Car seats can be expensive. But what can you do when you haven’t got hundreds of pounds in the bank? Or money saved up? Or relatives who can contribute? Or even a credit card or overdraft to help cover the cost?
One of our most common questions is "What's a good car seat that won't break my bank?" We put our Good Egg Safety experts on a mission to find 3 good choices for car seats in each child seat group that are under £100!
Now, before you jump for joy that you can get a very safe car seat for under £100 it is vitally important to note that a car seat is only safe when it is compatible with your child, compatible with your car, fitted and used correctly - get one of these wrong and it won’t matter if your baby is in a £400 car seat! Incorrect use and fitment kills, so take the time to familiarise yourself with your vehicle, fitment issues and what is compatible - not every car seat fits every car!
Newborn - 13kg (approximately newborn to 12/15 months)
Only outgrown at 13kg or when top of child's head is level with top of seat.
The ever popular Maxi Cosi Cabriofix is a seat belt fitted restraint, it comes with a head hugger, newborn cushion and sun canopy. It also attaches to many travel systems.
Also very popular is the Britax Baby Safe. This seat is also seat belt fitted, comes with a newborn insert and head hugger, plus a sun canopy. It attaches to some travel systems.
Seat belt fitted base available from £24.99
Base and Seat: Comes in at just under £80!
The Graco Junior Baby is a very popular group 0+ infant car seat. It has a sun canopy, 3 point harness and newborn insert as standard and fits to Graco pushchairs. This seat also has a seat belt fitted base available, which is a great option if you have short seat belts in your vehicle.
Rear facing newborn - 13kg, then next stage seat 9-18kg. Approx Newborn - 4 years old.
Outgrown when 18kg or when the child’s eyes are level with the top of the seat. Rear facing to the maximum rear facing limit is strongly encouraged and recommended for maximum safety.
The Joie tilt offers rear facing from newborn through to 18kg (4 years old). Rear facing for as long as possible is the safest way for your child to travel. You can also use it as a forward facing group 1 seat between 9 - 18kg.
The Britax First Class is an extremely popular group 0+1 car seat. It has a well padded newborn insert and a good recline position.
*SPECIAL FEATURE* When used forward facing, this seat has an alternative routing to avoid buckle crunch, if it is a problem in your car!
The Mama’s and Papa’s Mercury 0-1 car seat has a great recline on it and soft newborn inserts.
Forward facing 9-18kg (approx 9mo - 4 years, but a 9mo baby should still rear face for maximum safety - look at group 0+1)
Only outgrown at 18kg or when child's eyes are level with the top of the seat.
The Maxi Cosi Priori SPS is occasionally on sale cheaper
The extremely popular Maxi Cosi Priori XP seat can often be purchased for just under £100. It has a clever seat belt tension system to ensure a tight fit, easy adjust harness and good recline positions, as well as side impact protection.
The also popular Britax Eclipse is a great choice for 3 door cars. It is very well padded and has 3 recline positions.
The Graco Coast is a comfortable, spacious and easy to fit group 1 child car seat. It has 3 recline positions and deep side impact wings.
Group 1 forward facing 9-18kg with harness, then converts to group 2,3 high back booster 15-36kg
The Graco Nautilus is a really solid group 1,2,3 seat that is very easy to fit in the car. It has a steel reinforced frame and great storage pockets for your child to explore. Forward anchorage point and buckle crunch are potential issues.
The Britax Evolva is a very popular group 1,2,3 seat. It has a small recline option, easy adjust harness, good side impact protection and is well padded. It can be a problem to fit in cars with short seat belts. This seat is a good option for avoiding buckle crunch.
The My Child Jet Stream is a group 123 car seat which offers 5 'on the move' recline positions, which means you do not need to pre-set the recline on the seat, as has to be done with lots of group 123 car seats.
Child and seat secured with adult seat belt 15kg - 12 yrs old or 1.35m
The Maxi Cosi Rodi features superior side impact protection due to the air protect cushions in the headrest. The seat also has a recline option and a fully adjustable headrest.
The Graco Assure car seat feature side impact protection and clear seat belt guides to help you make sure your little one is securely strapped in. It is well padded and easy to adjust.
The Britax Adventure is a great high back booster that has an adjustable headrest and is lightweight to move between cars.
Summing it up
All the above car seats have passed the minimum R44.04 crash test, some of the seats have also passed ADAC testing.
All of these child seats are available in retail stores. To ensure you get the right seat for your car or child, always seek professional advice and seat fitment. You can get child seats cheaper online, but there is then a very high risk of fitting the seat incorrectly.
When visiting a retailer take a note of the recommended seats for your budget and see if they have the seat online. If it is cheaper, order the seat online to collect in store - you can then still have your child’s car seat professionally fitted.