Car seats for 5-year-olds to keep them safe and secure


by Eleanor Weaver |

If your toddler is fast outgrowing their car seat or you’re in the market for a car seat that’ll last for years to come, we’ve found the best car seats for five-year-olds that’ll keep them as safe and secure as possible, no matter how much they wriggle!

In the UK, all children need a car seat until the age of 12-years-old, or if they are less than 135cm tall. As a result, the car seat market is flooded with various different types and styles of car seats, some that'll last a year or so, and others that'll last from birth all the way up and into their tweens. Still, we've sifted through the masses to find the ones that'll give your backseat buddy the optimal safety they require, as well as broken down everything you need to know and be looking for in the right car seat for your child.

What kind of car seat should a 5-year-old be in?

Stage groups

When looking for a car seat for your five-year-old, you should be looking for their 'stage group' based on their weight, rather than their age. The stage groups for little ones are broken down as follows under ECE R44 regulations.

Group 0+/1/2 car seats: Is suitable from birth to 25kg, approx. 6-years-old.

Group 1/2/3 car seats: Is suitable for children 9-36kg, approx. 9 months to 12 years.

Group 2/3 car seats: Is suitable for children 15-36kg, approx. 3-12-years-old.

Group 3 car seats: Based on new safety regulations launched in 2017, group 3 car seats i.e. new booster seats on the market, are limited to children who are taller than 125cm, weighing more than 22kg.

It's recommended that you should try to keep your child in the lowest stage group for as long as possible to give them the optimal safety features, and there's no need to swap for the next stage group up until your child has outgrown their Group 1 car seat.

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Safety design

With each stage group, you'll find different car seat designs for each.

Multi-stage car seats (Group 0+/1/2 and Group 1/2/3)

Also known as combination car seats, these have been designed to carry your child from birth to the booster-seat stage and as a result, they come with an initial higher cost, but really are great value for money. These car seats are equipped with padding and a 5-point harness with most seats fitting children up to 18 or 25kg.

High back booster seats (Group 2/3)

These car seats are designed to lift your child up to use the vehicle seat belt, but come with a high back and side padding for safety and impact protection.

Backless booster seats (Group 3)

Backless booster seats are now limited to children who are taller than 125cm, weighing more than 22kg, as they have fewer safety features compared to the other stage groups and it's at this size a child will be able to wear an adult seatbelt correctly. Previously, these car seats were approved for use by children weighing between 15-36kg, but they've been deemed by the UN as being unsuitable for protecting smaller children from side-on collisions.

i-Size car seats (Height-based system)

Expected to eventually be adopted across all new car seats sold, i-Size was introduced in 2013 as safety regulation ECE R129 with rigorous testing through impact crash trials and new state-of-the-art Q dummies to test impact. Using a height-based system, i-Size car seats have been designed to take the guesswork out of choosing the right fit, provide better protection from side impacts, and keep children rearward-facing for longer, until at least 15 months or 75cm to protect their fragile heads and necks.

What is ISOFIX?

ISOFIX car seats feature two arms that lock onto small metal bars located in the seat of your vehicle. With one quick click, the ISOFIX connectors snap onto these anchor points – no seat belt threading involved. They’re accompanied by install indicators so you can be sure your child is sitting safely with a correct connection.

The rear seats of most new cars produced since 2013 have a pair of ISOFIX anchor points, but before purchasing, you should double-check that is the case.

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