Best 5 point harness car seat to keep your toddler safe

Best five point harness car seats

by Hannah James |

We know that as a parent, safety is always at the forefront of your mind. What is the best way to keep my child safe? It’s a question that rattles around parents’ brains into the early hours of the morning. Car safety is usually at the top of any parents’ priority list. In the unfortunate event of a crash, it’s essential that you feel assured and confident that your child will be safe and unharmed. The best 5 point harness car seat will do just that.

But with so many car seats on the market, it can quickly become confusing. The car seat that worked perfectly for your brand-new baby, may not be suitable for your boisterous three-nager. Toddlers find a way of working their way out of most things that are designed to keep them safe – we don’t want your car seat to be one of them.

Toddlers are notoriously hard to please. We have looked at the best 5 point harness car seats with height, weight, and car specification. We have even found some great toddler car seats with cup holders for all your little one’s snacks and drinks, making those long car journeys a little more manageable.

Does my child need a 5 point harness car seat?

In the UK, it is a legal requirement to use a car seat for your child until they are 12 years old or 135cm tall. Unbelievably, laws requiring children to use special car seats weren't introduced until 2006. A 5 point harness child car seat can reduce the likelihood of both injury and death in small infants and young children by up to 90 per cent in a crash. Did you know that the first car seat was designed for children in the 1960s? It was designed so children could see out of the window, rather than to keep them safe.

What is a 5 point harness car seat?

As the name suggests, a 5 point harness has five attachment points. These are designed to restrain your child at their shoulders and hips. This protects the child by spreading the force of a collision to their most rigid points and into the seat, which in turn helps to prevent serious injury.

To ISOFIX or not to ISOFIX, that is the question.

ISOFIX is a fantastic way to ensure that a car seat is installed correctly. ISOFIX car seats have two arms that lock on to small metal bars located in the seat of your vehicle. The ISOFIX connectors click on to these anchor points. They’re accompanied by install indicators, so you can be sure your child is sitting safely with a correct connection. This eliminates the chance of human error.

Most new cars produced since 2013 have a pair of ISOFIX anchor points. You should check your car's owner manual if you are unsure. This can become an issue if you need to get multiple car seats in one vehicle as not every seat in the car will have ISOFIX.

In summary, all EU approved car seats are safe regardless of whether they have ISOFIX or not when the user adheres to the manufacturer's guide for installation. So, rest assured that if your car seat is correctly in place, it will be safe for your tot.

When does my toddler need to get a new car seat?

When considering whether your child needs a new car seat, you should be looking for their 'stage group' based on their weight, rather than their age. The stage groups for children are broken down as follows under ECE R44 regulations.

Stage groups

• 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.

Which 5 point harness car seat is best?

Each parent will give a different answer when asked which car seat is best for them. It all depends on your individual needs. Some car seats will only last your toddler a few years and others will last until they are nearing their teenage years.

Joie Baby i-Spin 360 i-Size Car Seat

Best rotating car seat
Joie Baby i-Spin 360 i-Size Car Seat

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Joie Baby i-Spin 360 i-Size Car Seat
Image: John Lewis

We love this product because of its rotating feature. It is easy to get a screaming toddler into the car without trying to bend a tantrum-throwing toddler’s super straight body. You can turn the car seat so it’s facing the door, plonk in your tot and snap the seat back into a front-facing position. This car seat can be used from birth, but unfortunately cannot be used passed 40lbs – which is approx. four years old. So, although it is not a long-term investment for a toddler, it does make for a very easy life.

Specifications:
Suitable for: Birth up to 19kg/40lbs or approx. birth to 4 years (from 40-105cm)
Warranty: 2-year warranty
Reclining positions: 6
Installation type ISOFIX

Review: "Really pleased with chair. Nice and secure with good padding. Feels nice and well made and should last well."

Maxi-Cosi Axiss Swiveling Toddler Car Seat

Best rotating car seat without ISOFIX
Maxi-Cosi Axiss Swiveling Toddler Car Seat
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Maxi-Cosi Axiss Swiveling Toddler Car Seat
Image: Amazon

As previously mentioned, not all vehicles will have ISOFIX anchor points. And in cars that do, not all seats will be suitable for ISOFIX car seats. This car seat is installed via seatbelt but still has a swivelling feature that can prevent parents from having to strain when putting toddlers into the car. With eight reclining positions, you can ensure that your toddler is comfortable for the duration of the journey.

Specifications:
Suitable for: Birth up to 19kg/40lbs or approx. birth to 4 years (from 40-105cm)
Warranty: 2-year warranty
Reclining positions: 8
ISOFIX compatible? No
Installation type Seat Belt

Review: "Ever used a car seat that turns before? Me either! What a profound moment it was when trying for the first time. It fixes using the cars seat belt and has a ratchet to pull tight. The child straps slide easily and the hooks on the sides for holding the shoulder pads out the way is a revelation. This is brilliant, if I had to pick a fault its that the seat fabric could be better, but this is not a problem."

Maxi-Cosi Titan Toddler

Amazon reviewers love
Maxi-Cosi Titan Toddler
Amazon

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Maxi-Cosi Titan Toddler

Amazon users love this car seat because it can be used at multiple stages (1/2/3), from nine-month-old babies up to a pre-teen. The car seat works with a 5 point harness until your child reaches the age of four when a seatbelt can be used to allow for a more comfortable ride. This car seat has five positions from upright to relaxed sleeping – perfect for a little one to have a snooze in the car and you to have a moment of peace.
The car seat is packed with cosy padding and cushioned inlay providing extra comfort and we love that the cover is also machine washable.

Specifications:
Suitable for: from 9 months to about 11 or 12 years (approx. 9-36 kg)
Reclining positions: 5
Installation type ISOFIX/Seat belt

Review: “My little one hated to get into the car as his old seat wasn't comfortable at all. But maxi Cosi is one of the best brand I must say. It has the cushion and my little one loves to travel now. He falls asleep very quickly and looks more comfortable.”

Joie Elevate 1/2/3 Car Seat

Best toddler car seat for growing into
Joie Elevate 1/2/3 Car Seat

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Joie Elevate 1/2/3 Car Seat
Image: Boots

This car seat is a good investment as it grows with your toddler. There is a cupholder perfect for holding your toddler’s drinks. This group 1/2/3 child seat and booster suitable forward-facing. We love this car seat because it has layers of comfortable full impact protection.

Specifications:
Suitable for: Suitable forward facing from 9kg to 18kg with harness, and as high back booster from 15 to 36kg/12 years
Positions: 9 position head rest
ISOFIX compatible? No
Installation type Seat Belt
Cupholder: Yes

Review: "Great car seat. Easy to install and my son loves the cup holder."

Zoomi Group 123 Car Seat

Best anti- escape car seat
Zoomi Group 123 Car Seat Unicorn Land

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Zoomi Group 123 Car Seat Unicorn Land
Image: Cosatto

We absolutely adore this car seat because it has an array of cute designs. The Cosatto Zoomi Car can easily be converted to a high back booster seat when your toddler comes to the next stage group. The Zoomi grows with your child with an adjustable height and headrest, and an anti-escape system with a five-point harness to keep your fidgety tot firmly in their seat.

Specifications:
Suitable for: 9-36kg, approx. 9 months to 12 years
Warranty: 4-year guarantee
Reclining positions: 0
ISOFIX compatible? No

Review: "Lovely to use and simple to get in the car, my girl loves the car now she can see out of the window, the safety strap keeps the buckle hidden so she’s not trying to undo it mid journey too, would definitely recommend."

LETTAS Convertiblle

Best ISOFIX any stage car seat
LETTAS Convertiblle
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LETTAS Convertiblle

We love this car seat because it is suitable for all ages, from sweet tiny babies to sassy preteens. It was designed with parents in mind and has a premium fabric seat pad that is removable, making it super easy to clean. It has an elegant design which comes in a range of colours.

Specifications:
Suitable for: Stage 0/1/2/3 car seat for children from 0 to 36kg
Positions: 4
ISOFIX compatible? Yes
Installation type ISOFIX/Seat belt

Review: "Excellent value, easy to install, perfect for both my grandsons, aged 3 years and 10 months, brilliant."

Kids Embrace Batman

Best superhero car seat
Kids Embrace Batman

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Kids Embrace Batman

Perfect for your little superhero, this batman car seat is sure to win the heart of your tot. Its fabulous design is fun but also sturdy. This lightweight car seat has side and thermoplastic impact protection to keep your child safe in the event of a side collision. The Kids Embrace Batman has two cup holders which can keep all your tots’ important treasures nice and safe when travelling.

Specifications:
Suitable for: 9 months – 12 years
Positions: 1
ISOFIX compatible? No
Installation type Seat Belt
Cupholder: Two

Review: "I have two of these for both my boys, SO easy to fit in car. look so comfortable for the kids and they love getting in the car with these. Really easy to wipe clean. Would definitely recommend."

IMAX isofix car seat

Best Disney car seat
IMAX isofix car seat
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IMAX isofix car seat

Calling all parents of Disney lovers, this is the car seat for you! The Imax has an array of Disney designs for car seats which are sure to be a hit with your little movie lover. There is a selection of cute designs including Disney Princesses, Cars, Toy Story as well as the classics Mickey and Minnie Mouse. Its thick paddling promises a comfortable ride, while ensuring that your child is kept safe. This ISOFIX car seat can grow with your child into they are 12 years old.

Specifications:
Suitable for: Stage 1/2/3 car seat for children from 9 to 36kg
Positions: headrest is adjustable in several positions
ISOFIX compatible? Yes
Installation type: Seat Belt
Cupholder: 0

Graco Slimfit All-in-One Combination Car Seat

Best seatbelt installed suitable from birth car seat
Graco Slimfit All-in-One Combination Car Seat
Amazon

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Graco Slimfit All-in-One Combination Car Seat

This three-in-one car seat is suitable from the moment you leave the hospital until your little one is starting secondary school. It has thick padding which provides comfort at every stage. The seat easily transitions from a rearward-facing infant car seat (birth to 18 kg) to a forward-facing five-point harness car seat (9-18 kg) to a high back booster (15-36 kg).

Specifications:
Suitable for: Stage 0/1/2/3 car seat for children from 0 to 36kg
ISOFIX compatible? No
Installation type Seat Belt
Cupholder: 1

Review: "Fantastic seat - little one just out grown first seat, this is great. Highly recommend. Easy to fit, comfy for child."

FAQs

Are car seats without ISOFIX safe?

When correctly installed, all car seats that have been approved by EU safety standards (ECE R44/04) certification are safe. You must read the instructions carefully before installing your car seat to ensure it is correctly fitted.

Can I buy a second-hand car seat?

Children are very expensive, and second-hand car seats are often cheaper. That said, you don’t know their history, and whether they’ve been damaged. For this reason, we would not recommend buying second-hand.

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