The 7 best car seats for 5-year-olds tried and tested by mums

car seats for 5-year-olds

by Eleanor Weaver |
Updated on

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 5-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.

The best car seats for 5-year-olds at a glance:

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

Award: Won Silver for the Mother&Baby Awards 2023

We think the RECARO Toria Elite is the perfect solution for parents looking for the best car seat and it will become your child's companion for the next 10 years. Engineered to protect children, the Toria Elite child seat combines the highest safety standards, increased travel comfort and outstanding design. The versatile child seat grows with young travellers, can be individually height-adjusted and perfectly adapts to different body sizes.

Our mum tester said: "It was easy to recline with one hand and the three positions were good for sleeping on journeys. I thought the speakers in the headrest were a lovely idea, although have not used them as of yet. The fact that this is also suitable for 15 months to 12 years offers real value for money."

Read our full RECARO Toria Elite review.

Pros

  • R129-compliant (i-Size ready)
  • Suitable from 15 months to 12 years

Cons

  • No swivel
Suitable from:Approximately 15 months to 12 years old (76-150cm)
Booster seat type:High back
Dimensions:H62 x W43 x D49cm
Type: i-size
ISOFIX: Yes
  • Grows with the child and easy to convert 
  • Built-in sound system
  • Advance side protection
  • Air ventilation system
  • One-handed recline adjustment
  • Intuitive installation

Best all-in-one car seat

Award: Won Bronze for the Mother&Baby Awards 2023

This car seat from Chicco grows with your baby, as it's suitable from birth up to seven years. Thanks to its ISOFIX system, it's super easy to install, and comfortable, but its star feature is its 360° rotating system which we love.

Our mum tester said: "I absolutely love the Chicco Seat3Fit. It has so many amazing features. The fact you can turn the seat 360 degrees really is a game changer. The design and colour is perfect. I really love this car seat"

Read our full Chicco Seat3Fit i-Size review.

Pros

  • Grows with your baby
  • Easy to install
  • 360-degree rotating system
  • Six reclining positions for extra comfort
  • QR code for installation video tutorial

Cons

  • One mum wished it would recline just a tiny bit further
Suitable from: Birth up to seven years of age
Booster seat type: High Back
Dimensions: H61 x W49 x D44cm
Type: i-size
ISOFIX:Yes
  • ISOFIX
  • i-Size certified
  • 360 degree rotating system
  • Suitable for forward and rear-facing
  • Five point harness system
  • Six recline positions

Best designed car seat

Award: Shortlisted for the Mother&Baby Awards 2023

Cosatto is a household brand that is known for creating amazing products with pretty and bold designs, and this colourful car seat also hosts a whole lot of safety features. With an anti-escape system and five-point harness, you won't need to worry about your childs safety when strapped into this carseat.

Our parent tester said: "Wholeheartedly I can say with I would recommend this to mums. It is an investment that will last until you no longer need a car seat. The designs are fun and I have received so many compliments on my car seat. My son often falls asleep in the car and he looks secure and comfortable when this happens. If you are looking for a car seat that will stay in your vehicle then I think this is a fantastic option."

Read our full Cosatto All in All Rotate i-Size Car Seat review.

Pros

  • Lovely designs
  • Five-point harness system
  • Rotating features

Cons

  • Heavy to move
Suitable from:Birth up to 12 years old
Booster seat type:High back
Type:Group 0+123
ISOFIX: Yes
  • Anti escape system
  • Five-point harness system
  • ISOfix
  • Rotating seat

Best car seat for comfort

Award: Won Silver for the Mother&Baby Awards 2022

Available in a bunch of colours, it grows with your child to provide optimum support, protection and comfort to keep them safe from 15 months until approx. 12 years old. Tested to the UN R129/03 latest standard, it provides over 40 per cent less strain on the neck whilst the impact shield helps reduce the risk of neck injuries in a frontal collision when compared to a harness system.

Our mum tester said: "It has definitely made our car journeys much more enjoyable as I don't find myself panicking that she may try to escape. The Pallas G I-Size is extremely simple to use, I was worried that the impact shield may be hard to adjust but it is unbelievably simple. My daughter even likes to think of it as a tray for her to play on whilst on our journeys!"

Read our full CYBEX Pallas G i-Size review.

Pros

  • Adjustable impact shield
  • Ventilation system
  • ISOFIX system

Cons

  • Doesn't rear-face
Suitable from:15 months to 12 years
Height: 76cm up to 150cm
Weight:Approx. 9 – 50kg
Type: i-Size
ISOFIX: Yes
  • ISOFIX system
  • Adjustable impact shield
  • Height adjustable headrest
  • Comfortable deep seat cushions
  • Energy absorbing shells

Best car seat for head rest

Award: Shortlisted for the Mother&Baby Awards 2022

This seat comes with built-in ISOFIX installation when forward-facing for group one, as well as ISOSAFE connection to keep the seat securely in place when in group 2/3 booster mode. It also has a multi-height head rest that's easy to adjust.

Our mum tester said: "I am really impressed with this product so far. We have another Joie car seat and they have always seemed to perform well. Easy to clean and look comfy. The seat was easy to install with an Isofix base and sits nicely on the backseat without movement."

Read our full Joie Every Stage FX review.

Pros

  • Six recline positions
  • ISOFIX system
  • Easy to adjust

Cons

  • It doesn't have 360 spin
Suitable from:Birth up to 12 years
Type: Group 0+123
ISOFIX:Yes
  • Six recline positions
  • Height adjustable headrest
  • Side mesh storage pockets
  • ISOFIX system

Best car seat for recline position

Designed for birth to approx. 12 years, this car seat has it all and should be the only one you'll ever need for your child. Rearward and forward-facing, it has True Shield side impact protection with energy-absorbing foam, a five-point harness, 10 headrest positions and four recline positions. It's slimmer than most car seats, making it a good choice for freeing up space in your backseat, and has a drinks holder for when tots get older.

Our mum tester said: "The size range is incredible. This is a huge bonus and money-saving. The testing of the seat has very good reviews which are really important to me and my friends. The easy installation of the seat is also a huge bonus when moving it between cars and saves time which is a must for any parents.

Read our full Graco Slimfit review.

Pros

  • Rear-facing for longer
  • Five-point harness system
  • Adjustable headrest and recline positions
  • Removable cup holder

Cons

  • There's no ISOFIX
Suitable from:birth up to 12 years
Type: Group 0+123
ISOFIX:No
  • Foreward and rear-facing
  • Adjustable headrest
  • Five-point harness system
  • Removable cup holder

Best three-seats-in-one car seat

Super easy to install and complete with bonus harness protection, the Joie Bold car seat has Guard Surround Safety panels to provide side impact protection and a Grow Together headrest and harness system for simple adjustments. Accommodating little ones up to 36kg, it even comes with a handy cupholder for snacks and drinks on the go.

Our mum tester said: "The seat looks really good quality, it’s attractive and the fabric is soft. The cupholder is a small but welcome feature- having to turn round and pass a child their water bottle from the passenger seat isn’t easy- and if you’re driving then there’s no way to get their drink to them, so having them be able to grab it themselves is brilliant! The side impact sections are a good feature- I’m not sure I’ve seen anything like them before."

Read our full Joie Bold Group 1/2/3 car seat review.

Pros

  • Handy cupholder
  • Grow Together headrest and harness
  • Guard surround safety panels

Cons

  • No 360 spin
Suitable from:9 months up to 12 years
Type: Group 123
ISOFIX:Yes
  • Guard surround safety panels
  • Five-point harness system
  • Grow Together headrest
  • Ventilation on side of shells
  • Removable cup holder

Car seat buying guide

Choosing the right Car Seat for your 5 year old

Stage groups

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.

©Getty Images

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.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us
How we write our articles and reviews
Mother & Baby is dedicated to ensuring our information is always valuable and trustworthy, which is why we only use reputable resources such as the NHS, reviewed medical papers, or the advice of a credible doctor, GP, midwife, psychotherapist, gynaecologist or other medical professionals. Where possible, our articles are medically reviewed or contain expert advice. Our writers are all kept up to date on the latest safety advice for all the products we recommend and follow strict reporting guidelines to ensure our content comes from credible sources. Remember to always consult a medical professional if you have any worries. Our articles are not intended to replace professional advice from your GP or midwife.