12 of the best rear-facing group 1 car seats

Maxi-Cosi, Britax, Joie and Casualplay - we've picked out the top-performing extended rear-facing Group 1 car seats from our rigorous MFM tests

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  • Rear-facing car seats for longer

    Group 1 car seats are suitable for a baby weighing from 9kg to 18kg, which is around 9 months to 4 years.  Historically, these seats have been forward-facing. But that's all changing.

    In 2013, new guidelines were introduced, requiring children to sit rear-facing until they're 15 months. In April 2015 it became law (i-Size aka ECE R129), and in a few years (thought to be 2018) all new infant car seats sold in the UK will have to conform to this legislation. 

    That means car seats that face forward from 9kg or 9 months will eventually be passed out.  We're starting to see a new type of Group 1 car seat, which offers rearward-facing as well as forward-facing positions and up to 75% more protection if your child is involved in an accident.

    So we've picked our top 10 rear-facing for longer car seats.  We've also got a quick guide on how to choose the best one for your family at the end of this article, or you can see it here

  • Maxi-Cosi 2way Pearl, £200

    The 2wayPearl is one of a new breed of car seats designed to comply with the latest i-SIZE car seat legislation, being phased in over the next few years.

    Both rear and forward-facing, this Group 1 seat is suitable for children from 6 months to 4 years old, and will keep your child comfortably rear-facing until 15 months.  

    It consists of two parts – the 2way Pearl seat itself, and the separate 2wayFix base (sold separately at the price of £165) into which it slots. Boasting an impressive side-impact protection system, our reviewer said she felt her little one was both protected and comfortable. She was impressed with the spaciousness of the seat, which she believed will last until her son is 4 years old. 

    Read the 2way Pearl full review

    Buy the Maxi-Cosi 2way Pearl from Amazon

  • Joie i-Anchor, £160

    The i-Anchor was the first UK government certified i-Size car seat. It meets both the new ECE R129 and current ECE R44/04 safety regulations, which means your child can sit in the seat rearward until at least 15 months old, and much longer (4 years) if you like. You can then turn it round and use it forward-facing. 

    It's worth noting that this seat is due to be replaced by the newer i-Anchor advance, and we'll have the full review soon. 

    Here's the full Joie i-Anchor review, with all the pros and cons

    Buy the Joie i-Anchor from Halfords or Boots

  • Cybex Sirona, £375

    The Sirona is one of the best-looking Group0+/1 car seats on the market.  You could actually be forgiven if you're tempted to choose a Cybex car seat on the basis of its fabulous style and celebrity-inspired Jeremy Scott and Lala Berlin designs. 

    Saying that, the car seat does have some pretty impressive awards for safety, including the 2013 Stiftung Warentest Gold Award. It's clever too. It features a 360-degree rotation so you can position it easily in both rear and forward facing positions. It's suitable for children from birth to 4 years.

    Read our full Cybex Sirona review

    Buy the Cybex Sirona from Amazon

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  • Maxi–Cosi Opal, £179

    A firm favourite in the rear-facing Group 0+/1 category, the Maxi-Cosi Opal has received a glittering 4 star review from our tester and a 5-star recommendation from MFM mums. 

    Mounted on a swivel base, the seat can be positioned either rear from birth to 15 months, or forward facing from 9 months to 4 years. The seat is both height-adjustable and width adjustable, so it grows with your child. 

    Read the full review for the Maxi–Cosi Opal

    Buy the Maxi-Cosi Opal on Amazon

  • Britax Dualfix, £350

    The Dualfix can be used in the rear-facing position from birth to 18kg (4 years) and also includes all the safety features you’d expect from Britax, including ISOFIX and installation indicators.

    What makes it special is the fact that the seat swivels 360 degrees, allowing you easy access to the seat unit. While it can be used rear-facing until your child is around 4, it also rotates from a rear to become a forward-facing car seat (from 9kg). 

    Find out why the Dualfix is award-winning in the full review

    Buy the Britax Dualfix from Amazon

  • Be Safe iZi Combi X3, £349.95

    Scandinavian countries are well known for championing the ‘rear-facing for longer campaign’ and most parents keep their child in rear-facing seats until the age of 4 or 5.

    Norwegian brand Be Safe has the iZi Combi X3, which is rear facing to 18kg (4 years) and can be used in the forward-facing mode from 9kg. 

    Our reviewer gave it a massive 5 out of 5 stars for safety, comfort and was of fitting in the car.

    Read the full Be Safe iZi Combi X3 review here

    You can buy the Be Safe iZi Combi X3 from Precious Little One

  • Axkid Minikid, £295

    A rear-facing only, Group 1/2 car seat, the Minikid can be used from 9kg to a massive 25kg (6 years).

    Along with its, side impact protection system and three recline positions the seat also has a self adjusting 5-point harness and automatically adjusting tether straps.   

    We've got another review of a rear-facing for longer Axkid car seat right here

    You can buy the Minikid from Pramworld.

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  • Casualplay Bicarefix, £199

    The Casualplay Bicarefix is a Group 0+/1 car seat, which garnered 4.5 stars and 4 stars from our MFM reviewer and readers respectively.  

    Rear-facing up to 18kg (4 years)  it has automatically adjusting shoulder straps, to keep tension around your child’s shoulders at a safe and comfortable level.  Our MFM mum loved its deep, extra-padded seats and the fact is sits just under £200.

    Read the full Casualplay Bicarefix review

    Buy the Bicarefix from Amazon

  • Joie Spin 360, £249

    As the name suggest, this Group 0+/1 seat rotates, meaning it swivels on its base, great for getting your baby or toddler in and out of the chair easily, and can be used rear-facing to 18kg (around 4 years).

    Featuring ISOFIX only installation, the car seat also has a Grow Together™ multi-height headrest and harness system that adjusts simultaneously, meaning there's no re-threading of the harness and has a total of 10 recline positions; 5 rearward and 5 forward-facing.

    Check out our Joie Spin 360 review

    You can buy the Joie Spin 360 from  Precious Little One or Argos.

  • Diono Radian V, £295

    A Group 0+/1/2 car seat, your child can sit rearward facing in this seat from birth until 25kg (approx 5-6 years old).  There's also the option of your little one to sit in the forward position once they reach 9kg (around 9m months), if you choose. 

    For a secure fit, it comes with a 5-point harness that can be used up until 25kg as well. But you would need to buy a final group 3 car seat (which tend to come as group 2/3) once your child passes the 25kg limit. 

    You can buy the Diono Radian V from Direct2Mum

  • Britax Multi-Tech II, £260

    Britax originally developed the Multi-Tech II for the Swedish market, to comply with Scandinavian car seat laws but decided to give UK parents the option of rear-facing for longer - a whopping 6 years (25kg) in fact. 

    Widely available across the EU, the Group 1/2 car seat features a side impact protection system, is suitable for children from the age of 9 months and had a 5-point safety harness that can be used up to 18kg (around 4 years). 

    Rear-facing car seats explained in-depth

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  • Joie Every Stage, £200

    An all-stage car seat, meaning it goes from birth to 36kg (around 12 years)!

    The Every Stage allows little ones to sit rear-facing to 18kg (around 4 years) and has 5 recline positions, side impact protection, a 10-height headrest and side wings that widen as the headrest is raised.

    And at £200 it's great value for money -  £16.67 per year, 4.5p per day to be exact.

    You can buy the Joie Every Stage car seat from MothercareKiddicareHalfords or Mamas&Papas.

    Read our full Joie Every Stage review

  • Car seat safety - what it means for you

    Remember these important safety guidelines before you buy:

    1. Car seat law - We've got the the latest law updates and the exceptions to the rules.       
    2. Safety – budget and looks are important to us all, however nothing trumps safety when choosing a car seat.  So we suggest you check and are happy with the car seat safety certifications and ratings before buying.  And remember; don’t settle for second best – or secondhand.
    3. Installing a car seat in your car - not all car seats fit in all cars, so get your car seat fitted by a trained car seat installation advisor (appointed by the manufacturer).
    4. ISOFIX, in-car base or car seat belt - are the three mechanisms to fit car seats into cars and we explain everything you need to know here.  
    5. The 2 hour rule – health experts and car seat makers say you shouldn't keep your baby in the car seat for longer than 2 hours, with the exception being a lie-flat car seat.

    We've got more car seats….