- The best baby car seats on the market
- Reviewed by Mother&Baby and real parent testers
- Which car seats won the Mother&Baby Awards 2019?
Buying a car seat for your baby is one of the biggest purchasing decisions you’ll make when you have a baby. Making sure you take your new baby home from hospital in the safest car seat is vital - that first journey is, let's be honest, pretty scary and overwhelming. So you need the right gear. Make sure you buy the best car seat for you and your new baby by checking out which models are ranked top by our sister publication, Mother&Baby.
Every year, the Mother&Baby Awards test hundreds of products with real parents, finding out which baby products you should be buying. Each car seat is tested in real life, going through the trials and tribulations that your own car seat will.
Before your baby arrives, make sure you practise with your new car seat. Make sure you know how to fit it into the car properly, and that you know how to take it out easily too. Those first few journeys with your new baby can be nerve-racking, so if you've practised beforehand that should ease some of the worry. If you do give birth in hospital, it's likely that the midwives or nurses will check your seat for you; there's a special test they will undertake that checks your baby's oxygen levels while in the seat.
Before you buy a new baby car seat, it's best to check that the seat is compatible with your car. Don't buy an Isofix seat without checking whether your car actually has Isofix points. Get the seat set up in your car and check that it is secure and stable.
Here are the winning baby car seats from the Mother&Baby Awards 2019, split into rear facing car seats (for newborns) and forward-facing car seats (which covers up to 12 years old). This year's awards aren't split into Group 1 and Group 2 and 3 but they do cover these categories.
Best Rear-Facing Car Seat 2019 – Gold
The Maxi-Cosi Rock keeps your little one safe in a rear-facing seat until about four years old. There are light and sound indicators to ensure the seat is installed correctly, and it’s really quick to set up.
The testers said: “I found the additional side protection and the fact that this complies with the i-Size legislation very reassuring. When transporting a newborn, all parents want optimal protection.”
Best Rear-Facing Car Seat 2019 – Silver
Smart, high-quality manufacturing on this 360-degree car seat allows your child to rear-face until about four years old, and it saves you from back-ache too.
The testers said: “The enclosed design is very safe. The fabric and padding felt high quality. The ease of design was the winning factor, turning my baby from rear-facing to front-facing means you can use the most appropriate setting depending on the journey type and your baby's mood! The tilt function was the most impressive, as my baby often naps in the car.”
Best Rear-Facing Car Seat 2019 – Bronze
Suitable for children from 61-105cm tall. Thanks to the 360-degree rotation the seat can be used rearward and forward facing, and makes getting your little one into and out of the car easy as pie.
The testers said: “Wow! I absolutely love this car seat. It swivels which is one thing but the fact it's huge is brilliant. My very tall three-and-a-half-year-old could fit in it. It is so much easier to get my baby in and out of the car and so much easier on your back.”
Best Forward-Facing Car Seat 2019 – Gold
The Ickle Bubba Solar isofix car seat grows with your child; it is suitable for use from nine months to 12 years of age, and a perfect fit for babies from 9kg to 36kg.
The testers said: “The strap covers are lovely and soft without too much padding which made it easy to get her in and out of the seat. The fabric seems very breathable, and even on a very hot day, my daughter stayed cool. The recline on the car seat is a great idea, especially if you have a young baby as it can be adjusted very easily even when the baby is sitting in the seat.”
Best Forward-Facing Car Seat 2019 – Silver
You might wonder why the price is so much higher than other baby car seats, but it’s because this is the world’s first car seat with built-in airbags. In the event of an accident, the seat’s crash-detecting system activates and within 0.05 second the airbags inflate with cold air, giving crucial protection to your child's head, neck and shoulders.
The testers said: “ I think the AxissFix Air car seat is amazing, really comfortable, stylish, with built-in airbags. I have not seen on a baby car seat before! Genius idea! You instantly feel like your baby is safer. The fact that you twist the car seat from each direction is brilliant. It is so much easier on your back!”
Best Forward-Facing Car Seat 2019 – Bronze
The Joie Bold is three seats in one and will see your little one through from nine months to 12 years old. When your child is in the Group 1 size range the seat uses a five-point harness, but once they’re big enough to be in Group 2 and 3 it works as a belted booster.
The testers said: “I have recommended the car seat to fellow mums already. It is incredibly secure as it uses a top tether as well as the Isofix. When I initially sat my little one in the car seat she mentioned how comfortable it was. The best feature is how easy it is to progress to the different stages without unthreading the harnesses. The headrest simply changes with the press of a button.”
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