Do you ever struggle with the fact you can’t see your baby when you’re in the car?

I know you can buy those little mirrors but honestly, I can never see a thing in them! So, I’m constantly worrying if baby is OK, wondering if they’ve fallen asleep when the chatter stops, anxious that they are safe…

Investing in a car seat that you know is appropriate for your baby and most importantly, safe, is the best step you can take to alleviate those fears on car journeys, but it can be a mine field out there!

So many safety features, so many additions, so many different types to choose from!

Read on to find out everything you need to know about choosing a car seat and the best on the market.

What to Consider When Purchasing a Car Seat for your Baby

The most important things to consider when purchasing a car seat for your baby, according to Jan James, Chief Executive of Good Egg Car Safety, is to make sure your seat fits your baby and any cars it will be used in, and is installed correctly in the vehicle.

So now if you read nothing else, you know the most important features to check.

Different types of car seats - what are the 3 types of car seats?

Baby capsules

Suitable from newborn to 6-8 months. These capsules are more compact and fit cosily around baby to ensure a snug fit. They are especially good for premature or smaller babies as well as young babies as they usually come with a newborn insert.

Some baby capsules come as part of a travel system so that you can pop them straight out of the car in their seat, without waking them up, and attach the seat to a pram frame. You can check out my blog on the Best Travel Systems here.

Capsules usually have a handle to carry them easily which also acts as an impact barrier. If you are considering purchasing or hiring a capsule, be sure to check the age/weight limit to ensure it is appropriate for your little one and likely to last long enough to get your money’s worth.

Combination Car Seats

These seats are built to last baby until they are much older, in some cases up to 12 years old. They have removeable inserts for each stage of growth and are often seen as much better value for money than purchasing a capsule as you only need the one seat.

That said, they can be unsafe for smaller babies, so, as always, be sure to check the age and weight restrictions before you purchase.

i-Size Car Seats

An i-size car seat is a car seat that meets the i-size safety standard. The i-size standard is a European safety standard that was introduced in 2013. It's designed to provide better protection for young children in the event of a crash.

I-size car seats are larger than traditional car seats, and they must be installed in the vehicle using the ISOFIX system. Many parents prefer i-size car seats because they're easier to use and safer than traditional car seats.

What to consider when purchasing a car seat

The most important features to consider when purchasing a car seat are:

Weight restrictions – what is the maximum weight baby can be to use this seat and, depending which growth curve your baby is following, is that likely to give you enough use from the seat.

Age restrictions – what is the maximum age of child that can use the seat? Most seats now use weight or height restrictions rather than age but this will help you figure out if you need a forward or rear facing seat. In the UK your baby must face backwards until they are at least 15 months old.

Height restrictions – if you purchase an i-Size car seat it will come with a height restriction, instead of weight.

Type of fitting - does your car have ISOFIX? ISOFIX is a car seat attachment standard that makes it easier to install car seats securely. It's an international standard, and most new cars sold in the US come with ISOFIX attachments.

Does your car have a top tether? – This is a fitting on the back of the back seat that your car seat safety belt will hook to on a rear facing car seat. Not all cars have them so it is important to check if the seat you are looking to purchase needs one.

Is the seat comfortable for baby? – if you are planning to use a combination seat from newborn, ensure that baby is secure and comfortable, consider purchasing a newborn insert if they are sold separately.

Is the seat portable? - if you will be carrying your seat around for travel, whether it’s taking it on a plane or just moving it frequently from one car to another, its important to consider this when making the purchase as some car seats are easier to move and manoeuvre than others.

Fitting Your car Seat

There are many videos on YouTube and available from manufacturers regarding fitting your car seat, if you are a first time parent I would recommend having it professionally fitted. The fitter will walk you though exactly how to fit your specific car seat and you can rest safe in the knowledge that it is fitted optimally.

How I Choose - Best Baby Car Seats

To give you the best possible peace of mind when selecting a car seat, I have read through thousands of user reviews and star ratings and spoken to tons of parents to find the best combination car seats and laid them out below with everything you need to know to make an informed decision.

CYBEX Gold Children's rotating Car Seat Sirona S2 i-Size

Best rotating car seat

CYBEX Gold Children's rotating Car Seat Sirona S2 i-Size

Check Price on Amazon

Why Parents Love It

Parents favorite feature of this clever little car seat is the rotating base. While you may think if you have a large car it’ll be easier to get your baby in and out of their car seat, that is not always the case. Having myself driven a Yaris and a Mini cooper as well as a 4-wheel-drive Honda CRV, I can assure you that the extra space in the car doesn’t necessarily mean an easy exit for baby! If only I had known rotating bases were a thing before I got my car seat….

The CYBEX Gold Children's rotating Car Seat Sirona S2 i-Size also wins parents votes due to the indicator which lets you know if the seat is installed correctly, giving instant peace of mind and making it a great option if you’re having to unfit and refit the seat.

What You Need to Know

Suitable for: 3 months to 4 years

Height Restriction: 61 – 105cm

Weight restriction: 18kg

Installation type: Seat Belt

Orientation: Rear Facing up to 15months then forward facing

Safety features: Integrated side impact protection (L.S.P. System), Energy absorbing shell, Energy reduction technology to protect the child's neck.

back-friendly entry and exit position thanks to 360° swivel mechanism, 12-way height-adjustable headrest, One-hand seat/recline adjustment, Practical seat belt holder

Safety standard UN R129/03

ISOFIX installation

Available accessories: SensorSafe 4-in-1-Kit, Newborn Insert, Summer Cover, Drink Holder

Cosatto All in All Rotate Baby to Child Car Seat

Best combination car seat

CYBEX Gold Children's rotating Car Seat Sirona S2 i-Size

Check Price on Amazon

Why Parents Love It

Parents favorite aspect of this combination seat are the fact that it grows with your child from birth all the way up to 12 years of age. It has a number of features that help it be comfortable all the way through and a clever ‘anti-escape system’.

Parents also love the rotate and recline features on the Cosatto All in All Rotate Baby to Child Car Seat that allow easy access for getting in and out of the car as well as allowing baby to be comfortable if they are sleeping in the car. It is ideal for families that often have to do long drives and economical because you can use the one seat for all ages.

Some parents mentioned it can be a little tricky to fit due to all it’s features but honestly, show me a car seat that isn’t!

What You Need to Know

Suitable from birth up to 36kg (approx. 12 years old)

Installation type: ISOFIX, ISOFIT and belted fitting options

Orientation: Forward Facing, Rear Facing

Includes side impact protection as well as an excellent rotate feature for easy access

5 position seat recline and easily adjustable harness for maximum comfort

Includes patented 5 point plus anti-escape system and industry leading free 4 year guarantee

Maxi-Cosi Rock Baby Car Seat Group 0+, ISOFIX

Best baby car capsule

Maxi-Cosi Rock Baby Car Seat Group 0+, ISOFIX

Check Price on Amazon

Why Parents Love It

Parents love this capsule car seat for newborns due to the innovative baby-hugg inlay which adds safety and comfort for newborns and small babies. While it is meant for babies up to 12 months, there are additional items you can buy to make it last up to 4 years old.

Another favorite feature of the Maxi-Cosi Rock Baby Car Seat is that it turns into a travel system, fitting on Maxi Cosi and Quinny pram prams so baby can stay comfy and safe from car to pram with minimum disturbance.

One thing to note is that the base for the car seat is sold separately.

What You Need to Know

Suitable from birth to 13 kg (birth to 12 months)

Installation type: Isofix

Orientation: Rear Facing

Weight restrictions: 13kg

offers a better fit and laying position for newborns

Safe rearward-facing travel up to 4 years in combination with the FamilyFix One i-Size base and Pearl Smart i-Size car seat (both sold separately)

compatible with all Maxi-Cosi and Quinny pushchairs

Essential Items Every 6-12 Month Old Baby Needs
When your little one turns 6-12 months old, it’s time to stock up on all the essentials! From strollers to sleep sacks, check out our list of the 5 must-have items for your 6-12 month old!

Silver Cross Motion All Size Car Seat 360° Rotating Baby Seat

Best rotating combination seat

Silver Cross Motion All Size Car Seat 360° Rotating Baby Seat

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Why Parents Love It

Parents love this Combination seat as, not only does it grow with baby all the way from birth to approx. 12 years, but it also has the recline feature made popular on capsule car seats and leads the way by being the only all-stage rotating car seat on the market approved to the latest R129 standard.

Parents love that it is easy to install (hallelujah!) and made of great quality fabrics that are machine washable.

For additional peace of mind the Motion All Size 360 is compatible with the Silver Cross car safety app which has installation videos, additional car seat information as well as tutorials and guides.

What You Need to Know

Suitable from birth to approximately 12 years

Installation type: Latch

Orientation: Rear Facing, forward facing

Weight restrictions: 36kg

Height restrictions: 40 – 145cms

Made from Super-soft, breathable bamboo fabric with naturally anti-bacterial and thermo-regulating properties.

Removable newborn insert, plus 8 headrest positions and 4 recline positions.

The seat cover is easily removable and should be washed on a delicate cycle at 30 degrees using a mild detergent.

Graco Slimfit All-in-One Combination Car Seat

Best budget car seat

Graco Slimfit All-in-One Combination Car Seat

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Why Parents Love It

One of the favorite features of this car seat is the surprisingly handy cup holder which is great for baby’s bottle or toy. They say baby looks very protected in the seat, even from an early age and seems to be snug and comfortable. It is noted that it can be fiddley to install but comes with plenty of detailed instructions to make it as straightforward as possible.

Parents of older kids noted that it helps keeps kids heads up when they fall asleep traveling so that don’t get a strained neck but it does take up quite a bit of space in the car so that should be considered if you have more than one child or a compact car.

What You Need to Know

Suitable from birth up to 12 years

Installation type: Seat Belt

Orientation: Rear Facing, forward facing

Weight restriction: 36kg

Side impact protection with TrueShield technology,EPS, energy-absorbing foam for effective impact energy management

Built-in five point harness (no-rethread) with one-hand adjustment

Includes a removeable cup holder

Rock-A-Bye Baby: The Top 6 Best Infant Swings for Sweet Dreams!
Are you looking for the best way to rock your baby to sleep? Look no further than the best infant swings! We’ve done the research and put together a comprehensive review of the top infant swings on the market, so you can make sure your little one is as comfortable and safe as can be.

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I have put together a list of the most asked questions to help you figure out what is important when shopping for baby car seats.

Are 360 car seats safe for newborns?

There is no one definitive answer to this question since there are so many different types of 360 car seats on the market. However, for the most part, most 360 car seats are safe for newborns as long as they are used and installed correctly. Always read the instructions carefully before using a car seat to ensure that it is compatible with your vehicle and that it is properly installed.

What is the longest a newborn should be in a car seat?

There isn't a definitive answer to this question since it depends on a number of factors such as the age, weight, and health of the baby. However, it is recommended that babies should not be in car seats for more than 2 hours at a time.

Babies should also be taken out of their car seats for regular breaks so that they can move around and stretch their legs. This is especially important if a baby has been sitting in a car seat for an extended period of time. Car seats are not meant to be used as swings or bouncers, so it's important to take your baby out of the seat regularly to avoid developing any problems such as hip dysplasia.

Is there a difference between newborn and infant car seat?

Yes, there is a difference between newborn and infant car seats. A newborn car seat is designed for a baby who weighs up to around 20 pounds, whereas an infant car seat can accommodate a baby who weighs up to 30 pounds.

Another key difference is that a newborn car seat typically has a five-point harness system, whereas an infant car seat typically has a three-point harness system. This means that the newborn car seat will be more secure and provide more protection in the event of a crash.

What are 4 common mistakes people make with car seats?

1. Not using a car seat or using incorrect car seat groups

2. Not installing the car seat correctly

3. Not using the harness properly

4. Leaving a child in a car seat for too long

What kind of car seat does a newborn need?

A newborn needs a car seat that reclines and has a harness to keep them in place.

When shopping for the best car seat, it's important to buy one that is appropriate for your child's age and weight. Newborns should always ride in a car seat that reclines so their head and neck are supported then when they get older they can ride in toddler car seats. The car seat should also have a harness to keep the child securely in place.

What age does the 2 hour car seat rule end?

There is no definitive answer to this question since there are a lot of variables that need to be considered, such as the weight and height of the child, as well as the type of car seat. However, as a general rule, most car seat manufacturers recommend keeping children in a car seat until they reach either the age of 4 or weigh 18kg (40 pounds). Consult your specific car seat manufacturer's guidelines for more information.

How soon can you drive with a newborn?

You can drive with a newborn as soon as they are born. However, you should take into account the baby's age and weight, and whether or not they are comfortable sitting in a car seat as not all car seats are made for newborns.

It is recommended that you keep infants in rear-facing car seats until they reach the maximum height and weight for child car seats.  Many countries have laws that require children to be rear-faced until a certain age or weight. So be sure to check your country's laws before you drive with your newborn.

Are lie flat car seats worth it?

There is no one definitive answer to this question. Some people find that lie flat car seats are more comfortable, while others find them to be more constricting and uncomfortable. Additionally, there are some safety concerns associated with using lie flat car seats, as they can increase the risk of suffocation in the event of a crash. Ultimately, it is up to each individual to decide whether or not lie flat car seats are worth it for them.

How long can babies stay in a lie flat car seat?

It may vary depending on the make and model of car seat, as well as the weight and height of the child, most car seats are designed for children who weigh between 22 and 44 pounds or who are 29 to 37 inches in height. Some seats may be usable up to a weight of 50 pounds or a height of 44 inches. As always, it is best to consult the manufacturer's guidelines for your specific car seat.

When using lie-flat car seats, it is important that the child remain in that position until they are at least six months old. After that age, they can slowly start to transition into a sitting position.

So, which car seat is the safest?

There is no one definitive answer to this question. Different car seats are safe for different ages and weights of children, so it's important to choose the seat that is appropriate for your child. All of the child car seats above meet minimum safety requirements so are my recommended best car seats.

That’s why it’s important to make an informed decision when picking out a baby car seat so I hope you’ve found the information above useful, as a first-time parent I often wish I had access to information like this so I want to help other parents through the minefield that is parenthood!

All of the baby car seats above are available on Amazon so click ‘Check price on Amazon’ to see which car seats work best for you and your little one.

Thanks for reading!