MadeForMums reviews are independent and based on expertise and testing. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission, but this never influences our product choices.

The 10 best car seats for children from 4 years

We’ve found the best Group 2/3 car seats for your child, including ISOFIX and belted options, reviewed by experts and tested by parents

THUMBNAIL

Once your child reaches 18kg in weight (around the age of 4), they’ll need to move to a Group 2/3 car seat. Group 2/3 car seats cater for roughly ages 4 years to 12 years and are designed for children who weigh 15kg to 36kg (33-79lbs or 2 stone 4lbs to 5 stone 9lbs). If you use an i-Size car seat, height is generally used as a size suitability guide.

Advertisement

To help you decide which group 2/3 car seat is best for your family and your car, we’ve analysed and extensively researched the market, and rigorously tested over 250 car seats including more than 50 car seats for children aged from 4 years.

Each of our top 10 recommended group 2/3 car seats, below, has been used regularly by a journalist and their child over a period of at least 2 weeks. We’ve also combined these results with feedback from parents, as well as taking into account results from ADAC testing – Europe’s leading car seat safety tester organisation.

Jump to our pick of the best car seats from 4 years

What to consider when choosing a group 2/3 car seat for your child

How do you install it? Group 2/3 car seats are high-backed booster seats and may use the car’s 3-point seat belt or ISOFIX .

  • Seat belt installation – The car’s 3-point seat belt secures both the child and the seat. The seat will have guides through which the seat belt must be threaded correctly. The belt should then rest securely over your child’s thighs.
  • ISOFIX – Some booster seats use an ISOFIX system to keep it securely in place, in addition to using the car’s seat belt. These seats will feature connectors that slot into special anchorage points built into the seat of your car. This makes the seat more stable, secure and simpler to use. However, it’s still the car seat belt that will strap your child in. You can find out if an ISOFIX car seat is approved for your car model by asking the manufacturer, or checking on their website. Some booster seats use ISOFIX, but can also be secured using only your car seat belt if you don’t have this system.

We recommend you get your car seat fitted by a trained car seat installation advisor (appointed by the manufacturer) if you can.

Do you want an i-Size car seat? i-Size is a Europe-wide car seat regulation that offers more safety requirements than the earlier R44/04 regulation (both safety regulations are still current and legal and run side-by-side). i-Size is designed to keep children rear-facing for longer, provide better side impact protection and make car seats easier to fit correctly by using ISOFIX. Research indicates ISOFIX makes it easier for parents to install car seats safely and correctly (car seat checking events found over 65% of car seats were not installed correctly). The first i-Size-compatible seats were for group 0+ and 1 car seats, but now more i-Size group 2/3 seats are becoming available.

How big is the car seat? Group 2/3 car seats do vary in size. Group 2/3 car seats can be as slim as 40cm wide (meaning it’s easier to squeeze in 3 side-by-side in the back) or they can be as wide as 60cm or more. Do you want something slimline to have more space in the back of our car? Or would you like extra width for a comfier fit your child? Hieght might also be relevant if your child is on the tall side.

How heavy is it? Group 2/3 car seats can weigh as little as 4.5kg or as much as 11kg. If you think you’ll be moving it regularly from car to car, you might want something fairly light and portable. Around 7kg means it’s sturdy but still portable.

Does it have additional safety features?  Some car seats offer even higher safety features than are legally required. Seats that say they have added side impact protection will offer extra peace of mind, as they are designed to absorb and distribute the impact of side crashes with extra protection. Different brands will have different safety systems so take some time to read what each seat offers in terms of safety.

How comfortable will the seat be for long journeys? Is the seat well-padded? What does the fabric feel like? What about the headrest? Does it recline, if your child likes to snooze in the car?

How long will the seat last? Will the seat accommodate your child comfortably as they grow? How many height positions does it have in the headrest, and does it widen at the same time?

Any extras? Something like a cup holder might seem like a small, unimportant feature, but it’s something that kids enjoy using. And happy children mean a calmer car journey.

Are backless booster cushions group 2/3 car seats?

No, backless boosters are just group 3 car seats. On some high-backed Group 2/3 car seats, the back can be removed once children weigh 22kg so it can be used as a backless booster. However, it’s recommended, for additional safety, that you keep the back in place, as a booster seat or cushion alone offers no side or back protection during a crash.

From 9 February 2017, the law states that new backless booster seats can only be used by children over 125cm and weighing more than 22kg (often around age 6, though this will vary). It’s legal to use one that was made before February 2017  but it’s still recommended that you choose a seat with a back.

Until what age can a group 2/3 seat be used?

These seats last until your child is 135cm tall, or 36kg (11/12 years old). Children must legally use a child car seat until they are 12 years old or 135cm (4ft 5in) tall, which ever comes first.

How much do group 2/3 car seats cost?

Prices vary considerably in this category. The most basic high-backed booster chairs can cost as little as £30-40. For something sturdier, comfier and with more advanced safety features, you could pay as much as £250. You should be able to purchase a decent mid-range booster car seat for £100 to £150.

The best car seats for children from 4 years based on our reviews and parent feedback

1. Joie Traver, £79.99

An affordable all-rounder

Suitable for: 3.5 years/15kg to 12 years/36kg | Weight: 5.68kg | Dimensions: 40.9cm x 55.5 cm x 85.4cm | i-Size: No | Installation: Both ISOFIX and seat belt

This is a particularly tempting seat option if comfort is a priority. MFM reviewer Joe, who tested the seat with his nearly 4-year-old child, commented that it was “a lot more comfortable and less restrictive than some of the more expensive seats in the class”. Memory foam cushions and padded armrests add to the ultra-comfy feel, as well as the 7 height positions on the headrest which can easily be adjusted with one hand.

The seat attaches using the ISOFIX system for simple, secure fitting. And weighing in at a light 5.68kg, the Traver is easy to switch between vehicles. However if rear space is an issue, one of the drawbacks is that the seat is on the wide side. This was also something highlighted in ADAC testing.

A MFM Triple Tested Best Buy, the Traver also impressed our testers and MFM reviewer Joe with the ‘Guard Surround Safety’ side impact panels, protecting your child’s head, body and hips. This was also reflected in ADAC testing where the seat scored highly with a “very low risk of injury” in the event of a side collision.

Pros: Comfortable, easy to install, good value, light
Cons: On the wide side, not i-Size

Read our full MadeForMums review of the Joie Traver

Available from: Amazon, Halfords and Smyths Toys

2. BeSafe iZi Flex Fix iSize, £249.00

Exceptional safety features 

Suitable for: 4 to 12 years/100cm to 150cm | Weight: 7kg | Dimensions: 42cm x 52cm x 64cm | i-Size: Yes | Installation: ISOFIX only

The iZi Flex Fix, from Scandinavian brand BeSafe, was the first group 2/3 seat to conform with i-Size. While this seat is definitely on the pricey side, you’re paying for  superior safety features – which is, after all, the whole point of a car seat.

BeSafe’s SIP+ system exceeds current safety regulations, with the seat’s side panels deforming like a car’s crumple zone under pressure. There are additional side-impact bumpers (removable, so watch that they don’t get lost). And there’s a lap-belt guide, to help you position the belt correctly, which we all know can be tricky.

At 7kg, this seat is pretty portable and has a useful carry handle – 66% of parents surveyed by MFM gave this seat 8/10 or higher for easy transferring between cars. “It’s relatively lightweight, versatile and adjustable,” said MFM reviewer Anna, mum to a 5 year old, “and it’s packed full of features that will do their best to keep your growing child safe.”

Pros: i-Size, carry handle for portability
Cons: Higher price point, needs ISOFIX

Read our full MadeForMums review of the BeSafe iZi Flex Fix i-Size

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

3. Maxi-Cosi Kore Pro i-Size, £219

Best for establishing independence

Suitable for: 4 to 12 years/100cm to 150cm | Weight: 6.1kg | Dimensions: 44cm x 51cm x 58.5cm | i-Size: Yes | Installation: Both ISOFIX and seat belt

Maxi-Cosi is a well-respected name in car seats, and the Kore Pro i-Size is its first i-Size Group 2/3 seat.

MFM reviewer and mum of 2, Jo, was impressed by its solid shell, and safety features including the Side Protection System Plus (SPS), which combines shock absorbers and energy-absorbing material. The Kore Pro is ISOFIX and easy to install.

This seat has a feature called Click Assist (which distinguishes it from its sibling, the standard Kore i-Size). This built-in light helps your child find and secure their buckle even when it’s dark. It’s designed to encourage independence, and is a potential godsend for parents who’d had their fill of twisting around in dim conditions. While admitting this feature is a little gimmicky, MFM reviewer Jo found it useful in low-light situations such as multi-storey car parks.

This seat also scores well on the comfort factor. One MFM user commented, “Even though my wee one was at the minimum height, it was a comfortable and safe seat.” The seat also offers a smooth motion that raises the headrest and ‘grows’ the rest of the seat at the same time, which was our MFM reviewer’s favourite feature. However keep in mind that there is no recline function.

Pros: i-Size, Click-Assist light, easy to adjust
Cons: Higher price point, no recline function

Read our full MadeForMums review of the Maxi-Cosi Kore Pro i-Size

Available from: Maxi-Cosi, John Lewis and Amazon

4. Britax Kidfix III M, £210

Best for taller children

Suitable for: 3.5 to 12 years/15 to 36kg | Weight: 7.5kg | Dimensions: 43cm x 54cm x 67-85cm | i-Size: No | Installation: Both ISOFIX and seat belt

Made by Britax, another trusted car seat name, the Kidfix III M is a sturdy high-backed chair that focuses on safety features. This includes additional side impact protection which twists out of the seat on the side of the car door for extra protection.

It also features SecureGuard, a patented design feature which helps keep the seatbelt in an optimal position over your child’s lap, and acts as a fourth attachment point.

This smart feature really hit the mark with our MFM reviewer, Anna, mum to a tall 5 year old. She said, “I really like this – it helps with the transition from toddler to booster seat, as it takes the guesswork out of the seatbelt fastening.” She was also a fan of the ISOFIX installation. “It felt very secure with not much give in the seat.”

This is a seat that has generous height dimensions, also highlighted in ADAC testing, which means it’s designed to accommodate taller children with its longer seated area. The seat’s comfort is also one of the most popular features, according to parent reviews.

Pros: Additional side impact protection, SecureGuard keeps seatbelt in optimal position, spacious for taller children
Cons: Higher price point, not i-Size

Read our full MadeForMums review of the Britax Kidfix III M

Available from: Britax, Uber Kids and Kiddies Kingdom

5. Cybex Solution Z i-Fix, £189.95

Best for adjustment 

Suitable for: 3.5 to 12 years/15-36kg or 100-150cm | Weight: 7.14kg | Dimensions: 40.5cm x 53cm x 62.5cm | i-Size: Yes | Installation: Both ISOFIX and seat belt

Created by German company Cybex, this premium seat is particularly focused on protecting your child’s head. Cybex safety pads are part of the headrest, designed to guide you child’s head into a safe position in the event of an accident. This seat also features added side-impact protection, which offers increased safety of around 25% in the event of a side-impact collision according to Cybex.

MFM reviewer Puneet was particularly impressed by the reclining feature on the headrest. “It was by far the best feature for me – it’s really easily reclined and a much comfier position for a sleeping child.”

The seat has 12 height settings and clever automatic width-adjustment that can be done one-handed. MFM reviewer Puneet found the seat to be a great fit for her 2 kids. “It was equally comfortable for both my 5 and 8 year old, so it’s great if you’re hoping to use it for children of different sizes and ages.”

We also like the integration of the smart air ventilation system to keep the seat cooler, reducing sweatiness during our long, hot summers. However our reviewer did find the fabric on her Autumn Gold model marked easily.

Pros: i-Size, Reclining headrest, lots of adjustment levels, well-ventilated
Cons: Fabric marks easily

Read our full MadeForMums review of the Cybex Solution Z i-Fix

Available from: Amazon, Halfords and Uber Kids

6. Silver Cross Discover, £150

Best for quality materials

Suitable for: 3.5 to 12 years/15 to 36kg | Weight: 8.7 kg | Dimensions: 46cm x 48cm x 64cm | i-Size: No | Installation: Both ISOFIX and seat belt

This seat from heritage brand Silver Cross sits firmly in the mid-price range, and boasts features including ISOFIX connectors for easy installation and expanding side wings that protect from impact. There are also 5 headrest positions – so offering flexibility although less adjustable than some competitors.

The quality bamboo seating fabric is hypoallergenic and antibacterial, and designed to be cool against your child’s skin – a win for 50% of Amazon reviewers as well as our MFM reviewer Anna, who tested the seat with her 5 year old. In the heat of summer, she found her daughter “never complained of stickiness”.

If you find installation instructions daunting (who doesn’t), this seat arrives with an app, Car Safety Made Simple, which takes you via a QR code on the side of the seat to the installation guide, though our reviewer Anna thought that this was a nice-to-have but not essential.

While the Discover doesn’t necessarily flaunt numerous “bells and whistles” (such as cup holders or side pockets, for example), it feels sturdy and compares well to similar mid-range seats. Anna especially liked the fact this seat was easy to install with ISOFIX, but did find it “on the snug side” for taller kids.

Pros: Quality bamboo fabric, app to help with installation, stylish
Cons: Less adjustable than some seats, snug for taller kids, not i-Size

Read our full MadeForMums review of the Silver Cross Discover

Available from: Silver Cross, Amazon and John Lewis

7. Maxi-Cosi Rodifix Air Protect, £150

Best for head protection technology

Suitable for: 3.5 to 12 years/15 to 36kg| Weight: 6.15 kg | Dimensions: 49cm x 51cm x 63.5cm | i-Size: No | Installation: Both ISOFIX and seat belt

The Maxi-Cosi Rodifix car seat is cheaper than the company’s Kore Pro, but still scores highly on a number of counts, including safety and ease of installing.

MFM reviewer Eddi, who used the seat with her 5 year old, loved the simplicity of set up. “Unlike some other car seat models where you have to faff around trying to get fiddly fixtures working, this operates with a simple press of a button on either side of the seat so that two bars slide forward and slot straight into the ISOFIX hooks in your car.” ADAC testing also found installation to be “very easy and quick”.

The Rodifix’s features also include Special AirProtect technology, designed to give the best possible side protection and reducing the risk of head and neck injury by 20% according to Maxi-Cosi.

It’s another seat that offers simultaneous height and width adjustment to make life easier (and comfier). There are 2 recline positions although tester Eddi found these, in practice, a little stiff to use effectively with her 5 year old.

Pros: Easy to install, AirProtect technology, simultaneous height/width adjustment
Cons: Stiff recline function, not i-Size

Read our full MadeForMums review of the Maxi-Cosi Rodifix Air Protect

Available from: Maxi-Cosi, Amazon and Halfords

8. Diono Monterey 2 CXT, £139

Comfort built in to safety features

Suitable for: 3.5-12 years/15-36kg| Weight: 7.1 kg | Dimensions: 41cm x 49.5cm x 65cm | i-Size: No | Installation: Both ISOFIX and seat belt

This mid-range group 2/3 car seat has a great range of features including AirTek foam seat padding – safety technology giving the seat a soft, plush feel as well as absorbing energy. The previous version of the Monterey was the first-ever car seat to expand in height and width back in 2007, and its successor, the Monterey 2, has this feature plus metal reinforcements and increased side-impact protection.

Out of the box, the seat comes in 2 parts that are clicked together, and Isofast fixings clip onto the ISOFIX metal rods in the car – you just pull on fabric straps to secure it into place. Our MFM reviewer, Janet, mum to a 6 year old, found the Monterey 2 easy to install, and reported that it felt secure and sturdy once fitted. She said, “My kids are quite active, and I think it will survive them constantly moving while sitting in it!”

With 11 headrest positions and 2 recline positions, it also offers superb comfort for growing kids. Children will also enjoy the fact that it comes with retractable, extra-deep cup holders each side. Janet said, “These were a huge hit with my daughter. She opens them as soon as she settles into the seat – even if she’s got nothing to put in them!”

Keep in mind that some testers report the seat cover is hard to clean with ADAC testing scoring it down for the fact it has to be hand washed.

Pros: Easy to install, 2 recline position, AirTeak foam padding
Cons: Cover isn’t machine washable, not i-Size

Read our full MadeForMums review of the Diono Monterey 2

Available from: Diono and Amazon

9. Graco Affix, £60

Best lightweight budget option

Suitable for: 3.5 to 12 years/15 to 36kg| Weight: 4.5 kg | Dimensions: 43cm x 51.9m x 81.4cm| i-Size: No | Installation: Both ISOFIX and seat belt

The Graco Affix is a tempting budget option – you may even find it for under £50 if you shop around. This neat group 2/3 seat is lightweight at just 4.5kg, so a great option for frequently swapping between cars and travelling in taxis or hired cars. MFM reviewer Rebecca, mum to 5-year-old Fergus, reported, “Despite being light, it feels sturdy and solid.”

With 6 headrest positions, one-handed adjustment and protective sidewings with built-in impact protection, this seat mirrors the features of some of the more expensive options in this category.

The seat is installed using ISOCATCH metal clasps which you clip into the ISOFIX connectors in your car and secure by pulling the front tether.

MFM users also reported that kids loved the in-built cupholder – something that other more expensive models often lack. One user commented, “My daughter loves the cup holder it has as it makes her feel grown-up.”

The lack of recline or width-adjusting features means this may not make such a great day-to-day group 2/3 car seat for everyone. But if you’re on a budget, or need a spare or something for travel, it’s a great option.

Pros: Affordable, lightweight, portable, integrated cupholders
Cons: No recline or width-adjusting features, not i-Size

Read our full MadeForMums review of the Graco Affix

Available from: Amazon, Smyths Toys and Uber Kids

10. Mifold Hifold Fit and Fold booster, £155

Unique foldable travel car seat

Suitable for: 3.5 to 12 years/15 to 45kg| Weight: 4.6 kg | Dimensions: 39.7cm x 48cm x 75.5cm | Dimensions folded: 25cm x 34.4cm x 34.4cm | i-Size: No | Installation: 3-point seat belt

Lightweight and compact, this unique folding group 2/3 seat is well worth a look if you’re after something ultra-portable for travel or occasional use in other people’s cars.

What sets this seat apart from other portable seats is its additional features that ramp up its safety profile. As our MFM reviewer Anna said, “The Hifold is unlike anything on the market – a super-compact travel booster, that includes a headrest and extra side-impact safety.”

It’s also easily adjustable to multiple heights and widths – in fact, there are 243 combinations, according to Mifold. There’s no ISOFIX here, however – you’ll only be using your car’s seat belt to fit it. You might also need to watch the instruction video and read the instructions carefully to get things right when fixing, according to Anna.

Anna was especially impressed by the fact that, although it’s foldable, it’s suitable for 4 year olds as well as older children. “The fact that it has guides for both the lap and shoulder belts as well as headrest protection makes me much happier and more confident to use this booster for my younger child,” she said. “This product is a real game-changer for me.”

However, if safety is your main concern, it’s worth considering that this isn’t group 2/3 seat designed for frequent day-to-day use – a lightweight, folding booster inevitably won’t have the same crash protection as sturdier seats.

Pros: Foldable, compact, slim, lots of adjustment options, offers more protection than portable backless booster seats
Cons: Not designed for daily use, lacks padding, pricey for travel booster, not i-Size

Read our full MadeForMums review of the MiFold HiFold Fit and Fold

Available from: Kiddies Kingdom, Pramworld and Huggle

Advertisement

Read More…

Comments ()

Please read our Chat guidelines.