The best rear-facing group 1 car seats

These car seats allow your child to sit rear-facing for longer than the legal limit, they are also great if you have a tall infant or baby

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1. Britax Römer DUALFIX i-SIZE, £375 

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

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Rear-facing until:  4 years 

Awards: MadeForMums Awards 2019 Rear-facing for longer car seat – Gold

Britax’s Dualfix i-Size car seat, our MadeForMums gold award winner, is not only suitable up to 4 years rear-facing but it comes with a handy 360 degree rotation which allows you to easily adjust and change their position.

It’s tested to i-Size regulations and also comes with 12 recline positions including a flat lying position to use with your newborn.

MFM tester and mum of 2, Jeananne says: “This car seat’s 360-degree rotation makes entry and exit so much simpler – no more wrestling with your toddler. The design and materials feel top quality, and my child was really comfortable in it. It’s nice to have the option to rearward or forward-face, depending on preference. I also felt reassured by the exacting safety standards.”

See our full MFM review of the Britax Römer DUALFIX i-SIZE 

Available from: Britax, Boots and Halfords 

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2. Joie Verso, £225

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

Rear-facing until:  4 years 

Awards: MadeForMums Awards 2019 Rear-facing for longer car seat – Silver

As your child grows you can adjust the headrest on the Joie Verso, our Silver award winner, so it expands upwards and outwards to fit with your child.

The Verso can be used rear-facing until your child is 18kg or 4 years old, whichever happens first, then forward facing until they reach 36kg.

MFM tester and mum of 3, Natalie says: “Joie promise a ‘rock solid’ fit in the car and they’re absolutely right – once fitted this car seat isn’t going anywhere! It doesn’t move or wiggle at all so delivers peace of mind. The padding is impressive: there’s a headrest within a headrest, and the cushioning is super soft and comfy. There are more recline positions than other competitors on the market, and the harness is strong. Great value for money too.”

See our full MFM review of the Joie Verso

Available from: Halfords and Online4Baby

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3. Axkid Minikid, £350

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

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

Awards: MadeForMums Awards 2019 Rear-facing for longer car seat – Bronze

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

Along with its, side impact protection system and five recline positions the seat also has automatically adjusting tether straps and headrest.

MFM tester and mum of 2, Meena, says: “The huge weight range that this seat is suitable for makes it a truly versatile seat, from newborn to a six year old. The clever harness makes adjusting between them less painful too. The seat is comfy and the side impact protection seems excellent. It is an expensive seat but not the most expensive in its class and it feels like good quality.”

See our full MFM review of the Axkid Minikid

Available from: Winstanleys Pramworld and Uber Kids

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4. Diono Radian 5, £189.99

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

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

The Diono Radian 5 allows children to sit rearward facing in this seat from birth until a whopping 5 or 6 years!

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.

Great for newborns, the Group 0+ mode comes with an infant insert, but it’s also an ideal seat for heaver babies and toddlers too, as the 5-point harness can be used up until 25kg as well.

That’s a brilliant feature when you think that most car seat harnesses usually only go up to 18kg.  That means if you don’t want your child to use the car’s own seat belt too early they can continue to use the harness.

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

Safety aspects of the seat include a steel frame, reinforced sides and super grip harness pads to reduce the impact of crash forces, and there’s a Diono lifetime warranty, great for peace of mind.

“The build quality of the Diono Radian 5 is exceptional and the fact you can use it from birth to approximately 6-years-old in the rear-facing position is very appealing. It’s sturdy and well-made and the fabric felt soft yet durable which is perfect for little one’s skin and wear & tear.  Fitting was straight forward with little fuss. As was putting the little on into the seat itself. She was comfortable throughout testing and even fell asleep twice without slumping forward (due to the well-designed harness,” says Christina, mum-of-one.

“A great concept, it’s robust and good at its job.  Once it’s fitted it’s good and goes to 25kg which is great!” says Julie Dagnall, Child Seat Safety expert.

Read the full Diono Radian 5 review here.

Available from: Uber Kids

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5. Recaro Zero 1. Elite, £495

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

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

A unique car seat on the market, the Recaro Zero 1. Elite car seat is a Group 0+/1 seat that’s suitable from birth to around 4 years.

It’s unique as it has an infant carrier, nestled inside a bigger Group 1 car seat, that means the infant car seat can be removed and used on Recaro buggy as a travel system.  And when your toddler gets older you can use the Zero 1 Elite as a rear-facing seat to 4 years.

“A good seat, the extended rear-facing position is good and looks roomy for the child’s size,” says Julie Dagnall, Child Seat Safety expert.

“The 360 degree turn, the deep-padded seats, sticky grip pads on the underside of the harness straps, the light weight of the infant carrier. The newborn cushion and seat reducer are perfect for getting a comfortable ride for your little one. It’s particularly good for parents who want invest in just one good car seat for the first 4 years,” says Melanie, mum-of-3.

Available from: Uber Kids 

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6. BeSafe Izi Modular i-Size and base, £430

BeSafe Izi Modular i-Size and base, £430 – MadeForMums Awards Bronze  winner

Age suitability: 6 months – 18kg (6 months – 4 years)

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

Scooping our bronze award in the best extended rear-facing car seat category is the BeSafe Izi Modular i-Size.  Not only is certified under the new i-Size law, the seat is rear-facing to 4 years and can be used with an ISOFIX base.

It also features a 5-point harness, with magnetic attachments, so when you’ve undone the harness and you need to keep it out of the way to get baby out, it will stay it out of way.

“I liked how sturdy yet lightweight this product was. And it was super comfortable for my son. It was easy to install, and within 20 minutes of opening the box we were in the car and ready to go.  I like how it offers rear facing for longer than other car seats, with more leg room – a bonus for someone like me who has a toddler with really long legs,” says mum-of-one, Catherine.

“Good leg room, good recline and the quality of the seat is great,” says Claire Water house, Child Seat Safety expert.

Available from: John Lewis

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7. Joie 360 Spin car seat, £240

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

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

Group 1 car seats are suitable for a baby weighing from 9kg to 18kg, which is around 9 months to 4 years.  Recent guidelines now require children to sit rear-facing until they’re 15 months, as sitting rear-facing offers  up to 75% more protection if your child is involved in an accident.

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.

Check out the full Joie 360 Spin review here.

Available from: Halfords

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8. Jané Gravity car seat, £349

Age suitability: Birth until 4 years

Rear-facing until: 4 years

Rear-facing up to 4 years, this 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.

Read the full review here.

Available from: Jane.

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9. Cybex Sirona M2 iSize, £210

Age suitability: Birth until 4 years

Rear-facing until: 4 years

An updated version of the very popular Cybex Sirona, the Sirona M2 has been made to the new legal safety standards and is now i-Size compatible.

This new seat can also detach from its base and features a 5-point harness, compared to the older version of the sea, which incorporated an impact shield.

Our reviewer called the Sirona M2 an “excellent car seat, perhaps one of the best I’ve used. It’s packed full of up-to-date safety features, and looks so sleek. Its asking price is not to be sniffed at, but it offers good value for money – a lovely car seat. Anyone who wants to invest in a car seat which excels in safety features, and is up to date with modern regulations.”

Here’s the complete review of the Cybex Sirona M2 car seat.

Available from: Mothercare

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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.
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