;meta name="twitter:title" contemt="Products: Best child car seat and booster seats reviewed" />
Product Promotion Network

Products: Best child car seat and booster seats reviewed

BUYING a child seat for your car is a minefield. Even if you’re buying a seat for a second child and have been there, done that already with your firstborn, rules change, safety standards improve and new products come out, so it can be just as baffling the second time around. And then you need to upgrade the seats as your child grows.

Hopefully, this guide will take some of the pain out of the experience. Every child seat we review will appear here, so the page will be updated over time. We have grouped the reviews by age/weight group, so you can jump straight to the section that is most relevant to you, and we include the date of the test, information about how easy it is to install, comfort levels and even links to buy them.

Consider this your one-stop show for baby seats, child seats and booster seats. And if you need an update on child seat laws, including which seat is right for your child, along with installation advice, find out comprehensive guide here[1].


Browse NEW[2] or USED[3] cars for sale on driving.co.uk


Child seats for babies

JOIE STAGES CHILD SEAT REVIEW

Joie Stages child seat review

  • RATING ?????
  • DATE TESTED June 2017
  • PRICE WHEN TESTED ?300
  • GROUP 0+/1, 1 and 2 (0-25kg)
  • SUITABILITY Birth to around 6 or 7 years old
  • ISOFIX Yes
  • BUY IT AT Mothercare.com[4]

Straight out of the box, you know you’re dealing with a quality product here: all the components fit together very snugly and solidly, with no rattles or flimsiness, and the seat itself feels soft and thickly padded yet supportive. Even better, it’s suitable for newborns right the way up to around six or seven years old, so although it’s not cheap with an RRP of ?300 at the time of testing, it should prove excellent value for money.

In the box is an Isofix base, into which you slot the “rebound bar” (which rests against the car seatback to stop the base lifting up over bumps) before connecting to the Isofix points in your car, then the whole unit is pushed back against the seat, clicking into a tight position. The “load leg”, which features shock absorbers, then extends to touch the rear passenger footwell. You know you’ve got all this right when you see the green indicators, but it’s a doddle, really, and the instruction manual is easy to follow.

The easiest bit is connecting the seat to the base — it literally just clips on top. The seat connects rear-facing until you child is over 9kg, then you can remove the supportive lining for babies, unclip the seat with the eject button and turn it around to face forwards; the seat clips in just as easily as it does for rear-facing. If you’d prefer to keep your child rear-facing for as long as possible, the Joie Stages is will do it until your child is 18kg, or around four years old.

The seat has been i-Size safety tested in these first two stages, using the latest child dummies and side impact tests. The seat also connects to two different infant carriers so you can leave your child sleeping in their seat when you arrive at the shops. It’s trickier to get a child in and out when the seat faces rearward, and older children may not like the tight legroom as they grow, but the choice is there.

In either configuration, the Joie seems to fit more easily in the rear row of smaller cars than other seats we’ve tested. When forward facing, it sits far back on the base, leaving maximum legroom. A simple one-handed recline system has seven positions.

As your child grows, the Stages becomes a booster seat with seven height positions for the backrest, suitable for children up to around seven. Overall it’s an extremely versatile, well-made, easy-to-install, safe and comfortable seat. We were impressed.

MOTHERCARE MADRID CHILD SEAT REVIEW

MOTHERCARE MADRID CHILD SEAT REVIEW

  • RATING ?????
  • DATE TESTED May 2015
  • PRICE WHEN TESTED ?80
  • GROUP 0+/1 (0-18 kg)
  • SUITABILITY Birth to around 4 years old
  • ISOFIX Yes
  • BUY IT AT Mothercare.com[5]

The Mothercare Madrid has a five-point harness, is suitable from birth all the way up to around the age of four, rear-facing until about nine months and forward-facing afterwards.

It may be one of the cheapest on the market but it isn’t bad on the eye; while the Madrid is not made from luxury materials, it’s handsome enough and available in burgundy and cream or black and cream. It doesn’t have Isofix and instead is secured by a seatbelt. What’s more, this is not a seat that you’ll want to be lugging backwards and forwards to the house as there’s no carry-handle.

JOIE SPIN 360 CHILD SEAT REVIEW

Joie Spin 360 baby seat review

  • RATING ?????
  • DATE TESTED September 2016
  • PRICE WHEN TESTED ?250
  • GROUP 0+/1 (0-18kg)
  • SUITABILITY Birth around 4 years old
  • ISOFIX Yes
  • BUY IT AT Amazon.co.uk / Mothercare.com[6][7]

The seat and base do not separate, so forget about carrying your little one from the car without first removing them from their throne.

Cue rousing from slumber and tears. However, it does mean that installation is a breeze: the two extendable Isofix arms slot into compatible points on your car (read about Isofix here[8]). Lifting a lever at the front of the seat allows the seat to spin, making it easier to load a child in and out of car doors.

The unit also offers an audible ‘click’ and another safety window when the seat is safely secured into its forward or rearward facing positions, post-swivelling. There are five reclining positions in both rear- and forward-facing positions, which will keep your child comfortable as he or she gets bigger, plus the ‘Grow-Together’ multi-height headrest and harness system make it simple to adjust without having to take anything apart or re-thread harnesses. Just pull a lever and slide.


Child seats for toddlers / pre-schoolers

BRITAX KING II ATS CHILD SEAT REVIEW

BRITAX KING II ATS CHILD SEAT REVIEW

  • RATING ?????
  • DATE TESTED May 2015
  • PRICE WHEN TESTED ?170
  • GROUP 1 (9-18kg)
  • SUITABILITY Roughly 9 months to four years
  • ISOFIX Yes
  • BUY IT AT Halfords.com / Amazon.co.uk[9][10]

The King II ATS is one of Britax’s top seats.

There’s no yanking at straps here and crossing fingers that you’ve got it right: the clever Active Tensioning System tells you when the one-pull, five-point harness is at optimum tension for each individual child. And should the tension change during the journey, it will let you know with beeps and flashes. It’s a forward-facer, secured by seatbelts rather than Isofix, and the seat tilts forward to assist with easy installation.

If you’re hoping for a little peace and quiet on the road, the King II ATS has four reclining positions that can be adjusted without disturbing nap-time. Another clever feature is the height-adjustable headrest and harness, which means there’s no need to unbuckle the seat from the car, take it out and fiddle about at the back whenever the straps need to go up a notch. Click to watch a video of this seat[11]


Child seats for children aged 4+

PAMPERO WHIPPER SNAPPER BOOSTER SEAT REVIEW

102651

  • RATING ?????
  • DATE TESTED January 2016
  • PRICE WHEN TESTED ?30
  • GROUP 2/3 (15-36 kg)
  • SUITABILITY Roughly 4-12 years
  • ISOFIX No
  • BUY IT AT Halfords.com[12]

You might not expect much from a seat that costs ?30 but the Pampero surprised our testers by scoring very highly in the comfort stakes despite having what appeared to be a shorter squab than some.

It also comes with cupholders (they pull out from each side of the squab), and is light. The back can be removed, leaving just the squab, so it can be used as a normal booster seat if you get bored with lugging the entire seat around. There were concerns: it doesn’t fix in place with Isofix, running the belt through the guides is not the easiest here and it appears flimsier than the more expensive seats.

MAXI-COSI RODIFIX AIRPROTECT BOOSTER SEAT REVIEW

MAXI-COSI RODIFIX AIRPROTECT CHILD SEAT REVIEW

  • RATING ?????
  • DATE TESTED January 2016
  • PRICE WHEN TESTED ?180
  • GROUP 2/3 (15-36 kg)
  • SUITABILITY Roughly 4-12 years
  • ISOFIX Yes
  • BUY IT AT Halfords.com / Amazon.co.uk[13][14]

The Maxi-Cosi is one of the heavyweights of the test but it proved easy to set up.

The belt feeds through the guides easily and there are two recline positions. The AirProtect system is designed to protect the head and neck in a side impact. They are also very comfortable for sleeping children to rest their heads on — it gets top marks for comfort.

GRACO LOGICO L SPORT BOOSTER SEAT REVIEW

GRACO LOGICO L SPORT CHILD SEAT REVIEW

  • RATING ?????
  • DATE TESTED January 2016
  • PRICE WHEN TESTED ?50
  • GROUP 2/3 (15-36 kg)
  • SUITABILITY Roughly 4-12 years
  • ISOFIX No
  • BUY IT AT Halfords.com / Amazon.co.uk[15][16]

The back can be removed, leaving just the booster cushion, and that makes it easy to install or remove from the car when transporting your children’s friends but isn’t advisable as the back and headrest provide support in an accident (since March 2017, new backless booster seats are only approved for children taller than 125cm or weighing more than 22kg, which is at least six years old).

As a value car seat it doesn’t come with any Isofix connections and it lacks comfort on long journeys. As with the Pampero, the Graco has retractable cupholders.

BRITAX KIDFIX XP-SICT BOOSTER SEAT REVIEW

BRITAX KIDFIX XP-SICT CHILD SEAT REVIEW

  • RATING ?????
  • DATE TESTED January 2016
  • PRICE WHEN TESTED ?153
  • GROUP 2/3 (15-36 kg)
  • SUITABILITY Roughly 4-12 years
  • ISOFIX Yes
  • BUY IT AT Halfords.com / Amazon.co.uk[17][18]

As you’d expect of a seat from the company behind Bin the Booster[19], the Kidfix appears to be big on safety, with oversized headrest supports and Isofix connections. It uses side-impact cushion technology (SICT) with cushions that move outwards to provide protection in the event of a crash.

There is also the “XP-PAD”, through which the seatbelt is fed and which is claimed to absorb energy in a frontal impact. The downside of all this is the weight — it’s a heavy and reasonably bulky unit.

RECARO MONZA NOVA 2 SEATFIX (RACING EDITION) BOOSTER SEAT REVIEW

RECARO MONZA NOVA 2 SEATFIX (RACING EDITION) REVIEW

  • RATING ?????
  • DATE TESTED January 2016
  • PRICE WHEN TESTED ?180
  • GROUP 2/3 (15-36 kg)
  • SUITABILITY Roughly 4-12 years
  • ISOFIX Yes
  • BUY IT AT Halfords.com / Amazon.co.uk[20][21]

For all the budding Lewis Hamiltons out there, this Recaro gives the standard Monza Nova 2 a motor sport-inspired facelift. Features include a pump-up headrest, Isofix connections and “advanced side protection”.

It was a huge hit also thanks to the headrest speaker system, which can be connected to a phone or a back-seat screen and is quiet enough that only the child can hear it. It means kids need no longer wear headphones, which can be a bit constrictive for younger children, but those up front are shielded from the audio. Yet it’s still possible for your child to hear you, if necessary.

An excellent innovation.

HALFORDS GROUP 2/3 HIGHBACK BOOSTER SEAT REVIEW

Halfords Group 2/3 Highback booster seat review

  • RATING ?????
  • DATE TESTED September 2016
  • PRICE WHEN TESTED ?40
  • GROUP 2/3 (15-36 kg)
  • SUITABILITY Roughly 4-12 years old
  • ISOFIX No
  • BUY IT AT Halfords.com[22]

This seat from Halfords is very similar to the Pampero Whipper Snapper and also scores highly on comfort — the padding is soft and forgiving while the cover feels of high quality. The two cupholders, which pull out from each side of the squab, are useful and the seat is light, even when the high backrest is attached (it can be removed, leaving just the booster seat — from December 2016 your child needs to be taller than 125cm and weigh more than 22kg before you can do this in the UK. See the section above for more details).

Unfortunately this seat doesn’t come with Isofix connectors, so it’s not as secure as those featuring the system, and particular care is needed when belting up — read the instructions carefully.

However it does represent good value for money and looks good, especially in red, meaning older children shouldn’t be bemoan using it.

References

  1. ^ here (www.driving.co.uk)
  2. ^ New cars for sale (www.driving.co.uk)
  3. ^ Used cars for sale (www.driving.co.uk)
  4. ^ Mothercare.com (www.mothercare.com)
  5. ^ Mothercare.com (www.mothercare.com)
  6. ^ Amazon.co.uk (amzn.to)
  7. ^ Mothercare.com (www.mothercare.com)
  8. ^ here (www.driving.co.uk)
  9. ^ Halfords.com (www.halfords.com)
  10. ^ Amazon.co.uk (amzn.to)
  11. ^ Click to watch a video of this seat (www.youtube.com)
  12. ^ Halfords.com (www.halfords.com)
  13. ^ Halfords.com (www.halfords.com)
  14. ^ Amazon.co.uk (amzn.to)
  15. ^ Halfords.com (www.halfords.com)
  16. ^ Amazon.co.uk (amzn.to)
  17. ^ Halfords.com (www.halfords.com)
  18. ^ Amazon.co.uk (amzn.to)
  19. ^ Bin the Booster (www.driving.co.uk)
  20. ^ Halfords.com (www.halfords.com)
  21. ^ Amazon.co.uk (amzn.to)
  22. ^ Halfords.com (www.halfords.com)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *