If your toddler is outgrowing their car seat or you’re in the market for a car seat that’ll last for years to come, we’ve found the best car seats for five-year-olds that’ll keep them as safe and secure as possible, no matter how much they wriggle!
In the UK, all children need a car seat until the age of 12-years-old, or if they are less than 135cm tall. As a result, the car seat market is flooded with various different types of car seats from toddler car seats that rear-face to baby-only car seats, and others that'll last from birth all the way up and into their tweens.
Best at a glance:
Best overall car seat for 5 year olds: Cybex Gold Pallas G i-Size Car Seat, buy on Baby Security
Best comfortable car seat for 5 year olds: Graco Slimfit Car Seat, buy on Amazon
Best multi-functioning car seat for 5 year olds: Joie Bold Car Seat, buy on Mamas and Papas
We've tried and tested an array of car seats for 5-year-olds to find the ones that'll give your backseat buddy the optimal safety they require, as well as broken down everything you need to know and be looking for in the right car seat for your child.
The best car seats for 5-year-olds
Best Multi-Stage Car Seat
Type: i-size | ISOFIX: Yes | Award: Won Silver for the Mother&Baby Awards 2023
- R129-compliant (i-Size ready)
- Suitable from 15 months to 12 years
- No swivel
Best All-In-One Car Seat
Type: i-size | ISOFIX: Yes | Award: Won Bronze for the Mother&Baby Awards 2023
- Grows with your baby
- Easy to install
- 360 degree rotating system
- Six reclining positions for extra comfort
- QR code for installation video tutorial
- One mum wished it would recline just a tiny bit further
Best Designed Car Seat
Type: Group 0+123 | ISOFIX: Yes | Award: Shortlisted for the Mother&Baby Awards 2023
- Lovely designs
- Five-point harness system
- Rotating features
- Heavy to move
Best car seat for comfort
Type: i-Size | ISOFIX: Yes | Award: Won Silver for the Mother&Baby Awards 2022
- Adjustable impact shield
- Ventilation system
- ISOFIX system
- Doesn't rear-face
Best car seat for head rest
Type: Group 0+123 | ISOFIX: Yes | Award: Shortlisted for the Mother&Baby Awards 2022
- Six recline positions
- ISOFIX system
- Easy to adjust
- It doesn't have 360 spin
Best car seat for recline position
- Rear-facing for longer
- Five-point harness system
- Adjustable headrest and recline positions
- Removable cup holder
- There's no ISOFIX
Best Three-Seats-In-One Car Seat
- Handy cupholder
- Grow Together headrest and harness
- Guard surround safety panels
- No 360 spin
Car seat buying guide
Choosing the right Car Seat for your 5 year old
When looking for a car seat for your five-year-old, you should be looking for their 'stage group' based on their weight, rather than their age. The stage groups for little ones are broken down as follows under ECE R44 regulations.
• Group 0+/1/2 car seats: Is suitable from birth to 25kg, approx. 6-years-old.
• Group 1/2/3 car seats: Is suitable for children 9-36kg, approx. 9 months to 12 years.
• Group 2/3 car seats: Is suitable for children 15-36kg, approx. 3-12-years-old.
• Group 3 car seats: Based on new safety regulations launched in 2017, group 3 car seats i.e. new booster seats on the market, are limited to children who are taller than 125cm, weighing more than 22kg.
It's recommended that you should try to keep your child in the lowest stage group for as long as possible to give them the optimal safety features, and there's no need to swap for the next stage group up until your child has outgrown their Group 1 car seat. Depending on the age of your child you may want to look into the best car seats for 4-year-olds too.
Car Seat designs
With each stage group, you'll find different car seat designs for each.
Multi-stage car seats (Group 0+/1/2 and Group 1/2/3)
Also known as combination car seats, these have been designed to carry your child from birth to the booster-seat stage and as a result, they come with an initial higher cost, but really are great value for money. These car seats are equipped with padding and a 5-point harness with most seats fitting children up to 18 or 25kg.
High back booster seats (Group 2/3)
These car seats are designed to lift your child up to use the vehicle seat belt, but come with a high back and side padding for safety and impact protection.
Backless booster seats (Group 3)
Backless booster seats are now limited to children who are taller than 125cm, weighing more than 22kg, as they have fewer safety features compared to the other stage groups and it's at this size a child will be able to wear an adult seatbelt correctly. Previously, these car seats were approved for use by children weighing between 15-36kg, but they've been deemed by the UN as being unsuitable for protecting smaller children from side-on collisions.
i-Size car seats (Height-based system)
Expected to eventually be adopted across all new car seats sold, i-Size was introduced in 2013 as safety regulation ECE R129 with rigorous testing through impact crash trials and new state-of-the-art Q dummies to test impact. Using a height-based system, i-Size car seats have been designed to take the guesswork out of choosing the right fit, provide better protection from side impacts, and keep children rearward-facing for longer, until at least 15 months or 75cm to protect their fragile heads and necks.
Law and safety for Car Seats
What is ISOFIX?
ISOFIX car seats feature two arms that lock onto small metal bars located in the seat of your vehicle. With one quick click, the ISOFIX connectors snap onto these anchor points – no seat belt threading involved. They’re accompanied by install indicators so you can be sure your child is sitting safely with a correct connection.
The rear seats of most new cars produced since 2013 have a pair of ISOFIX anchor points, but before purchasing, you should double-check that is the case.