The best car seats from 9 months

Where to buy the best, expert tried and tested Group 1 seats and car seats for babies weighing more than 9kg, including rear-facing for longer and ISOFIX

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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 1Group 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.


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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:

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:

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1. Britax ADVANSAFIX IV R, £250

Age suitability: 9-36kg (roughly 9 months – 12 years)

Seat position: Forward facing

Awards: MadeForMums Gold Award Winner 2019

The gold standard of Group 1 car seats, the Britax Römer ADVANSAFIX IV R is a well-designed, high-quality car seat that offers the ultimate safety for your child when travelling, including side impact features and reduction of forward movement in an accident.

On top of that, it is easy to fit and, like most on our list, offers enough space for a growing child up to the age of 12 years. Undoubtedly a great investment in terms of longevity, as you won’t need to hunt for a new car seat every time your child reaches a new weight or age milestone.

“The Advansafix IV R is a great seat, and my 3-year-old found it very comfortable, says Georgina, mum of 2. “The safety features are excellent; there are various recline positions; it washes well, so can be kept looking good; it feels very sturdy; and this is a brand people trust. If you are looking for a seat that lasts and is a wise investment, this is a great contender.” Take note that it can only be used with Isofix, so, as with all car seats, try it with your car before buying. And if you are interested in a rear facing extended use car seat, keep scrolling to read about the Britax Römer MULTI-TECH II, to compare.

To find out more, read our full MFM review of the Britax ADVANSAFIX IV R

Available from John Lewis, BuggyBaby and PreciousLittleOne

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2. Mothercare Tulsa, £120

Age suitability: 9-36kg (roughly 9 months – 12 years)

Seat position: Forward facing

Awards: MadeForMums Joint Bronze Award winner 2019

Here is a basic car seat at a bargain price, which should last your child until they are 12. It is the cheapest of all but unlike its competitors; it doesn’t have any unique key features, such as a 5-point harness or anti-escape system. The straps and fabric are a little stiff, and only hand-washable, and the recline feature was described by our reviewer, mum of 2, Maxine, as ‘inaccessible’ (see the full Mothercare Tulsa review).

However, it is a universal car seat so can be used with or without Isofix, and if you are sticking to a budget, this is a great option. “The Mothercare Tulsa feels like a safe, solid and comfortable car seat. I like the stylish look and colour, and my husband was impressed by how easy it is to fit – and how safe it feels once fitted,” says Renette, mum of 3.

“At 11.8kg the seat is light enough for me to be able to carry it and it’s easy to install, although it’s something I’d prefer not to do on a regular basis,” adds Maxine.

Available from Mothercare

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3. Britax Römer MULTI-TECH II, £260

Age suitability: 9kg – 25kg (roughly 9 months – 6 years)

Seat position: Rear and forward facing

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, in fact. It features a side impact protection system and has a 5-point safety harness that can be used up to 18kg (around 4 years).

Mum reviewer Katherine sums it up, “Even though I don’t think we’ll be using the Multi-Tech II in a rear-facing position when Toby is 6, I am still happy with this seat. That’s because it keeps him comfortable and safe, and keeps me happy because I can strap him in without a fuss.”

If you are comparing the two Britax models, consider that the Multi-Tech II’s major selling-point is the fact that it’s an extended rear-facing car seat, meaning a child can remain rear-facing in it up to 25kg, which is around 5 – 6 years of age (unless your child is very tall, but all the top end ages and weights are estimates). And although the Britax ADVANSAFIX IV R is solely forward facing, it does give the extended usage up to 12 years of age or 36kg.

Read our full MFM review of the Britax Multi-Tech II

Available from Pramworld and PreciousLittleOne

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4. Graco Nautilus Elite car seat, £149.99

Age suitability: 9kg – 36kg (around 9 months – 12 years)

Seat position: Forward-facing

The Nautilus is an affordable, long-lasting Group 1/2/3 seat. The forward-facing car seat has side impact protection, similar to the Britax models, 5-position headrest, and two-position recline. It is simple to fit in the car: “The seat slid out of the box almost ready to use – we had to hook the elasticated fastenings on the all-black cover into place and slot the crotch strap of the 5-point harness into one of two positions depending on the occupant’s size,” says MFM reviewer, Liz.

It is easy to adjust between the ages and comes with a cup holder and storage pocket that the kids will no doubt love (playing with). At 9kg, it is lighter than the Mothercare Tulsa, so easier to carry and swap between cars. The Nautilus is not Isofix, where the Tulsa can be fitted either way.

Read our MFM full review of the Graco Nautilus Elite

Available from Argos and Amazon

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5. Cosatto Hug ISOFIX car seat, £278.94

Age suitability: 9kg – 36kg (roughly 9 months – 12 years)

Seat position: Forward-facing

If you have a mini Houdini on yours hands you should consider the Cosatto Hug, as it has an integrated 5-Point Plus Anti-Escape System. In simple terms, this is a protective ‘waistcoat’ that sits just under the armpits and goes around the back and over the shoulders of your little one, meaning there isn’t a gap for kids to wriggle out of the harness. It is worth noting that 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 side impact protection, similar to the Britax and Graco models, an incredible 6-position headrest and a 5-point safety harness with quick-release button. It is an ISOFIX car seat, which isn’t compatible with all cars, but is a super sturdy, though more difficult to switch between vehicles, method.

Available from Amazon and Argos

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6. Cybex Juno 2 Fix car seat, £239

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

Seat position: Forward facing

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. Thanks to that, it is unique on our list.

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.

Similar to others, including the Cosatto, the Juno 2 Fix also has ISOFIX connectors and side impact protection. It is probably the priciest on our list, when you consider how long it will fit the child. However, Cybex is similar to Apple in terms of branding in the parenting world – seriously cool style points, here.

Available from Amazon and Kiddies Kingdom

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7. Ickle Bubba Solar 1/2/3 Isofix and Recline seat, £169

Age suitability: 9-36kg (approx 9mths – 12 years)

Seat position: Forward facing

If you can excuse the cutesy name, this car seat has some seriously sophisticated features. It’s a forward-facing Group 1-2-3 car seat, with integrated Isofix fitting (also seatbelt compatible), and a top tether strap for added security.

Luxury stay-cool fabric (no more sweaty bodies after long journeys, hoorah), 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, similar to the Britax. “It has a great recline function,” says mum of 2, Anna, “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.” Not forgetting the supercool sun visors, of course.

Read our full MFM review of Ickle Bubba Solar 1/2/3 Isofix and Recline

Available from Amazon, Kiddies Kingdom and Precious Little One

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8. Cozy N Safe Excalibur car seat, £199.99

Age suitability: 9kg – 36kg (roughly 9 months – 11 years)

Seat position: Forward facing

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 years, longer than most rivals.

It certainly lived up to its ‘cozy’ name as our parent reviewer found it well-designed, sturdy and good quality, and loved the extra comfortable design and features like the 5-point harness to 25kg.

“An impressive seat that fitted my family and car very well,” says our reviewer Janet (read the full Cozy N Safe Excalibur review). “The slimline design provides plenty of protection while still being a comfortable and stylish addition to our car.”

Available from Amazon and Kiddies Kingdom.

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9. 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 (at 6.6kg, the lightest on our list), forward-facing only car seat that has even been approved by the Federal Aviation Authority for use on aircraft. Like many other Kiddy car seats, it uses an 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 by no means flimsy; in fact, our parent reviewer, Laura, 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.”

Check out Laura’s full review, including all the info around safety and the ‘Supplement 7’ test.

Read our full MFM review of the Phoenixfix 3

Available from Amazon and Pram Centre

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