The best car seats for a one-year-old

There can be a lot to get if you’re expecting a new baby. Sterilisers, cot, clothes, pram, and that’s before you think about things you may need for the car. Here, our experts at Parkers break down what it is that you need, and what standards to look out for.

The best car seats for one-year-olds

You need the proper car seats to travel safely with a baby on board. Most new car seats for children up to a year old will now have a base to ‘click’ the seat into.  This is especially useful for getting your child in and out of the car if they’re sleeping, or you can connect your seat to a pram or pushchair.

However, these bases are not universal and are designed for each kiddy carrier. Some will have ISOFIX fixtures, some will have a seatbelt strap, and some will even have both if you want to be double secure.

Related: The best car seats for two-year-olds

What is ISOFIX?

If you can’t get your head around ISOFIX, don’t worry, it’s for babies. Well, all children, actually, until they reach the ripe old age of 12 or 135cm tall – whichever comes first. So, with child seats being something your loved ones will be in for a long time, it’s probably very likely you’ll either have a car or get a vehicle with ISOFIX fixing points.

ISOFIX stands for International Standard Organisation Fix, and it’s possibly the best and safest way of making sure your car seat is secured. They’re effectively anchor points on your car’s internal shell, meaning when connected, the base of the child seat is attached to the vehicle rather than held in place by a seatbelt.

It became common to see these anchor points in cars released after November 2012, but not an industry standard. Since November 2014, all new cars are legally required to have ISOFIX fitted.

Even an Aston Martin DBS Volante has ISOFIX mounts in the rear seats and can hold a car seat, but those cars tend to be for older kids…

How do I know if my car has ISOFIX?

Happily, ISOFIX on modern cars is easy to find and access; they’re generally under covers on the back seats with a logo that looks like a person sitting in a seat.

It never used to be so evident in older cars, and you had to have a feel between the back of the seat and the base of the heart to see if the ISOFIX was there. This made fitting them very difficult.

ISOFIX stays in a car
Credit: Myles Warwood
Carseat mounted to ISOFIX stays
Credit: Myles Warwood

This new system makes fitting car seats a doddle and takes seconds.

Do I need a car seat base?

The short answer is no, you don’t need a car seat base, but they are convenient things to have and they add that extra level of security.

If you will be using your car seat, which you will then connect to your pram or pushchair when you’re walking, then, again, a base is a sensible option because you can clip it in and out of the car; it’s straightforward and very secure.

What is i-Size?

After you’ve got your head around ISOFIX, you’ll also have i-Size or regulation No. 129 to consider; since 2013, Regulation number 129 (also known as i-Size) has been in place. With the intention of keeping kids facing rewards until they’re at least 15 months old. This is safer, provides a more supportive sitting position for the child, and offers better protection in case of an accident.

Car Seat Groups

Car seats are separated into different groups for your child’s age, height, and weight. These three things are important parameters because it’s how you define if your child moves up a group. Weight, not age, is probably the most important because the child’s weight can affect the usefulness of a car seat.

The four groups are defined as such:

  • A Group 0 – suitable from birth to 10kg (around 12 months) – these are usually lie-flat carrycot options that combine with a buggy or pushchair chassis to form a travel system
  • A Group 0+ – suitable from birth to 13kg (around 18 months-2 years) – these can usually combine with a buggy to form a travel system and are also known as infant carriers
  • A Group 0+/1 – suitable from birth to 18kg (around 4-5 years)
  • A Group 0+/1/2/3 – suitable from birth to 36kg or 135cm tall (around 12 years)

Hopefully, that clarifies the murky waters of parenting, and from below, you can see a list of car seats suitable for your child up to their first birthday.

Parkers picks for best baby seats for a one-year-old

Maxi-Cosi CabrioFix


Maxi-Cosi CabrioFix

Suitable from birth to 13kg, this lightweight car seat can be easily transferred from your car to a pushchair/pram. It’s compatible with any Maxi-Cosi or Quinny stroller, while you can also purchase adapters for iCandy strollers.

The seat comes with a foam pad insert, suitable for newborns for added support and fit, while the side protection system boosts the safety of the CabrioFix in case of an accident. CabrioFix can be secured via seatbelt or with the Click & Go Maxi-Cosi ISOFIX FamilyFix or EasyFix bases.

Maxi-Cosi CabrioFix i-Size Car Seat Base


Maxi-Cosi CabrioFix i-Size Car Seat Base

The CarbioFix car seat doesn’t come with its ISOFIX base; this has to be bought separately; like the seat, it’s suitable for up to 12 months and is compliant with the latest i-Size safety standard.

Britax Römer Dualfix


Britax Römer Dualfix

If you want a bit of longevity from your car seat, this Group 0+/1 is suitable from birth up until about 4/5 years old. The only downside is that this car seat cannot be taken out and clipped onto your pram or into a shopping trolley so as not to wake a sleeping baby.

Attached via ISOFIX, the seat will rotate through 360-degrees. That means it can do rear-facing for children under 15 months, sideways for ease when buckling and unbuckling children, and forward-facing for when your little ones are older than 15 months. The 360-degree action means the car seat can be fixed into any seat in the rear or passenger seat if ISOFIX is available there and there is no active airbag.

Britax Baby-Safe iSense bundle


Britax Baby-Safe iSense bundle

Another from Britax, this time a bundle which is a child seat and ISOFIX base all in one; the heart can be removed and attached to your pram or pushchair, leaving the ISOFIX base in the car. In a neat little trick, the ISOFIX base will swivel, so you can lie them down in the carrycot or get them in the seat easier if you’re unbuckling your child.

The iSense smart lighting technology means the seat is equipped with three different lights to help make parenting just a tiny bit easier. They’ll light up the ISOFIX base or stroller base to help make installation easier at night or early morning. They’ll also provide you with a bit of light when walking through poorly lit areas, and interior ambient lighting allows your baby to see and you to see them.

Joie Baby Eclipse


Joie Baby Eclipse

This car seat looks so cosy and comfortable that even a fully grown adult would want to snuggle up in it. With deluxe fabric and super-soft knits to keep baby tucked up in the lap of luxury, and Sleepytime Tilt™, this seat allows for a healthier, safer, and cosier carry.

All fabrics are removable and machine washable. It is compatible with most Joie Baby pushchairs and other pushchairs using Maxi-Cosi car seat adaptors.

This car seat can be installed with a car seatbelt or with the Joie Baby i-Base Advance ISOFIX.

Joie Baby i-Base Advance ISOFIX for Eclipse Car Seat


Joie Baby i-Base Advance ISOFIX for Eclipse Car Seat

Bugaboo Turtle Airby Nuna


Bugaboo Turtle Airby Nuna

Bugaboo has joined forces with premium brand Nuna, combining strong design visions with their incomparable expertise in the car seat industry. The Bugaboo Turtle Air by Nuna car seat is the safe and ultra-light travel solution for transporting your baby from day one.

Combining innovative design with beautiful details, the Bugaboo Turtle Air by Nuna car seat was designed to allow any parent to transport the most recent family member smoothly and seamlessly, from car to stroller, and vice-versa, without waking anybody up. The newly developed design is light yet super resilient and weighs just under 3kg.

Bugaboo Turtle Air by Nuna Isofix wingbase


Bugaboo Turtle Air by Nuna Isofix wingbase

Keep your child safe on the road with the Isofix wingbase accessory for the Bugaboo Turtle Air by Nuna. The Isofix wingbase has automatic side-impact protection wings, ensuring the car seat absorbs the force of a bump or accident and not your little one. The Isofix wingbase also comes with a stability leg to reduce sideways motion during driving.

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