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10 of the best baby car seats from birth

We test the best car seats to use from birth and explain how to travel safely in a car with a newborn baby

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If you’re expecting a baby – or have a new baby – and are planning on using a car, you’ll need a car seat to ensure they’re travelling safely.

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To help you decide which car seat is best for you, we’ve extensively researched the market to find the safest, most comfortable and user-friendly products available, including those with cutting-edge designs and innovative features that will make every journey better for your baby – and for you too.

Every car seat on this list has been tested extensively by independent reviewers and nearly every seat has also been reviewed by professional MFM reviewers who have tested them with their children over a period of at least 2 weeks. We’ve also taken into account safety testing carried out by ADAC, one of the lead testers of car seats in Europe.

What car seat groups are suitable for newborns?

There are 4 types of seats designed for use by newborns:

  • A Group 0 – suitable from birth to 10kg (around 12 months) – these are usually lie-flat carrycot options that combine with a buggy or pushchair chassis to form a travel system
  • A Group 0+ – suitable from birth to 13kg (around 18 months-2 years) – these can usually combine with a buggy to form a travel system and are also known as infant carriers
  • A Group 0+/1 – suitable from birth to 18kg (around 4-5 years)
  • A Group 0+/1/2/3 – suitable from birth to 36kg or 135cm tall (around 12 years)

All Group 0+ car seats are rear-facing, and your baby will have to sit rear-facing from birth until they’re at least 15-months-old.  After that you can move your baby to a second stage/Group 1, Group 1/2 or Group 1/2/3 car seat.

What to look for when buying a baby car seat

What direction are they facing? Children under the age of 15 months must be transported facing rearwards or lateral (sideward) in seats that are approved (such as some carrycots) according to UN Regulation No. 129. Sitting your child in the rear-facing position for longer when travelling in the car is safer as it offers greater protection to the under-developed head, neck and spine of very young children in the event of a collision. In fact, multiple studies have shown that it’s far safer for babies to rear face in their car seats well into childhood.

What type of installation do you want? – Infant car seats can be installed in 2 ways – either using ISOFIX, a system that allows you to fit the seat using special anchor points that attach directly to a car or just your car’s 3-point seatbelt. We explain the different types of installation in more detail here.

Is your car compatible? – Remember that when it comes to installation not all cars will have ISOFIX points so before you buy, you’ll need to check your car’s compatibility with the car seat manufacturer’s fitting guide. Here you’ll find a link to a list of car compatibility checkers for key brands of car seats mentioned in this article.

Once you’ve picked your ideal car seat, it’ll have to be fitted in the car and while we’re fans of DIY at MFM headquarters, we recommend you get your car seat fitted by a trained car seat installation advisor (appointed by the manufacturer) if you can.

Is the base included? For infant carrier-type car seats, the base will be separate. While for Group 0+/1 and up, the base will be integrated with the seat. In either case, the seat sits securely atop the base and the base in turn is secured to the car with ISOFIX points. Using an in-car base raises the height of the car seat, can provide extra legroom and makes correct installation simple. Some base units have light or sound indicators that confirm correct fitting. Simply slotting the seat in and out makes it easy to use with a travel system but be aware car seat bases are often sold separately and could double the price you pay.

Do you want an i-Size seat? – ISOFIX works alongside i-Size, the latest Europe-wide regulations for car seats, called R129, which aim to make car seats safer by requiring children to sit rear facing for longer (until at least 15 months old), ISOFIX installation (anchor points plus a support leg or top tether), side impact protection and classification by a child’s height rather than weight. You don’t have to buy an i-Size seat, for example your car may not have ISOFIX points, but it’s something you may want to consider. See our expert guide to i-Size for more information.

Will you be using your car seat as part of a travel system? – A travel system combines a buggy with a Group 0+ car seat. The car seat clicks, or slots, onto the buggy or its chassis, making it easy to move your baby from car to buggy. Check your pushchair manufacturer’s website for compatible car seats if this is something you want to do and if you have to buy adapters to fit the seat onto your pushchair.

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What is the 2-hour rule?

This is the established safety recommendation endorsed by safety experts and manufacturers, that suggests babies shouldn’t sit in a car seat for longer than 2 hours at a time, with the exception being a lie-flat car seat. That’s because children can experience breathing problems if placed in a seated or scrunched position for too long.

This 2-hour rule includes babies seated in car seats on their prams. A car seat is not an alternative to a cot or crib but don’t worry if your baby falls asleep in your car, as most babies do! You just don’t want them sleeping or sitting for more than 2 hours in the same position.

How much does a car seat from birth cost?

Infant car seats are undoubtedly pricier than child car seats in other groups. But like anything when it comes to parenting products, prices can vary from budget to luxuriously expensive. Our top picks include seats suitable from birth starting from £140 all the way up to £350 for just the seat.

You may also have to factor in the additional cost of a base, as these don’t tend to come included with infant car seats. However some brands will have seats in the next stage up which are compatible with the base, saving you the cost of having to buy a new one.

While price is important, and not actually an indicator of how safe a car seat, it’s more important to choose the right seat that works best for you and your child in the car you’ll use most often. Remember, don’t settle for second best – or second-hand car seats.

Here’s our pick of the best car seats from birth:

1. Maxi-Cosi Coral, £239 (base sold separately for £199)

– Best for a detachable carrier

Size: Group 0+ | Suitable for: birth to 12 months/12kg/40-75cm | Rear facing until: 12 months/12kg/75cm | Installation: ISOFIX base or seatbelt | Weight: 5.3kg | i-Size: Yes

This innovative Group 0+ car seat is the first of its kind to feature a 2-part modular system – the first module is the inner detachable soft carrier, weighing just 1.7kg, which you can lift out of the second module – the outer plastic shell of the seat. Our MFM reviewer, Georgina, loved this unique feature, and described it as “ground-breaking” and “so useful, easy and light to use as it can be used to comfortably carry your baby into the house or even on short walks.”

The inner carrier, which has retractable handles, clicks and locks easily in and out of the plastic shell, which is then clicked into the FamilyFix3 base unit or secured in your car with a seatbelt. Both options have been found to be equally safe in independent safety tests, though it’s worth noting that fitting it using a seatbelt means it’s not i-Size. Our reviewer found that the ISOFIX base, which can accommodate seats for toddlers up to 4 years old, had “quite a large footprint”, which is worth keeping in mind if you have a compact car.

You can’t use the car seat shell without the soft carrier but the complete seat can be fitted atop a compatible Maxi-Cosi or Quinny stroller frame to make a travel system, which is useful during trips that will take 2 hours or under. The extra-large sun canopy was another feature our reviewer liked, noting “it extends right down over my baby to keep the glare out of her eyes.”

The only sticking point occurred when our reviewer’s baby outgrew the newborn insert as for a time, without extra padding, the soft carrier seat was “too deep and not particularly comfortable for her”. But overall, she felt “the soft carrier makes the considerable price tag worthwhile.”

Pros: Innovative removable carrier, extra-large sun canopy, easy to install
Cons: Deep seat, large footprint when used with ISOFIX base

Read our full MadeForMums review of the Maxi-Cosi Coral

Available from: John Lewis, Boots, Maxi-Cosi

2. Cybex Cloud Z i-Size, from £239.95 (base sold separately for £199.95)

– Best for using with a travel system

Size: Group 0+ | Suitable for: birth to 18 months/13kg | Rear facing until: 18 months/13kg | Installation: ISOFIX base or seatbelt | Weight: 4.8kg | i-Size: Yes

Unlike most rotating car seats that can’t be used as part of a travel system, the Cloud Z is compatible with all Cybex pushchairs, as well as other popular buggy brands, with the use of universal adaptors. Better still, when the seat is out of the car, for example on a pushchair frame, it can be reclined to a near-flat position, making it safer and more comfortable for your baby to lie in. Unsurprisingly, this was one of our MFM reviewer’s favourite features. Other notable features are the extra-long sunshade and the 11-point adjustable headrest, which helps tailor the seat to your growing baby.

At 4.8kg, it’s considerably lighter than the majority of rotating car seats and easy to move around, which our reviewers appreciated: “The handle makes it a breeze to carry – even with the sunshade down there is still enough space to get your arm through for a more comfortable hold.”

The snazzy fabrics and near lie-flat position of this lightweight car seat are underpinned by its enhanced safety features, including the telescopic linear side impact protection system – effectively an ‘arm’ that pulls out on each side of the seat to absorb impact in the event of a collision. These benefits are apparent in the ADAC review, which gives the Cloud Z a “very low risk of injury” during a side crash.

The biggest safety feature is apparent when the seat is used with the Cybex Base Z as it confers i-Size classification. The base also enables the seat to rotate 180°, making it far easier to use. You don’t have to use the base to install the Cloud Z – you have the option of using your car’s seatbelt – but this means losing the i-Size classification and the spin factor. The base costs nearly as much as the seat but it’s worth remembering that you can buy it as part of Cybex’s Z-line system, which allows you to use it with the Sirona Z i-Size, a seat in the next stage up.

Pros: Near lie-flat position out of car, 180° swivel entry (when used with the Cybex Base Z)
Cons: Can’t adjust recline in car, doesn’t lie-flat inside car

Read our full MadeForMums review of the Cybex Cloud Z i-Size

Available from: John Lewis, Kiddies Kingdom, Mamas & Papas

3. Maxi-Cosi Jade, from £229 (base sold separately for £199)

– Best lie-flat car cot

Size: Group 0 |Suitable for: birth to 6 months/9kg/40-70cm | Sideward (lateral) facing until: 6 months/9kg/70cm | Installation: ISOFIX base | Weight: 6kg | i-Size: Yes

The Jade is the first car cot to comply with R129 i-Size safety standards, claims Maxi-Cosi, making it safe and comfortable for babies to travel in for longer than in a regular car seat (i.e. upwards of 2 hours). It can also be used as a carrycot as it’s compatible with most Maxi-Cosi buggy frames and is even suitable for occasional overnight sleeping, helping to justify the price tag for a product that is only suitable for babies up to 6 months old.

It trumps its closest rival – the Jané Matrix Light 2 – because it’s i-Size, whereas the Matrix Light 2 is ISOFIX compatible, and because you don’t need to buy an additional mattress to use the Jade as a carrycot. However, unlike the Matrix Light 2, the Jade neither rotates nor can it be converted into a conventional car seat position to accommodate older babies.

“The best thing about the Maxi-Cosi Jade is that it’s a fully flat carrycot which doubles as a car seat, so you never need to wake a sleeping baby when transferring from the buggy to the car,” said our MFM reviewer Felicity. It’s ideally suited to parents who need to make long car journeys, as well as those who don’t want to disturb their napping newborns as they transition from home to car to walk.

The Jade fits in the car using the Maxi-Cosi ISOFIX FamilyFix3 base; once fitted, you can use the same base with a Maxi-Cosi seat suitable for older babies and toddlers, such as the Pebble Pro i-Size or Pearl Pro 2 i-Size. However because the Jade sits sideways across 2 seats, “even in a large car there will only be space for one other person in the back,” warns our MFM reviewer.

Pros: Lie-flat position, i-Size, fits most Maxi-Cosi frames, can be used for occasional overnight sleeping
Cons: Takes up 2 seats in back of car, ISOFIX only, limited lifespan

Read our full MadeForMums review of the Maxi-Cosi Jade

Available from: Uber Kids, Kiddies Kingdom, Maxi-Cosi

4. Silver Cross Dream i-Size, £380 (base included)

– Best for breathable bamboo fabrics 

Size: Group 0+ | Suitable for: birth to 12 months/13kg | Rear facing until: 12 months/13kg | Installation: ISOFIX base or seatbelt | Weight: 4.5kg | i-Size: Yes

The Group 0+ Dream is part of this heritage brand’s first range of car seats. As you can fit the Dream into a car using just the vehicle’s seatbelt as well as with the compatible Dream i-Size base, it’s a good choice if you want a seat that you can use easily in other vehicles, for example a grandparent’s car. But even moving the ISOFIX base is a cinch thanks to the Silver Cross Car Safety Made Simple app, which provides a fool-proof installation guide for both options when you scan the QR code on the side of your seat.

The seat has been designed to be used as a travel system with a number of Silver Cross pram and pushchair chassis, although you have to buy the adaptors separately, making it a better option for first-time parents. For parents who already have a pushchair or travel system that isn’t from Silver Cross, not having the option of attaching the seat to wheels for a quick stroll or spot of shopping “can be a bit of a pain”, says our MFM reviewer, Sarah..

Impressively, the Dream and Dream i-Size base achieved the best-ever score awarded by ADAC, a world-leading independent testing body. It was thanks to the Dream’s robust safety features such as 4-layer side impact protection, 5-point safety harness and ventilated hood, which help ensure parents have maximum reassurance on the road.

The removable infant insert padding is the winning feature for Sarah who said, “the graduated series of inserts can be changed as your baby grows, ensuring your little one is perfectly supported at every stage. Plus, the cushioning is made from super-soft bamboo fabric, which is breathable and boasts thermo-regulating properties, helping to keep your baby at a comfortable temperature even on hot summer days.”

Pros: High safety rating, 4-layer side impact protection, removable sections for growing babies, breathable bamboo fabric
Cons: Only compatible with Silver Cross travel systems

Read our full MadeForMums review of the Silver Cross Dream

Available from:  Amazon, Uber Kids, Silver Cross

5. Joie i-Spin 360, £280 (base included)

– Best rotating car seat

Size:  Group 0+/1 | Suitable for: birth to 4 years/18kg/105cm | Rear facing until: 4 years/18kg/105cm | Installation: ISOFIX base | Weight: 13.9kg | i-Size: Yes

The i-Spin 360 is an upgraded i-Size version of Joie’s popular Spin 360 model and, at under £300 for seat and base, is one of the most affordable rotating car seats on the market. With one-hand, full-circle seat rotation activated by easy-to-reach buttons on the side of the seat, it’s very easy to get your child into the car, a feature our MFM reviewer appreciated. “It is really convenient that I can turn the i-Spin 360 around to face me as I stand by the open car door, strap my daughter in and then spin the seat around so it faces the rear.”

It’s been cleverly designed to grow with your child: the headrest and harness system adjust together, with 6 different height positions to choose from; and the infant insert is made up of 3 individual pieces that can be used together to allow even small babies to be held safely and securely ­– and then separately to support growing babies.

The seat feels secure but for extra reassurance when installing the Joie i-Spin, “there are green light indicators to confirm you’ve fixed it correctly” which our MFM reviewer liked, along with the ‘Guard Surround Safety’ panels that offer increased side protection. ­­The ADAC review also highlighted how easy the Joie i-Spin is to install with “very easy to understand” instructions.

However, it’s worth noting that because the base is attached to the seat the unit is heavy and may be tricky to install, which our MFM reviewer picked up on. But once the seat is in your car it’s unlikely you’ll be regularly moving it from its installed position. The base also makes the seat quite bulky, which one user noted means it may not be the best fit for smaller cars.

Pros: Good value, easy to spin
Cons: Bulky and heavy (seat cannot be separated from base)

Read our full MadeForMums review of the Joie i-Spin 360

Available from: Uber Kids, John Lewis, Argos

6. Maxi-Cosi CabrioFix, £139 (base sold separately for £129 or £179)

– Best lightweight baby car seat

Size: Group 0+ |Suitable for: birth to 12 months/13kg/45-75cm | Rear facing until: 12 months/13kg/45-75cm | Installation: ISOFIX base or seatbelt | Weight: 3.3kg | i-Size: No

The CabrioFix, from iconic market-leader Maxi-Cosi, is a mid-priced car seat that was an instant hit when it launched over a decade ago and remains one of the most popular car seats in the UK. “Its dominance lies in its reasonable price, superior safety record and the fact it’s travel system compatible with so many of the bestselling buggies,” explains our MFM reviewer.

Weighing a mere 3.3kg, it’s the lightest baby car seat that can be connected to an ISOFIX base but doesn’t skimp on features, including side-impact protection, cushioned head support, multi-position carry handle that folds down at the back to stabilise the seat when it’s not in the car, plus an integrated sunshade (though our reviewer thought this could be bigger).

The seat can be attached to the car using either the vehicle’s seatbelt or one of 2 Maxi-Cosi bases: the EasyFix is the more affordable option as it’s designed solely for use with the CabrioFix; the FamilyFix is more expensive but can be used with Pearl car seats (up to 4 years). Using the CabrioFix with vehicle seat belt is easy enough (it took our reviewer just 2 minutes to install) and will afford your baby a “good” standard of safety and “very low risk of injury in a frontal crash”, according to the ADAC review. But the seat “comes into its own with the click-and-go base” says our reviewer, who loved the simplicity of the indicator where “green means go”.

The seat has been designed to last for years so expect to use it with subsequent children but be prepared to replace the cover, which is hand-wash only and “easier to remove than put back on.”

Pros: Very lightweight, compatible with bestselling buggies, choice of ISOFIX bases
Cons: Cover not easy to clean or put back on, sunshade doesn’t offer enough coverage

Read our full MadeForMums review of the Maxi-Cosi CabrioFix

Available from: John Lewis, Halfords, Amazon

7. Britax Römer Baby-Safe 2 i-Size, £200 (bases sold separately for £150 and £175)

– Best for flexible installation

Size: Group 0+ |Suitable for: birth to 15 months/13kg/40-83cm | Rear facing until: 15 months/13kg/83cm | Installation: ISOFIX base or seatbelt | Weight: 4.8kg | i-Size: Yes/No

When it comes to child car seats, Britax is a big player in the game and its Baby Safe range is its best-selling infant carriers. From the same stable as the baby car seat choice for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who used seats from the range to take all 3 of their children home from hospital, the Baby Safe 2 i-Size car seat replaces the popular Britax Römer Baby-Safe Plus SHR 11.

Like its predecessor, the Baby-Safe 2 is travel-system compatible (with any Britax pushchair using integrated adaptors, plus other leading brand’s pushchairs), aircraft-approved for use on planes and boasts Britax’s patented lie-flat technology. New features include adaptable and improved side-impact protection, a removable infant insert for extra support and an automatically adjustable recline so your newborn can lie near-flat – the safest and most comfortable position for a young baby. As baby grows, you simply adjust the headrest height and the seat gradually becomes more upright.

The ADAC review gave the seat a good safety rating with a “very low risk of injury” in both a frontal and side crash and highlights how “the height of the harness straps can be adjusted quickly and easily to the growing child with a central adjuster.”

This car seat is classed as both i-Size and universal as it can be installed in your car using the adult seatbelt without the ISOFIX anchor points or by using an ISOFIX base. There are 2 base options: the Baby Safe i-Size base (£150) and a Flex base (RRP £175). The latter allows you to adjust the angle of the base to a flatter position, to provide the most ergonomic position for your baby. ADAC tested the seat with both bases and rated them ‘Good’, though noting the “large space requirement in the car” with the i-Size Base.

Pros: Near lie-flat inside car, integrated travel system adaptors for Britax pushchairs
Cons: ISOFIX base takes up extra room in car

Available from: Boots, Uber Kids

8. BeSafe iZi Go Modular X1 i-Size, £179 (base sold separately for £159)

– Best for growing with your baby

Size: Group 0+ |Suitable for: birth to 12 months/13kg/40cm to 75cm | Rear facing until: 12. Months/13kg/75cm | Installation: ISOFIX base or seatbelt | Weight: 4.2kg | i-Size: Yes

Developed by the Scandinavian child seat manufacturer BeSafe, the iZi Go Modular X1 is reputed to be of the lightest i-Size-regulated baby car seats available. At 4.2kg, it’s certainly lighter than the Cybex Cloud Z i-Size and Silver Cross Dream in this list. This seat is part of the BeSafe iZi Modular concept, so it can be used on the iZi Modular base (sold separately) until your baby outgrows the seat (at around 12 months or 13kg). You can then click either of BeSafe’s Modular toddler seats onto the same ISOfix base.

The iZi Go Modular X1 has a few updated features from the original BeSafe iZi Go Modular, including a new headrest design with additional, built-in protection for baby’s head from a side impact – as well a new infant insert. Called the Newborn Hugger, it features a wedge that lifts baby’s back, offering an increased recline for a more comfortable ride.

The new headrest design addresses an issue with the previous model that our MFM reviewer noted, namely that it seemed too small. Now, while the back area of the headrest remains narrow to support the heads of small babies, the triangular headrest opens up to accommodate growing babies and give your baby the space her head needs. Additionally, this seat has been certified as especially back-friendly by the German organisation for healthier backs, AGR, which commended the Newborn Hugger infant insert for providing stability and enabling child’s back to recline 10 degree further.

What hasn’t changed is the weight of the seat or the ergonomic carry handles, which really impressed our MFM reviewer, reporting, “I can safely say it was as comfortable for me to carry as it was for my baby to sit in.” And the ingenious magnetic shoulder straps “which make strapping baby in quick and stress-free” remain.

Pros: Comfortable and light to carry, grows with your baby, part of BeSafe’s Modular system, improved headrest
Cons: Difficult to remove seat covers

Available from: John Lewis, Uber Kids and Natural Baby Shower

9. Joie i-Gemm 2, £130 (base sold separately from £90)

– Best value baby car seat

Size: Group 0+ | Suitable for: birth to 15 months/13kg/40-85cm | Rear facing until: 15 months/13kg/85cm | Installation: ISOFIX base or seatbelt | Weight: 4.5kg | i-Size: Yes

This robust, mid-market car seat is the latest version of Joie’s original i-Gemm, praised for its supportive headrest, ability to be fitted using a vehicle seatbelt or an i-Size base, and a generous sunshade. The successor to this earlier model retains all these great features and improves on 2 key areas – the headrest section, which now offers improved recline angle for the head, and a simplified newborn insert, which provides extra padding that our MFM reviewer says kept his baby “cosy, protected and secure.”

The height-adjustable headrest has 3 layers of protection inside the wings, including memory foam. Our reviewer initially found the headrest difficult to fix at the right height for his baby but, once he’d sussed it, his little one “looked comfortable and protected, and she slept well.” An advantage when adjusting the headrest is that the harness system moves with it so you don’t need to rethread the straps, saving a fair amount of time and faff.

The i-Gemm 2 can be installed with your vehicle’s seatbelt or, to make it i-Size compliant, with the Joie i-Size Base (£90), i-Base lx (£125) or i-Base Advance (£125), also compatible with Joie’s seats in the next stages up. It’s covered with “easily wipeable fabric” that can also be washed.

Out of the car, the multi-position “sturdy” handle, which is “smooth” to adjust, “makes it easy to carry with baby” and the curved base mean it’s great for gently rocking your baby back to sleep if they’ve been woken up by being taken out of the car. The seat can also be used as a travel system using Joie or Maxi-Cosi style adapters to fix it to your pushchair chassis.

Pros: Supportive headrest, simplifield newborn insert, easy to carry, generous sun canopy
Cons: Headrest can be fiddly to adjust

Read our full MadeForMums review of the original Joie i-Gemm

Available from: Uber Kids, Online 4 baby, Joie

10. Nuna Arra, £350 (base included)

– Best near lie-flat seat

Size: Group 0+ |Suitable for: birth to 15 months/13kg/40-85cm | Rear facing until: birth to 15 months/13kg/85cm | Installation: ISOFIX base | Weight: 3.9kg | i-Size: Yes

This stylish car seat is one of the lightest on our list, though it does weigh more than 3.9kg with the infant insert and sun canopy attached. Our MFM reviewer found it “much lighter to carry than my usual Cybex Cloud Z” which was helpful because her baby loved to sleep in this seat and, thanks to the Arra’s near lie-flat recline position, it was safe to leave her in there for longer than in a standard seat.

The Arra has 3 reclining positions and can lie at 157°, both in and out of the car. As newborn babies should lie flat as often as possible to keep their spines in a healthy position and improve their oxygen levels, this feature is “fantastic” for when baby falls asleep in the car and needs to be moved without being disturbed. The seat can fit onto a variety of travel systems – not only Nuna – with the correct adapters too.

Overall, our reviewer found the car seat impressively sturdy and well made, but she felt the “flimsy” sunshade wasn’t in keeping with the “high-end materials” used elsewhere, such as merino wool. She also noted that the Arra can’t be used without the ISOFIX base “which might be limiting for some families who want the flexibility of using it in different cars without having to remove the ISOFIX base each time.”

Pros: Near lie-flat position, easy to install, lightweight, base supplied
Cons: High price point, sunshade feels flimsy, ISOFIX-only installation

Read our full MadeForMums review of the Nuna Arra

Available from: John Lewis, Mamas & Papas and Natural Baby Shower

What are the differences between ISOFIX and Universal installation?

What is ISOFIX?

ISOFIX is a system that allows you to fit a car seat into your car using special anchor points that attach directly to a car plus

  • A support leg that reaches from the back of the seat to the floor of the vehicle,
  • OR a top tether that anchors the seat using webbing attached to a point behind the vehicle seat

ISOFIX car seat bases have 2 connectors on the back of the seat that anchor onto small metal bars fixed to the frame of your vehicle. It makes it easy to install your car seat correctly into your car, as you simply click the seat in and most ISOFIX car seats also have colour indicators to let you know you’ve fitted the seat correctly.

Since ISOFIX is the international standard for the attachment points in cars, cars manufactured from 2011 come with ISOFIX anchors as standard.

What is Universal installation?

Car seats that can be held in place using only the vehicle’s 3-point adult seat belt to hold it in place are classed as ‘Universal’ because they can be used in any car as they sit directly on the vehicle seat.

Several car seats can be used with both Universal and ISOFIX fittings, including i-Size approved seats. But i-Size seats fixed using just the vehicle seat belt and not ISOFIX anchor points are not classed as i-Size, because i-Size only applies when the seat is installed using ISOFIX.

Don’t be concerned if your car doesn’t have ISOFIX points, as there are many belted options which are just as safe when fitted correctly.

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About the author

Gabrielle Nathan has been working as a journalist for nearly 20 years, on publications including GQ, Red, Women’s Health and Tatler. She began writing about parenting and family travel while pregnant with her first child in 2012 and joined the MFM ranks in 2014.

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