Primary Navigation Mobile

The best toddler car seats 2023

  • The best toddler car seats on the market
  • Car seat types for toddlers explained
  • Which car seat is the safest?

Written by Eleanor Weaver Published: 6 July 2022 Updated: 26 October 2023

Now your tot has outgrown their baby car seat, you’ll be in need of a toddler car seat that’s safe enough to keep your little one protected on the road and secure enough to keep wrigglers from escaping. The right toddler car seat will need to last a minimum of three to four years and be able to support and adapt to their fast-growing bodies. Not to mention, they need to be comfy to keep ‘Are we there yet?’ to a minimum on road trips, no matter how long or short.

We’ve drummed up a list of the best toddler car seats to keep your toddler safe and happy and explained everything you need to know to make sure you’re picking the best car seat for your child and wallet. You’ll be able to find extended rear-facing car seats for extra safety, fancy 360 car seats, some great value seats that’ll take your toddler right through to their tweens, and a range of designs to please you and your little critic.

And if you’re not 100% sure what type of seat will be best for your situation or what the various technical terms mean, at the end of this article, we’ve put together a guide explaining everything you need to know about car seats to make your choice.

The best toddler car seats at a glance:

• Editor’s choice: Joie Baby i-Spin Grow 360 i-Size Car Seat – Buy now from Boots
• Best for easy adjustment: Britax Römer ADVANSAFIX M i-SIZE Car Seat – Buy now from Boots
• Best for fun design: Cosatto Judo Child Car Seat – Buy now from Amazon UK

Parkers pick the best toddler car seats:

Editor's choice
This fantastic i-Size car seat from Joie provides all the best protection for growing toddlers. From 40-105cm (up to approx. four years old), you can keep them backwards-facing with a five-point harness before transitioning into forward-facing with a three-point belt.

The seat comes with a Guard Surround Safety plate for optimal protection against side impact and Grow Together inserts and adjustable headrest positions, so they're comfy and safe. For parents, we're a big fan of the 360-degree swivel, which should make getting your kid into the seat a whole lot easier.

Read the full Joie Baby i-Spin Grow review on our sister site, Mother&Baby.


  • Suitable for kids 40-125cm
  • 360-degree rotation
  • ISOFIX compatible


  • There are no cup holders, but that's just us being fussy
Best distinctive design
The Axkid One 2 has a distinctive and modern design for the next generation of i-Size car seats. Setting out to create a new level of safety, Axkid has designed the lightest i-Size car seat on the market that will enable children to travel rear-facing up to seven years old, allowing every child to be five times safer for longer.

Passing one of the world's toughest crash tests - the Swedish Plus test - this seat is built like a protective cocoon with built-in shock-absorbing materials. And don't worry, your little one will be comfy with plenty of legroom, ventilation, and a 42-degree recline so they can snooze on road trips.

Read the full Axkid ONE review on our sister site, Mother&Baby.


  • Suitable for kids up to 125cm
  • Lightweight and compact
  • ISOFIX compatible


  • Larger footprint
Best for easy adjustment
Designed to protect your little one from about 15 months right up to the age of 12 years old, the Britax Römer ADVANSAFIX M i-SIZE Car Seat can convert from a harnessed seat to a highback booster with five-point harness protection up to 21kg. With the FLIP&GROW function, it's easy to switch between the two stages, and the EasyRecline function lets you keep your child comfortable without having to readjust the whole seat.

As well as being equipped with a SecureGuard and soft padding, the Britax Römer Pivot Link ISOFIX System has been made to direct the force of impact down into the vehicle's seat to help reduce injury to your child's head and neck.

Read the full Britax Romer ADVANSAFIX review on our sister site, Mother&Baby.


  • Suitable for kids 76-150cm
  • SecureGuard keeps the belt in the optimal position
  • ISOFIX compatible


  • Fewer safety features compared to the ADVANSAFIX i-SIZE, but more affordable
Best for fun design
Price: £199.95
With a car seat that looks as fun as this one, hopefully, you won't need to worry about wrestling your tot into the car. The Cosatto Judo is available in a bunch of cool designs, including space, mushroom, bunny, and fox themes, these storytelling patterns make this seat a favourite with kids.

Suitable from 9-36kg (approximately nine months to 12 years), this comfy and safe seat comes with double side-impact protection, an adjustable, five-point plus anti-escape harness and a two-position recline, and is ISOFIX compatible to keep them secure.


  • Fun designs
  • Suitable from 9-36kg
  • ISOFIX compatible


  • The straps can become easily twisted
Best for 360 degree rotation
This is the second Britax Römer entry on our list, and at a slightly higher price, it offers 360° rotation so you can change your child from rear to forward-facing without re-installing.

Suitable from 61-105cm, approximately three months to four years, this car seat includes all the safety features you'd expect from Britax, such as ISOFIX, Side Impact Protection, side wings, and a five-point safety harness, plus a few extras. It has a rebound bar to help prevent the car seat from tilting during an impact - but don't worry, this can be adjusted by an entire eight degrees so your toddler has plenty of leg space.

Read the full Britax Römer DUALFIX review on our sister site, Mother&Baby.


  • 360° rotation for easy adjustments
  • Suitable from 61-105cm
  • ISOFIX compatible


  • Only suitable for up to roughly four years old, so quite expensive for short-term use
Best for adapting to a growing child
While this car seat may not be i-Size, it does offer extended rear-facing covering stages 0+/1/2/3 - you'll never need another car seat. Designed to adapt with your growing child, the Grow Together multi-height headrest and harness system adjust simultaneously, meaning less hassle, and the Grow-with-me infant body and head support are customisable for an ultimate fit at every stage.

It has Guard Surround Safety panels that provide extra side protection and fold into the seat when not in use, side-impact protection, a reinforced steel shell, and the all-important five-point harness.

Read the full Joie Every Stage review on our sister site, Mother&Baby.


  • Suitable from birth to 36kg
  • Fully adjustable to accommodate all stages
  • Side storage pockets


  • Not ISOFIX compatible
Best for value

Rrp: £149.99

Price: £133.99
The Cozy N Safe Comet Group 0+/1/2/3 360 Car Seat provides great value for money and is the perfect blend of functionality and style. Designed to grow with your child from birth to approximately 12 years old, this seat seamlessly converts from an extended rear-facing to a forward-facing seat and to a high-back booster with just the pull of a lever.

Finished with a faux leather outer and soft-touch, well-padded seating, this seat will suit and fit most models of cars that are ISOFIX compatible. With a five-point adjustable harness, side-impact protection, a rebound bar, and an adjustable headrest and recline, your child will be safe and secure for their toddler years and beyond.


  • Suitable from birth to 36kg
  • 360° rotation
  • ISOFIX compatible


  • Comes with a newborn insert - not necessary for toddler years

What types of car seats are available for toddlers?

Each car seat on the market comes with a ‘stage group’, but what does this even mean? This defines which car seats can be used by your toddler depending on their weight, as outlined under the UK’s R44 legislation. We’ve broken down the ones available for toddlers below:

• Group 0+/1 car seats: Is suitable from birth to 18kg, approx. 4-years-old.

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

• Group 1/2 car seats: Is suitable from 9-25kg, approx. Nine months to 6 years old.

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

However, there’s another type of car seat available – the i-Size car seat. Conforming to EU safety legislation R129, this type of car seat has a number of key differences in comparison to the stage groups. For starters, i-Size uses a height-based system instead, something that’s expected to eventually be adopted across all new car seats sold.

i-Size car seats are also designed to keep your little one rearward facing for longer, until at least 15 months or 75cm, to protect their fragile heads and necks. For toddlers, you’ll want to look for i-Size car seats sized for children up to at least 105cm – this will provide rear-facing and forward-facing options for growing tots.

Which car seat is safest for toddlers?

To give your child the optimal safety features, it’s recommended that you keep your child in the lowest stage group for as long as possible. For this reason, we’d recommend Group 1/2/3 car seats that not only provide great protection for your growing child but prove to be the best value for money. It’s a legal requirement for kids to use a car seat until the age of 12 or 135cm in height, and this type of car seat will take them all the way there.

This multi-stage car seat adapts to each stage with all the necessary safety features, including a five-point safety harness, adjustable headrest, and ample padding to protect them from side impact.

Alternatively, we’d recommend opting for an i-Size car seat. Not only will it keep your child sitting rearwards for longer, much safer on their necks, but these bad boys were created using rigorous testing and impact trials through state-of-the-art Q dummies. As a result, they offer improved protection for side and front impacts, with a focus on head and neck injuries, and all are fully compatible with ISOFIX cars.

What is ISOFIX?

If you’re not totally clued up on what ISOFIX is, it’s basically a way of attaching your toddler’s car seat to the chassis of the car without the need to loop through the car seatbelt for security. ISOFIX compatible car seats have two arms that lock onto small metal bars located in the seat of your vehicle to anchor the car seat into place.

Most new cars since 2013 have a pair of ISOFIX anchor points but it’s something worth checking if this is the case with your own car if you want to make the most of it. It’s definitely a recommended feature that ensures your little one is safely strapped in.

Eleanor Weaver is the Deputy Product Editor for A Modern Kitchen, Mother & Baby, Modern Gardens, Yours, and Take A Break Pets, writing for Parkers.

Sign up for the Parkers Newsletter to keep up to date with more of the latest reviews, news, and recommendations from the Parkers team.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections – read why you should trust us