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2 Sep 2021

Revealed: the best baby stores to buy pushchairs and car seats from

Thousands of parents have voted on the baby retailers that offer the best advice, service and prices
Woman shopping for baby cot

From prams to potties and stair gates to sippy cups, discover the baby stores that are getting their service, price and Covid-19 measures right.

Who'd have thought two years ago that a global pandemic would shutter so many of the world's shops, resulting in millions of parents (and grandparents) shopping for vital baby and child products almost exclusively online?

Buying a pushchair or child car seat can be a minefield, so it's vital to choose a retailer that will offer trustworthy advice and an excellent returns policy - especially if you don't have the option of trying out products before you buy.

Here, we reveal the baby and child shops and websites getting it right, and those to avoid.

Which are the top baby & child retailers?

We surveyed 4,625 people in May about their online and in-store experiences when shopping for baby and child items, be that buggies, beds or bottles.

We've listed the top and bottom performers below. To find out how all 41 retailers in our survey scored - including Amazon, Boots, Currys and JoJo Maman Bebe - and to discover retailer star ratings for product quality, customer service, value for money and the returns process, visit our guide to the best and worst baby and child shops.

The best baby and child stores

Ranking (out of 41)StoreCustomer score*Retailer website (links open in new tab)
1Online4Baby78% - Which? Recommended ProviderOnline4Baby.com
=2Smyths Toys77% - Which? Recommended ProviderSmythsToys.com
=2Very77% - Which? Recommended ProviderVery.co.uk
4Next75% - Which? Recommended ProviderNext.co.uk
=5John Lewis74%JohnLewis.com
=5Mamas & Papas74%MamasandPapas.com

The worst baby and child stores

Ranking (out of 41)StoreCustomer score*Retailer website (links open in new tab)
=34Ickle Bubba64%IckleBubba.com
=36Baby Planet63%BabyPlanetOnline.co.uk
=36Bella Baby63%BellaBaby.co.uk
=36Uber Kids63%UberKids.com
39Johnston Prams62%JohnstonPrams.com
40Baby Security61%BabySecurity.co.uk

*Results based on a May 2021 survey of 4,625 people (107 Which? Connect panel members and 4,518 members of the UK public). Customer score based on a combination of customer satisfaction and their likelihood to recommend the retailer.

Online4Baby tops the table

Online4Baby.com narrowly beat the competition to top our table, earning a glowing customer score of 78% and a Which? Recommended Provider (WRP) award to boot.

The independent retailer claims to be the UK's most affordable online nursery store, and cost was among the most common reasons for people choosing it over other shops, with 60% of Online4Baby shoppers citing it as a factor.

One customer told us Online4Baby offered 'the best price on the market' for the car seat they wanted and another said they find the retailer always beats competitors on price.

Smyths Toys, Very and Next impress shoppers

Fellow Which? Recommended Providers Smyths Toys, Very and Next bagged strong customer scores of 77%, 77% and 75% respectively.

Smyths Toys (SmythsToys.com) landed five stars for product range and availability and value for money. One customer found its range of products 'great' with 'fab prices'.

Around four in 10 (41%) of Smyths Toys shoppers said they chose to spend their money there because of its stores' locations. An impressive 87% of customers told Which? they experienced top-notch customer service when visiting its shops, praising staff members' excellent customer service skills.

Very.co.uk and Next (Next.co.uk) also received glowing feedback. One Very customer said it was 'cheaper to buy [there] than other stores, and had quick delivery'. Meanwhile Very's website got the highest ease-of-use rating of all the retailers in our survey, with 64% stating it was excellent.

Fellow WRP Next scored five stars for both value for money and product quality, with one person saying they ended up buying more than they initially intended to because they knew the 'quality would be very good'.

The worst baby and child shops according to shoppers

Baby Monitors Direct was at the bottom of our table, getting an unremarkable customer score of 59%.

While it calls itself the 'best baby camera monitor store in the UK', it only scored two stars for several elements in our survey, including product quality and delivery.

One shopper said the product they bought from Baby Monitors Direct was 'expensive' and its customer service was 'poor'.

Baby Security and Johnston Prams lurked at the bottom of the table too, with customer scores of 61% and 62% respectively. One Baby Security customer told us what they bought was 'poor quality'.

Which baby and child retailers have coped best with the pandemic?

This year we added a new star rating to our survey, enabling shoppers to rate stores' Covid-19 response. We asked respondents to consider the ways stores and websites communicated pandemic-related changes to the shopping experience, from social distancing to delivery delays.

No retailer in our survey achieved five stars for this measure. The majority of companies in our study achieved four stars, including all of the Which? Recommended Providers but also some of those at the bottom of the table, such as Baby Security.

A key issue since the coronavirus crisis began has been the forced shift to shopping online during lockdowns. Around two-thirds (65%) of our survey respondents bought online, while just 18% carried out their shopping purely in store.

Which? recommends buying car seats from a store that offers a car seat fitting service to ensure the seat is correctly installed after purchase, and fits your car appropriately.

If you're unable to go to an actual shop, it's worth looking for a retailer that offers virtual product demos or video consultations.