Best 5 point harness car seat to keep your toddler safe

Best 5 point harness car seat

by Hannah Carroll |
Updated on

When looking for the best 5 point harness car seat safety is paramount. A 5 point harness is the safest way for an infant to travel. This is because, in the unfortunate event of a crash, the seat is designed to restrain your little one at the shoulders and hips -as these are the most rigid parts of the body. In a crash, the velocity of the accident is transferred to a larger area of the body and to the seat. So, in basic terms, your baby will be kept in the safest position and will experience less impact than in a seatbelt or booster seat. The best car seats will not only look good and have multiple safety features but practically make your life easier - because getting a toddler in a car seat is hard enough.

But with so many car seats on the market, it can quickly become confusing. The car seat that worked perfectly for your brand-new baby may not be suitable for your boisterous three-nager. Toddlers find a way of working their way out of most things that are designed to keep them safe – we don't want your car seat to be one of them. You might also want to get a car seat blanket that can fit around the car seat harness to keep baby warm and safe.

Toddlers are notoriously hard to please. We have looked at the best 5 point harness car seats with height, weight, and car specification. We have even found some great toddler car seats with cup holders for all your little one's snacks fabulous designs - like the Cosatto All in All + and 360 car seats, which make getting a screaming tot in the car a little more manageable.

Harry James testing the Cosatto All in All 5 point harness car seat
©Hannah James

Best 5 point harness car seat at a glance:

Best Multi Stage Car Seat: Nuna TODL NEXT car seat - Buy from Baby Planet
Best Baby/Toddler Car Seat (Stage 1/2): Maxi-Cosi Mica Pro Eco - Buy now from Maxi Cosi
Best design: Cosatto All in All + Group 0+123 Car Seat - Buy now from Cosatto
Best rotating car seat: Joie Baby i-Spin 360 i-Size Car Seat - Buy now from John Lewis

Our product recommendations are based on a combination of real-world testing from our army of mum testers and the extensive knowledge of our experienced editorial team and product specialists. Where we can, we also consult experts who specialise in that field to ensure you get the right advice along with the right product, and we listen to what you say as well, helping us highlight the products that meet what you really want.

The Best 5 Point Harness Car Seats

Best Multi-Stage Car Seat

This car seat won Gold at the Mother&Baby Awards 2023

This Nuna TODL NEXT car seat ticks so many boxes. Not only is it lightweight, but it is packed with protective padding. Your little one will love using this car seat as it is comfortable and can be adjusted to ensure a perfect fit as they grow. The swivel features are smooth and easy to use. This product is easy to install with either ISOFIX or seatbelt installation.

Our parent reviewer said: "With this seat everything feels like it has ball-bearings, really smooth to use and at no stage does it feel flimsy or unreliable."

Read the full Nuna TODL Next Car Seat review


  • Lightweight
  • Easy to turn
  • Rubberised harness


  • One colour option
Age Suitability: Birth - 4 years
Maximum Child Height: 105cm
Maximum Child Weight:19kg
Care instructions:Wash the soft goods with cold water under 30°C

Best Baby/Toddler Car Seat (Stage 1/2)

This car seat won Gold at the Mother&Baby Awards 2023

This was our favourite car seat from birth to four years. It can be used from birth with the Baby-hugg inlay. The safest way for a child to travel is rearward facing, and this car seat allows children up to the age of four to travel comfortably this way. We love that this Mica Pro Eco car seat has been made from recycled polyester, which means it is also more eco-friendly than most car seats.

Our Mum tester Louise said: "I was very impressed with this car seat and would 100 per cent recommend it to other mums. The 360 spin is a fantastic feature and the fact this car seat can be used from birth right through to age four is a great selling point especially as car seats are quite an expensive outlay. The overall build of the car seat is very sleek and looks neat in the car and the material suited my child's eczema-prone skin."

Read our full Maxi-Cosi Mica Pro Eco review


  • 360 rotation
  • ClimaFlow ventilation panels
  • Removable and washable cover
  • Suitable from birth


  • Seat is attached to ISOFIX base
Size:Suitable for children 40-105cm (approximately birth to 4 years old)
Isofix compatible:Yes
R129-compliant (i-Size ready)
Unpackaged weight car seat + isofix base14.7kg
Unpackaged weight car seat only14.7kg

Best design

This is an i-size car seat, which means that it is manufactured to the latest child seat safety standards. Cosatto has gone further to ensure the wellbeing of your child by more independent testing beyond the standard speed requirements. This universal car seat is suitable from birth to 12 years. We love this car seat because there are multiple design options.

Mother&Baby writer Hannah James 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."

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


  • Design
  • 360 Rotation
  • Easy rotation
  • Anti-escape system


  • Heavy
  • Handle with care
Age:Birth -12 years approx.
Forward Facing:76cm-105cm
Rearward Facing:40cm-105cm
Forward Facing Booster:100cm-150cm
5 Point Harness:To be used until 19.5kg

Best rotating car seat

Joie Baby i-Spin 360 i-Size Car Seat
Joie Baby i-Spin 360 i-Size Car Seat
Image: John Lewis

We love the Joie Baby i-Spin 360 because of its rotating feature. It is easy to get a screaming toddler into the car without trying to bend a tantrum-throwing toddler's super straight body. You can turn the car seat so it's facing the door, plonk in your tot and snap the seat back into a front-facing position. This car seat can be used from birth, but unfortunately cannot be used past 40lbs – which is approx. four years old. So, although it is not a long-term investment for a toddler, it does make for a very easy life.

Review: "Really pleased with chair. Nice and secure with good padding. Feels nice and well made and should last well."


  • Sturdy
  • Easy to clean
  • Comfortable
  • Padded
  • Machine washable


  • Heavy
Suitable for:Birth up to 19kg/40lbs or approx. birth to 4 years (from 40-105cm)
Installation type:ISOFIX
Reclining positions:6

Best rotating car seat without ISOFIX

Maxi-Cosi Axiss Swiveling Toddler Car Seat
Maxi-Cosi Axiss Swiveling Toddler Car Seat
Image: Amazon

As previously mentioned, not all vehicles will have ISOFIX anchor points. And in cars that do, not all seats will be suitable for ISOFIX car seats. This Maxi-Cosi Axiss is installed via seatbelt but still has a swivelling feature that can prevent parents from having to strain when putting toddlers into the car. With eight reclining positions, you can ensure that your toddler is comfortable for the duration of the journey.

Review: "Ever used a car seat that turns before? Me either! What a profound moment it was when trying for the first time. It fixes using the cars seat belt and has a ratchet to pull tight. The child straps slide easily and the hooks on the sides for holding the shoulder pads out the way is a revelation. This is brilliant, if I had to pick a fault its that the seat fabric could be better, but this is not a problem."


  • Easy swivelling seat
  • Seat belt tensioner
  • Multiple recline positions
  • Doesn't require ISOFIX


  • Swivel isn't smooth
Suitable for:Birth up to 19kg/40lbs or approx. birth to 4 years (from 40-105cm)
Reclining positions:8
Installation typeSeat Belt

Best for simplicity

Maxi-Cosi Titan Toddler
Maxi-Cosi Titan Toddler

Amazon users love this car seat because it can be used at multiple stages (1/2/3), from nine-month-old babies up to a pre-teen. The car seat works with a 5 point harness until your child reaches the age of four, when a seatbelt can be used to allow for a more comfortable ride. This car seat has five positions from upright to relaxed sleeping – perfect for a little one to have a snooze in the car and you to have a moment of peace.
The Maxi-Cosi Titan car seat is packed with cosy padding and cushioned inlay, providing extra comfort, and the cover is also machine washable.

Review: "My little one hated to get into the car as his old seat wasn't comfortable at all. But maxi Cosi is one of the best brand I must say. It has the cushion and my little one loves to travel now. He falls asleep very quickly and looks more comfortable."


  • Comfortable
  • Multiple reclining positions
  • ISOFIX and seatbelt installation


  • Tight straps
Suitable for:9 months to about 11 or 12 years (approx. 9-36 kg)
Reclining positions:5
Installation type:ISOFIX/Seat belt
Maximum Weight:36 Kilograms
Product dimensions:17.5D x 19.9W x 24.8H centimetres

Best 5 point car seat that adapts to an older car seat

Joie Elevate 1/2/3 Car Seat
Joie Elevate 1/2/3 Car Seat
Image: Boots

This car seat is a good investment as it grows with your toddler. There is a cupholder perfect for holding your toddler's drinks. This group 1/2/3 child seat and booster suitable forward-facing. We love this Joie Elevate car seat because it has layers of comfortable full-impact protection.

Mother&Baby Parenting and Lifestyle Product writer, Hannah James said: "This is a great car seat for older children. I like that you can use the 5-point harness until your child hits the weight requirements for seatbelt and then it can be neatly tucked away. Easy to install and my son loves the cup holder."


  • Cup holders
  • Multiple recline options
  • Comfortable
  • Impact protection


  • Not suitable for babies
Suitable for:1-12 years old
Forward facing:From 9kg to 18kg with harness
high back booster15 to 36kg/12 years
ISOFIX compatible?No
Installation type:Seat Belt

Best anti-escape car seat

Zoomi Group 123 Car Seat Unicorn Land
Zoomi Group 123 Car Seat Unicorn Land
Image: Cosatto

We absolutely adore this car seat because it has an array of cute designs. The Cosatto Zoomi Car can easily be converted to a high-back booster seat when your toddler comes to the next stage group. The Zoomi grows with your child with an adjustable height and headrest and an anti-escape system with a five-point harness to keep your fidgety tot firmly in their seat.

Review: "Lovely to use and simple to get in the car, my girl loves the car now she can see out of the window, the safety strap keeps the buckle hidden so she's not trying to undo it mid journey too, would definitely recommend."


  • Fabulous designs
  • Coverts to high back booster
  • Adjustable
  • Anti-escape system


  • No recline
Suitable for:9-36kg, approx. 9 months to 12 years
Reclining positions:0
ISOFIX compatible?:No

Best toddler approved 5 point harness car seat

IMAX isofix car seat
IMAX isofix car seat
Price: £89.99

As your child grows, they will often want to express their own style. The Imax has an array of Disney car seat designs, sure to be a hit with your little movie lover. There is a selection of cute designs, including Disney Princesses, Cars, Toy Story, as well as the classics Mickey and Minnie Mouse. We love the thick paddling. This ISOFIX car seat can grow with your child into they are 12 years old.

Review: "Very well made seat that is very easy to fit and ultra secure."


  • Great toddler-friendly design
  • Seat belt and ISOFIX installed
  • Good value for money


  • Style may not suit them as they are older
Suitable for:Stage 1/2/3 car seat for children from 9 to 36kg
Positions:Headrest is adjustable in several positions
ISOFIX compatible?:Yes
Installation type:Seat Belt
Cup holder:No

Best seatbelt installed suitable from birth car seat

Graco Slimfit All-in-One Combination Car Seat
Graco Slimfit All-in-One Combination Car Seat

This Graco three-in-one car seat is suitable from the moment you leave the hospital until your little one starts secondary school. It has thick padding, which provides comfort at every stage. The seat easily transitions from a rearward-facing infant car seat (birth to 18 kg) to a forward-facing five-point harness car seat (9-18 kg) to a high back booster (15-36 kg).

Review: "Fantastic seat - little one just out grown first seat, this is great. Highly recommend. Easy to fit, comfy for child."


  • Comfortable
  • Easy to install
  • Slimline
  • Adjustable


  • Does not rotate
Suitable for:Stage 0/1/2/3 car seat for children from 0 to 36kg
ISOFIX compatible?No
Installation type:Seat belt

Choosing a 5 point harness car seat

As the name suggests, a 5 point harness has five attachment points. These are designed to restrain your child at their shoulders and hips. Making sure the harness is securely fastened against the baby is essential. Children under three should be strapped into the car with a 5 point harness to prevent serious injury

ISOFIX is a fantastic way to ensure that a car seat is installed correctly. ISOFIX car seats have two arms that lock onto small metal bars located in the seat of your vehicle. The ISOFIX connectors click on to these anchor points. They're accompanied by install indicators, so you can be sure your child is sitting safely with a correct connection. This eliminates the chance of human error.

Car Seat Laws and Safety

In the UK, it is a legal requirement to use a car seat for your child until they are 12 years old or 135cm tall. Unbelievably, laws requiring children to use special car seats weren't introduced until 2006. A 5 point harness child car seat can reduce the likelihood of both injury and death in small infants and young children by up to 90 per cent in a crash.

Always check that the car seat is compatible with your vehicle before purchase. This information can be found on the product page.

The safest way for a child to travel is rear-facing. This is because, in the event of a crash, the seat will absorb most of the impact. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration advise that an infant under one should always ride in a rear-facing car seat. However, as a rule, we would advise keeping them rear-facing for as long as their weight permits.

Second-hand car seats are often cheaper, but you don't know its history and whether they've been damaged. For this reason, we would not recommend buying second-hand.

Stage groups

Car seats are categorised in stages. Each stage will depend on how much your child weighs. You should also base the car seat requirements on weight rather than age to ensure optimum safety. Here is an outline of the stages:

• 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 and weigh more than 22kg.

Does my child need a 5 point harness car seat?

Whilst there are lots of car seat options available on the market, a 5 point harness car seat is the safest option for children under four. It will keep your child in the correct position in the event of an accident.

How long should a child be in a 5 point harness?

When considering when your child no longer needs a 5 point harness and can use a seat belt, you should be looking at their weight rather than their age. This is usually when your child is 18kg or 105cm. At this point, they should move on to the booster mode or get the next stage car seat.

Hannah James is a Senior Parenting, Lifestyle and Home Product writer for Mother&Baby, specialising in product testing and reviews. With three children, Hannah loves testing the latest industry products on her own family.

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.