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Top child car seat brands

Which child car seat brand?

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Which child car seat brand?

We’ve been testing car seats for nearly 50 years - we've seen hundreds, so can tell you definitively which ones to buy and which to avoid.

Along the way, we have built up an extensive knowledge of each of the brand manufacturers, and really got to know what they’re best at. To find out which models we recommend, check out our list of child car seats Best Buys.

Our brand guide will introduce you to the most popular car seat brands on our website. Here we highlight the pros and cons of each, as discovered in our testing, to help you choose the right brand and car seat for you and your baby.

Best child car seat brands

In this guide you will find:

  • expert advice on the types of child car seats available from each brand, and where you can buy them
  • how much you can expect to pay for each model
  • handy links to reviews child car seats we’ve tested from that brand.

Which? members can also see:

  • how many Best Buys and Don't Buys each brand has
  • the Which? verdict on each brand
  • the range of test scores for each brand.

Best child car seats reviews

We can't name one child car seat brand as top overall, as models can really vary within each brand – there are some that have made some excellent Best Buy car seats, as well as seats that have done so poorly in our tests that we've made them Don't Buys car seats. This is why it’s so important that we test every seat.

However, in the table below, Which? members can compare the most popular six car-seat brands featured on our website, in terms of how many Best Buys and Don't Buys each brand has, and what range of test scores we've given its seats. 

Only logged-in Which? members can view our scores and ratings in the table below. If you're not already a member, you can get instant access by taking a £1 trial to Which?.

Best child car-seat brand leader board
Brand Total tested Best Buys Don't Buys Range of scores
Subscriber only content 8 5 0 72% - 82%
Subscriber only content 10 11 0 69% - 81%
Subscriber only content 10 3 0 54% - 79%
Subscriber only content 22 5 0 53% - 82%
Subscriber only content 25 7 2 20% - 83%
Subscriber only content 9 1 2 20% - 80%

How we test child car seats

All seats sold in the UK must meet the test requirements of the compulsory standard ECE R44/04 or the new R129 i-Size standard, which runs parallel to the existing standard.

However, Which? testing goes beyond the compulsory standard to find the very safest child car seats. Which? child car-seat testing is unique because:

  • each car seat tested endures a front crash, equivalent to a head-on collision at around 40mph, and a side crash, equivalent to two cars crashing into each other at 30mph. These are repeated again and again, in the different ways a car seat can be used
  • our crash-test dummies are wired up to record the forces on the most vulnerable parts of the body, including the head, neck, chest and pelvis, accurately indicating what chances of injury a real child would have in a similar impact
  • we also check whether each seat is easy to install and adjust in a range of cars. If a seat is difficult to install, it’s more likely to be fitted incorrectly, which could increase the risk of injury, or even death, in a crash.

The child car-seat test score you see in our reviews ignores price and is based on:

  • safety (front crash; side crash; seat design, stability in the car, belt routing) 60% 
  • ease of use (installation, possibility of misuse, instructions, adjusting the seat, cleaning and workmanship) 30%
  • ergonomic assessment (posture, comfort, space for child, support, padding, view) 10%.

Choosing the best child car-seat brand

To help you choose, we’ve put together introduction guides on each of the top car seat brands: Britax, Maxi-Cosi, Kiddy, Graco, BeSafe and Cybex.

You can also browse reviews of top car seat brands:

Pick the right child car seat

UK law states that children must use a child car seat until they're 12 years old or 135cm/4ft 5in tall, whichever comes first. 

However, safety experts recommend that you use a child car seat for all children under 150cm/4ft 11in. This height is the legal requirement in Ireland and also some European countries, such as Germany and France. For children weighing more than 36kg (5st 10lb) but under 150cm/4ft 11in, our advice is to go by height.

Child car seats are designed to protect a child’s most vulnerable areas at each stage of their development. Babies are far more vulnerable to injury than adults, which is why it’s so important for them to have their own car seat to keep them safe in a crash.

If you’re unsure what type of child car seat to buy and how to go about choosing the right one for you and your baby, see our choosing a child car seat guide for the best advice to get you started.