Expert Advice On The Best Baby Car Seats

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One of the UKs leading car seat experts, Margaret Bolt from Rear Facing Toddlers reviews her top four car seats and tells you why they are her choices.

Choosing a car seat for you newborn baby can be both stressful and complicated.

Safety is the number one concern followed by comfort and ease of use. Having an expert outline four of the best makes it all so much easier.

Image of Margaret Bolt - One of the UKs leading car seat experts

Maxi-Cosi CabrioFix

This seat is one of the most popular infant seats in the UK. To me, I think its appeal is its simplicity. In a way, it’s quite a basic looking seat, but that makes it easier to use. Despite the fact that it looks quite small it will easily last most babies 15-18 months and it looks very comfortable. It can be used on all three of Maxi-Cosi’s in-car bases and comes in a range of colours with a matching footmuff as an optional extra.
As well as Quinny who are owned by the same company as Maxi-Cosi, the CabrioFix can be attached to lots of different pram chassis, such as Bugaboo, iCandy, Joie, Stokke etc. It weighs 3.6kg.

Image of the Maxi Cosi CabrioFix Car Seat

Silver Cross Simplicity 

What I like about this seat is its size. It looks quite chunky and it’s definitely bigger than most. Most infant seats go up to 13kg, but they are usually outgrown by height at around 15-18 months long before that weight is reached. The Simplicity will easily last an average toddler longer than 18 months. It comes with a footmuff and only fits on Silver Cross pushchairs. It can be fitted in the car with the seat belt or on an Isofix base which is available separately (Isofix is the base that enables the car seat to fit in and secure your baby rear facing). This one weighs 4kg.

Silvercross Car Seat | Snugglebundl

Joie i-Gemm

This seat is similar in size to the CabrioFix, but has a five-point harness and an integral headrest. Because this is an i-Size seat which have to undergo a side inpact test, the i-Gemm has a padded newborn insert which not only supports the head like in other seats, but also the body. It has an extending hood with a zip up mesh panel, so it allows air to circulate whilst giving excellent sun protection. On its Isofix base it meets the i-Size standard (designed for size and weight), and when fitted with the seat belt it meets regulation 44/04 (crashed tested as normal and can be used without an i-size base).            The i-Gemm fits on the same pushchair adapters as the Maxi-Cosi seat. It weighs 4.6kg.

Car Seat | Snugglebundl

Britax Baby-Safe i-Size

This is an i-Size seat which is one of the biggest infant seats on the market, and as long as the child hasn’t reached the 13kg weight limit, the Baby-Safe i-Size will fit for about 18-24 months. The seat’s backrest adjusts as the child grows, starting off almost flat for a newborn and becoming more upright when the headrest is raised. It can be fitted with the seat belt, but this seat’s Flex Base is adjustable to suit the angle of the vehicle seat. Not all cars are the same and some have very sloped seats, which can make rear facing car seats too upright. Newborns need to lie in a car seat with their back no higher than 45º, to stop their heavy head from falling forward which can affect their breathing. Most Isofix cars seats have a fixed angle and some are not suitable for cars with sloped seats. The Baby-Safe’s Flex Base solves this problem by adjusting the seat’s angle to suit the car. As well as Britax’s own prams, this car seat also fits other prams again with the same adapters. The Baby Safe i-Size is 4.8kg.

Image of the Britax Baby Safe i Size Car Seat

Costs of Baby Car Seats

These seats all cost £100-160, which the Isofix bases costing around £120-150 on top. If you’re looking for something a bit cheaper then I highly recommend the Joie Juva, which costs just £40 plus £90 for the optional belt fitted base.

To find out more about safety laws and car seats click here

If you want to know the injuries and government concerns about leaving babies in car seats too long then click here

Frequently Asked Baby Car Seat Questions

Which Car Seat Is Best For A Newborn?2020-06-05T11:59:40+00:00

The choice of car seat changes by the year. It would be unfair to recommend a specific one and it may not suit your situation. The advice we can give is as follows:

  • Choose an infant car seat (up to 30lbs/13.6Kg)
  • Choose a seat with a base so it clicks in and out of a car
  • Best to ensure it has a ‘load leg’ (a leg that is attached to the base that goes to the floor and stops too much backward movement in a crash).
  • Choose a three point harness (over shoulders and through the legs). According to crash testing experts five point harnesses are no safer than three point harness (five point harnesses have loops for the arms and take longer to fit the baby in place). So the extra hassle and waking of the baby is not necessary. Buy a three point car seat.
  • Choose a light seat of 6lbs/3kg or below. You will be lifting the car seat in and out a lot
  • If possible, choose a car seat that goes into a seat and stays in place. This way you will not be so tempted to leave you baby in there for unhealthy long periods for fear of waking him/her. If you do choose a travel system, then have a Snugglebundl so you can lift them keeping them asleep.
  • Pediatricians advice that, if the car seat has a head holder for side impact, ensure it can be removed and not put back in for up to 2 months (when the baby can support its head). This is important because newborns cannot move their head and the chin sits on the chest restricting the airway a little. Their airway opens more with the head to one side.
Do All Baby Car Seats Need A Base?2020-06-05T12:00:16+00:00

No. there are two types of car seats. One type is a travel systems which usually comes with a base. The other type do not fit onto prams or pushchairs. Travel systems are removed in and out of the car a lot to click into a pram frame so they have a base to clip onto. Snugglebundl advice is to get a car seat that stays in the car so you are not temped to leave your baby in it for unhealthy long periods for fear of waking him/her.

Do All Baby Car Seats Have Isofix?2020-06-05T12:01:11+00:00

No. Car seats differ. Isofix is a strong metal fitting in a car that allows a base to be fitted without using the normal seat belt buckles. At the base of the rear seats is a strip than can be moved to reveal two metal loops that the base can clip onto. Some cars do not have Isofix fittings so check your car before considering an Isofix. Car seats that don’t fit to Isofix points are held on via the seatbelts.

How Can You Pick The Right Car Seat?2020-06-05T12:02:26+00:00

There are many articles online from Which magazine to expert advisors. The best thing is to do some research and go speak to a car seat provided who will give you an idea of what you want to suit your specific needs. The advice we can give is as follows:

  • Choose an infant car seat (up to 30lbs/13.6Kg)
  • Choose a seat with a base so it clicks in and out of a car
  • Best to ensure it has a ‘load leg’ (a leg that is attached to the base that goes to the floor and stops too much backward movement in a crash).
  • Choose a three point harness (over shoulders and through the legs). According to crash testing experts five point harnesses are no safer than three point harness (five point harnesses have loops for the arms and take long to fit the baby in place). So the extra hassle and waking of the baby is not necessary. Buy a three point car seat.
  • Choose a light seat of 6lbs/3kg or below. You will be lifting the car seat in and out a lot
  • If possible, choose a car seat that goes into a seat and stays in place. This way you will not be so tempted to leave you baby in there for unhealthy long periods for fear of waking him/her. If you do choose a travel system, then have a Snugglebundl so you can lift them out asleep.
  • Pediatricians advice that, if the car seat has a head holder for side impact, ensure it can be removed and not put back in for up to 2 months (when the baby can support its head). This is important because newborns cannot move their head and the chin sits on the chest restricting the airway a little. Their airway opens more with the head to one side.
2020-06-05T12:10:04+00:00
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