How to find and choose the best car seat for your 9-month-old
Once your baby weighs more than 9kg (often around the age of 9 months), you can use a Group 1, Group 1/2 or Group 1/2/3 car seat.
- A Group 1 car seat is suitable for a baby weighing from 9kg to 18kg, which is roughly 9 months to 4 years.
- A Group 1/2 combination or multi-group car seat is suitable from 9kg to 25kg, roughly 9 months to 5-6 years, but isn’t a very common option
- A Group 1/2/3 combination car seat is suitable from 9kg to 36kg or when your child is 135cm tall, which is roughly 9 months to 12 years.
When is my child ready for a forward-facing seat?
Children can start to sit forward-facing when they move to a Group 1 car seat, so from around 9 to 15 months. Group 1 seats have traditionally been forward facing, but this trend is changing with the new i-Size laws and following research that shows facing rearwards is a safer option.
There is also a growing trend of rear-facing for longer seats on the market, meaning there’s no need to move your baby on to a forward-facing seat as soon as they reach 9 – 15 months, in fact they can sit rear-facing up to 5 years.
What is i-Size?
In a few years (thought to be 2020) 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.
What is ISOFIX?
ISOFIX is a system that allows you to fit a car seat into your car. An alternative to fitting a car seat with a car seat belt, ISOFIX car seats have two metal 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, 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.
Can I still use seat belts to fit a Group 1 car seat?
Yes, there are still seat belted chairs, they are called Universal fit seats, and they can be fitted in most cars. It is worth noting that these kind of chairs are gradually being replaced by ISOFIX chairs.
Booster seat law and changes:
A new law on backless booster car seats (booster cushions) has come into force. The regulation says that children shorter than 125cm tall (4ft1) or weighing less than 22kg (3 stone 6.5 pounds) should not sit on 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.
How does a toddler car seat fit in a car?
Not all car seats fit in all cars. So you need to check if 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. And remember, not all cars have ISOFIX – so check your car’s compatibility for ISOFIX too.
How much can I expect to spend on a Group 1 or Group 1/2/3 car seat?
Like anything when it comes to parenting products, prices can vary from budget to luxuriously expensive. But on average a second stage car seat costs around £200. While price is important, and not actually an indicator of how safe a car seat is, 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.
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 are the best car seats from 9 months:
1. Diono Radian 5, £189.99 – MadeForMums Gold Award Winner for best rear-facing for longer car seat
Age: Birth – 25kg (birth – 6 years)
Seat position: Rear facing from birth to 6 years, but can be used forward-facing from 9 months 6 years
The Diono Radian 5 won our gold award for best rear-facing for longer car seat because it allows children to sit rearward facing in this seat from birth until a whopping 5 or 6 years!
There is, of course, an option for kids to sit in the forward position once they reach 9kg (around nine months), but it’s recommended children sit rear-facing for as long as possible.
Great for newborns, the Group 0+ mode comes with an infant insert, but it’s also an ideal seat for heavier babies and toddlers too, as the 5-point harness can be used up until 25kg.
That’s a brilliant feature when you think that most car seat harnesses usually only go up to 18kg. That means if you don’t want your child to use the car’s own seat belt too early they can continue to use the harness.
The Radian also folds for storage or transporting, and comes with added extras like a cup holder.
Safety aspects of the seat include a steel frame, reinforced sides and super grip harness pads to reduce the impact of crash forces, and there’s a Diono lifetime warranty, great for peace of mind.
What our MadeForMums judges say about the Diono Radian 5 car seat:
“The build quality of the Diono Radian 5 is exceptional and the fact you can use it from birth to approximately 6-years-old in the rear-facing position is very appealing. It’s sturdy and well-made and the fabric felt soft yet durable which is perfect for little one’s skin and wear & tear. Fitting was straight forward with little fuss. As was putting the little on into the seat itself. She was comfortable throughout testing and even fell asleep twice without slumping forward (due to the well-designed harness,” Mum of 1, Christina
“A great concept, it’s robust and good at its job. Once it’s fitted it’s good and goes to 25kg which is great!” Child seat safety expert Julie Dagnall
Read the full Diono Radian 5 review here.
You can buy the Diono Radian 5 from Diono, Precious Little One, and Uber Kids.
2. BeSafe Izi Modular i-Size and base, £430 – MadeForMums Bronze Award Winner for rear-facing for longer
Age suitability: 6 months – 18kg (6 months – 4 years)
Seat position: Forward and rear facing from 6 months to approx. 4 years (105 cm tall)
Scooping our bronze award in the best extended rear-facing car seat category is the BeSafe Izi Modular i-Size. Not only is certified under the new i-Size law, the seat is rear-facing to 4 years and can be used with an ISOFIX base.
It also features a 5-point harness, with magnetic attachments, so when you’ve undone the harness and you need to keep it out of the way to get baby out, it will stay it out of way.
What our MadeForMums judges say about the BeSafe Izi Modular i-Size car seat:
“I liked how sturdy yet lightweight this product was. And it was super comfortable for my son. It was easy to install, and within 20 minutes of opening the box we were in the car and ready to go. I like how it offers rear facing for longer than other car seats, with more leg room – a bonus for someone like me who has a toddler with really long legs,” Mum of 1, Catherine
“Good leg room, good recline and the quality of the seat is great.” Child seat safety expert Claire Waterhouse
You can buy the BeSafe Izi Modular car seat from John Lewis and Hello Baby.
3. Jané Grand, £240 – MadeForMums Gold Award Winner for best multistage and combination car seats
Age: 9 months to 36kg (9 months – 12 years)
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.
The seat 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.
Is there a safety issue with the Jané Grand?
You may have seen a recent safety test reported by consumer group Which? that concluded the Group car seat is unsafe in the event of a front impact crash. Car seat maker Jané issued a recall for its Group 1,2,3 car seat Jané Grand, but is disputing the claims that the seat is unsafe.
Jané claims this movement is still within the parameters of the ADAC Eurotest “and at no time did the Grand car seat become detached from the ISOFIX mountings as inaccurately stated” [in the report].
As soon as the results were known, Jané physically inspected all Grand car seats in the UK and found them to be safe.
Read more on this in the full news story here.
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: PreciousLittleOne and Pramworld
4. Maxi-Cosi 2way Pearl car seat, £225, plus additional 2wayFix base, £199
Age suitability: 67cm – 105cm (roughly 6 months – 4 years)
Seat position: Rear-facing to 4 years, can be used forward-facing from 15 month to 4 years
The first i-Size compliant Maxi-Cosi car seat, the 2way Pearl Group 1 car seat is designed to have your child sitting rear-facing for longer.
As part of the new i-Size guidelines infants will be travelling rear-facing until they are at least 15-months-old.
When used with the 2WayFix base (£199), the Maxi Cosi 2way Pearl allows your child to face rearward until they’re 4, if you wish.
Read our full Maxi-Cosi 2way Pearl car seat review
You can buy the Maxi-Cosi 2way Pearl from John Lewis and Pramworld
5. Britax Multi-Tech II, £260
Age suitability: 9kg – 25kg (roughly 9 months – 6 years)
Rear-facing until: 25kg (around 6years)
Britax originally developed the Multi-Tech II for the Swedish market, to comply with Scandinavian car seat laws but decided to give UK parents the option of rear-facing for longer – a whopping 6 years (25kg) in fact.
Widely available across the EU, the Group 1/2 car seat features a side impact protection system, is suitable for children from the age of 9 months and had a 5-point safety harness that can be used up to 18kg (around 4 years).
Read our full review of the Britax Multi-Tech II
Rear-facing car seats explained in-depth
You can buy the Britax Multi-Tech II from Pramworld and PreciousLittleOne
6. Maxi-Cosi AxissFix Air, £550
Age: Approx. 4 months up to 4 years (19kg)
Seat position: Forward-facing from approx. 15 months to 4 years, rear-facing approx. 4 months up to 2 years
The standout feature on the car seat is undoubtedly its built-in airbags. You won’t see them until they’re needed (so hopefully never) but the airbags are tucked away inside the seat, taking safety technology to the next level.
It is as easy to use as other Maxi-Cosi seats, and has a 360° swivelling seat to make getting your child in and out extra easy. The four reclining positions, adjustable headrest and padded seat mean your little one will be sitting pretty, while the combination of Isofix and a top tether ensure they’re safely secured.
You can buy the Maxi-Cosi AxissFix Air from Kiddies Kingdom and John Lewis
Graco Nautilus Elite car seat, £183.99
Age: 9kg – 36kg (around 9 months – 12 years)
Seat position: Forward-facing only
A very affordable, long-lasting Group 1/2/3 seat. The forward-facing car seat has side impact protection, 5-position headrest, and two-position recline.
It’s simple to fit in the car, easy to adjust between the ages and comes with a cup holder and storage pocket that the kids will no doubt love.
Read our full review of the Graco Nautilus Elite car seat here.
You can buy the Graco Nautilus Elite car seat from Argos and Amazon.
8. Cosatto Hug ISOFIX car seat, £278.94
Age: 9kg – 36kg (roughly 9 months – 12 years)
Seat position: Forward-facing only
This Group 1/2/3 car seat is ideal if you’ve got a mini Houdini on yours hands as it comes with an integrated 5-Point Plus Anti-Escape System.
A protective ‘waistcoat’ that sits just under the armpits and goes around the back and over the shoulders of your little one, it means there isn’t a gap for kids to wriggle out of the harness.
Our reviewer and his sons tested it out, and the boys did find it almost impossible to get out of the harness. But it’s worth noting it’s not perfect, according Cosatto in its tests 9 out of 10 children couldn’t wriggle out of their harness, so be sure it’s fitted tightly before driving.
The Hug also comes with ISOFIX connectors, side impact protection, 6-position headrest, and a 5-point safety harness with quick-release button.
You can buy the Cosatto Hug from Amazon and Argos
9. Cybex Juno 2 Fix car seat, £179.99
Age: 9kg – 18kg (roughly 9 months – 4 years)
Seat position: Forward-facing only
An award-winning seat, the Cybex Juno 2 Fix offers a different kind of car seat in the form of its safety cushion in place of a five-point harness.
This Group 1 car seat is part of the growing car seat trend of using an impact shield, which is designed to spread the impact of a collision. This form of car seat restraint has spawned a controversial debate among professionals and parents. However, when our reviewer tested with her daughter, she found the impact cushion to be secure and she didn’t have a problem moving her daughter from a 5-point harness to the shield.
The Juno 2 Fix also has ISOFIX connectors, side impact protection and is a a Stiftung Warentest consumer safety test winner.
The Cybex Juno 2 Fix is available from Amazon and Kiddies Kingdom.
10. Cozy N Safe Excalibur car seat, £199.99
Age: 9kg – 36kg (roughly 9 months – 11 years)
Seat position: Forward-facing only
Cozy N Safe might be a relative newcomer to the car seat market, having launched in 2006, but the British brand is fast becoming the go-to name for super comfortable, well-designed seats.
This forward-facing Group 1/2/3 seat has the potential to last up to 10 years, making it great value, and includes features like a 4-position recline, adjustable headrest, ISOFIX installation, and a 5-point harness suitable for use up to age 6, longer than most rivals.
Our reviewer found it well-designed, sturdy and good quality, and loved the extra comfortable design and features like the 5-point harness to 25kg.
Read the full Cozy N Safe Excalibur review
You can buy the Cozy N Safe Excalibur from Amazon and Kiddies Kingdom.
11. Kiddy Phoenixfix 3 car seat, £229
Age suitability: 9kg – 18kg (roughly 9 months – 4 years)
Seat position: Forward-facing only
The Phoenixfix 3 is a surprisingly lightweight (6.6kg), forward-facing only car seat that has actually been approved by the Federal Aviation Authority for use on aircraft! Like many other Kiddy car seats, it uses a impact shield, which the German brand says offers greater protection than a 5-point belt harness in front impact accidents.
The car seat also has an array of features that focus on the comfort for your child, such as snooze position and three-stage leg extension. And although it’s like, our reviewer says its by no means flimsy, in fact she says the Phoenixfix is “a stylish car seat that offers the highest level of safety, it feels like a strong cocoon around my son, with padded head and shoulder protection.”
Read the full Phoenixfix 3 review here
You can buy the Kiddy Phoenixfix 3 from Amazon and Pram Centre.
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