Staying up to date on car seat laws is super important for the safety of your little one. Earlier this year, the UK law changed again, making backless booster seats unsafe for smaller children who weigh less than 15kg. As it stands, all children must use a car seat until they are aged 12, or reach a height of 4ft 5 inches (whichever comes first). What’s more, not following these rules could leave you with a £500 fine.
Buying a car seat can seem difficult, but it’s important to ensure it’s the right one for your child’s age and weight. It’s also important to ensure the car seat fits in your car, and decide whether you want to opt for an additional safety system, such as Isofix or Familyfix. Do your homework and look at safety features and crash test results.
What is a multistage car seat?
One recent trend has been the increase of multistage or combination car seats on the market. Generally speaking, these can be broken down into four different groups, depending on the age and weight of your child. The idea is, these car seats can be adapted to your child as he grows, so in theory, you’ll only ever have to buy one car seat.
We’ve summed up the best multistage car seats in the market here:
Joie Every Stage, £150, Amazon
Winning a Mother & Baby award, our team of mum and dad testers loved this affordable car seat, that can be used from birth up to approximately 7 years old. Starting out as a rear facing group 0 seat, it will keep your newborn safe in those first car journeys. When your little one reaches 9kg, it can be switched to forward facing, or kept rear facing all the way up to 18kg (approximately aged four). Our testers loved how easy it was to adjust the headrest and the straps on the car seat. You can read more real mum (and dad!) reviews here.
Chicco Oasys Car Seat, £106, Amazon
Another Mother & Baby award winner, Chicco’s multistage car is supportive, easy to adjust and stable. Lasting till your child is 12, this is great value for money. Our team of mum testers wished the covers were machine washable, but overall, gave this multistage car seat four and a half stars out of five.
Graco Assure Highback Booster Car Seat, £85.99, Amazon
Unlike some of the other car seats on this list, this one isn’t suitable for your baby until he is 15kg, which is approximately four years old. That said, it will last till he is 12, so it’s the perfect seat for older children. With an adjustable headrest, side-impact protection, machine-washable covers and cup holders, it might look plain, but there is no expense spared in terms of the car seats functionality. Our mums loved how light the car seat was and how easy it was to move it between cars without any fuss – perfect if you’re sharing the school run!
Cosatto Hug Pixlate, £304, Amazon
Designed for Group 123, the Cosatto Hug is suitable for 9kg to 36kg, which is approximately nine months to 12 years. With five reclining positions and an in-built ISOFIX base, you can rest assured your little one will be safe whilst you drive. Features include an adjustable headrest, plush chest and stomach pads and padded inserts that can easily be removed and washed, the car seat lives up to its ‘huggable’ name! Our mums also loved the fun design and the value for money. You can read more real mum reviews of the Cosatto Hug on our awards section of the site here.
Graco Milestone, £149, Amazon
Another car seat that goes from birth to 12 years old, the price tag makes it an absolute bargain investment. The Graco milestone can be used as a rear-facing, forward-facing or highback booster seat. The headrest can be adjusted with one hand (perfect for mums on the go) and the harness height automatically adjusts when altering the headrest height. The only downside is that this car seat is pretty heavy, so it won’t be the easiest to transfer between different cars.
Britax Evolva, £100, Amazon
Another Group 123 car seat, suitable from nine months to approximately 12 years, the Britax Evolva has an adjustable set width, and an option ISOFXI base. With a click and safe harness designed to make securing your child a simple task, the seat also has a five-point harness for children weighing 9 to 18kg. With side impact protection and soft padded side wings, the seat also has an easy to remove cover (perfect for those on-the-go spills!)
Cybex Pallas 2-Fix, £224, Amazon
With excellect protection and support, the Cybex Pallas 2-Fix is easy to put together and thanks to its ISOFIX base, you’ll be able to quickly install it in your car without a headache. Key features include an adjustable recline, a head rest, side-protection pads and a front impact restraint, which stops your little one from wiggling out of the straps whilst you are focusing on the road. It’s light and manoeuvres between cars and our mums loved how spacious the car seat felt.
Tippitoes Junior Crew Group 1, 2 +3, £95
A basic, but highly functional seat, it’s super lightweight and easy to move, but secure when fitted and simple to install at the same time. The multiple recline positions are great for smaller children and our mum testers found the harness buckle to be particularly easy to clip in without hassle. That said, the headrest is quite difficult to adjust, but overall, this is great value for money for a car seat that grows with your child.
Casualplay Bicarefix, £300, Amazon
Suitable from birth to four years, you can use this seat either rear-facing or forward-facing for that time. As well as ISOFIX support, the car seat also has an additional support leg to ensure the car seat reamind secure. With a deep, extra padded seat, the automatically adjusting shoulder straps keep tension around your child’s shoulders at a comfortable level, without the need for constant adjustments.
Diono Radian 5, £174, Amazon
Last, but by no means least, the Diono Radian is suitable from birth to seven years, with an adjustable head rest, expandable sides and memory foam padding. With a unique folding design to make moving and storing the car seat that bit easier, this is a good option if you’re moving the car seat between cars. There’s the option to keep your child rearward facing until they are 25kg (around aged 5 or 6) in this car seat, and the 5-point harness can be used till the same age –longer than most car seats offer.