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

  • 1. Cybex Sirona M2 i-Size, £350 - MadeForMums Awards gold winner

    Age suitability: Birth until 4 years

    Rear-facing until: 4 years

    This gold award-winning car seat is the updated version of the hugely-popular Sirona, the M2 i-Size features all the safety aspects that made the original Sirona a bestseller.

    It's a Group 0+/1 seat and is rear-facing to 105 cm (around 4 years) and forward-facing (if you choose) from 16 months or when your baby is 76cm tall. 

    However, there are two big differences between the new and the original Sirona:

    • The new M i-Size has a click in and out base, whereas the old Sirona had a 360 degree rotating base
    • The new M i-Size has a 5-point harness, whereas the older version had an impact shield (called a safety cushion by Cybex) when used in the forward mode

    What our MadeForMums judges say about the Cybex Sirona M2 car seat:

    “The first thing you notice is that this car seat exudes class. The fabric feels as soft as a baby seal but the shell is as strong as a rhino. It's mechanisms, like adjusting seat positions work really smoothly.
    The fact it's rear facing for so long is fantastic, and could be the answer for parents of children who hate car seats or who have needs that require stimulation to be reduced. At £350 is quite expensive for a car seat, but what price is peace of mind (and a sense of style?)

    And while it’s heavy as a whole, this car seat shouts safety, comfort and style, and it's worth the investment.”  Dad of 2, Anthony.

    “Lovely and wide and great that it's from birth to four and is rear facing! It's compact, sleek and secure,” mum of 3, Lucy

    Check out the full Cybex Sirona M2 i-Size car seat review here.

    You can buy the Sirona M2 i-Size car seat at Toys R UsKiddiecare or Mothercare.

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  • 2. Jané Gravity car seat, £349 - MadeForMums Awards silver winner

    Age suitability: Birth until 4 years

    Rear-facing until: 4 years

    Rear-facing up to 4 years, this silver award-winning car seat has a sleek rotating 360-degree swivel, it can be used from birth to 4 years.

    Meeting the latest i-Size regulations, the Jané Gravity has an integrated base with ISOFIX connectors and the seat comes with a newborn insert as standard.

    The Jané Gravity also has a no-nonsense adjustable 5-point harness and easy-to-adjust headrest.

    What our MadeForMums judges say about the Jane Gravity car seat:

    I was amazed by how quick and ridiculously easy it was to install the Jané Gravity car seat. And I was equally impressed when it came to strapping the boys in. The harness was so simple to use, even I could work it out without reading the instructions. I also love that this car seat rotates 360° as it means I can switch between rear and forward facing should I need to use it for either of my boys.  The Jané Gravity costs £349. This sounds a lot but when you consider you don’t need to buy any extras, the ISOFIX is integrated and a newborn insert is included so you can use it from birth up to four years, it’s pretty reasonable.” Mum of 2, Maxine.

    “It's tall which is good for children who want to look out the window. It rotates easily but you do need both hands. It has a nice recline and the seat is well designed,” Claire, mum of 1.

    “Innovative suspended design, looks futuristic and good for child to see out of car window. Love the non-slip inner side of harness. Good rotation but not one-handed. Great feature that base can be inclined using cog handles on sides, to fit different car backseats,” mum of 2, Magda.

    See the full Jané Gravity review here

    Buy the Jané Gravity from Amazon.

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  • 3. Diono Radian 5, £295 - MadeForMums Awards bronze winner (joint)

    Age suitability: Birth - 25kg (birth - 6 years)

    Rear-facing until:  25kg (around 6 years)

    The Diono Radian 5 won our bronze award for best rear-facing for longer car seat  because it allows children to sit rearward facing in this seat from birth until 25kg (approx 5-6 years old).

    There's, of course, an option for kids to sit in the forward position once they reach 9kg (around nine months), but it’s recommended children sit rear-facing for as long as possible.

    For a secure fit, the Group 0+/1/2 car seat comes with a 5-point harness that can be used up until 25kg as well, which is brilliant for larger or heavier babies and toddlers.

    The Radian also folds for storage or transporting, and comes with added extras like a cup holder.

    Our reviewer was delighted that safety has been placed at the top of the priority list with this seat, with its steel frame, reinforced sides and super grip harness pads to reduce the impact of crash forces, and she thought the lifetime warranty offers “peace of mind”.

    What our MadeForMums judges say about the Diono Radian 5 car seat:

    “A really good, spacious and sturdy rear-facing for longer seat.  Ideal seat when you want to move on from an infant carrier, but not so great for newborns,” mum of 1, Kat.

    “Fantastically long rear-facing seat, love the full steel frame for safety and 5 point harness.

    I did struggle with top tether when I tested, but still a great buy.” Mum of 2, Magda.

    Read the full Diono Radian 5 review here.

    You can buy the Diono Radian V from Direct2Mum

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  • 4. Britax Dualfix, £340 - MadeForMums Awards bronze winner (joint)

    Age suitability: Birth until 4 years

    Rear-facing until: 4 years

    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

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  • 5. Axkid Minikid, £295

    Age suitability: Birth until 25kg (around 6 years)

    Rear-facing until: 25kg (around 6 years)

    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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  • 6. Joie Spin 360, £250

    Age suitability: Birth - 18kg (birth - 4 years)

    Rear-facing until:  18kg (around 4years)

    The 360 Spin is a Group 0+/1 car seat, meaning it's suitable from birth to 18kg or until approximately 4 years.  Babies can sit rear-facing up until 4 years, or parents have the option of facing little ones forward from 9 months, if they want to.

    It also features a Grow Together™ multi-height headrest and harness system that adjusts simultaneously, meaning there's no re-threading of the harness and has five recline positions; three rearward and three forward facing. This car seat also scooped the gold award for best rotating car seat in the MadeForMums Awards.  

    Check out the full Joie 360 Spin review here.

    You can buy the Joie 360 Spin from KiddicareSmyths or Argos.

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  • 7. Be Safe iZi Combi X3, £349.95

    Age suitability: Birth - 18kg (birth - 4 years)

    Rear-facing until:  18kg (around 4years)

    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

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  • 8. Casualplay Bicarefix, £199

    Age suitability: Birth - 18kg (roughly newborn - 4 years)

    Rear-facing until:  18kg (around 4years)

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

    Rear-facing up to 18kg (around 4 years) it has automatically adjusting shoulder straps that keep tension around your child’s shoulders at a safe and comfortable level, with a minimum amount of fuss. 

    The car seat was also given full marks by our mum for its deep, extra-padded seats.

    Read our full Casualplay Bicarefix review

    You can buy the Bicarefix from Amazon

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  • 9. Britax Multi-Tech II, £260

    Age suitability: 9kg - 25kg (roughly 9 months - 6 years)

    Rear-facing until:  25kg (around 6years)

    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). 

    Read our full review of the Britax Multi-Tech II

    Rear-facing car seats explained in-depth

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  • 10. 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

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

    Read our full Joie Every Stage review

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  • 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….

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