We run through the best car seats for both you and baby
When you’re a new mum, one of the first things you’re going to need is a car seat. Chris Riley motors through seven of the best
BEST FOR... LONGEVITY Joie Stages, £149.99, halfords.com
‘We’ve only ever needed the one car seat and our son is nearly five now’ JANE, BLACKPOOL ￼
IN A NUTSHELL Want to make a single car seat investment that ticks all the right boxes and will meet your child’s transportation needs until the age of seven? Then look no further than the Joie Stages...
KEY FEATURES Offers rear-facing travel up to the 18kg mark (about the age of four), then converts to a forward-facing Group 1/2 seat, with a maximum weight limit of 25kg. The harness and headrest heights are simultaneously adjustable with one hand (the headrest has five different possible positions), plus there’s padded infant support for even the smallest of travelling companions, as well as side shell ventilation. The Stages car seat weighs in at 8.4kg.
BEST BITS This is certainly a case where versatility translates directly into value for money – it’s essentially three car seats for the price of one, and definitely rugged enough to last a full seven-year tour of duty. Inbuilt rear-facing travel to the age of four is a plus. And there are lots of neat touches: when used as a Group 2 booster seat, for example, there’s a special compartment to store the harness.
NIT-PICKING There’s no Isofix compatibility, so it’s seatbelt-installation only, which is odd given how long Joie expects you to have this in your vehicle. And when rear-facing, you only have one recline option (compared with the three available when the seat is forward-facing).
BEST FOR... LIE-FLAT OPTION Kiddy Evo-Lunafix i-Size, £319.99, mothercare.com
‘Because we can lie this flat in our car, our baby girl can sleep properly on long journeys’ FIONA, SWANSEA
IN A NUTSHELL Kiddy’s 2016 reboot of its Evo- Lunafix car seat retains the original’s excellent selling points – more of which later – but bolts on i-Size-regulation safety levels (and then some). KEY
FEATURES Suitable from birth until 13kg or so (maximum height 83cm), this seat weighs approximately 5kg, and the Isofix base is included. Compared with its predecessor, the Evo-Lunafix i-Size has additional side- impact protection, and thicker padding around the head area on the inside of the seat. It has a slatted frame to ensure air flow and help with temperature regulation, as well as both upright and lie-flat positions.
BEST BITS That brilliant in-car lie-flat option – a feature developed in conjunction with SIDS experts the Lullaby Trust – ensures that, if baby falls asleep, all airways are kept open and their spine is stretched out. And this new model passed testing with an 18-month-old dummy, so actually exceeds the 15-month rear-facing required by i-Size regulations.
NIT-PICKING Though the height and weight maximums are generous, do bear in mind that if you have a tall tot in the top percentiles in their ‘red book’ charts, you could still find yourself looking for alternative transport for them by around 13 months.
BEST FOR... STYLE AND SAFETY Joolz Izi Go Modular by BeSafe, £209, my-joolz.co.uk
‘I want one of these when my baby arrives in April as it will fit straight on the pushchair frame we’ve already got’ SUNITA, BIRMINGHAM
IN A NUTSHELL The Amsterdam-based company behind some of the coolest pushchair designs of the past few years makes its debut in the car seat market in conjunction with well-regarded Scandi safety experts BeSafe.
BEST BITS The ergonomic design of this seat is certainly eye-catching – featuring the trademark Joolz leatherette handle – and comes in three stylish colourways (Elephant Grey, Parrot Blue or Black). Best of all, it clicks neatly onto Joolz’ buggy frames to build into a complete travel system that’s as practical as it is stylish. ￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼
KEY FEATURES It’s suitable from birth to 12 months, with a maximum child weight and height of 13kg and 75cm. Install with an i-Size base or use a three-point seat belt. It’s lightweight (around 4kg) and compact, with one- movement adjustable harness and headrest, and a supersize sunhood (UPF 50+). Magnetic shoulder pads keep the harness out of the way while loading your precious cargo.
NIT-PICKING You may have to exercise a little patience if you like the sound of the Joolz Izi Go Modular. It’s such a hot-off- the-press product launch that it could be a few weeks yet – spring, in fact – before you will actually be able to get your mitts on one.
PROBABLY NOT THE FIRST THING ON ANY NEW MUM’S MIND, I’M GUESSING.
Are you mad? Try leaving any 21st-century maternity ward without baby securely strapped into a Group 0 car seat and see how far you can get – driver or non-driver. So this is, in fact, one of the very first things you need to be thinking about – it’s the baby carriers and the like that you can mull over at your leisure. IF THAT’S THE CASE, THEN THINGS MUST BE FAIRLY STANDARDISED, AT LEAST. Well, they all set out to offer a rear-facing travel solution, put a premium on safety and are rigorously tested; that much is true. But from how long baby’s first car seat will last them onwards, well, there are huge variations
in the products available. Don’t forget, even with the much-publicised drop in the birth rate over the past couple of years, there are still hundreds of thousands of babies born in the UK each year (695,233 of them in England and Wales alone in 2014, according to Office for National Statistics figures), so this really is a massive, massive market, with all the differences in design and more that this produces.
To see the best of the rest, pick up the March issue - in stores now!