Axkid Minikid 3 car seat review
In a nutshell
A robust rear-facing car seat with amazing safety features for children up to the age of 7 but is expensive, tricky to install and doesn’t use Isofix
What we tested
- Ease of installing
4.0A star rating of 4.0 out of 5.
4.1A star rating of 4.1 out of 5.
- Safety features
5.0A star rating of 5.0 out of 5.
5.0A star rating of 5.0 out of 5.
5.0A star rating of 5.0 out of 5.
- Worth the money
4.5A star rating of 4.5 out of 5.
- Rear facing until age 7, R129 safety tested, automatic headrest adjustment
- No Isofix, difficult to install and move between cars, expensive, fiddly straps, not suitable from birth
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Founded in Sweden in 2009, Axkid is a car seat manufacturer with a passion for child safety on the roads, with it proven that travelling rear-facing for longer provides greater protection for your child’s head, neck and spine compared to a forward-facing seat. With that in mind, its latest offering, the Minikid 3, offers parents a rear-facing option from 6-months old up to 125cm tall and 36kg, the size of an average 7 year old.
The third generation of its Minikid car seat also has improved safety, functionality, comfort and has gone through a rigorous testing process. It’s approved according to the newest R129 regulation and has passed the world’s toughest crash test – the Swedish Plus Test. It’s one of the more expensive car seats on the market and comes in four colours, Shellfish, Sea, Granite and Tar. For an extra £20, Axkid also offers the premium Minikid 3, which offers higher comfort due to the extra padding in the seat cover and also comes with colour matched headrest, branded zippers and meshed back cover on the seat.
Mum of two Sophie lives in London with her husband Charlie, 6-year-old daughter Ada and 2-year-old daughter Lily. She tested both Lily and Ada in the Axkid Minikid 3 car seat on short daily drives to nursery, school and local shops and on one longer journey to Norfolk in her Skoda Octavia.
What were your first impressions of the Axkid Minikid 3 car seat?
When I opened the box, I found a smart, sturdy and well-made piece of baby equipment already assembled. It weighs 11kg so it is quite heavy to manoeuvre, but it's relatively narrow at only 44cm, 3cm slimmer than the MaxiCosi Pearl Pro 2 i-Size that Lily was previously using.
How easy did you find the Axkid Minikid 3 to install?
I was fortunate to have an in-person demonstration by an account manager at Axkid, who also assured me that all Axkid retailers are trained in installing the seat, so you can ask them to show you how to do it for peace of mind.
However, if you’re installing the Minikid 3 car seat at home, there’s a really helpful step-by step video guide on the BILT app accessed via a handy QR code that’s printed on the car seat, or you can use the printed instruction booklet that comes with the seat.
What’s more, the seat itself has picture instructions printed on it, which is great for use as a quick reminder when you’re out and about. Axkid boasts that installation only takes 60 seconds, which is probably doable if the lower tether anchorage straps are already in place and you’re familiar with all the different stages and have practised a few times.
How do you install the Axkid Minikid 3 car seat?
The Minikid 3 seat doesn’t use Isofix, unlike many other comparable car seats. It has a base that fixes securely using the vehicles seat belt and lower tether anchorages and a support leg. In order to secure, you need to install the lower tether anchorage straps. If your vehicle has no suitable pre-installed lower tether anchorages, the Axkid Minikid 3 comes with lower tether anchorage straps that can be installed in your car.
Depending on your vehicle and the seat position where you choose to install your car seat, there are various possible anchorage points to use for installing the anchorage straps which are all explained in the instruction manual and on the BILT app.
Installing the lower tether anchorage straps took us about 10 minutes and, once you’ve got them in place, you don’t really want to be moving them from car to car. This does mean if you’re planning on moving the seat on a regular basis, you will need to purchase additional straps which cost £22. However, this does mean that you are restricted from moving the seat on an ad-hoc/emergency basis.
Can you talk us through the stages of installing the Axkid Minikid 3 car seat?
Once the tether straps are in place you can then follow the six stages of installation:
- Unzip the fabric panel at the front of the Axkid Minikid 3 seat which is helpfully labelled No 1. I love that Axkid has added picture instructions here under the fabric panel.
- Place the car seat onto the vehicle seat in a position that gives the right leg room for your child. For example, for a compact fit you can place it tight against the back of the vehicle seat. For longer legs, you might want to give your child more leg room and so you can extend right out to where the vertical yellow line is on the side of the car seat, but the line mustn’t hang over the edge of the car seat. Next, choose the recline angle of the car seat by pressing the grey button bar underneath the front of the seat. (A top tip here is to unfold the support leg to give the seat some support while you work out the best position – you’ll need to pull it up again after stage 3 though.)
- Unclip the green plastic clip labelled 3 and thread the vehicle's seat belt through the gap at the side of the seat and over the green plastic clip and out through the other side, then insert into the vehicle’s seat belt buckle. You then need to pull the seat belt until all slack is removed from the lap and shoulder section and then you can lock the green plastic clip and zip the fabric panel back up again.
- Pull out the tether straps and clip onto the lower tether points and then, using your full body weight, press down on the top of the seat repeatedly until the tether straps are fully tightened.
- Unfold the support leg to its maximum angle and push the support leg button and pull the support leg down until it is in contact with the vehicle floor.
- Push and slide the ASIP pad down into the grooves on the side of the seat that is closest to the vehicle door - it should click into place.
How does the Axkid Minikid 3 car seat compare to earlier versions?
Axkid Minikid 3 is approved according to the R129 regulation, which is the most recent safety regulation within the car seat industry, and approved for children measuring 125cm in height and 36kg in weight. Its predecessors, the Axkid Minikid and Minikid 2, are only approved for children weighing up to 25kg using the ECE R44 regulation.
The Minikid 3 has also been designed to add more comfort for the user, who benefits from an increase of approximately 10cm in the back length meaning your child can now travel rear-facing for even longer. The buckle has been repositioned to allow extra room for your child to grow within the car seat itself.
The toddler support cushion has been redesigned to add more comfort and is now made from memory foam and a mesh fabric for air circulation. The Minikid 3 car seat headrest has also been redesigned for added comfort and safety, with 14 fixed headrest positions.
What are the key safety features of the Axkid Minikid 3 car seat?
As well as passing the Swedish Plus Test along with standard R129 testing, its headrest design has been updated into a V-shape developed with a force-absorbing technology, giving your child the best protection in the event of a collision. The V-shape design of the headrest also makes it easier for your child to see out of the window and helps to avoid head-flop. It also comes with an ASIP pad, which provides additional side impact protection.
How long is the Axkid Minikid 3 rear-facing for?
Unlike its predecessor the Axkid Minikid 2, this version of the car seat is not suitable from birth and can be used rear-facing from when your baby turns roughly 6-months (or 61cm tall) until your child is approximately 7-years-old (or up to 125cm tall and up to 36kg in weight).
How comfortable did your children find the Axkid Minikid 3 car seat?
The high back length leg room was perfect for my 2-year old daughter Lily and will be ideal for use over the next few 4-5 years of her life. Plus, the design of the car seat with the sides cut away meant it was easy for her to climb in and out of the seat herself – giving her some independence and my back a bit of relief.
My eldest daughter, who is currently 6 years old, weighs 21kg and measures 116cm tall, said she found the seat uncomfortable and lacking in legroom. She said it was fine for short car journeys, but she didn’t enjoy the longer trip in the seat. However, I think this is likely down to the fact she is used to sitting front facing.
Does the Axkid Minikid 3 car seat have any unique features?
As well as its main USP of being able to keep your child rear-facing until around the age of 7, the Minikid 3 car seat also comes with a dynamic headrest that adjusts automatically to your child’s length. The feature means you don’t need to worry that the headrest and chest straps are in the correct position. For it to work, you place your child in the seat and make sure the headrest brake level is set to unlock and that the headrest is pushed to the top position.
Next, you place the shoulder straps over your child’s shoulder and then lock the harness by positioning the parts of the buckle that are attached to the shoulder straps together and then pushing them into the buckle until you hear a click. Then, as you pull on the shoulder straps (all while never letting go of the tension), the headrest will lower itself to the correct height and automatically lock in position. When loosening the harness, the headrest moves back up to its top position again and unlocks.
You can also lock the headrest at the top if you prefer and there’s 14 fixed positions to choose from. Axkid have also helpfully included a picture installation guide within the harness pad showing you how to operate the system.
How do you rate the Axkid Minikid 3 straps and headrest system?
The straps and headrest both felt comfortable and hardwearing and I love the concept of the seat’s automatic headrest system, which ensures the headrest always is in the best and safest position for your child. However, my only complaint is that if your child is moving around while you’re trying to tighten the straps or resisting being put in the seat, it’s incredibly hard to keep the tension in the straps.
Once you let go of the tension, you can’t then try and pull the straps down anymore – you have to start the whole process again with the headrest being pushed up to the top position for the system to work, so overall it can be a fiddly process. This view was supported by a customer on Baby World, who said they felt the headrest felt “awkward to adjust because it has to go all the way up before you can lower it and then you have to do it in one go”.
Does the Axkid Minikid 3 car seat feel robust?
The seat feels incredibly robust and sturdy. We’re used to using a Maxi Cosi Pearl seat with an Isofix base, which does have a very slight side-to-side wobble to it. Whereas the Axkid Minikid 3 has no movement at all when correctly installed.
Does the Axkid Minikid 3 car seat recline?
The seat has three recline positions. However, as the recline position is adjusted as part of the installation, you can’t alter it during travel or when your little one falls asleep.
How easy is it to clean?
The covers are all machine washable at 30°C and there are videos on the Axkid website illustrating how to remove the covers correctly.
Is the Axkid Minikid 3 car seat big enough for a growing child?
My youngest loved sitting in the car seat and there’s lots of padding that can be taken away as your child grows. My eldest child wasn’t a fan, but I think that’s because she is used to forward-facing car seats. A customer review on Google noted that they felt their 4-year old daughter had “good space” in the seat and would be able to sit backwards for “a long time”.
How does the Axkid Minikid 3 compare to similar rear-facing car seats?
|Product name||Weight (kg)||Rear-facing?||Size (Hcm x Wcm x Lcm)||RRP (£)|
|Axkid Minikid 3||11kg||Yes from 6-months until 7-years old||H65 cm x W44 cm x L54cm||£460|
|BeSafe iZi Plus X1||12k||Yes, from 6 months until 5-years old||H56 cm x W45 x L65cm||£369|
|Avionaut Sky||10.5kg||Yes, from birth until 6-years old||H63.5cm x W43cm x L51cm||£369|
What’s in the box?
- Car seat
- Tether straps
- ASIP pad
What are the additional accessories that you can buy?
- Summer cover bamboo £50
- Cooling pads £35
- Seat protector premium £44
- Baby mirror £16.50
- Sunshade for windows £9
- Additional tether straps £22
- Backseat organiser £15
- iPad holder £22
- Seat sun shade £33
- Baby cushion £15
Now you’ve tested it, what would you have wanted to know before purchasing the Axkid Minikid 3 car seat?
One of the main things I would have liked to have known is that if you need to move the Minikid 3 from car to car on a regular basis, you will need to purchase additional lower tether anchorage straps to make it easier and quicker to install each time.
Who would the Axkid Minikid 3 car seat be most useful for?
For families who are looking to make a long-term investment and want a sturdy, safe and robust car seat that can take their child rear-facing from 6-months to 7-years old, then the Axkid Minikid 3 could be for you. It’s ideal for both short and long journeys and offers that peace of mind thanks to rigorous safety testing. However, if you often switch your seat from car to car, it might be best to look for a Isofix seat that’s easier to install.
Do you think the Axkid Minikid 3 car seat is worth the money?
At £460, the Axkid Minikid 3 carries a hefty price tag, but you do get a lot of quality and safety features included. While additional accessories can be purchased at your leisure, you don’t have to spend out on an Isofix base for this car seat. If you have the budget up front to buy the Minikid 3, take comfort in the fact it can last up until your child is 7-years-old, meaning you are getting a lot of years for your money.
Where can I buy the Axkid Minikid 3 car seat?
It is available from Axkid, Pram Centre and Direct 4 Baby
It’s clear to see that Axkid has stuck to its ethos of safety being at the forefront of their minds with this car seat, with the Minikid 3 offering sturdiness and comfort alongside its amazing tried and tested safety features.
The fact you can keep your child rear-facing for longer is a massive plus point, and while it may be simple to install once the lower tethers are in place, it’s not straight-forward to move between cars on a daily basis, which may cause issues for some families.
|Dimensions & Weight|
|Child age (approx)||Up to 7 years – not suitable from birth; child needs to be at least 61cm in length|
|Child weight||Up to 36kg|
|Child Height||61cm to 125cm|
|Car seat installation||Seat belt|
|Removeable cover for washing||Yes|
|Height adjustible headrest||Yes|