How to find and pick the best car seats for 15kg+
Your child now weighs 15kg or more (roughly 3 or 4 years of age) and they can use a Group 2/3 car seat. A Group 2/3 car seat lasts until your child is 135cm tall or 36kg (around 11 or 12 years old).
The biggest changes when moving to a Group 2/3 car seat is that your child will probably be ready to sit forward-facing and the 5-point harness or impact shield will now be replaced with an adult car seat belt.
How does a Group 2/3 car seat fit in a car?
Not all car seats fit in all cars, so you need to check the car seat you like can be fitted correctly in your car. Most manufacturers have 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.
When fitting a Group 2/3 car seat you’ll be able to the car 3-point seat belt to install it, but there are a growing number of Group 2/3 child car seats that using ISOFIX systems.
How much will a Group 2/3 car seat cost?
Despite having to last at least 7 years, Group 2/3 car seats are probably the cheapest child seats you’ll need to buy. Prices range from £40 to £200, and there are, of course, the expensive and budget options.
While price is important, it is not an indicator of how safe a car seat is, as all car seats are tested to set safety standards. It’s more important to choose the right seat that works best for you, your car and your child. Remember, don’t settle for second best – or secondhand car seats.
When can I use a booster cushion?
A new law on backless booster car seats (booster cushions) has come into force, so now children will have to be:
- Taller than 125cm tall (4ft1)
- Weigh more than 22kg (3 stone 6.5 pounds) to sit on backless booster cushions
It’s important to note that this rule only applies to brand new products, it does not affect any booster seats that you may currently be using.
You can find all the information on booster seats and backless cushions in our safety article here.
Once I’ve chosen the best car seat what do I do then?
Once you’ve picked your ideal car seat, it’ll have to be fitted in the car. 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.
Here’s our pick of the 13 best Group 2/3 car seats…
Peg Perego Viaggio Flex 2/3 car seat £180 – MadeForMums Awards Gold winner
The Peg Perego Viaggio 2-3 Flex is a seat that go from preschool to secondary (15kg to 36kg). It features a ‘4D Total Adjust technology’ what that means is it’s able to adjusted 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 feature 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,” Anthony, dad-of-two.
“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,” Susie, mum-of-three.
Available from: Amazon and Pram Centre
Recaro Monza Nova Evo car seat, £125 – MadeForMums Awards Silver winner
This silver winner scores very high on ease of installation as it comes equipped with an easy to extend, easy-to-use, snd easy to retract ISOFIX connector, that fits a whole range of cars.
The Recaro Monza Nova Evo car seat also has an Advanced Side Protection system and Anti-static side pads that reduce crash-generated forces to the head and shoulders by 30% and the neck by 20%.
What our MadeForMums Awards judges say about the Recaro Monza Nova Evo car seat:
“This car seat is easy to use, super comfortable for my children and offers great protection. The multi position head rest means it always grows with them,” Becky, mum-of-four.
“This is a really good value seat. It appears to offer enhanced side impact protection, with plenty of padding around vulnerable areas. The adjustable headrest ensures comfort and continued safety as your child grows. We tested the seat in winter so can’t comment on the air circulation claims but this appears to be a good, robust car seat at a decent price,” Claire, mum-of-two.
You can buy the Recaro Monza Nova Evo from: Direct2Mum, Amazon and Uber Kids
Bebylux Advance car seat, £249 – MadeForMums Awards Bronze winner
This seat is technically a Group 1/2/3, but if your little one wants a more grown-up car seat then you’ll certainly find one in the Bebylux Advance. Looks aside, the car seat has safey features galore, ISOFIX connectors, impact absorbing top tether belt tensioning system, 3 levels of Side Impact Protection, four-point recline positions, 5-point headrest adjustment and non-flammable bicast leather coverings.
What our MadeForMums Awards judges say about the Bebylux Advance car seat:
“The Bebylux Advance oozes style and promises to smarten up your car’s interior once again. The seat felt comfortably padded and my tall six-year-old (she’s 125cm) liked the four recline positions. The seat is Isofix and Non-isofix compatible which I really liked as we frequently hire cars and don’t always know what system they will have. The seat also has a narrow slot for the 3-point harness to slot through right before you plug it into the seat belt socket. On the plus side children who have a tendency to reach and unclip themselves while the car is moving would struggle to do this,” mum-of-two, Liz.
“The Bebylux Advance is super comfortable for my 4-year-old thanks to its deep padded seat with memory foam. The adjustable head rest is easy to adjust one-handed – something I’ve found isn’t always the case with car seats. Despite being spacious it still left adequate room between the front of the car seat and the back of my driving seat, so no legs kicking my back while I was driving. Finally, it combines style with substance having a shock absorbing structure and side impact protection. My son loved it and felt very grown up, he actually thought it was a throne!” mum-of-three, Catherine.
Available from: Bebylux
Cosatto Skippa, £140
A bright, super fun-looking car seat that will attract the kids instantly.
The Cosatto is not simply style over substance, this ISOFIX only seat also features side impact protection, 2-position recline, height adjustable back-rest, pop-off, washable fabric covers and a removable drinks holder!
“The seat reclines for long journeys, explains our MFM reviewer, “which is helpful to stop a sleeping child from falling forward, and the material cover pops off really easily and washes well, which is just as well seeing as my daughter stained it with food on its first outing!”
Available from: Amazon, Cosatto and Mothercare
Joie Trillo, £39.99
An adjustable and extendable chair, the Joie Trillo has a massive 7-position backrest, which is impressive and probably the most you’ll encounter in a Group 2/3 seat.
“Fitting this seat is easy peasy,” says our MFM mum, as it’s light, easy and uses the car seat belt. The Trillo has also enhanced safety features and some clever additions, like 2 tuck away cupholders.
Check out the full Trillo review here.
You can buy the Joie Trillo from Amazon or John Lewis
Britax Adventure Highback Booster Seat, £49.99
One of Britax’s classic car seats, this affordable Group 2/3 model has stood the test of time, garnering great feedback from parents over the years.
It’s super lightweight at 3.9kg, so easy to move between cars, and has an adjustable backrest and side impact wings, as well as a pullout drinks holder and snack tray.
Our reviewer said this car seat “ticked all the boxes” and scored it a full 5 out of 5 stars for both ease of fitting in the car and durability. She also loved its “genuine simplicity”.
Check out the full review of the Britax Adventure here.
You can buy the Britax Adventure at Amazon, Argos and Precious Little One.
Diono Monterey 2, £120
The Diono Monterey 2 car seat is installed with either your car’s own seatbelt or ISOFAST (an ISOFIX compatible system that keeps the seat fixed in place when your child’s not in it). The seat is comfy and deep, and can even be adjusted one-handed to accommodate your growing child – height and width-wise.
Read the full Diono Monterey 2 car seat review.
Click here to buy the Diono Monterey 2 on Amazon
Hauck Bodyguard Pro, £149.99
A highly structured car seat with good safety features that gives a high level of comfort. Easy to adjust and suitable for children from 3 – 12 years, this seat has lots of room for adjustment without being overly bulky.
This Hauck chair has seat belt guides, three recline positions and a 6-height adjustable headrest.
When we tested the older version, the original Bodyguard, our MFM mum gave this seat a brilliant 4.5 stars out of 5 in her expert review for its easy fit system, wide range of height and width adjustments, five colour options and soft removable, washable covers.
Check out the full Original Hauck Bodyguard review here.
You can buy the Bodyguard Pro chair from Kiddies Kingdom or Hello Baby
Graco Nautilus Elite, £149.99
An updated version of the much-loved and multi award-winning 1-2-3 Graco Nautilus, the Elite will last your child from the age of 9 months to 12 years and can be used both rear and forward-facing.
Featuring an adjustable width headrest, 5-point safety harness up to 36kg and side impact protection system, the Graco Nautilus Elite also has an integrated cupholder to please your thirsty little ones. The seat is universal when it comes to car compatibility, but if you are unsure on how to install it, Halfords provide a free fitting service.
For more on the Graco Nautilus Elite features read the review.
You can buy the Graco Nautilus Elite from Amazon or Argos.
Britax Kidfix II XP SICT, £225
The newest version of the Britax KID plus SICT car seat, the Kidfix II XP SICT is a forward-facing Group 2/3 high-backed booster seat with a belt harness pad. New to the Britax range for 2015/2016, the Kidfix II XP SICT now features Britax’ patented SecureGuard, which ensures optimal lap belt positioning.
The SecureGuard acts as a 4th attachment point to a seat belt. It helps to keep the belt in an ideal position over the lap and pelvic bones so it better distributes the impact energy involved in frontal collisions.
As well as the guard the XP-PAD and Side Impact Cushion Technology on the seat will take up to 30% of the energy forces away from your child’s neck in the event of a frontal impact, according to Britax.
Quick and easy to swap between cars, the seat is also comfy and can be reclined, which is probably why our MFM tester gave it 4.5 stars out of 5.
Click here to buy the Britax Kidfix II XP SICT from Amazon and Mothercare.
Cybex Solution Q3-Fix, £190
This multi award-winning car seat has already scooped a Red Dot Design Award and a “sehr gut” from Germany’s Auto Bild magazine (Cybex is a German company) for its automatic height and width adjustment features, patented, reclining headrest and side impact protection system.
Our MFM reviewer gave the car seat 4.5 stars out of 5 for its comfort, ease of use and ISOFIX compatibility, but you can read all about its features in our full review.
Click here to buy the Cybex Solution Q-Fix from Kiddies Kingdom and Uber Kids
Concord Transformer T, £194.99
The Concord Transformer T car seat got top marks in our review, and it’s not difficult to see why; a large seat, it can be installed with ISOFIX or your car’s own seatbelt.
Its ease of installation has been commended, and it has great safety features. The intuitive push-button size adjustor is noteworthy, too.
Read the full Concord Transformer T car seat review
Click here to buy the Concord Transformer T on Amazon or order it from Uber Kids.
Joie Every Stage, £159.99
Okay, so this chair is technically an all-stage car seat, not just Group 2/3, but it’s groundbreaking so we thought we’d add it to the list.
The Joie Every Stage Group 0+/1/2/3 chair can face rearward from birth up to 18kg (approx 4 years). And like the Milestone, the Every Stage can be used until your baby grows to be an 11 or 12-year-old pre-teen.
The Every Stage 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 adjust, so there’s no need to rethread the harness.
You can buy the Joie Every Stage from Amazon and Argos.
Find out how long your child’s required to travel in a car seat in our guide to the latest car seat laws.
There’s plenty of choice on the market, so where do you start? Our car seat buyer’s guide is your first port of call, and then our invesigation into whether you need to avoid backless booster seats.
MadeForMums’ product reviews are independent, honest and provide advice you can have confidence in. Sometimes, we earn revenue through affiliate (click-to-buy) links. However, we never allow this to influence our coverage. Our reviews and articles are written by parents who are professional journalists, and we also include feedback from our parent community and industry experts.