This is a must-have baby essential (even if the only journey you do is from the hospital to your home) and is the one item you should really buy new.
Once you’ve read through our handy guide, buying a car seat really won’t be as daunting as it seems…
Where to buy one: Top car seat for babiesSome of the leading UK baby stores have shared their bestselling car seats with us.
Mothercare's bestselling car seat
Mothercare Havana ISOFIX combination car seat £180
Age range: Suitable from birth to approx 4 years old (18kg)
Features: The Mothercare Havana combination car seat remains in your vehicle, and is ideal for parents who do not wish to carry their baby around in their car seat, or use a travel system. The car seat is installed using the vehicles ISOFIX anchor points which ensures a safe and secure fit. The seat is used in a rear facing position for newborns, and features a multi-position seat recline so little one's can travel in the position they find most comfortable.
GoodtoKnow: It's been designed with deep side wings and side impact protection and also comes complete with a body support cushion for younger babies plus a head cushion and chest and buckle pads for extra comfort.
Mamas & Papas' bestselling car seatCybex Aton Q car seat £175
Age range: Ready to use from birth up to 18 months
Features: The Cybex Aton Q is a rear facing car seat which is 80% safer during your child's development. It is ISOFIX compatible with a one click installation with the ultra-safe ISOFIX base. This travel system also easily attaches to any of our pushchairs.
GoodtoKnow: This car seat has superior side impact protection designed to carry them safely from birth.
John Lewis' bestselling car seatMaxi Cosi pebble Plus £190
Age range: Suitable from birth to 12 months.
Features: Maxi-Cosi Pebble Plus features new high tech impact-absorbing side protection system at the top side wings providing extra comfort for your baby and greatly improved safety performance in a side impact collision. This car seat complies with EU safety regulations ECE R129.
GoodtoKnow: This i-Size car seat is part of the Maxi-Cosi 2wayFamily collection offering up to 4 years of rearward facing travel and improved head and neck protection for your child in the event of an accident.
Where to buy one: Top car seat for toddlers
Amazon's bestselling toddler car seat
Britax Romer Adventure Highback Booster Car Seat - Cosmos Black £42.94
Age range: Suitable for toddlers to older children. Max weight 36kg
Features: This car seat has side impact protection, intuitively positioned seat belt, height adjustable headrest and upper belt guide, backrest adjusts to allow installation in a wide range of cars and is lightweight for easy transfer between cars.
GoodtoKnow: This car seat is a great, safe choice for when your little ones grow out of their first car seat. It's not suitable for newborns.
Maxi Cosi's bestselling toddler car seat
Maxi Cosi 2wayPearl Car Seat - Black Lines £210
Age range: 6 months to 4 years
Features: The car seat allows children to travel in the recommended rearward facing position for longer to offer improved head and neck protection when travelling. The 2wayPearl can also be used for forward-facing travel from 15 months. Offering full recline options in both positions, this is one of the most adaptable Maxi-Cosi car seats.
GoodtoKnow: The Maxi-Cosi 2WayPearl can only be used with the 2WayFix Base, which provides peace of mind that baby is travelling safely with both visual and audible confirmation for parents once correctly installed.
How to buy a cheap car seatWe’re all about saving money here at GoodtoKnow - especially when it comes to expensive products, so we’re sharing some of our top tips for buying a car seat on the cheap.
- Online vs in store: Make sure you view the car seat and try it out - even in your car, before you buy in store or online. Some stores have exclusive discount deals that are only available online or the other way round, only in store, so its always worth doing your research before buying.
- Sales: If you want to save a lot of money in one go, holding off until there are sales on is a great idea. Some of the most popular include Black Friday, Boxing Day sales, January sales and end of season sales are great for bagging yourself a bargain!
- Vouchers and discount codes: It’s always worth having a look on Google to find out if there’s any recent discount codes for the store you’re buying from – even if its free delivery, it’ll make a difference to your overall budget.
Car seat safetyWhen buying a car seat, you need to look out for either the ECE R44/04 approval or the ECE R129 approval label, both of which are current approval standards for children's car seats in the UK.
Our car seat safety guide has all the info you need to know about keeping your little one safe in the car, as well the key things to look out for when buying a new one.
Is a second hand car seat ok?If you do use a second-hand car seat, you must be certain of its history and test it in your car as car seat sizes vary based on your baby's age and weight. It must be properly installed, tightly secured with very little movement. Group 0 rear-facing infant carriers (for better head and neck support) are for newborns up to 9 months (up to 10kg/22lb) and Group 0+ for newborns to five to 18 months (up to 13kg/29lb).
Leading mum blogger at themumblog.com Liz Jarvis says, 'There are some things you should avoid getting second-hand for safety reasons: Your baby's mattress and their car seat, for example. It's very important these items are bought brand new, particularly in the case of mattresses, and car seats should only be second-hand if you're absolutely sure about their previous history.'
For safety reasons and regulations we’d recommend you opt for a brand new car seat.