Find out which types of Isofix and belted child car seats from Group 2/3 are best for older children as they grow, and why it’s not recommended to use backless booster seats.

Child in child car seat

Child car seats are designed to protect children’s soft bones and vulnerable internal organs from birth to the age of 12, or 135cm, when your child will no longer legally need to use a car seat in the UK. In the table below we’ve rounded up 10 of the best car seats for children aged four and older. They’re i-Size and Group 2/3 car seats that are the top-scoring models in our rigorous car seat crash tests. We’ve also picked three of the worst Don’t Buy child car seats, so you know which ones to avoid, as they didn’t provide a suitable level of protection in our crash tests.

Low scoring car seats for older children to avoid

As well as recommending the best, we think it’s also important to highlight the child car seats for older kids that you need to avoid. Below are the low-scoring car seats for kids aged between 4 and 12 we’ve labelled Don’t Buys because the samples we tested weren’t as safe as they should be.

Child car seat law for older children Child car seats distribute the crash forces over as wide an area as possible and protect your child from being injured by coming into contact with the vehicle interior.

According to UK law, every child must use a child car seat until they’re 12 years old or 135cm/4ft 5in tall, whichever comes first. In many other European countries the cut-off is higher, at 150cm/4ft 11in, and many child car seats for older children sold in the UK can be used with kids up to 150cm tall.

High-back booster seats and backless booster seats compared

Your child’s bones continue to strengthen as they grow older, and once they reach around four years old you can swap to a high-back booster seat (Group 2/3 or i-Size). These car seats raise your child and help guide the adult seat belt across them, so that it lies properly across the chest and pelvis. They also have a protective headrest and side wings, which will help protect your child’s head in a crash.

Maxi Cosi brand rear facing car seat

Backless booster seats can be cheaper and seem more convenient to use (especially if you need to move the child car seat between cars), but they offer very little protection in a crash, particularly if you’re hit from the side, and they have no way of keeping the shoulder strap of a three-point adult seatbelt in the right place on a child.

37% of parents think backless booster seats offer the same crash protection as high-back booster seats*. This is not the case.

What are the best child car seats for tall children? If you want to keep your in a child car seat for as long as possible for safety reasons, but they have reached or now exceed the 135cm/4ft 5in height threshold, there are still some options available to you. We’ve tested child car seats that can be used up to 150cm/4ft 9in, and in some cases up to 160cm/5ft 3in.

Child Car Seats Reviews

Silver Cross Dream + Dream i-Size Base review

£375.00Typical price

Test scoreShow Context

82%

Key features

  • I-Size baby
  • Baby

Compare

verdict: One of the best

This is a really great, high-scoring infant carrier with excellent front and side impact crash results.

Pros
  • Great crash test results
  • Easy to install and strap up baby
  • Ergonomic and comfortable seat
    Cons
    • Seat cover is a little tricky to remove

    Maxi Cosi Jade + 3wayFix review

    £428.00Typical price

    Test scoreShow Context

    82%

    Key features

    • I-Size baby
    • Baby

    Compare

    verdict: Excellent Best Buy carrycot car seat

    The Maxi Cosi Jade is a Best Buy thanks to excellent crash-test results, as well as being easy to use. It’s an excellent quality car seat, too. It’s approved to the latest i-Size/R129 car seats standards. It will only last until your baby reaches 70cm, or around 6 months of age, so you’ll need to swap to a rear-facing car seat once it’s outgrown the seat or your baby decides it doesn’t want to travel lying down. Once the base is installed in your car it can remain there and be used as part of a modular system – which means you can install other car seats on it, including the Pebble Pro i-Size baby car seat and the Pearl Pro i-Size toddler car seat.

    Pros
    • Excellent crash test results
    • Lie-flat position
    • Excellent quality
    • Easy to use
    Cons
    • Takes up a lot of room in the back of the car
    • You’ll need to swap to a rear-facing baby car seat as this one won’t last long.

    Nuna Pipa Next + Pipa Next Base review

    £325.00Typical price

    Test scoreShow Context

    81%

    Key features

    • I-Size baby
    • Baby

    Compare

    verdict: Impressive i-Size infant car seat

    This is a good infant car seat with a very low injury risk in a crash and which is straightforward to install when using the Isofix base.

    Pros
    • Very good crash test results
    • Low risk of installing incorrectly when using Isofix base
    • Lightweight
    • Well-padded and supportive
    • Machine-washable seat cover
    • Compact size even when used with base
    Cons
    • Belted installation requires a long seatbelt length

    Cybex Aton 5 (belted) review

    £120.00Typical price

    Test scoreShow Context

    80%

    Key features

    • Group 0 plus
    • Baby
    Compare

    verdict: Versatile Best Buy baby car seat

    The well-made Cybex Aton 5 is, like its predecessors, a Best Buy because it’s a great child car seat that provides an excellent overall level of protection. It’s versatile, too, as it can be used in cars without or without Isofix (if you buy a base). And it’s travel system compatible on a range of Cybex pushchairs, including the Cybex Balios-M – what a winning combo for your newborn.

    Pros
    • A good-quality baby car seat that’s compatible with a Best Buy travel system
    Cons
    • Remember to use the extendable side-impact protector when installing the seat

    Joie i-Spin Safe review

    £280.00Typical price

    Test scoreShow Context

    80%

    Key features

    • I-Size baby to toddler
    • Baby to toddler
    • Extended rear-facing seat
    Compare

    verdict: Great extended rearward-facing car seat

    This is a really great extended rearward-facing child car seat. It’s very safe and has performed excellently in our crash tests. It has some useful features to aid parents, such as the 90° swivel seat rotation and easy-to-adjust headrest and harness. We have a few minor quibbles over the weight of the seat which could affect ease of installation, but it’s worth it for the safety score.

    Pros
    • Excellent crash test results
    • Safe and supportive harness
    • Seat feels stable in the car
    • Low risk of installing incorrectly
    • Easy to understand instructions
    • Excellent padding
    • Machine-washable seat cover
    Cons
    • Heavy seat which could make installation awkward

    Maxi Cosi Pebble Plus (belted) review

    £159.00Typical price

    Test scoreShow Context

    80%

    Key features

    • I-Size baby
    • Baby
    Compare

    verdict: i-Size-approved, good-quality baby seat

    The Pebble Plus, like the Pebble, is a good-quality infant carrier and a worthy Best Buy. It provides a high level of crash protection whether it’s belted straight into the car, or used with the new 3WayFix Isofix base (i-Size approved), which is why we have made it a Best Buy.

    Pros
    • The safety results are excellent
    • Approved to the latest car seat regulations
    Cons
    • The weight limit of 12kg for the infant carrier could confuse some parents

    Maxi Cosi Coral + FamilyFix3 base review

    £438.00Typical price

    Test scoreShow Context

    79%

    Key features

    • I-Size baby
    • Baby

    Compare

    verdict: Innovative and safe

    This is a very safe infant car seat which is approved to i-Size regulations and gets great crash test results. Its innovative design, which allows you to remove a much lighter ‘inner seat’ to carry your baby in, is a useful feature.

    Pros
    • Very good crash test results
    • Easy to install and buckle up
    • Inner carrier is light and easy to carry
    • Ergonomic and well padded
    • Machine-washable cover that’s easy to remove
    Cons
    • Short shelf-life as only usable until around 12 months
    • Seat base will take up quite a bit of space in car

    Babyzen iZi Go Modular X1 i-Size by Besafe + iZi Modular i-Size base review

    £369.00Typical price

    Test scoreShow Context

    79%

    Key features

    • I-Size baby
    • Baby

    Compare

    verdict: Five-star crash protection

    When installed using the iZi Modular i-Size base, the Babyzen Yoyo iZi Go Modular X1 i-Size is a Best Buy car seat. It handled our crash tests well and was awarded five out of five stars for overall safety. It’s also a good choice for keeping your child comfortable with its spacious, well-padded seat that can be easily adjusted to fit your child as they grow.

    Pros
    • Excellent crash protection
    • Easy to install
    • Good leg support
    • Spacious and well-padded seat
    Cons
    • Side-impact bumpers need to be attached separately
    • Backrest can’t be reclined

    Cybex Cloud Z i-Size review

    £225.00Typical price

    Test scoreShow Context

    79%

    Key features

    • I-Size baby
    • Baby
    Compare

    verdict: Impressive crash results

    The crash test results were impressive enough for the Cybex Cloud Z i-Size to be a Best Buy. It’s an excellent baby car seat that joins a growing list of Cybex car seats we’ve named Best Buys. It provides a very good level of overall protection in the event of a front or sideways collision, plus you can also use this car seat in a flatter position when on a pushchair, but it needs to be pushed back into the more upright position when used in a car.

    Pros
    • Excellent overall crash protection
    • Spacious seat
    • Practical features
    • Easy to install
    • Simple to use
    • Instructions and warnings are clear
    • Travel system compatible
    Cons
    • Cover is difficult to remove
    • Make sure to engage side protection

    Mima iZi Go Modular X1 i-size by BeSafe + iZi Modular i-size Base review

    £388.00Typical price

    Test scoreShow Context

    79%

    Key features

    • I-Size baby
    • Baby
    Compare

     verdict: Top-rated crash protection

    The Mima iZi Go Modular X1 i-Size by BeSafe is a Best Buy car seat when installed using the iZi Modular i-Size base. It scored the maximum five stars for overall safety and has excellent crash protection. The seat is also comfortable, well padded and easy to install.

    Pros
    • Five-star crash protection
    • Easy installation
    • Comfortable seat
    • Good leg support
    Cons
    • Side-impact bumpers need attaching
    • Back rest doesn’t recline

    Maxi Cosi Pebble Plus (2Wayfix base) review

    £279.00Typical price

    Test scoreShow Context

    79%

    Key features

    • I-Size baby
    • Baby
    Compare

    verdict: A worthy i-Size-compliant Best Buy

    The Pebble Plus, like the Pebble, is a good-quality infant carrier and a worthy Best Buy. It provides a high level of crash protection when used with the Isofix base (we used the 2WayFix base), which is why we have made it a Best Buy.

    Pros
    • The safety results are excellent for this good-quality baby seat
    • And it’s approved to the latest car seat regulations
    Cons
    • The weight limit of 12kg for the infant carrier could confuse some parents

    Stokke iZi Go Modular X1 i-Size by Besafe + iZi Modular i-Size base review

    £388.00Typical price

    Test scoreShow Context

    79%

    Key features

    • I-Size baby
    • Baby

    Compare

    verdict: Five-star crash protection

    This car seat scored consistently well in our lab tests, with its high marks earning it a Best Buy when installed using the iZi Modular i-Size base. It excelled in our safety tests and is straightforward to install, so you won’t have to put up with any complicated instructions or fiddly mechanisms.

    Pros
    • Excellent crash protection
    • Easy to install
    • Good leg support
    • Spacious and well-padded seat
    Cons
    • Side-impact bumpers need to be attached separately
    • Backrest can’t be reclined

    Besafe iZi Go Modular X1 i-Size + iZi Modular i-Size base review

    £338.00Typical price

    Test scoreShow Context

    79%

    Key features

    • I-Size baby
    • Baby

    Compare

     verdict: Five-star crash protection

    The BeSafe iZi Go Modular X1 i-Size is a Best Buy car seat when installed using the iZi Modular i-Size base. It scored high marks for its excellent crash protection, receiving the maximum five stars for overall safety. It also has a comfortable, well-padded seat and is straightforward to install.

    Pros
    • Excellent crash protection
    • Easy to install
    • Good leg support
    • Spacious and well-padded seat
    Cons
    • Side-impact bumpers need to be attached separately
    • Backrest can’t be reclined

    Cybex Aton 5 (Aton base 2-Fix) review

    £249.00Typical price

    Test scoreShow Context

    78%

    Key features

    • Group 0 plus
    • Baby
    Compare

    verdict: A safe baby car seat

    The Cybex Aton 5, when used with the Isofix Aton base 2 is a Best Buy. Like the other versions of the Aton car seat, it’s well made and is a great child car seat that provides a good overall level of protection when installed into a car using the Isofix base. It’s also travel system compatible on a range of Cybex pushchairs.

    Pros
    • A good-quality baby car seat that’s compatible with a Best Buy travel system
    Cons
    • Remember to use the extendable side-impact protector when installing the seat

    Cybex Aton B i-Size + Base M review

    £285.00Typical price

    Test scoreShow Context

    78%

    Key features

    • I-Size baby
    • Baby

    Compare

    verdict: Excellent frontal collision crash protection

    The Cybex Aton B is a Best Buy car seat when installed using the Cybex M base. It offers good crash protection, particularly for frontal collisions where it scores the full five stars. It’s also straightforward to install and has a well-padded seat to ensure your child is comfortable.

    Pros
    • Good crash test results
    • Easy to install
    • Lightweight
    • Good leg support
    • Seat is well padded and spacious
    Cons
    • Backrest can’t be reclined
    • Covers are difficult to remove and need to be washed before first use

    Cybex Aton M i-Size (with base) review

    £260.00Typical price

    Test scoreShow Context

    78%

    Key features

    • I-Size baby
    • Baby
    Compare

     verdict: Another Best Buy Aton from Cybex

    Cybex baby car seats have a history of high scores in our tough tests and this i-Size version is no different. It earns its place next to the other Cybex Best Buys because it offers an overall excellent level of safety and it’s also easy to use.

    Pros
    • Approved to the latest car seat regulations
    • Great crash test results
    Cons
    • Make sure the harness is tight enough around your baby
    • As the results show the instructions may not be accurate

    Besafe iZi Kid X3 i-Size review

    £429.00Typical price

    Test scoreShow Context

    78%

    Key features

    • I-Size toddler to child
    • Baby
    • Extended rear-facing seat
    Compare

     verdict: Excellent crash test results

    As with the X2, the Besafe iZi Kid X3 i-Size is a Best Buy. It gets an excellent overall safety score and it’s a well-made extended rear-facing child car seat. It’s easy to install, the seat is spacious and well padded, and it’s a good investment if you’re after a toddler car seat that will last until your child turns four years old and is ready for a Group 2/3 high-backed booster seat.

    Pros
    • Excellent crash test results
    • Good belt routing
    • Low risk of installing wrongly
    • Easy to understand instructions and warnings
    • Spacious seat that can recline
    Cons
    • Very heavy seat
    • Difficult to remove cover for cleaning

    GB Idan (Isofix base) review

    £260.00Typical price

    Test scoreShow Context

    78%

    Key features

    • Group 0 plus
    • Baby
    Compare

     verdict: Safe baby car seat

    Cybex has a history of making great car seats, and the GB Idan has followed the same route with impressive results in our tough crash tests. This car seat is definitely worth considering.

    Pros
    • Excellent crash test results
    • Light and easy to use
    • Looks smart
    Cons
    • Car seat cover is fiddly to remove; loop to adjust harness is in an awkward location

    Joie i-Spin 360 i-Size review

    £280.00Typical price

    Test scoreShow Context

    78%

    Key features

    • I-Size baby to toddler
    • Baby to toddler
    • Extended rear-facing seat

    Compare

    verdict: Excellent features that are worth investing in

    We’ve previously tested the older Joie Spin 360 and were impressed with the spin feature and extended rear-facing option, but we did uncover some issues. However the i-Spin 360 is dramatically better and it’s a Best Buy car seat. It has a higher safety rating in our crash tests, as well as much better comfort, installation and fitting ratings. It’s a well-made i-Size car seat that has a number of practical features, including auto-engaging side impact protection and the ability to spin the seat even with a heavy child in the car seat, which will put less strain on your back when placing your child in the seat and removing them.

    Pros
    • Excellent crash protection and very low injury risk
    • Easy to install
    • Spacious and well-padded seat
    • 360-degree swivel design
    • Extended rearward-facing
    • Auto-engage side impact protection
    Cons
    • Not travel system-compatible
    • Leg support could be better
    • Heavy seat

    Peg Perego Primo Viaggio Lounge + i-Size base review

    £370.00Typical price

    Test scoreShow Context

    78%

    Key features

    • I-Size baby
    • Baby

    Compare

    verdict: A very safe Best Buy

    The Peg Perego Primo Viaggio Lounge is a Best Buy when installed using the i-Size base. It’s very safe in both frontal and side-on crashes, and is incredibly comfortable for your baby thanks to excellent-quality padding, plenty of leg support and three recline positions.

    Pros
    • Excellent crash protection
    • Reclining seat
    • Plenty of padding and support
    • Easy to adjust harness
    • Option to belt into car
    • Covers easy to remove
    • Chest clips stop straps slipping
    Cons
    • Heavy for an infant carrier
    • Side-impact protection tricky to spot
    • Risk of installing incorrectly
    • Covers need handwashing
    • Takes up extra space in the car