impact protection, a removable seat insert for newborns and very young babies, an extra-large sun canopy and an eight-position height-adjustable headrest. Rearward-facing, Isofix and belt installation possible.

Joie i-Gemm
Typical price £117.00
Which? score 78%
Reviewed May 2016
Best Buy
Overall safety rating:
5 out of 5
Fitting in car:
4 out of 5
Avoiding misuse and instructions:
4 out of 5

An excellent car seat that protects well enough to be a Best Buy whether it’s used on a base or just strapped straight into your car. The seat doesn’t take up much space so won’t restrict the use of other seats, and it weighs less than 5kg so is easily portable. There’s a good amount of space for your child, and the headrest and harness can be adjusted easily as your baby grows by pulling up on the headrest. Rearward-facing, Isofix and belt installation possible.

Joie i-Gemm i-Size (with base)
Typical price £180.00
Which? score 77%
Reviewed May 2016
Best Buy
Overall safety rating:
4 out of 5
Fitting in car:
4 out of 5
Avoiding misuse and instructions:
4 out of 5

This is a travel-system-compatible baby car seat that achieves a good safety rating with both base and belted installation. It’s easy to install, and neither the seat nor the base is that heavy. The harness can be adjusted easily as your baby grows by pulling up on the headrest. This saves having to rethread the harness, like on some other seats. Rearward-facing, Isofix and belt installation possible.

Besafe Izi Go Modular i-Size
Typical price £210.00
Which? score 77%
Reviewed May 2016
Best Buy
Overall safety rating:
5 out of 5
Fitting in car:
4 out of 5
Avoiding misuse and instructions:
4 out of 5

This is a high-scoring baby car seat that can be used as part of a modular system to keep your child rearward-facing for longer. The seat is easy to install and doesn’t take up much room in the car. The seat comes with side-impact cushions included, and these are effective in helping to provide crash protection. The padding also means that your baby will be comfortable, with good support for little legs. Rearward-facing, Isofix and belt installation possible.

Cybex Aton Q i-Size
Typical price £175.00
Which? score 77%
Reviewed Aug 2016
Best Buy
Overall safety rating:
5 out of 5
Fitting in car:
4 out of 5
Avoiding misuse and instructions:
4 out of 5

This seat offers excellent protection, and gets five stars for overall safety. The seat is roomy and well padded, with plenty of support for little legs, plus it got a good rating in our ergonomic assessments. The instructions are clear, so there’s little risk of getting the installation wrong. Rearward-facing, belted installation only.

Kiddy Phoenixfix 3
Typical price £229.00
Which? score 75%
Reviewed Aug 2016
Best Buy
Overall safety rating:
4 out of 5
Fitting in car:
5 out of 5
Avoiding misuse and instructions:
5 out of 5

This seat offers good crash protection, with a four-star safety rating for frontal impact, and an excellent five-star rating for side-impact crash protection. It’s a light seat that’s quick and easy to install, and your chances of doing it wrong are very low thanks to the clear instructions and warning labels. It has an impact cushion rather than a harness. Forward-facing, Isofix and belt installation possible.

Want to see more? Browse all our Best Buy car seats.

Three child car seats to avoid in 2017

As well as recommending the best, we think it’s also important to highlight the car seats you need to avoid. Below are three car seats that aren’t as safe as they should be. Our recent testing has found them to be Don’t Buys, which means we’ve detected serious safety issues with them, and they may not provide adequate protection in a crash situation.

Three child car seats to avoid

Diono Radian 5
Typical price £225.00
Which? score 20%
Reviewed Aug 2016
Don't buy
Overall safety rating:
2 out of 5
Fitting in car:
2 out of 5
Avoiding misuse and instructions:
1 out of 5

This seat will appeal to parents who are keen to keep their children rearward-facing for as long as possible, and will make the time and effort to learn to install it properly. But in our tests, a combination of poor frontal crash-test results and complicated installation means we’ve had to limit the score to 20%. This means it falls below our Don’t Buy threshold of 40%.

Nuna Rebl
Typical price £320.00
Which? score 1%
Reviewed Aug 2016
Don't buy
Overall safety rating:
1 out of 5
Fitting in car:
4 out of 5
Avoiding misuse and instructions:
3 out of 5

In our crash tests, which are conducted at higher speeds and forces than the UN ECE R129 standard requires, thisl is the first i-Size car seat we’ve seen that fails our frontal-impact crash tests. This is because the seat was not up to withstanding the forces of the crash. When tested with a crash-test dummy representing a three-year-old, the metal frame broke, sending the seat backwards. The risk of injury is very high.

Recaro Optia
Typical price £210.00
Which? score 1%
Reviewed Aug 2016
Don't buy
Overall safety rating:
1 out of 5
Fitting in car:
4 out of 5
Avoiding misuse and instructions:
4 out of 5

This child car seat has passed the regulatory tests required by ECE R44/04 to be sold as suitable for children weighing 9-18kg. However, our crash tests are designed to replicate real-life crash situations, and we found weaknesses in frontal-impact safety – the car seat completely detached from the Isofix base and was sent flying forwards.

See the rest of our Don’t Buy child car seats.

How Which? tests child car seats

All child car seats sold in the UK must meet the test requirements of the compulsory ECE R44/04 standard. This simulates a low-speed crash at around 30mph. But the test doesn’t use a realistic car, just a mock-up of a car’s back seat. There’s also no side-impact test or ease-of-use assessment for child car seats.

When we test child car seats, we use a real car body. The speeds at which we conduct our crash tests are also far more realistic. Front-crash tests are conducted at 40mph and side-impact crash tests at 17.5mph. The dummies we use are wired up to record forces on the head, neck, chest and pelvis, which allows us to accurately predict how likely a child would be to sustain an injury in a crash.

To find out more, read how Which? tests child car seats.

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