The Best and Safest Toddler Carseats in South Africa | THE ULTIMATE GUIDE

Posted by Julie Monson on

best toddler car seat

Julie Monson
Mother of 3, Occupational Therapist & child safety advocate.


Researching information about which car seat is best for your toddler is an online minefield, with so much conflicting information and huge variations in prices.

In this article, I will give you all the facts so that you can make an informed decision to ensure that you get the best option for your budget, your child and your particular car/s. We've also created a comprehensive toddler seat comparative table and will be writing full reviews of our Top 10 toddler car seats available in South Africa below.

WHAT ARE THE SAFEST CAR SEATS FOR TODDLERS?

The cliché in answering this question is “the safest car seat is whichever car seat fits your car and your child the best”. While this is definitely true, there is much more to consider when deciding which car seat is best for your family. These are the factors to consider:  

1. YOUR BUDGET: HOW MUCH ARE YOU ABLE TO SPEND?

Unfortunately the safest seats are usually expensive, although expensive does not always mean safest! Before you start looking for a car seat, decide what is a realistic budget that your family can afford.

2. YOUR CAR: DOES IT INSTALL SECURELY

You’ll need to check which installation options your car has; isofix, full 3-point seatbelts, 2-point lapbelt and/or top tether anchors. You’ll also need to check if your car has underfloor storage compartments, as this can be problematic for car seats with support legs. Once you have narrowed your options down, you will need to check if your car is on the car seat’s approved fit list to determine if it is compatible.

3. YOUR CHILD: WHAT IS YOUR CHILD'S PREDICTED AGE BEFORE THEY OUTGROW THE SEAT?

If your child is bigger or taller than average, he/she may reach the maximum limits of most toddler seats (18kg/105cm) before they are mature enough to travel safely in a booster (4 years minimum). Beware of misinterpreting the weight limits of multistage seats that convert to boosters. The majority can only use the harness (Group I) until 18kg/105cm and not 25kg/36kg, which is the maximum booster weight (Group II/III).

4. REAR FACING VS FORWARD FACING?

Although it is legal to forward face a child from 9kg, rear facing car seats have been proven to provide much better protection than forward facing car seats. For this reason, I am a strong advocate for keeping children rear facing until 4 years if not more. If this is news to you, you can read our comprehensive blog that explores the research and facts. All the seats in the table below allow extended rear facing.

5. THE SAFETY RATINGS

Car seats that are sold on the South African market are imported from Europe and Asia. The seats that are sold legally, will have an orange sticker on the seat to show its ECE number to prove that it has passed the mandatory European ECE R44/04 or R129 crash testing. These results are not published, and the public are not able to find out how the seats performed in the crash tests.

In order to obtain an ECE certificate, a car seat must pass a frontal collision test at a speed of 50km/h for ECE R44/04 testing or 55km/hour for R129 testing, and pass a rear impact collision test at 30km/hr. In reality, we travel much faster speeds on our roads, with the speed limit in most urban areas being 60km or more.

ADAC

One of the most well-known independent crash-testing is done by the ADAC (Allgemeiner Deutscher Automobil-Club). ADAC is an automobile club in Germany that selects car seats for independent crash testing. Car seat manufacturers do not pay for the testing nor do they volunteer for the testing. These test results are then bought by other consumer companies and re-published to the public depending on what country you are in. For example in the UK, ‘WHICH?’ consumer magazine publishes these tests, in Norway, ‘Forbrukerrådet’ publish the results etc. ADAC scores are between 1 to 5. A lower score indicates a better rating.

ADAC ASSESSES CAR SEAT ON 5 POINTS:

  1.  SAFETY -  Frontal impacts at 64km/h and side impacts at 50km/h are with a four-door vehicle body shell mounted to a test sledge. Impact loads are measured on differently sized child dummies. Belt routing, size adjustment, seat stability and head support are assessed subjectively.
  2. SERVICE/USABILITY -  A child seat is installed in a car for test purposes with the aim of identifying the misuse potential. Testing includes ease of buckling up and unstrapping the child/dummy, installation, removal and adaptation of the seat and a check of the instruction manual.
  3. POLLUTANTS - They test the seat for harmful chemicals and/or pollutants
  4. COMFORT - During the test installation of the seat, ADAC assesses the leg support, upholstery or uncovered parts and the child’s field of vision.
  5. PROCESSING/USE - Several testers check seat cleaning and assess workmanship.

SWEDISH PLUS TEST

The Swedish Plus Test is conducted at the Road Safety Institute in Linköping University, Sweden, by VTI. Car seat manufacturers volunteer to have their car seats undergo the stringent testing conducted by Swedish Plus Test.

It is the only test in the world that measures the force load upon the child’s neck in a frontal collision. This is why forward facing car seats have, to date, never passed the Swedish Plus Test. The crash forces to the neck are too high when forward facing and can cause severe or even fatal injuries to a child in real life accidents.

Sweden prides itself for having the lowest child mortality rate in the world. This is not surprising as they keep their children rear facing for approximately 5-7 years.

In the table below, I have summarised all the available safety ratings on the extended rear facing car seats available in South Africa. For a closer look at this fully comprehensive comparative table click here.

Best-Toddler-Car-Seat-Comparitive-Table

REVIEWING OUR TOP 10 TODDLER CAR SEATS

We have compiled a list of our best toddler car seats available in South Africa, reviewing each seat and why it has made our top 10. The list below is not in alphabetical order:


BESAFE IZI KID

Best Toddler Seat Besafe Izi Kid Product Review

WEIGHT AND HEIGHT LIMITS OF THE BESAFE IZI KID X3

The BeSafe iZi Kid is approved from 6 months to 18kg in rear facing. The height limits are 61-105cm. This usually lasts average-sized children until they are 4 years old. The iZi Kid cannot be used forward facing. 

HOW THE BESAFE IZI KID X3 IS INSTALLED

The iZi Kid X3 installs with isofix. It cannot be installed with seatbelt. It does not detach from the base, making it heavy to transfer between cars. The installation itself is quick and easy though. 

SAFETY FEATURES OF THE BESAFE IZI KID X3

The iZi Kid X3 i-Size has an integrated head support and an inner shell of energy-absorbing material. In addition, it has side impact protection ( SIP+) offering the highest possible protection in the event of a side impact collision.

Besafe Izi Kid Swedish Plus test Rating

This additional protection reduces load on the child by up to 20%. The anti-rebound brace reduces the rebound forces and the load leg reduces downward rotation forces in a collision.

Besafe Izi Kid ADAC Rating

The new BeSafe iZi Kid X3 i-Size has passed some of the toughest requirements on the market. It scores an outstanding safety score of Very Good for safety by ADAC, with very low risk of injury in the front and side crash.

It scores 4/5 by the most stringent crash testing facility; Swedish Plus. This score is “very good”.

COMFORT FEATURES OF THE BESAFE IZI KID X3

The BeSafe iZi Kid is well padded and comes with a soft insert to be used for children under 2 years. It has 3-recline settings that are easy to adjust. It has a high base, which allows children to see out the windows more easily. It has the added bonus of adjustable legroom for the child, giving up to 10cm of legroom in rear facing as your child grows. This is a huge advantage to keep kids comfortable in rear facing for as long as possible.

It is also very convenient to have the option to make the car seat more compact to fit in smaller vehicles or to give tall parents more legroom. All BeSafe car seats have magnets in the harness in order to keep it out the way while putting your child in. It also has ventilation holes in the backrest, to keep your child cool.

The iZi Kid X3 has 8 height adjustment positions to ensure safety and comfort as your child grows. The headrest and 5-point harness are integrated, meaning that you can adjust the height very easily, just by squeezing the handle on the headrest and raising or lowering the headrest to the desired height.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE IZI KID AND IZI COMBI?

The iZi Kid and iZi Combi are essentially the same seats when used in rear facing. They both install with isofix in rear facing. The only difference between the two seats is that the iZi Combi X4 can also be installed forward facing (with seatbelt), if necessary, whereas the iZi Kid is rear facing only. 

THE IZI KID IS IDEAL IF:

  1.  You are committed to rear facing
  2. You want a seat with very high safety ratings
  3. You want a seat with adjustable legroom and can be made more or less compact
  4. You have sloped vehicle seats, as it has good recline settings

THE IZI KID X3 IS NOT IDEAL IF:

  1. You need to move it between cars often, as it is rather heavy 

BESAFE IZI MODULAR

Best Car Seat Besafe Izi Modular Product Review

WEIGHT AND HEIGHT LIMITS OF THE BESAFE IZI MODULAR

The BeSafe iZi Modular is part of the BeSafe Modular concept, which both the iZi Go Modular X1 infant seat and the iZi Modular toddler seat use the same isofix base. The Besafe iZi Modular is a comfortable car seat iSize approved from 61cm-105cm/18kg in rear facing or 88-105cm in forward facing. This usually lasts average-sized children until they are 4 years old. 

HOW THE BESAFE IZI MODULAR IS INSTALLED

The iZi Modular can only be installed with the iZI Modular isofix base. It therefore requires the car to have isofix brackets. It cannot be installed with seatbelt. Because the seat can be removed from the base, it is lighter and easier to move between cars. A second base can be purchased for a second vehicle, to make transfers even easier. The anti-rebound brace must be fitted to the base when using the toddler seat. Please refer to the user manual on how to do this.

SAFETY FEATURES OF THE BESAFE IZI MODULAR

Besafe Izi Modular ADAC Rating

The Side Impact Protection (SIP+) placed on the side towards the car door, increases the safety of the child if a side impact should happen. The anti-rebound brace reduces the rebound forces and the load leg reduces downward rotation forces in a collision.

The isofix base has audiovisual indicators to ensure correct installation. It performs very well in crash tests with an overall score of good by ADAC; low risk of injury in a frontal collision and very low risk of injury in a side impact collision. 

COMFORT FEATURES OF THE BESAFE IZI MODULAR

The BeSafe iZi Modular has 2 deep recline settings for rear facing, which offer maximum comfort for younger babies who still nap in the car. There are 4 recline settings that can be used in forward facing. The recline settlings are very easy to adjust.

When rear facing, the front brace box can be extended further to allow additional leg room as your child grows, but when forward facing it should be pushed in completely. It can be installed more compactly to fit smaller spaces. 

According to the manual, the front seat should be pushed back so that it touches the back if the iZi Modular i-Size when rear facing. If this is not possible, then it should be further forward, at least 25cm away. In forward facing, there should be 55cm between the car seat and the front seat to prevent

The headrest has 10 adjustable height settings, to accommodate your growing child. It is very easy to adjust the harness and headrest simultaneously.

All BeSafe car seats have magnets in the harness in order to keep it out the way while putting your child in. It also has ventilation holes in the backrest, to keep your child cool.

THE IZI MODULAR IS IDEAL IF:

  1.  You already have the iZi Modular isofix base from your iZi Go Modular infant seat
  2.  You want a seat that allows extended rear facing and forward facing, that still has high safety ratings
  3.  You need to move the seat often between cars
  4.  You want adjustable legroom and recline settings

THE IZI KID X3 IS NOT IDEAL IF:

  1. You are on a tighter budget

BESAFE IZI PLUS X1

Best Toddler Seat Besafe Izi Plus Product Review

WEIGHT AND HEIGHT LIMITS OF THE BESAFE IZI PLUS X1

The Besafe iZi Plus X1 is approved from 6 months to 25 kg. The height limits are approximately 61 to 115/118cm, allowing average sized children to rear face until approximately 5 to 6 years. It is a comfortable, well-padded car seat with ample legroom. The iZi Plus X1 cannot be used forward facing. 

HOW IS THE BESAFE IZI PLUS X1 INSTALLED

The iZi Plus X1 installs with the vehicle’s 3-point seatbelt. The iZi Plus X1 takes time and muscle to install, but once it is installed properly, it is very secure. It weighs 12kg and is not an easy or quick seat to transfer between cars. The seatbelt is routed through the front of the seat, so it does not get in the way when putting your little one in or out the car.

The anti-rebound bar is ratcheted out to tension the seatbelt, but also to give your child additional legroom if required. The support leg cannot be installed on top of an underfloor storage compartment. It has 2 lower tether straps which are installed under the front runner rails or through the seat bite of the front seat. No additional tether anchors are required to install the tether straps. Extra tether straps can be purchased for a second vehicle to speed up installation, if you need to transfer the seat between cars.

SAFETY FEATURES OF THE BESAFE IZI PLUS X1

The new BeSafe iZi Plus X1 i-Size has passed some of the toughest requirements on the market; the Swedish Plus Test. It scores 4/5 by Swedish Plus. This score is “very good” and it was awarded “Best in Test” making it THE safest car seat in Europe at the moment

BeSafe Izi Plus Swedish Plus Test


It features built-in Side Impact Protection (SIP) in the seat shell and headrest. In addition, iZi Plus X1 comes with the newest generation of SIP+, an add-on feature that gives up to 20% more safety in a side impact. It has a support leg, to reduce downward forces in a crash, and lower tether anchors as well as an anti-rebound brace to reduce the rebound forces in a crash. 

COMFORT FEATURES OF THE BESAFE IZI PLUS X1

The BeSafe iZi Plus X1 has 3-recline settings to offer comfort to your little one, especially during naps. It can be installed to hover off the seat for maximum recline. The seat sits high on the vehicle seat, allowing children a better view out the window. 

It has ample legroom even for older children. This is a huge advantage to keep kids comfortable in rear facing for as long as possible. This unfortunately does mean it takes quite a lot of legroom from the person sitting in front of it, making the front seat inaccessible in some cars. It requires 91cm of cabin space. If it fits and installation is permitted on the middle seat, it can interfere less with the legroom up front. All BeSafe car seats have magnets in the harness in order to keep it out the way while putting your child in. The new iZi Plus X1 has a softly padded insert to be used for children under 2 years.

The iZi Plus X1 has several height adjustment positions to ensure safety and comfort as your child grows. The headrest and 5-point harness are integrated, meaning that you can adjust the height very easily, just by squeezing the handle on the headrest and raising or lowering the headrest to the desired height. To adjust the recline of the seat, you simply squeeze the lever and raise or lower it to one of the three recline settings

THE IZI PLUS IS IDEAL IF:

  1.  Your child is bigger or taller than average.
  2.  Your car does not have isofix
  3.  You want to keep your child rear facing as long as possible

THE IZI PLUS IS NOT IDEAL IF:

  1. You have a smaller car
  2. You need to move the seat between cars often

CYBEX SIRONA M2

Best Toddler Seat Cybex Sirona M2 Product Review

WEIGHT AND HEIGHT LIMITS OF THE CYBEX SIRONA M2

The Cybex Sirona M2 is part of the Cybex M-line, with both the Aton M infant seat and Sirona M2 toddler seat installing on the same isofix Base M. The Sirona M2 is an iSize approved car seat from birth/45cm-105cm/19kg in rear facing or 76-105cm in forward facing. This usually lasts average-sized children until they are approximately 4 years old. 

HOW IS THE CYBEX IRONA M2 INSTALLED

Installation is quick and easy, and relatively foolproof. The Sirona M2 must be installed with the Cybex Base M isofix base. It is therefore only possible to install it in cars with isofix brackets. Being able to separate the seat from the base makes it lighter and easier to move between cars. A second base can be purchased for a second vehicle, to make transfers even easier.

The Sirona M2 is quite compact for a rear facing toddler seat. The Sirona M2 is easy to switch from rear facing to forward facing. The support leg cannot be installed on top of underfloor storage compartments.

SAFETY FEATURES OF THE SIRONA M2

Cybex Sirona M2 ADAC Results

The Cybex Base M isofix base, with visual indicators to ensure correct installation. It performs well in crash tests and meets the severe UN R129 (iSize) side impact criteria. 

In combination with the side impact protection of the headrest which is well padded with memory foam, the LSP (Linear Side Protection) is extended out on the side towards the car door, increasing the safety of the child in rear or forward facing if an impact should happen. It scored an overall score of "good" by ADAC with low risk of injury in a frontal collision and low risk of injury in a side impact collision.

It passed the stringent Swedish Plus Test with a score of 2/5. 

COMFORT FEATURES OF THE SIRONA

The Sirona M2 has 5 recline settings for rear facing, which offer maximum comfort for naps. As your child gets older, the seat should be used in more upright recline settings. 

This also gives older children more legroom in rear facing as they grow. There are 3 recline settings that can be used in forward facing.

There are 12 height adjustments of the integrated headrest and 5-point harness. The Cybex toddler seats have memory foam in the headrest for added comfort and safety. The infant inlay should be removed at 61cm (approx. 3 months)

The Sirona M2 has hooks on the sides of the seat in order to keep the harness out the way while putting your child in.

THE SIRONA M2 IS IDEAL IF:

  1. You need a seat that is quick and easy to install and move between cars
  2. You want adjustable recline positions and some legroom for your child
  3. You have a smaller car and/or you have limited legroom upfront, as it is quite compact

THE SIRONA M2 IS NOT IDEAL IF:

  1. You plan to use it from birth. Infants don’t always fit &/recline safely. We recommend it from 3 months onwards

CYBEX SIRONA S

Best Toddler Seat Cybex Sirona S Product Review

WEIGHT AND HEIGHT LIMITS OF THE CYBEX SIRONA S

The Sirona S is an iSize approved car seat from birth/45cm to 105cm/18kg in rear facing or 76 to 105cm in forward facing. This usually lasts average-sized children until they are approximately 4 years old. 

HOW IS THE CYBEX SIRONA S INSTALLED

The Sirona S is quick and easy to install. The Sirona S does not come off the isofix base, making it heavy to move between cars as it weighs 15kg. It is only possible to install it in cars with isofix brackets. The Sirona S is quite compact for a rear facing toddler seat. It is very easy to move from rear to forward facing. 

SAFETY FEATURES OF THE CYBEX SIRONA S

Cybex-Sirona-S_ADAC-and-Swedish-Plus-Results

The Cybex Sirona S i-Size has an integrated isofix base, with visual indicators to ensure correct installation. In combination with the side impact protection of the headrest which is well padded with memory foam, the LSP (Linear Side Protection) is extended out on the side towards the car door, increasing the safety of the child in rear or forward facing if an impact should happen. It reduces the force of a side impact in combination with the energy absorbing shell by approximately 25%.

It scored an overall score of "good" by ADAC with very low risk of injury in a side impact collision and average risk of injury in a frontal collision.

The Driving Direction Control (DDC) prevents forward-facing use before the child is at least 16 months old and 76 cm tall. Sirona S i-Size also offers safety for your child in the forward-facing position thanks to the Energy Reduction Technology. It is activated as the forces reach their full impact in a head-on collision:

The headrest slides down during a crash, progressively limiting the neck’s exposure to the impact forces, and subsequently locks into position. It reduces the forces on the neck of a child during a front crash by approximately 20%, compared to other existing harness systems.

The Sirona S is available with or without the integrated Sensorsafe, which is a unique child monitoring system that ensures the safety and health of your child. The SensorSafe clip is attached to the harness system and links to your smartphone via bluetooth, keeping you informed of the safety and health of your seated child at all times.

SensorSafe provides essential alerts to help prevent critical situations: when your child unbuckles the clip, when the ambient temperature of your child is too hot or too cold, if your little one is left unattended in the car, and if your child has been seated for too long. All alerts are received via Bluetooth on your smartphone through a user friendly app that also provides guidance on installation, how-to videos, FAQs and more .

WHAT ARE THE COMFORT FEATURES OF THE SIRONA S?

The Sirona S swivels 360 degrees, making it easier to load your child in and out the car. 

The Sirona S has 5 recline settings for rear facing, which offer maximum comfort for naps and prevents your baby’s head falling forward. As your child gets older, the seat should be used in more upright recline settings. This also gives older children more legroom in rear facing as they grow. There are 3 recline settings that can be used in forward facing.

There are 12 height adjustments of the integrated headrest and 5-point harness. The Cybex toddler seats have memory foam in the headrest for added comfort and safety. The included infant inlay should be removed at 61cm (approx. 3 months)

The Sirona S has hooks on the sides of the seat in order to keep the harness out the way while putting your child in.

THE SIRONA S IS IDEAL IF:

  1.  You have back problems or a 2-door car, due to the convenient 360 degree swivel action
  2.  You don't need to move the car seat between cars often
  3. You want adjustable recline positions and some legroom for your child
  4. You have a smaller car and/or you have limited legroom upfront, as it is quite compact

THE SIRONA S IS NOT IDEAL IF:

  1. You need to move it between cars often, as it is a heavy seat
  2. You plan to use it from birth. We recommend it from 3 months minimum

CYBEX SIRONA Z

Best Toddler Seat Cybex Sirona Z Product Review

WEIGHT AND HEIGHT LIMITS OF THE CYBEX SIRONA Z

The Sirona Z is an iSize approved car seat from birth/45cm-105cm/18kg in rear facing or 76-105cm in forward facing. This usually lasts average-sized children until they are approximately 4 years old. The Base Z is also compatible with the Cloud Z infant car seat, which is better suited to infants than the Cloud Z. 

HOW IS THE CYBEX SIRONA Z INSTALLED

The Sirona Z is quick and easy to install. The Sirona Z can be detached off the isofix base, making it lighter and easy to move between cars. It is only possible to install it in cars with isofix brackets. The Sirona Z is quite compact for a rear facing toddler seat. It is very easy to move it from rear facing to forward facing. The Sirona Z can swivel 360 degrees, making it easier to load your child in and out the car. 

SAFETY FEATURES OF THE CYBEX SIRONA Z

The Cybex Sirona Z installs on Base Z isofix base, with visual indicators to ensure correct installation. It also has an audible alarm if the support leg comes loose to warn you that it needs to be corrected. 

In combination with the side impact protection of the headrest which is well padded with memory foam, the LSP (Linear Side Protection) offers increased safety in the event of a side-impact collision. It reduces the force of a side-impact in combination with the energy-absorbing shell by approximately 25%.

The Energy Reduction Technology of the Sirona Z i-Size offers safety for your child in the forward-facing position in the event of a head-on collision. The "ER-Tech" reduces the forces on the neck of a child during a front crash by more than 20%, compared to other existing 5-point harness systems.

Cybex Sirona Z ADAC Safety Test Results

The Driving Direction Control (DDC) prevents forward-facing use before the child is at least 16 months old and 76 cm tall.

It scored an overall score of "good" by ADAC with very low risk of injury in a side impact collision and low risk of injury in a frontal collision. 

COMFORT FEATURES OF THE CYBEX SIRONA Z

The Sirona Z has 5 recline settings for rear facing, which offer maximum comfort for naps and prevents your baby’s head falling forward. As your child gets older, the seat should be used in more upright recline settings. This also gives older children more legroom in rear facing as they grow. There are 3 recline settings that can be used in forward facing.

There are 12 height adjustments of the integrated headrest and 5-point harness. The Cybex toddler seats have memory foam in the headrest for added comfort and safety. The included infant inlay should be removed at 61cm (approx. 3 months)

The Sirona Z has magnets on the sides of the seat in order to keep the harness out the way while putting your child in.

THE CYBEX SIRONA Z IS IDEAL IF:

  1.  You have back problems or a 2-door car due to the 360 degree swivel
  2. You need to move it between cars often
  3. You want a seat that is quick and easy to install
  4. You want adjustable recline positions and some legroom for your child
  5. You have a smaller car and/or you have limited legroom upfront, as it is quite compact

THE CYBEX SIRONA Z IS NOT IDEAL IF:

  1. You plan to use it from birth. We recommend it from 3 months minimum. The Cloud Z, which is compatible with the base Z, is ideal from birth. 

HAUCK VARIOGUARD PLUS

Best Toddler Seat Hauck Varioguard Plus Product Review

WEIGHT AND HEIGHT LIMITS OF THE HAUCK VARIOGUARD PLUS

The Varioguard Plus is an ECE R44/04 approved car seat from birth to 18kg. When installed with isofix, it can be used rear facing from birth to 18kg or forward facing from 9 to 18kg. When installed with seatbelt, it can be used rear facing from birth to 13kg and forward facing from 9 to 18kg.

This usually lasts average-sized children until they are approximately 4 years old. It does not have a specified height limit, but is outgrown by height when the harness dips below the shoulders in forward facing or more than an inch below the shoulder in rear facing

HOW IS THE HAUCK VARIOGUARD PLUS INSTALLED

The Variogaurd Plus is quick and easy to install. It can be installed either with isofix OR seatbelt, never both! This is very convenient if one of your vehicles do not have isofix or for occasional lifts in Ubers or grandparents cars without isofix.

The Variogaurd Plus can be detached off the isofix base, making it lighter and easy to move between cars. The Varioguard Plus is quite compact for a rear facing toddler seat.

SAFETY FEATURES OF THE HAUCK VARIOGUARD PLUS

Hauck Varioguard Plus ADAC Safety Test Results

The Hauck Variogaurd Plus base has visual indicators to ensure correct installation. It has a 5-point harness, memory foam, as well as energy-absorbing areas in head and shoulder paddings.


It scored an overall score of satisfactory by ADAC and a safety score of 2.0 (good) with low risk of injury in a side impact collision and low risk of injury in a frontal collision.

WHAT ARE THE COMFORT FEATURES OF THE HAUCK VARIOGUARD PLUS

The Varioguard Plus must be used in the maximum recline setting for rear facing. It has 3 recline settings for forward facing. It comes with an infant insert.

There are 7 height adjustments of the integrated headrest and 5-point harness. This makes it easy to adjust the height without having to rethread the harness. The headrest has memory foam in the headrest for added comfort and safety.

THE  VARIOGUARD PLUS IS IDEAL IF:

  1. You have a limited budget
  2. You  need to use it in another car that doesn’t have isofix (it installs with seatbelt or isofix)
  3. You want a seat that is quick and easy to install 

THE VARIOGUARD PLUS IS NOT IDEAL IF:

  1. You plan to use it from birth. We recommend it from 3 months
  2. You don’t have isofix and have long seatbelt buckle stalks. It is prone to buckle crunch

MAXI COSI PEARL PRO

Best Toddler Car Seats Maxi Cosi pearl pro Review

WEIGHT AND HEIGHT LIMITS OF THE MAXI COSI PEARL PRO

The Pearl Pro is an iSize approved car seat from 67 to 105cm/18.5kg in rear facing or 84cm to 105cm in forward facing. This usually lasts average-sized children until they are approximately 4 years old. 

HOW IS THE MAXI COSI PEARL PRO INSTALLED

The Pearl Pro can only be installed in cars that have isofix brackets. It requires the 3WayFix isofix base. It cannot be installed with seatbelt. The support leg cannot be installed on top of an underfloor storage compartment.

SAFETY FEATURES OF THE MAXI COSI PEARL PRO

The impact-absorbing material in the top side wings provides enhanced safety in a side impact collision.  The isofix base  has audio and visual confirmation when the connection is secure. The base will sound an alarm if the isofix or support leg come loose.

Maxi Cosi Pearl Pro Adac Rating


It scored an overall score of "good" by ADAC with low risk of injury in a frontal impact collision and average risk of injury in a side impact collision.


COMFORT FEATURES OF THE MAXI COSI PEARL PRO

The Pearl Pro provides optimal ease of use and comfort, due to the easy-in harness which has springs in the harness so that it is easy to strap your child in. There is no release tab to loosen the harness. Instead, when the buckle is released it automatically releases the harness, making it easy to get your child out the harness. This is also ideal to preserve mom’s nails and granny's arthritic fingers!

It has 2 recline settings which can be used for rear or forward facing. In rear facing, the seat must be fully reclined until your child is 97cm tall. When it is fully reclined in rear facing, the child should be high enough to see out the window. Legroom for the child is limited.  

 THE MAXI COSI PEARL PRO IS IDEAL IF:

  1.  You want a seat that is easy and fast to install
  2.  You want a seat with a harness that is very easy to buckle in
  3.  You like a lifetime warranty and free swap service

 THE MAXI COSI PEARL PRO IS NOT IDEAL IF:

  1. You want your child to have legroom in rear facing 

RECARO ZERO 1

Best Toddler car seats Recaro Zero 1 Product Review

WEIGHT AND HEIGHT LIMITS OF THE RECARO ZERO 1

The Zero 1 is an iSize approved car seat from 45cm-105cm/18kg. This usually lasts average-sized children until they are approximately 4 years old. Although it is approved from birth and comes with an infant insert, we have found that it is not ideally suitable for babies under 3 months.

HOW IS THE RECARO ZERO 1 INSTALLED

The Zero 1 installs with isofix. It therefore can only be installed in cars with isofix brackets. The support leg cannot be installed on top of an underfloor storage compartment. It is a very heavy car seat though, so not ideal if you need to move it between cars often.

The Zero 1 iSize is very easy to move from forward to rear facing. Simply flick the switch and rotate it around. No reinstallation required!

SAFETY FEATURES OF THE RECARO ZERO 1

The Zero 1 iSize offers foldable wings for maximum side impact protection. It uses isofix connection for an easy and secure installation to the vehicle. The HERO safety system prevents belts from slipping or twisting and makes buckling up easy. They also prevent children from being able to escape out of the harness due to the non-slip material. 

Recaro Zero 1 i-Size ADAC Safety Test Results

The Recaro Zero.1 is equipped with a function which prevents the seat from being accidentally turned to the forward position before a child is at least 15 months. Check that the adjustment knob on the bottom side of the seat is set rear-facing

It scored an overall score of “good” by ADAC and a safety score of “good” with low risk of injury in a side impact collision and low risk of injury in a frontal collision.

COMFORT FEATURES OF THE RECARO ZERO 1 ISIZE

The Zero 1 is convenient for parents as it swivels 90 degrees towards you, making it easy on your back whilst strapping your little in or out the car. The seat can be rotated with one hand. This is a fantastic option if you have back problems or a 2-door car, but it is a luxury for any parent!

Younger babies are optimally and ergonomically supported with the flexible insert cushion. The height adjustable head supports with memory foam can easily be adjusted as your baby grows. The memory foam provides a comfortable support for little ones as it adapts perfectly to the body shape and provides necessary support.

There are 2 recline position in both directions. The seat reclines within the extra shell, so it does not take up any additional space when reclining it further. The Zero 1 has limited legroom for the child. It does sit fairly high up on the vehicle bench, so children should be able to see out the window in most cars.

THE RECARO ZERO 1 ISIZE IS IDEAL IF:

  1.  You have back problems or a 2-door car 
  2. You like a 360 swivel/rotation to make it easier to put your child in
  3. You want easy and fast installation
  4. 10 year lifespan

THE RECARO ZERO 1 ISIZE IS NOT IDEAL IF:

  1. You need to move it between cars often as it is very heavy
  2. Budget does not allow for such an expensive seat
  3. You plan to use it from birth. Infants don’t always fit &/recline safely. Recommended from 3 months +

VOLVO MAXWAY

Best Toddler Seat Volvo Maxway Product Review

WEIGHT AND HEIGHT LIMITS OF THE VOLVO MAXWAY

The Volvo Maxway is a rear facing only seat. It is approved from 9kg to 25 kg. It has a long backrest, allowing average sized children to rear face up to the age of approx. 5 to 6 years. The height limits are approximately 65 to 112-115cm. The Maxway cannot be used forward facing. 

HOW IS THE VOLVO MAXWAY INSTALLED

The Maxway installs with the vehicle’s 3-point seatbelt or 2-point lapbelt, and lower tether anchors. This makes it a versatile seat and can often accommodate 3-across. It can also be installed in older cars that do not have full seatbelts.

The Maxway is light, so easy enough to move between cars. But it does take some time to install the tethers and tighten the seatbelt. Spare tethers can be purchased for a second vehicle if you need to move it between cars often.

Once it is installed properly, it is very secure. The seatbelt is routed through the front of the seat, so it does not get in the way when putting your little one in or out the car. No additional tether anchors are required to install the tether straps, although Volvo cars do have lower tether anchors. 

SAFETY FEATURES OF THE VOLVO MAXWAY

The Maxway features deep, protective side wings which act as a protective cocoon that helps absorb the force from a side impact collision. 

The seat has a support leg which reduces the downward rotation forces. It cannot be installed on top of underfloor storage compartments. Furthermore, it has 2 lower tether straps, which are installed under the front runner rails or through the seatbite. This prevents the seat from rebounding in a crash .  

Volvo Maxway Swedish Plust Test Results

The Maxway scores 3/5 by the most stringent crash testing facility; Swedish Plus. This score is “good”. ADAC gave it a safety rating of “good” with very low load values in frontal collision and average load values in side impact collisions. 

COMFORT FEATURES OF THE VOLVO MAXWAY

The Maxway is a compact and light seat, making 3 across possible in many sedans, SUVs and even some hatchbacks.

The Maxway can be installed to give the child more or less legroom. In more compact cars, it can be installed right up against the backrest of the backseat, giving the child less legroom but the adult in front more legroom.

Even when installed in the most compact position, children are perfectly comfortable crossing their legs or resting them against the backrest. To give the child more legroom, the Maxway can be installed with the lip hanging over the vehicle seat. 

The Maxway has 3-recline settings, with the recommendation of using the more upright settings as your child gets older. The recline settings are adjustable but fixed; you have to uninstall the seat to adjust the recline setting. However, this only really needs to be done once a year as your child gets older. The Maxway does look rather upright, but it can be reclined further by tethering it before tightening the seatbelt.

It sits fairly high up on the vehicle bench, so children should be able to see out of the window in most cars.

The headrest and 5-point harness are integrated, making it very easy to adjust the height.

THE VOLVO MAXWAY ISIZE IS IDEAL IF:

  1. Your child is bigger than average
  2. Your car does not have isofix
  3. You need to fit 3 across, even with a lapbelt in the middle seat
  4. You need a narrow and compact car seat
  5. You want the option of more/less legroom for the child
  6.  Your car has long buckle stalks as it does not cause buckle crunch

THE VOLVO MAXWAY IS NOT IDEAL IF:

  1. You need to move it between cars very often as it takes some time and effort to install

EXTENDED REAR FACING CAR SEATS

Please click on the images below to view the highest safety rated toddler car seats that we sell. Feel free to contact us if you require any further information or would like to book a consultation. 

besafe toddler car seats
cybex toddler car seats
hauck toddler car seats
maxi cosi toddler car seat
Recaro toddler car seats
volvo toddler car seat

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