It goes without saying that the best baby car seat is one of (if not the most) important piece of gear that you’ll buy for your child, and the best rotating car seat, also called a 360 car seat for those that can spin all the way around, can make life much easier as a new parent. Getting your child into their car seat can sometimes be a bit of a battle and can leave the pair of you exhausted before you’ve even begun your journey.
A car seat that rotates a full 360 degrees gives you the ability to swivel the seat for easy in and out, plus means you can place your child rear-facing, which offers more protection in the event of a collision. It's UK law that children under 15 months old must be rear-facing, but it's recommended to continue rear-facing beyond this. A rotating car seat offers more flexibility and longevity when it comes to its age categories, with many of them being in the Group 0+/1 category, making them great toddler car seats. This means they can be induced as rear-facing toddler car seats and you’ll have the option to place your child rear-facing up until they’re 4 years old.
While they used to be a pricey option, there are lots more 360 and rotating car seats on the market these days. The majority will have a separate base which allows for the rotation, and some brands have multiple car seat options that fit the same base, so you can choose the right car seat group for your child to match their needs as they grow. Many also have lots of recline positions, including lie flat car seats for newborns.
Best value 360 car seat: Joie i-Spin 360
Lightest rotating car seat: Nuna TODL NEXT
Best 360 car seat with great safety features: Cybex Sirona S2 i-Size Car Seat
If you’re considering whether or not to buy one, or want to know more about them, then we’ve rounded up the best and safest rotating car seats on the market, as well as answered all your questions about them.
The best 360 and rotating car seats 2023
The Joie i-Spin 360 was awarded Gold in the Mother&Baby 2023 Awards. As well as its decent price
- Removable and washable seat cover
- Guard Surround Safety panels auto-engage when harness is tightened to surround your baby with the ultimate safety
Winner of the Mother&Baby Awards 2023 for Best Multi stage Car Seat is this rotating seat from
- Extremely light
- ISOFIX compatible with 13 different positions
- Base has to be purchased separately which, overall, makes it a pricey car seat
As part of the 360 Family, the Pearl 360 can be used from birth up to 4 years old. A perfectly
- Easy to install
- Multiple recline positions
- Cover is easy to wash
- Bulky base
Another contender from Joie is the i-Spin Grow, which may have a larger price tag than the i-Spin
- Lasts up to 7 years, saving you money in the long run
- Available in two colours
- Lighter oyster colour not ideal for spills
Another long-lasting, but albeit slightly cheaper, rotating car seat is this one from Chicco,
- Removable and washable covers
- Long-lasting, saving you money
- Could do with a deeper recline
Gold winner in the Mother&Baby 2022 Awards, this rotating car seat by Silver Cross has the
- Great value and will last for years
- Straps are easy to adjust
- App to check if your car is compatible
- Only has three recline positions
Cybex has a good reputation when it comes to car seat safety and this rotating car seat certainly
- Great safety features
- Not too expensive
- Heavy, considering it only goes up to four years
Bets budget 360 car seat
If you're on a bit of a budget, then the Merlin rotating car seat from Cozy N Safe is a decent
- Seat cover is removable and washable
- Isn't i-Size
Best rotating car seat to use as part as a travel system
Although not a 360 rotating car seat, the Cloud Z is compatible with all Cybex pushchairs and
- Can be used as part of a travel system
- Can only be used up to 18 months
While ISOFIX makes installing car seats even easier, Jane takes it a step further with the Iconic
- Available in six differenet colours
- Built-in feature to avoid installation errors
- Not compatible with travel systems
The benefits of buying a 360 car seat
The main benefit of buying a rotating car seat is the ease it will give you getting your child in and out of the car, especially if you have a small car or mobility issues. With a rotationg car seat you’ll no longer have to awkwardly hunch over the seat while having to fiddle around undoing your child's straps before lifting them out.
In the event of a car crash having your child rear-facing can offer a lot more protection to their head, spine and neck, which are still developing, which is why you may decide to have your child in a rear-facing car seat for longer.
When you do decide to have your child facing-forwards though, all you’ll need to do is simply swivel the seat around, rather than having to refit the seat or, worse, buy a brand new one.
Things to be aware of when buying a rotating car seat
i-Size certification — All the new baby car seats in the UK need to be i-Size (a European-wide car seat regulation, ECE R129), and should also have side-impact protection (SICT). They also need to use ISOFIX (an international standard for attachment points for baby car seats in passenger cars).
You can have them rear-facing for longer — As we’ve already mentioned above, this will provide more protection to your child in the event of a collision. Lots of rotiating car seats allow you to have the seat rear-facing up until your child is 4 years old.
How far do you want it to swivel — Not all rotating car seats swivel the full 360 degrees. Some only swivel 180 degrees, which means the seat will either be rear-facing or forwards-facing, however, you will still be able to swivel it to make it easier to get your child in and out of the seat.
They’re bigger and bulkier than other car seats — These types of car seats come with a base, which is what allows the seat to swivel. This automatically makes the seat bigger, bulkier and heavy.
Not compatible with travel systems — At least, most of them aren’t, as the majority of them are in the Group 0+/1 category. Some will be however, in that you'll use the same base but size up the car seat.
Are rotating car seats safe?
Julie Dangall, Director of Child Seat Safety, tells us that these type of car seats are definitely safe. "They are tested just like any other child car seat would be, both in the forward-facing and the rear-facing positions. But you must always follow the instructions provided on the seat and in the manual to ensure you use the seat correctly for your child’s size."
What do I need to remember when purchasing a rotating car seat?
When looking to buy a rotating car seat, Julie recommends going to a trained retailer to check the seat is compatible in your car, before making any purchases.
"Depending on the style of vehicle seats your car has it may mean that you struggle to rotate the seat when it’s in your car," she says. "This can be because the cushioning of the vehicle seats snuggly holds the seat in place and has no room to rotate to the exit door. Some rotating seats will even appear on compatibility lists provided by the car seat brand, but this compatibility list won’t include checking the seats ability to rotate, so it’s always worth going to a trained retailer who can check it in the car before you buy it, otherwise you could be paying for a feature that doesn’t actually work with your car."
About the expert
Julie Dangall is co-founder of Child Seat Safety. She is a national advisor for Road Safety Great Britain for child car seats and runs the UK’s first & only IOSH and CPD accredited child car seat fitting courses.