1. Expert reviews

Top 18 Best Rear-facing car seats of 2021

Anna Lavfors

Updated June 17, 2021

Top 17 Best Rear-facing car seats of 2021

How we did the test

We carry out our tests ourselves and test all products as they are intended to be used. This test focuses on the child’s comfort, product flexibility, the functions you get for your money and how long the seat can be used for. We didn’t test safety, but all rear-facing car seats in the test are type approved and tested according to European regulations.

In our tests of rear-facing car seats, we asked normal families with children of different ages to test the car seats as part of their normal everyday activities. The seats were used with different types of cars and over a longer period to get an idea of how durable they are. The dimensions we state in the test should be seen as a comparison between the different models of car seat and not as an indication of how well a child of a certain length will fit into the seat. During the tests, we looked in detail at aspects including:

  • Installation: How easy is it to install the car seat in the car? Are the instructions clear? Is there a risk of making mistakes during the installation process?

  • Functions: Can the car seat to be set at different angles? Is it easy to adjust the neck support position? How does the harness work?

  • Use: Is it easy to put the child into or remove them from the car seat? Is the car seat spacious? Can the cover be cleaned easily?

The factors above are then assessed against the price of the rear-facing car seat, after which a final score is allocated.

1. BeSafe iZi Plus X1 – BEST CHOICE REAR-FACING CAR SEAT 2021

Price class: Premium Anchoring method: Seatbelt and anchor straps Plus test approved: Yes Weight capacity: 25 kg Extendable back/neck support: Yes Reclining position: Yes, 3 positions Can be reclined while travelling: Yes Weight: 12.2 kg Height seat to top edge: 61 cm Width: 44 cm Seatbelt hook: Yes

BeSafe iZi Plus X1

The BeSafe iZi Plus X1 is a rear-facing car seat installed using the car seatbelt, anchor straps and a support leg. Compared to older versions, the iZi Plus X1 has an updated cushion for small children, together with improved side impact protection with the addition of SIP+. SIP+ is hooked onto the side of the car seat that’s facing the car door and reduces the forces the iZi Plus X1 is subjected to in the case of any collision.

The maximum weight for the BeSafe iZi Plus X1 is 25 kg, and in terms of length children up to 6 years of age have been able to use the car seat correctly during our tests. It’s easy to raise the neck support using a catch on the back of the car seat. At the same time, the iZi Plus X1 works extremely well for small children too. The car seat includes a cushion – known as a body hugger – that’s specially designed to lift up and enfold smaller children. This is a safety feature, as it’s important that the harness is at the right height around the child’s body, but it also improves comfort.

Even though the BeSafe iZi Plus X1 is a large rear-facing car seat, and sometimes works less well in small cars, it’s still surprisingly compact. Other passengers can easily sit beside it, or you can install another car seat. To do the installation you need to read the clear manual very thoroughly. The seatbelts must be routed correctly and tightened firmly. The front brace is then pumped outwards until the seatbelt is fully tightened. To tighten the anchor straps you have to be sufficiently strong or come at them from the right angle. And finally, you adjust the support leg so it’s in contact with the floor of the car. The installation process takes a little while and requires a certain amount of strength. But if you do it right, it will last for a long time without the car seat starting to move, even with daily use.

We’d hoped that the harness in the iZi Plus X1 would have been redesigned, but unfortunately the harness straps still tend to twist. The crotch strap could also be slightly longer so that you can more easily fasten the harness without pinching the inside of the child’s leg. But it still has the clever magnetic hooks on the shoulder pads of the harness and in the sides of the car seat. This makes it much easier to put the child into or remove them from the car seat.

The BeSafe iZi Plus X1 can be set to three different angles by tipping the car seat upwards and backwards. And you can do this easily with just one hand, even with a heavier child in the car seat. In the reclining position there is no risk that the child’s head will tip forward if they fall asleep. The upright sitting position means even larger children are happy and can see out. Legroom is reasonable, although older children will have to sit with their legs more bent or crossed.

When the BeSafe iZi Plus was first launched it was expensive compared to many other rear-facing car seats. But the market has changed, rear-facing car seats have become higher quality and prices have risen. With the launch of the updated iZi Plus X1, this popular car seat has become even better value. If you don’t want to have to change between several different rear-facing car seats to keep your child travelling backwards in the car for as long as possible, and you want all the modern functions that you usually only get from Isofix car seats, the iZi Plus X1 is a great choice.

Long period of usecomfortablereclining positionvery stable installation
Takes up a lot of space in the car

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Uber Kids Logotype

BeSafe iZi Plus X1 Rear Facing Car Seat, Black

£299.00
Winstanleys Pramworld Logotype

BeSafe iZi Plus X1 - Fresh Black Cab

£329.00
Winstanleys Pramworld Logotype

BeSafe iZi Plus X1 - Metallic Melange

£349.00

2. Axkid One – BEST PREMIUM CHOICE

Innovative and convenient rear-facing car seat with quick installation and very long period of use

Price class: Premium Anchoring method: Isofix Plus test approved: Awaiting test Weight capacity: 23 kg Extendable back/neck support: Yes Reclining position: Yes, several positions Can be reclined while travelling: Yes Weight: 10 kg Height seat to top edge: 64 cm Width: 44 cm Seatbelt hook: No

Axkid One

The Axkid One is an Isofix car seat with a higher than normal maximum weight. A standard Isofix point is approved for a load of 33 kg. Many Isofix car seats weigh 15 kg, and the maximum weight for these is 18 kg. But the Axkid One weighs so little – less than 10 kg – that the car seat has a maximum weight of 23 kg. This, together with the maximum length of 125 cm gives the Axkid One a very long period of use.

During our tests, children of up to six and a half years fitted into the Axkid One without problems. The seat itself isn’t particularly deep. But it’s comfortable for a normal-sized four-year-old, even for longer car journeys. The car seat can also be bought as the Axkid One+. This includes a specially designed infant insert that means you can use the One direct from birth.

The car seat can be adapted in a number of ways

You can easily adjust the height of neck support and harness with just one hand. If you switch the car seat into reclining position using the small knob between the child’s legs, this reduces the risk that the child’s head will tip forwards if they fall asleep in the car. But these aren’t exactly unique features.

What does stand out, however, is how incredibly flexible the Axkid One is when it comes to legroom. You pull a catch on the back of the car seat to one side, and hey presto! The car seat can glide on the base. Axkid have clearly marked the recommended distance for each length or age. The function allows even children over 4-5 years with long legs to be comfortable in the Axkid One.

Axkid-One-pr

Super quick installation but rather stiff harness

Axkid fulfil their promise of fast and easy installation. Clicking in the Isofix connectors takes no time at all. The Isofix arms can’t be adjusted in terms of length, but if you angle the front brace backwards you can easily get it even into cramped car seats. You then tighten the front brace and unfold the support leg. The Axkid One is a car seat that you won’t think twice about regularly moving between different cars.

The only downside with the Axkid One is that the strap for tightening the harness is at the side of the car seat. This seems to make the harness a bit tougher to tighten, even if it quickly got smoother the more our testers used the car seat. The button for undoing the harness is concealed under the strap. It takes a few goes before you learn to find it and press it in correctly.

Superb functions and long use

With the One, Axkid have really made a statement, and have succeeded in creating something that hasn’t been seen on the market before. The spacious seat area together with the compact format are really impressive. The adjustable legroom is extremely useful and the convenient (and fast) installation creates a feeling of security as there’s very little chance of doing it wrong.

The use period is still slightly shorter in the One than in car seats installed with a seatbelt and anchor strap, but clearly longer than with other Isofix car seats. During the period of at least 4-5 years you can use the One, your child will be secure and you’ll be satisfied. The Axkid One is the rear-facing car seat that families have been waiting for.

Easy to installspaciousadjustable foot spacelong period of use
Rather stiff harness

3. Axkid Minikid 2018 – BEST VALUE

Easy to install rear-facing car seat with spacious seat and comfortable, removable cover

Price class: Medium Anchoring method: Seatbelt and anchor straps Plus test approved: Yes Weight capacity: 25 kg Extendable back/neck support: Yes Reclining position: Yes, 5 positions Can be reclined while travelling: No Weight: 11.5 kg Height seat to top edge: 56 cm Width: 46 cm Seatbelt hook: No

Axkid Minikid

The Axkid Minikid 2018 is an update to the very popular Minikid rear-facing car seat. The cover is now easier to remove, which means that it’s more convenient to clean the car seat. The neck support is more comfortable and should better prevent the child’s head from tipping forwards if they fall asleep. And the device for locking the neck support in different positions is now easier to access. The support leg has also been made much easier to use, but has also been made shorter. If you’re using a minibus or another car with high seats, there’s an extension to add to the support leg.

Thanks to Axkid’s self-tightening anchor straps, the Minikid is very easy to install in the car. On the underside of the rear-facing car seat there’s a recline adjuster that can be set to five different positions, allowing you to find the right angle for the rear-facing car seat so the child can sleep comfortably. The fact that the cover is nicely padded also adds to the comfort – this is a car seat that works for even longer journeys. The Axkid Minikid 2018 feels compact and fits into even smaller cars while still providing plenty of space for the child. The maximum weight is 25 kg, and in terms of length a normal sized six-year-old fits without problems. A baby insert is included for smaller children, which you add to the car seat as a cushion. The cushion can also be used by a two or three year old in the car seat, but by that age it often just feels superfluous. Because you can easily adjust the height of the neck support and harness, there’s no problem using the rear-facing car seat for different children.

Other than the short support leg which means the Axkid Minikid 2018 isn’t always compatible with all cars without an extension, another potential problem is when your car has very concave seats. You can adjust the angle of the car seat, but not by much. So in deeply concave seats it’s by no means certain that you’ll find a good position for the child. But on the whole this is definitely a good product. It’s a rear-facing car seat that feels secure, particularly as it has ASIP – a small shock absorber intended to absorb some of the forces in the case of a collision. Best of all is the convenient installation and the spacious seat area, which means the car seat can be used for a long time. Together with a reasonable price tag, this means the Axkid Minikid 2018 gives you a lot of rear-facing car seat for your money. And many people will probably agree that the Minikid is one of the best cheap rear-facing car seats on the market.

Easy to installspacious seat areaeasy to adjust the height of neck support and harness
Short support legcan’t be reclined while travelling

4. Britax Max Way – BEST BUDGET REAR-FACING CAR SEAT

Easy to use and install, high back support means a long period of use

Price class: Budget Anchoring method: Seatbelt and anchor straps Plus test approved: Yes Weight capacity: 9-25 kg Extendable back/neck support: Yes Reclining position: Yes, three positions. Can’t be reclined while travelling Weight: 6.8 kg Height seat to top edge: 60 cm Width: 45 cm Seatbelt hook: Yes, rubber hooks to attach the harness to

Britax Max-Way

The Max Way is an uncomplicated rear-facing car seat from Britax, which has a simple and clean design but oozes safety. You install the car seat using the car seatbelt and its own anchor straps. It isn’t entirely easy to find and make sense of the U-shaped strut that acts as a support on the underneath of the car seat. This unfolds when you press two extremely stiff buttons. Once in place, however, the Max Way is very stable, and this is among the car seats that are the easiest to fasten tightly in place. The Max Way has no reclining position, but the angle of the car seat is good and a larger child's head won’t tip forward while they're asleep.

The Max Way is a spacious car seat, above all in the back support. Children approaching 110 cm in length still have space to grow. The legroom isn’t as good, but the Max Way still has a relatively long period of use. The cover of the chair feels like a good selection for a product used by children. The fabric has a smooth surface that almost feels dirt repellent. At the same time the cover is well-padded and the seat is soft. The children in our tests haven’t complained of a lack of comfort. The car seat is very easy to put into or remove from the car as it only weighs half as much as most other rear-facing car seats in this test. The support leg is easy to adjust, as is the neck support, which you raise from the back of the car seat.

The harness buckle is easy to access when you want to release the child. Lengthening and shortening it isn’t as straightforward, however – it sometimes feels like the harness gets stuck somewhere, and you have to wiggle it to get it to come loose again. The Max Way is a simple and stylish rear-facing car seat that in no way feels cheap. The deep sides help it feel secure for the child and the price in relation to what the Max Way offers is very good.

Uncomplicated car seatsubstantial back support and long period of use
No reclining positionsnot always easy to adjust the harness

5. BeSafe iZi Modular A RF X1 i-Size

Easy-to-install rear-facing car seat with self-tightening harness, for parents with weak arms

Price class: Premium Anchoring method: Isofix base Plus test approved: Yes Weight capacity: 18 kg Extendable back/neck support: Yes Reclining position: Yes, several positions Can be reclined on the go: Yes Weight: 15 kg for car seat and base Height seat to top edge: 65 cm Width: 44 cm Seatbelt hook: Yes, magnetic brackets

BeSafe iZi Modular A RF X1 i-Size

Few other car seat manufacturers have such complicated model names as BeSafe. And the fact that this rear-facing car seat only has the letter A to differentiate the name from the “ordinary” iZi Modular RF X1 i-Size can be confusing. The only difference between the two car seats is that the iZi Modular A is equipped with the Active Retract Harness function. This means the rear-facing car seat has a self-tightening internal harness.

A modern function that actually makes everyday life easier

Sometimes it feels like some functions added to modern children’s car seats sound more useful than they actually are. But even if you can do without this innovation, it quickly turns out to be a function that actually makes everyday life smoother. The reason why the harness is self-tightening is a study that shows many children aren’t sitting safely in their car seat, exactly because the harness isn’t tightened enough.

This problem is eliminated effectively with the iZi Modular A. The crotch strap between the child’s legs should be folded forwards to keep the harness in mobile position. Then you insert the child, fold the crotch strap up and snap the harness buckles into it. The harness immediately starts to take up the slack in the straps. You then take hold of the part of the harness that runs along the child’s rib cage and feed it upwards. You hear a clicking sound for each step that the harness is tightened.

Harness particularly good for weak wrists

The harness in the iZi Modular A isn’t entirely self-tightening, as you have to help out a bit. But the process is still much easier than with the normal iZi Modular. Active Retreat Harness is a function that makes it significantly easier to attach your child in the car seat, and makes it extra easy for the inexperienced (e.g. grandparents) and for those who have weak wrists to easily achieve a safe car ride for their child.

In other respects, the iZi Modular A RF i-Size is thus the same as the normal iZi Modular RF i-Size. The rear-facing car seat is easy to install in the car with its Isofix base, which can be extended for extra legroom. The car seat can be tilted from one position to the other using a catch on the underside of the seat. This function is particularly useful for the seat to provide an upright sitting position even in more dished car seats, but also so that smaller children can sleep in the car without their head falling forwards.

Easy-to-use rear-facing car seat with limited period of use

As always with the i-Size, there are limitations on how long the iZi Modular A can be used. The maximum weight is 18 kg and the maximum length is 105 cm. It’s easy to expand the chair by raising the head rest, and it can hold most children up to about four years of age. After that, you need to switch to another rear-facing car seat with a higher maximum weight, until the child is ready to face forward.

Active Retract Harness may not be the biggest thing that’s ever happened in the world of children’s car seats. But once you’ve experienced the function you don't want to be without it. If you’re already considering buying a Modular car seat from BeSafe, it’s certainly worth paying extra for that A in the product name.

Self-tightening harnesseasy to installadjustable anglecomfortable for the child
Limited use time

6. Britax Swingfix i-Size

Comfortable and safe rear-facing car seat, with clever rotating function and adjustable reclining position

Price class: Premium Anchoring method: Isofix Plus test approved: Yes Weight capacity: 18 kg Extendable back/neck support: Yes Reclining position: Yes, 6 positions Can be reclined while travelling: Yes Weight: 15.5 kg Height seat to top edge: 58 cm Width: 44 cm Seatbelt hook: No

Britax Swingfix i-Size

A relatively new trend within the car seat world is the car seat that can be rotated, and if it’s well constructed this is something that can revolutionise travelling by car with your child. The Britax Swingfix i-Size is exactly this type of car seat, where the seat unit can rotate 90 degrees in both directions. The Swingfix includes an infant insert so the car seat can also be used by smaller babies, although the recommendation is still to use a baby car seat for the child’s first few months. It’s easy to install the Swingfix – simply click it into the car’s Isofix brackets and fold down the support leg. Because it’s an i-Size car seat, there are maximum dimensions for how large it can be, which means it doesn’t feel too bulky. However, it is heavy and it’s not a car seat you want to carry a single metre further than you have to.

Being able to rotate the car seat gives you more advantages than you’d think at first glance. Of course it’s helpful to be able to put the child into the car seat more easily, but it’s when you’re tightening the harness that you really understand the benefits of this function. You can access the harness more easily and pull it really tight without having to tie yourself in knots, which means that your child travels more safely. To rotate the Swingfix, you press a grey button on the base. This is easy to access, but if the child is already in the seat you need a lot of grip strength to start the rotation. Once the Swingfix has started to rotate, it moves very easily. For the rotating function to work without problems also requires there to be plenty of space on either side of the Britax Swingfix. You also need to keep the car very clean, as after a long summer of sandy feet, we noticed that sand had got into the joint in the base where the car seat rotates. It doesn’t seem to have affected the function so far, but there’s a certain amount of crunching noise when you rotate the seat.

The car seat in itself provides high levels of comfort, feels cosy and has an attractive, durable fabric that’s easy to wipe off when it gets dirty. You can also remove the cover completely to wash it. You can easily raise the neck support – and the harness too – using just one hand. The car seat can consequently be used by children up to the maximum length of 105 cm. The rebound bar on the base can be adjusted up to 8 degrees to fit the angle of the car seat back support. This also creates a little extra legroom for the child. The entire car seat can be switched between sitting and reclined position, with six different angles in total, so the child can sleep without their head tipping forward. The harness works fine, but we’d have liked a way of hooking the straps up so they don’t get stuck behind the child’s back. There is also potentially a bit of a gap between the child growing out of the infant insert and them being big enough to sit in the car seat without an insert. This is Britax’s most expensive rear-facing car seat. But if you think the extra functions will be useful, you get a rear-facing car seat of absolutely top-quality, and with the Swingfix i-Size all your future car journeys will be happy ones.

Rotating function makes it much easier to put the child into or remove them from the car seateasy to installseveral good angled positions
Heavycan feel a bit big for a small child when the infant insert has been removed

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7. BeSafe iZi Twist B i-Size

High quality and effective rear-facing car seat that can be used from birth and has a clever rotation function

Price class: Premium Anchoring method: Isofix Plus test approved: Yes Weight capacity: 18 kg Extendable back/neck support: Yes Reclining position: Yes, 4 positions Can be reclined while travelling: Yes Weight: 15 kg Height seat to top edge: 63 cm Width: 44 cm Seatbelt hook: Yes, magnetic brackets

BeSafe iZi Twist B i-Size

The BeSafe iZi Twist B i-Size is a very close relation to the same company’s iZi Twist i-Size. The only thing that distinguishes the models is that the iZi Twist B can be used directly from birth. The Baby Shell and Newborn Hugger inserts replace the baby car seat. The normal iZi Twist can be used from about 6-9 months. For more information about how the BeSafe iZi Twist B i-Size works for larger children, read our review of the BeSafe iZi Twist i-Size.

This rear-facing car seat is installed in the car with Isofix brackets and a support leg. The installation is straightforward thanks to very clear sound and colour indications that show all catches and brackets have been set correctly. The actual seat can’t be removed from the base. This means that unlike a normal baby car seat, the iZi Twist B can’t be used outside the car or attached to a pushchair. On the other hand, with the iZi Twist B you get the opportunity to adjust the angle of the car seat, which makes it easy to find the one that suits your child in your particular car.

The iZi Twist B takes up more space in the car than a normal baby car seat, but it’s a normal size compared to other rear-facing car seats. There are handles on both sides of the base, but to rotate the car seat you only need to press upwards on one of these. The car seat can be rotated to both the right and the left, so you can always turn the child towards the door. This is a major advantage. Partly because the movement to remove or insert the child is more ergonomically correct for the adult. And partly because the transfer process is softer and more controlled, which your child will appreciate.

There’s more space in the seat of the iZi Twist B than in a normal baby car seat, but it doesn’t feel too big for a newborn. The insert creates a cosy feeling, and the child is comfortable right from the start. The harness has good padding and fits well over the child’s shoulders. The crotch strap feels a bit short and you have to be careful that the buckle doesn’t pinch the inside of the child’s leg.

All of the functions are top class and it feels very secure to put your child in the BeSafe iZi Twist B i-Size. The high purchase price is more reasonable as the period of use also includes what would normally be the baby car seat period. So you don't have to research two different purchases. If you choose the BeSafe iZi Twist B i-Size with its long period of use, you get a solution that’s as practical as it is simple, with a rotating function that you’ll quickly grow to love.

Efficient rotating functioncan be used from birthgrows well with the childintuitive installation
Can’t be used on the pushchairrather short crotch strap in the harness

8. BeSafe iZi Twist i-Size

Stylish high quality rear-facing car seat with clever rotating function, good reclining position and intuitive installation

Price class: Premium Anchoring method: Isofix Plus test approved: Yes Weight capacity: 18 kg Extendable back/neck support: Yes Reclining position: Yes, 4 positions Can be reclined while travelling: Yes Weight: 15 kg Height seat to top edge: 63 cm Width: 44 cm Seatbelt hook: Yes, magnetic brackets

BeSafe iZi Twist i-Size

The BeSafe iZi Twist i-Size is a rear-facing car seat that can be rotated on its base. It’s closely related to the BeSafe iZi Twist B i-Size. The difference is that the iZi Twist B can be used direct from birth instead of a baby car seat, thanks to the included inserts. In this respect, the BeSafe iZi Twist is a more traditional rear-facing car seat, which can be used from around 6-9 months. During the first period, the car seat is used with Two-Fit Cushions. This makes the seat area a bit more cosy for children up to about two years of age.

Installing the iZi Twist is as intuitive as it can be. The Isofix arms have to go into the brackets in the car’s seat, and the support leg should be unfolded and adjusted to fit. Throughout the entire process, you are guided by clear sound and colour indications that show if the installation is correct. This means that the iZi Twist is a car seat that you can quickly and easily move between different cars. The only problem is that the Isofix arms sometimes refuse to cooperate when you’re removing the car seat. The trick is to press the car seat inwards as you push down the catch to release the Isofix. But sometimes it takes a few goes before you succeed.

The car seat itself doesn’t take up much space in the car. But you need a bit of a margin around the iZi Twist so it can rotate. Rotating the car seat is easy – you hold in one of the handles on either side of the car seat base. The rotation is very smooth. The fact that you can turn the child outwards, towards the car door, makes a huge difference when you’re putting the child into the car seat or tightening the harness. The entire process is much more straightforward, and much less tough on the parent’s back.

The maximum weight and length for the BeSafe iZi Twist i-Size are 18 kg and 105 cm respectively. This equates to about four years of age, and the children who tested the car seat up to this limit have been cosy and comfortable. The legroom is rather tight, but that’s the case with all car seats that can rotate. The harness is good – the straps don’t twist and the magnetic brackets to keep it out of the way work well. It’s easy to adjust in terms of height, which you do with just a single hand at the same time as you raise or lower the neck support. The iZi Twist can be set to four different angles, which means the child’s head won’t tip forwards if they fall asleep during the car journey.

The BeSafe iZi Twist i-Size is a stylish, high quality rear-facing car seat with a huge number of user-friendly functions and well-designed details. Our testers found it comfortable to use both for the child and the adult. If your budget can stretch to purchasing a premium price rear-facing car seat, we recommend the iZi Twist to everyone who often travels by car.

Intuitive installationclever rotating functionseveral reclining positionsgood harness with magnetic bracket
Rather limited leg room for larger childrenIsofix arms can get stuck when removing the car seat

9. Britax Max-Way Plus

Easy to install, lightweight rear-facing car seat that’s spacious and comfortable for the child

Price class: Medium Anchoring method: Seatbelt and anchor straps Plus test approved: Yes Weight capacity: 25 kg Extendable back/neck support: Yes Reclining position: Yes, 3 positions Can be reclined while travelling: No Weight: 7.3 kg Height seat to top edge: 61 cm Width: 45 cm Seatbelt hook: No

Britax Max-Way Plus

The Britax Max Way Plus is the updated version of the Max Way, a rear-facing car seat that became popular for its convenience and long period of use. The Max Way Plus is essentially the same car seat, with the same internal dimensions. But the changes Britax have made have improved this rear-facing car seat still further. Installation is very easy. The manual is clear and on the Britax website there’s also a good instruction video. But even completely without instructions, it’s very easy to install the Max Way Plus in your car. Pulling the seatbelt through is simple and the blue clips that are intended hold it in place work exactly as they should. The anchor straps are good too, but you need to be strong to pull them really tight. It works best if two of you do it – one to press the car seat down towards the seatbelt while the other adjusts the straps.

The simplicity of the installation together with the lightness of the car seat makes it very easy to transfer between cars or take with you on the move. The Britax Max Way Plus has a comfortable seat with soft cover and good padding – and the harness sleeves have been improved too. The cover can be removed to be machine washed without having to remove the car seat from the car first, which is a huge benefit if you have children prone to travel sickness. On the Max Way Plus, the neck support, which you can easily adjust with one hand on the back of the car seat, has been made more spacious. And the outside of the car seat has Britax SICT side impact protection. You extend this on the side of the car seat closest to the car door, and it absorbs some of the forces if the car is in a collision.

When the Max Way Plus is installed in the car you can choose between three different angled positions, but you can’t change the car seat to reclining position when it’s in use. In all but the most concave of car seats you can achieve a good angle in the Britax Max Way Plus, which allows the child to sit in a comfortable position without their head tipping forward if they fall asleep. The harness is straightforward to adjust, although there’s a tendency for smaller children to get their arms out if you don’t tighten it properly. The Max Way Plus worked just as well for one-year-olds as for children aged four or five. This is without doubt another of Britax’s masterworks in the field of rear-facing car seats, and a model that feels just as good value for the parent as it does secure and comfortable for the child.

Low weighteasy to installcomfortable seatlong period of use
Can’t change to reclining position while travelling

10. BeSafe iZi Modular RF X1 i-Size

Price class: Premium Anchoring method: Isofix base Plus test approved: Yes Weight capacity: 18 kg Extendable back/neck support: Yes Reclining position: Yes, several positions Can be reclined while travelling: Yes Weight: 15 kg for car seat and base Height seat to top edge: 65 cm Width: 44 cm Seatbelt hook: Yes, magnetic brackets

BeSafe iZi Modular RF X1 i-Size

For safe, secure car travel, it’s important that the child is rear-facing for as long as possible. With Isofix car seats like the BeSafe iZi Modular RF X1 i-Size, you have to be conscious that there’s a maximum weight of 18 kg and a maximum length of 105 cm. So you should therefore be prepared to buy a rear-facing car seat that’s attached using the car seatbelt and anchor straps, and has a higher maximum weight, when the child has grown out of the Modular RF X1.

Upgraded with clever and secure improvements

With that said, for the first few years of rear-facing travel after the baby car seat, there are few car seats that are as convenient as the BeSafe Modular. And the latest version, the Modular RF X1, is even better. The car seat has been equipped with reinforced side impact protection in the headrest and BeSafe’s SIP+ impact protection that’s attached on the side of the car seat has become easier to install.

The harness padding on the Modular RF X1 has been replaced with new Ergo-Move Shoulder Pads, which allows the child to move more freely. This may seem like a minor detail, but it still made a positive difference when it comes to how restricted the child felt.

Very easy and straightforward to install in the car

The BeSafe iZi Modular is a car seat system, where you use the same Isofix base first for the Modular baby car seat and then for a rear-facing Modular RF X1. The base is very easy to install, with clear indicators to show if each step has been done correctly. Something that positively distinguishes the Modular Isofix base from other bases is that it can be extended, which means you can create a bit of extra legroom for the larger child. This makes a difference to the child’s comfort.

With the base in place in the car, it’s really easy to click in the Modular RF X1. This means that the car seat is also very easy to move between different cars, particularly if you buy an extra base.

It’s easy to adapt the Modular RF X1 to the child’s length. The neck support can be raised with just one hand – and the harness with it. The harness works really well and almost never gets twisted. It’s also easy to tighten and loosen the harness. The car seat gets extra points for the magnetic brackets that allow you to hang the harness out of the way while you put the child into or remove them from the car seat.

There's very little risk that the child’s head will hang forwards if they fall asleep during the journey. The Modular RF X1 can be set on a number of different angles, with a catch that’s easy to reach on the underside of the car seat. This is a car seat that’s very straightforward both in terms of size and what it’s like to use. As long as you're conscious of the limited period of use, the BeSafe iZI Modular RF X1 i-Size is a rear-facing car seat that we'd recommend very strongly.

Easy to installneat sizeextendable basegood reclining position
Limited period of usehigh price

11. BeSafe iZi Kid X3 i-Size

High rear-facing car seat with stable installation and clever reclining position

Price class: Premium Anchoring method: Isofix Plus test approved: Yes Weight capacity: 18 kg Extendable back/neck support: Yes Reclining position: Yes, 3 positions Can be reclined while travelling: Yes Weight: 15.5 kg Height seat to top edge: 63 cm Width: 44 cm Seatbelt hook: Magnetic brackets

BeSafe iZi Kid X3 i-Size

The BeSafe iZi Kid X3 i-Size is the updated and improved version of the iZi Kid X1 and X2. The main difference is that the Kid X3 has been equipped with BeSafe SIP+, which is an extra side impact protection. SIP+ is hooked onto the side of the Kid X3 that’s facing the car door and reduces the forces the car seat is subjected to in the case of any collision. The rear-facing car seat has also received a new insert, known as a Body Hugger, for small children who’ve just moved up from a baby car seat.

The iZi Kid X3 is similar to several other rear-facing car seats from BeSafe. The seat and the front brace will look familiar if you have previous experience of the popular BeSafe iZi Plus. The car seat is quite heavy, and it’s not a model you’d choose to move between different cars. The iZi Kid X3 is installed using Isofix points and a support leg, together with a support plate that you set so that the car seat is firmly attached. It can only be used in a rear-facing position and has a maximum weight of 18 kg. Installation is no more difficult than other rear-facing car seats with Isofix, and there’s a clear manual in a pocket on the back of the back support.

Once in place, the BeSafe iZi Kid X3 i-Size feels relatively compact in the car, and you can sit directly beside it. The car seat mainly takes up space in terms of its length. At least if you want to be able to use its reclining position. To angle the car seat backwards, you undo the catch below the edge of the seat, between the child’s legs, and lift upwards. The importance of the reclining position in preventing the child's head from falling forwards if they fall asleep depends on the car you’re using the car seat in. The seat in the Kid X3 i-Size works well for children of up to about 4 years of age, and the stated maximum length is 105 cm.

The harness works well. It’s most convenient if you loosen it completely when you remove the child from the car. The harness can then be hung to the side using the magnetic brackets on the shoulder pads. When you put the child back into the car, it’s easy to attach the harness and then finally tighten the straps properly. You raise the neck support with just one hand, and the Kid X3 can easily grow with the child. The cover has an attractive design but still feels resistant to dirt and wear. You can also remove it for washing, which is practical if the child gets travel sick.

The fact that the car seat is installed using Isofix points means that you should buy another rear-facing car seat with a higher maximum weight when your child has outgrown the Kid X3. Until then, the Isofix attachment is convenient and makes things easier if you want to move the car seat between cars – providing you're strong enough to carry it. Overall, the BeSafe iZi Kid X3 i-Size feels like a very stable and sturdy rear-facing car seat with good functions and high safety levels.

Very good seat areaeasily adjusted neck supportgood reclining positioneasy to install
Rather heavytakes up space lengthways in reclining positionhigh price

12. Axkid Modukid Seat

Very straightforward rear-facing car seat with simple and secure installation and cosy seat area

Price class: Premium Anchoring method: Isofix base Plus test approved: Yes Weight capacity: 18 kg Extendable back/neck support: Yes Reclining position: Yes, 3 positions Can be reclined while travelling: Yes Weight: 15.5 kg for car seat and base Height seat to top edge: 60 cm Width: 44 cm Seatbelt hook: No

Axkid Modukid Seat

The Axkid Modukid Seat is a rear-facing car seat that can only be installed in the car using its Isofix base. The Isofix base is very easy to use, with clear catches that you pull out and then click audibly and show green when they're in the right place. The support leg is also easy to use. It’s a major advantage that you can also adjust the child’s legroom by choosing how long the Isofix arms should be. The period of use is limited by the maximum weight of 18 kg. But the flexible base means that even children who will soon have grown out of the car seat have space for their legs. It’s easy to attach the car seat to the base. The Axkid Modukid is a car seat that can be easily moved between cars, and where the installation is easy enough to make you feel confident.

If you have a small car or you need to have the seats next to the car seat occupied, the Axkid Modukid Seat works really well. The car seat is compact and convenient and has no uncomfortable protruding parts. A side Impact cushion is included and should be attached to the side of the car seat that’s closest to the car door. The actual seat area is a normal size and has concave sides. In the neck support is a removable insert. This is an easy way to create more space for the child’s head when they start to get bigger.

The primary criticism levelled at the Axkid Modukid Seat relates to the harness. The straps have an irritating tendency to become twisted. Of course it’s easy to turn them back round again, but it impacts the overall impression. Slightly broader and stiffer harness straps would have been better. Overall, the harness is well constructed. Because the neck support and the height of the harness on the back support are adjusted automatically when you tighten the harness. This ensures that the harness is correctly positioned every time.

The Axkid Modukid Seat can also be angled for smaller children. As well as the upright sitting position, there are two reclining positions. To adjust the angle, you hold in the catch between the child’s legs while simultaneously pulling backwards and upwards. The cover on the Modukid is dirt-resistant and doesn’t attract dust. It’s easy to vacuum out if it gets sandy, but it can also be removed completely and washed.

If you look at the Axkid Modukid Seat as separate pieces, the price is comparatively high. There’s also a baby car seat, the Modukid Infant, which can be used on the same basis as the Modukid Seat. And if you consider the car seat, baby car seat and base as a package solution for the child’s first four years or so, it feels like better value. Particularly as the Axkid Modukid Seat is a good and well-designed car seat that you’ll feel confident in using for your child on every car journey.

Simple and secure installationcosy seat areavery convenient sizeadjustable legroom
Harness straps easily get twistedlimited maximum weight

13. Cybex Sirona Z i-Size

High quality rear-facing car seat with clever installation and efficient rotation function

Price class: Premium Anchoring method: Isofix Plus test approved: No Weight capacity: 18 kg Extendable back/neck support: Yes Reclining position: Yes, 6 positions Can be reclined while travelling: Yes Weight: 15.5 kg Height seat to top edge: 58 cm Width: 44 cm Seatbelt hook: No

Cybex Sirona Z i-Size

The Cybex Sirona Z i-Size is a high quality, convenient rear-facing car seat. You install the car seat in the car with Isofix attachments. This means that the installation process is very simple. Green and red markings guide you visually to ensure you attach everything correctly. The support leg also beeps loudly if it isn’t in the correct place.

Once it’s in the car, you can rotate the Sirona Z so the child is facing towards the car door when you come to remove them or put them into the car seat. It also makes things much easier when you're tightening the harness. The rotation function is also an advantage if you have a bad back, because you don’t have to twist your spine so much when you’re buckling the child in. But the older the child gets, the less space there is for the rotation. A child with longer legs has to move them to one side or bend their knees in for the car seat to rotate.

As always, Cybex haven’t economised on the cover. It’s soft and fits extremely well over the car seat frame. Even after being washed several times it still looks like new, and it’s resistant against dirt and stains. If you have a child who gets travel sick, it’s an advantage that so many parts of the cover are separate as you can remove only the pieces that need to be cleaned.

The Sirona Z i-Size has a neck support that can easily be height adjusted, and the harness moves with it so it’s always in the right position – at the child’s shoulders. The maximum weight for the car seat is 18 kg, so after this car seat most children should change to another rear-facing car seat with a higher maximum weight. If you have a smaller car, or you need to use the seat immediately adjacent to the car seat, the Sirona Z i-Size is a good model. It isn’t only narrow. The outside of the car seat is rounded, which makes it more comfortable to sit right next to.

The Sirona Z feels really well designed for smaller children. As well as the cosy seat area, there’s also an angle function. The sitting position is very upright, but you can also angle the car seat down to a reclining position. This means the child’s head doesn’t tip forward if they fall asleep. However, the button for angling the car seat can be fiddly sometimes, and you may need to try a few times before you get it right. During our tests the harness was always easy to tighten and we like the fact that there’s padding on the hip straps too. This means the harness won’t cut into the child’s legs.

The Cybex Sirona Z i-Size is a premium product given the price tag – but also in terms of the design and finish. Every detail feels high quality. This is a user-friendly car seat where the primary disadvantage is the relatively short period of use due to the lower maximum weight and the fact that the i-Size offers a slightly smaller seat area. But if you have other children who will also use the car seat, reducing the price per use, and you think the rotation function will be useful, the Sirona Z is anything but a poor choice.

Efficient rotation functionhigh quality detailsattractive design and easy to wash cover
The rotation function doesn’t work so well with taller childrenhigh price

14. BeSafe iZi Modular RF i-Size

Easily installed car seat that’s straightforward to use and can be angled into several positions

Price class: Premium Anchoring method: Isofix base Plus test approved: Yes Weight capacity: 9-18 kg Extendable back/neck support: Yes Reclining position: Yes, several positions. Can be reclined while travelling Weight: 14.9 kg for car seat and base Height seat to top edge: 63 cm Width: 45 cm Seatbelt hook: Magnets.

BeSafe iZi Modular RF i-Size

The iZi Modular is a rear-facing i-Size car seat from the popular BeSafe brand. Modular is a three-part system consisting of an Isofix base, a baby car seat and a rear-facing car seat. The same base is used for both car seats. The great thing about having the car seat on a base is that installation is ridiculously easy and that you can quickly move the car seat between two different cars. The Modular i-Size base has extendable Isofix arms that can be individually adjusted, which makes it easy to install in the car. When the child grows, you can also pull out the base to create extra legroom between the rear-facing car seat and the back support of the seat, which also provides a longer period of use.

The car seat is very solidly constructed and once installed in the car the BeSafe Modular is very stable. The Modular also provides plenty of space. It includes a side impact protection system called SIP+, which you fasten onto the side of the car seat that’s closest to the car door. It also includes an insert for smaller children. The neck support can be raised in several steps, and the harness moves with it. The rear-facing car seat is of i-Size type, which means the maximum weight is 18 kg and the maximum length 105 cm. And this is a shame, because larger children fit well in the car seat without their heads sticking up over the edge.

The BeSafe iZi Modular is a very user-friendly rear-facing car seat. The harness is easy to adjust for length and can be suspended out of the way using magnetic brackets. It’s also suitable for smaller children, as it can be angled to a number of different positions, which means the child can sleep comfortably without their head falling forward. Sadly, the most upright sitting positions aren’t approved for use according to the i-Size regulations. The car seat is narrow and has no protruding parts, so it’s comfortable to sit next to it and it fits into a small car with no problems. BeSafe's covers have been improved significantly and now resist stains very well. Washing it or giving it a quick clean makes the car seat look like new again. The Modular package is expensive, but it’s good value for money as there’s nothing to complain about other than the limitations of the i-Size regulations.

Convenientsimple to useeasy to installcomfortable for the child
Maximum weight and maximum length are limited according to i-Sizeas is the number of approved positions

15. Cybex Sirona M2 i-Size

Easily installed rear-facing car seat that can be angled using just one hand and is comfortable for the child

Price class: Medium Anchoring method: Isofix Plus test approved: No Weight capacity: 18 kg Extendable back/neck support: Yes Reclining position: Yes, 5 positions Can be reclined while travelling: Yes Weight: 12.2 kg Height seat to top edge: 56 cm Width: 44 cm Seatbelt hook: Yes, fabric loops

Cybex Sirona M2 i-Size

Cybex don’t make things easy for the users by calling all of their rear-facing car seats Sirona. The Sirona M2 i-Size model is approved according to the latest safety regulations and also forms part of a modular package. This means that the Sirona M2 i-Size is attached to a base in the car, and the same base can be used for the Cybex Aton M i-Size baby car seat. Installing the car seat is very easy. When you’ve got the base in place, you simply click the Sirona M2 i-Size into it. There are clear colour indications to show you when you've got it right. You can also adjust the Sirona M2 i-Size between five different reclining positions with just one hand, using a catch at the foot end of the car seat. The lowest position gives an excellent angle for the child to sleep without their head tipping forward.

The Sirona M2 i-Size has a soft and cosy seat unit and there’s absolutely no problem changing up to it from the baby car seat. The neck support can be adjusted to 11 different height positions using just one hand. The harness also moves up with the neck support. This makes it easier to adapt the car seat to the child’s growing body. The harness has pads both on the shoulder straps and hip belt. This means that the hip straps don’t dig into the child’s legs, which further increases comfort. The harness is easy to tighten and release. However, one harness strap sometimes gets stuck and can’t be tightened sufficiently. In this case you have to remove the child, tighten the harness as far as it will go and then release the straps again. The problem is easy to fix, but it’s an irritation that you’d rather do without.

The maximum length for children in an i-Size car seat is 105 cm, and there’s plenty of space for the child’s back and head. Things aren’t so good for their legs. A one or two-year-old will be comfortable, while a three-year-old will have to bend their legs considerably more. Some children don’t mind this, but with their winter shoes on others feel that this is uncomfortable. So it can feel like they’ve outgrown the car seat before they actually have. Some way of creating more legroom would have been nice. The Sirona M2 i-Size has built-in side impact protection – the LSP system – which you fold out by pressing on the side of the car seat that’s closest to the car door. There’s no doubt that the Cybex Sirona M2 i-Size is a safe rear-facing car seat that’s both easy to use for the parents and comfortable for the child.

Easy to installvery comfortable for the childeasy to adjust for size and angle
Harness get stuck sometimesnot enough legroom

16. Maxi-Cosi Mica

Good value rotating rear-facing car seat that’s easy to install and grows with the child

Price class: Medium Anchoring method: Isofix Plus test approved: No Weight capacity: 18 kg Extendable back/neck support: Yes Reclining position: Yes, five positions Can be reclined while travelling: Yes Weight: 14.9 kg Height seat to top edge: 60 cm Width: 44 cm Seatbelt hook: Yes

Maxi-Cosi Mica

The Maxi Cosi Mica is a rotatable rear-facing car seat that can also act as a baby car seat. Using the supplied infant insert, the Mica is safe for use directly from birth. The memory foam infant insert is removed when the child is 60 cm long. It creates a cosy and stable environment. And if you want to alternate between having a baby and a larger child in the car seat, the insert is easy to remove.

The Mica is installed in the car using Isofix brackets and a support leg. If the brackets are correctly anchored, green indicators are visible, and the support leg beeps until it’s correctly positioned. The manual is very clear. Because the car seat is so easy to install it’s also easy to move between different cars.

Neat size for an extremely spacious car seat

Of course the car seat takes up more space in the car than a traditional baby car seat. But it’s amazingly small and convenient compared to other rear-facing car seats. Sitting next to it as an adult, or having a booster seat next to it causes no problems at all. The inside of the car seat is relatively spacious. A normal sized four year old fits in fine, although the legroom is a bit tight.

The maximum weight for a child to use the Maxi Cosi Mica is 18 kg, and the car seat is approved for use by children up to 4 years of age and 105 cm. After this they should change to another rear-facing car seat with a higher maximum weight. So you might be asking what’s the point of this car seat? Well, the Mica is very convenient because the car seat can rotate.

Major advantage with rotating seat unit

The fact that you can rotate the car seat towards the car door makes it much easier to use the Mica with your child. It’s more ergonomic for your own back, is more convenient for the child and also means that you can access the harness better to tighten it. If you travel by car a lot this is a function you’ll quickly grow to love.

Although there’s a disadvantage with the Mica, in that you have to use both hands to rotate the car seat. This means you can’t be carrying the child at the same time that you’re rotating the car seat. And in the cars we tested, you can’t shut the door when the Mica is rotated towards it. Another negative point is that the car seat can unfortunately be rotated into a forward-facing position – a position that’s not recommended for your child. Good value rotatable rear-facing car seat

The Maxi Cosi Mica also has plenty of other clever functions. The harness can be hung out of the way, the car seat can easily be angled in different positions, and the cover is dirt-resistant.

Being able to rotate the car seat towards the door opening has many advantages, both for the child and the parent. Overall, the construction of the Maxi Cosi is successful. The Mica does have some minor problems when it comes to user-friendliness, but was popular with our testers for the straightforward installation process and the convenience of the rotation.

The car seat can be rotatedgrows with the childeasy to installhas reclining position
Can be rotated to face forwardsrequires two hands to rotate it

17. Britax Multi-Tech III

Spacious and sturdy rear-facing car seat with durable cover and padded seat area

Price class: Budget Anchoring method: Seatbelt and anchor straps Plus test approved: No Weight capacity: 25 kg Extendable back/neck support: Yes Reclining position: No Can be reclined while travelling: No Weight: 10.5 kg Height seat to top edge: 64 cm Width: 50 cm Seatbelt hook: No

Britax Multi-Tech 3

The Multi-Tech II is a rear-facing car seat that’s been in the Britax range for a long time, and the latest version – the Multi-Tech III – has received a number of updates. The car seat is now equipped with SICT, a side impact system that you screw out on the side of the car seat closest to the car door. The Multi-Tech III has also received a number of other improvements, such as a different type of cover and a more padded seat area. The car seat can be used both forward and rear-facing, but in our tests of the Britax Multi-Tech III, we’ve only used the car seat facing backwards. The Multi-Tech III is broad and quite heavy and takes up quite a lot of space in the car. When it’s installed facing backwards, the rocking base beneath must be folded forward and rest against the car seat. The car seat is then fastened in place with the seatbelt, anchor straps and support leg. Installation is no more easy or difficult than on other rear-facing car seats attached with seatbelts, and there are clear instructions for how everything should be attached.

The advantage of a large rear-facing car seat is, of course, that it’s spacious. The Britax Multi-Tech III can seat a normal-sized 4-5 year-old very comfortably, with space to grow. It’s easy to adjust the height of the neck support with just one hand, and the harness moves with it. The harness can get stuck at the back, but it’s easy to correct this and tightening the harness is straightforward. The padding on the shoulder straps means they’re comfortable for the child even when the harness has been tightened. But we’d have preferred to see the crotch strap being a bit longer, as it’s sometimes a bit difficult to get at. The lowest position for the harness is also a bit high. A normal-sized baby at the age when it’s time to change from the baby car seat isn’t always long enough for the shoulder straps to be in the right place. So it’s important to test the car seat to make sure the child is big enough for the Multi-Tech III before you remove the baby car seat.

The Britax Multi-Tech III has no reclining position, but the car seat can be installed with a little angle on the back support. The neck support feels cosy while also providing plenty of space for a larger child’s head. The cover is easy to remove and wash if necessary. For its price class, the Multi-Tech III feels like a stable, secure and safe rear-facing car seat. It can’t be angled and it’s best suited for permanent installation in a car, as it feels a bit heavy and clumsy to move. But once in place, the Britax Multi-Tech III feels both spacious and reliable – a rear-facing car seat that can be used for a long time.

Spacious seatstoughwith good paddingspacious and comfortable neck support
Heavy and clumsyno angled positionharness a bit high

18. Britax Hi-Way II

Simpler car seat with sturdy feel, higher maximum weight and simple installation

Price class: Budget Anchoring method: Seatbelt and anchor straps Plus test approved: Yes Weight capacity: 0-25 kg Extendable back/neck support: No Reclining position: Yes, three positions. Can’t be reclined while travelling Weight: 6.8 kg Height seat to top edge: 58 cm Width: 46 cm Seatbelt hook: Rubber hooks to attach the harness to

Britax Hi-Way 2

Britax’s Hi-Way II rear-facing car seat is an uncomplicated model that doesn’t have many advanced functions, but which is easy to use and does what it needs to. You can hang up the harness using Britax’s rubber hooks on the car seat armrest. Adjusting the harness length is straightforward and the straps are easy both to tighten and release. The car seat has relatively open sides, which means the child gets a good view. It also reduces the risk of the child bending forwards to see, meaning that the child’s head protrudes beyond the side edges of the car seat.

The Britax Hi-Way II can’t be angled to any reclining positions, but it has such an angle built in that the child gets a reasonable sleeping position. In cars with deeply concave seats, where the car seat it installed in a more upright position, there is a risk that the child’s head will hang somewhat if they fall asleep. Otherwise, our test children have been well supported in the Hi-Way II. There’s plenty of room for their legs, and the car seat is spacious sideways too. The back support isn’t the longest on the market, but it holds most children up to 100 cm safely.

The car seat is compact inside the car and leaves plenty of space for passengers beside or in front of it. It’s also very light and easy to get a grip of and carry when you need to move the rear-facing car seat outside the car. The support leg is straightforward. The Britax Hi-Way II is attached using the car seatbelt and anchor straps, and feels stable. Just like other Britax car seats, the Hi-Way II is user-friendly. Despite a low price, the Britax Hi-Way feels far from cheap, but stands out as a very good value car seat option.

Good valueeasy to usestraightforward harness
No reclining positionscan’t adjust back and/or neck support in terms of height

Everything to Know about rear-facing car seats

Are you planning to buy a new or second-hand rear-facing car seat for your child? If so, this is the test for you.

Rear-facing car seats are used for significantly longer than baby car seats, even though the child will most probably use the car seat after this – a forward facing one – for the longest period. You should change from a baby car seat to a rear-facing car seat from the point at which the child can sit on their own without support, which is about 6-9 months of age. The UK recommendation for using a rear-facing car seat is until the child reaches at least 15 months.

This test focuses on the child’s comfort, product flexibility, the functions you get for your money and how long the seat can be used for. We didn’t test safety, but all rear-facing car seats in the test are type approved and tested according to European regulations.

What do I need to remember when it comes to child safety?

Children should sit in a rear-facing seat in the car for as long as possible because their bodies aren’t sufficiently well developed or strong enough to cope with the forces involved during an accident. During a collision, the child’s head and neck in particular are exposed to extreme forces, and these can cause serious injury or even death. Never put a rear-facing baby seat in the front of the car if there is an active passenger airbag.

According to UK law, children shorter than 135 cm should use a protective device specifically intended for the child’s age, weight and height. This means the correct type of car seat or booster seat. Make sure you follow the instructions carefully when you install the car seat. If you aren’t sure how to install the car seat, you can ask the reseller or the company you’re hiring the car seat from. Some car seats also have what are known as Isofix attachments, and this type of car seat is much easier to install. Read more about Isofix at the bottom of this page. You should test the car seat in your car to make sure it can be installed correctly, as car seats have different shapes.

Many parents nowadays choose to hire a rear-facing car seat rather than buying one. Insurance companies and resellers both hire out car seats. However, manufacturers recommend that you don’t do this, as the car seat may not have been properly inspected. If the car seat doesn’t come with a guarantee that it functions correctly, don’t hire or buy it. Damage inside the rear-facing car seat can be invisible to the naked eye but still cause serious injuries in the case of a collision.

The same applies if you were thinking of buying a second-hand rear-facing car seat. You must check that the car seat hasn't been involved in a collision or other accident. So you should only buy from someone you trust. The most expensive car seat isn’t necessarily the best one. There are also many good cheap rear-facing car seats.

Rear-facing-car-seats

When has my child grown out of a rear-facing car seat?

As a rule, you can use the rear-facing car seat until your child grows out of it in terms of weight or when the tops of their ears reach the top edge of the back support. In other words, the car seat is safe even if a little bit of the child’s head is sticking up over the edge. Some of the car seats in the test are what's known as combination seats, which means they can be used both facing forwards and backwards. However, combination car seats are both heavy and bulky and it’s recommended that you don’t use them facing forwards. Instead, we recommend that you buy a fixed forward-facing booster seat when the child has grown out of the rear-facing one.

In the test reviews, we state whether the car seat has passed the Plus test. This is a very strict test carried out by the Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute (VTI), which manufacturers can volunteer their products for. Car seats for children weighing 9-25 kg can undergo the test and the aim is to measure the forces the child’s neck is subjected to during a frontal collision.

Check out our extensive buying guide on other important things to think about when buying a car seat. Link to buying guide and all of our car seat tests

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