Best multistage and combination car seats

We've found the best car seats that'll span all stages and multiple ages, from the Jané Grand to the Joie Every Stage

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Child car seats are always changing, and one of the developing trends comes in the form of multistage or combination car seats.

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There are, generally speaking, 4 multistage or combination car seat groups;

  • Group 0+/1 (from birth to 18kg or around 4 years)
  • Group 1/2 (from 9 to 15 months up to 25kg, roughly 9 months to 5-6 years, but isn’t a very common option)
  • Group 1/2/3 (from 9 to 15 months up to 36kg or when your child is 135cm tall, which is roughly 12 years)
  • Group 0+/1/2/3 (from birth/newborn to 36kg or around 12 years) meaning you’ll only ever have to buy one car seat

Rear facing for longer and the i-Size law

Group 1, or the second stage car seats that most parents use after an infant carrier, have traditionally been forward facing, but this trend is changing with the new i-Size laws. Research shows facing rearwards is a safer option for your child, so now many car seats are rear-facing until your child is 15-months-old and some even go up to 6 years old, which we’ve included below:

Check out this important car seat safety information before buying or fitting your car seat 


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1. Jané Grand, £240, MadeForMums Gold Award Winner 

Age: 9 months to 36kg (9 months – 12 years)

Group: 1/2/3

Seat position: Forward facing to 36kg

Jané takes safety seriously and even has its own research and testing centre, which is where the thoroughly tested, gold award- winning Grand was created.

It has an impressive life span, lasting from around 9 months up to 12 years old, and a host of super-safe features. Made from impact-absorbing materials, it fits easily into the car using Isofix, and has an easy-to-use five-point harness for little ones.

There are three recline positions and an adjustable backrest and headrest so you can find the perfect position to keep your child comfortably settled in their seat. And if your wee passenger has an accident (or a snacks-ident!) you can remove and wash the upholstery.

What our MadeForMums Awards Judges say about the Jané Grand:

“I really like this. Design wise it is stunning, not overly complicated. It has a deep, wide seat for the comfort of the child.” Baby-wearing expert and mum of 2, Rachel Coy

“What a fantastic product! Firstly, it looks great. The materials are all really high quality and the little leather and suede touches make it really smart looking. My son thinks now calls it his ‘sports car seat’ and is excited to climb into it (no more wrestling!). It was so quick and easy to install, and using the Isofix anchors and indicators meant my mind was put completely at ease that it was safely installed. The seat itself is quite deep, creating more leg room and making it very comfortable – perfect for long journeys and growing children. It is excellent value for money!” Mum of 2, Rachel

You can buy the Jané Grand from: AmazonJané and Mothercare.

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2. Britax Advansafix III SICT, £200, MadeForMums Silver Award Winner

Age: 9 months to 36kg (9 months – 12 years)

Group: 1/2/3

Seat position: Forward facing to 36kg

A ” safe, secure and snug car seat” (says our MFM mum reviewer) the Britax ADVANSAFIX II SICT is not only suitable from 9kg to 36kg it also has ISOFIX connectors, a 5-point safety harness, and a top tether.

And for added safety, or for larger babies, the 5-point harness can be used until 25kg!

We’ve got the full review of the car seat here.

What our MadeForMums Awards Judges say about the Britax Advansafix III SICT:

“This is the best car seat I’ve come across! As well as the Isofix base, the ‘top tether’ system literally anchors the seat to your car, gives added peace of mind. The seat is padded and super comfy and there’s the added option of a side impact protection fitting. It is really easy to adjust to the shape and height of your child, and I love the fact that this seat will last from babyhood to toddlerhood and beyond. It’s great value for money.” Mum of 3, Natalie

“The instructions were so clear I was able to fit it into the car within a few minutes. It felt very sturdy and secure as though it was a permanent fixture in the car. I like that it has the tether for extra security, and the added side impact piece that you put on the door side of the seat – it’s great that this is removable for if you change the position of the seat in the car at any point. The seat seems comfortable and well made – it’s nicely padded.” Mum of 3, Carly

You can buy the Britax Advansafix III SICT from: Amazon, John Lewis and Mothercare.

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3. Joie Every Stage FX, £200, MadeForMums Joint Bronze Award Winner

Age: Birth to 36kg (newborn  – 12 years)

Group: 0+1/2/3

Seat position: Rear facing to 4 years, then forward facing to 36kg (12 years) can be used forward facing from 9 months to 36kg (12 years)

Winning the Joint Bronze Award for the best multistage car seat in the MadeForMums awards is the Joie Every Stage FX.

A Group 0+/1/2/3 car seat that goes from birth all the way to 12 years it really is the only car seat you’ll ever need to buy. And with the fantastic price tag of £200 (that’s £16.67 per year, 4.5p per day) it’s easy to see why our testers were impressed.

The Joie Every Stage also allows babies and kids to sit facing rearward from birth up to 18kg (approx. 4 years) – longer than the Graco Milestone (our No 7), which offers rear-facing until your child weighs 13kg (approx. 15 months).

The Every Stage also features 5 recline positions, side impact protection, a 10-height headrest and side wings that widen as the headrest is raised. It also has a 5–point harness that simultaneously adjusts as the headrest is adjusted, so there’s no need to rethread the harness.

What our MadeForMums Awards judges say about the Joie Every Stage FX car seat:

“One car seat that will see you through until 12 years! Amazing!  Six recline options, which is good and it’s rear facing.  An amazing buy – would be great for sharing between parents/grandparents/nannies etc. The also lies quite flat when reclined, which is a bonus.” Mum of 4, Lucy

“Impressed with the longevity and the ease of use. Feels like a second car seat. Great value for money.”  Mum of 2, Sonali

“Outstanding value for money for a car seat that can last from newborn to 12 years. Recline function incredibly easy to use, well-padded and lovely, soft fabric. Seatbelt installation only may not appeal to all but great features for the price.” MFM Reviews Editor Magda Ibrahim

Read our full Joie Every Stage review

You can buy the Joie Every Stage car seat from MothercareArgosHalfords or Amazon.

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4. Ickle Bubba Solar Group 1-2-3 Isofix and Recline Car Seat, £169, MadeForMums Joint Bronze Award Winner

Age: 9 months to 36kg (9 months – 12 years)

Group: 1/2/3

Seat position: Forward facing to 36kg

It may have a cutesy name but this car seat has some seriously sophisticated features, winning it our joint bronze award this year.

It’s a forward-facing Group 1-2-3 car seat, with integrated Isofix fitting (it’s also seatbelt compatible), and a top tether strap for added security. Luxury stay-cool fabric (no more sweaty bodies after long journeys), a magnetic buckle retainer and a well-padded five-point safety harness also won approval from our parent judges.

It has three recline positions and the latest safety features such as side-impact technology.

What our MadeForMums Awards Judges say about the Ickle Bubba Solar Group 1-2-3 Isofix and Recline Car Seat:

“This is a lovely car seat that will see you through a good chunk of your child’s life. It has a great recline function, uses lovely materials, features nifty design details, such as a magnetic button to hold open straps in place and automatic strap adjustment, and feels all-round well-made and secure.” Mum of 2, Anna

“It is really easy to fit and looks gorgeous. My little girl is definitely happy with the comfort of the seat and she always falls asleep in it. I love that it came with the sun visors as they really helped out!  All-in-all a great-looking, comfortable product.” Mum of 1, Hannah

You can buy the Ickle Bubba Solar Group 1-2-3 Isofix and Recline Car Seat from: Amazon, Kiddies Kingdom and Precious Little One.

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5. Recaro Zero 1 Elite, £399, MadeForMums Silver Award Winner for rear-facing for longer car seat

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

Group: 0+/1

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.

What our MadeForMums reviewers say about the Recaro Zero 1 Elite 5 car seat:

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

“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.” Mum of 3, Melanie

You can buy the Recaro Zero 1 Elite from Uber Kids and Hello Baby.

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6. Multimac, £1500-2000

Age: Birth to 36kg (newborn  – 12 years)

Group: 1/2/3

Seat position: Up to 4 seats rear facing to 9 months, then forward facing to 36kg (12 years)

If you need a car seat that can easily fit 3 or 4 children in the back of the car then the Multimac is sure to be the best one for you.

Made to fit most medium-sized cars, the Multimac can be used from birth to 12 years in a variety of combinations, one of which includes rear-facing to 3 years.

Multimac tether straps are bolted on to the rear seat belt buckle mountings in your car, leaving the adult belts in place.  That means you can fit the seat in easily and remove it quickly, if you need to, so adults can still sit in the back.

You can buy the Multimac from Multimac’s website.

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7. Graco Milestone, £149.99

Age: Birth to 36kg (newborn – 12 years)

Group: 1/2/3

Seat position: Rear facing to 12-15 months, then forward facing to 36kg (12 years)

This car seat is one of a revolutionary breed of complete multi-stage seats – an all-stage – meaning you’d only need one car seat to take your child from birth to 12 years.

The Graco Milestone is quick to install with the car seat belt, sturdy and easy to clean. One thing to note, the Milestone enables your child to be rear-facing until 13kg (around 15 months), so not as long as the similar all-stage Joie Every Stage, our Gold award-winner above.

But considering it’s £149.99, it’s cheaper than many baby car seats that will last just over a year, that’s quite something.

Read our full Graco Milestone review

You can buy the Graco Milestone car seat at Amazon and from Argos.

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8. Bebylux Alexa car seat, £295

Age: 9kg – 18kg (roughly 9 months – 4 years)

Group: 1/2/3

Seat position: Forward-facing only

A new car seat company on the market, Bebylux make luxury car seats, but charge affordable prices and the Alexa is the brand’s Group 1/2/3 seat.

Universal fit, meaning it can be installed in a car seat with a seat belt or ISOFIX, it also features side impact protection, has a top tether system and 4 recline positions.

Keeping with the luxury ethos of the brand, every seat is made of non-flammable bicast leather, which, according to our reviewer, makes it really easy to wipe clean.

You can find out more about the Bebylux Alexa in our full review here.

You can buy the Bebylux Alexa from BabyPlanet and Amazon.

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9. Joie Stages, £150

Age suitability: Birth to 25kg (newborn – 7 years)

Group: 0+/1/2

Seat position: Rear facing to 4 years, but can be used forward facing from 9 months to 25kg (7 years)

One of the best-selling Joie car seats in the UK, the Stages is a Group 0+/1/2 seat that’s suitable from birth to 25kg, which is around 6 to 7 years. It can be used as a rear-facing until 4 years or it can be used in the forward-facing position from 9 months.

When our MFM dad and his sons tested the seat, he found the Stages to be comfortable, safe and easy to adapt between the multiple stages and really easy to recline too!

You can buy the Joie Stages from Halfords, Argos or Smyths Toys.

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10. Peg Perego Viaggio Flex 2/3 car seat, £180, MadeForMums Gold Award Winner for Group 2/3 car seat

Age suitability: 15kg to 36kg (3 years – 12 years)

Group: 2/3

Seat position: Forward-facing only

The Peg Perego Viaggio 2-3 Flex is a seat that goes from preschool to secondary (15kg to 36kg). It features a ‘4D Total Adjust technology’, which means it is able to adjust in four different directions, which are all independent from one another.

So, the headrest can be adjusted in 5 positions, the backrest and headrest can be adjusted in 3 positions; the sides open out so the width of the seat can be extended up to 10cm and the seat can be reclined to 5 positions.

The Viaggio 2-3 Flex also features an “All Side Impact Protection” system with reinforced aluminium frame and side wings lined with EPS Styrofoam.

What our MadeForMums Awards judges say about the Peg Perego Viaggio Flex 2/3 car seat:

“This car seat has an impressively intuitive design. The handles which change the size are easy to find and just as easy to use. It folds up quickly and compactly, and it’s really light. It’s a great car seat,” Dad of 2, Anthony

“What an interesting car seat. Bursting with innovation, which is unusual in the group 2-3 market. Love the slimness of the base, the widening of the side wings, ease of use and the fact that it folds down to easy travel size.” Mum of 3,  Susie

You can buy the Peg Perego Viaggio 2-3 Flex from Amazon and Pram Centre

Don’t miss these important safety guidelines before buying or fitting your car seat:

1. Car seat law – read the latest law update and the exceptions

2. Safety – While price is important, and not actually an indicator of how safe it is, don’t settle for second best – or secondhand.

3. i-Size – In a few years (thought to be 2018) all new infant car seats sold in the UK will have to be i-Size (ECE R129) seats, which enables children to sit rear-facing until they are at least 15 months. You can find out more about i-Size legislation here.

4. How it fits in your car – not all car seats fit in all cars, and incorrectly fitted seats can be dangerous – so make sure you get it professionally fitted. Some manufacturers also offer a quick online checking service, such as Britax’s Fit-Finder or Maxi-Cosi’s car fitting list. Have your car’s make, model and year of production close to hand for fast checking.

5. ISOFIX – This is a type of fitting, which makes it easy to install your car seat correctly into your car. However, not all cars have ISOFIX – so check your car is compatible before buying. And remember, some ISOFIX car seats can also be fitted into a non-ISOFIX car with a seat belt.

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