Car seats – advice and buying recommendations

Everyone who has a child needs a child car seat! There are hundreds but very few of very high quality. Image source: David Tadevosian /

It’s easy: if you have a child, you need a suitable car seat! This is also not about avoiding punishment, but about protecting the child in the event of an accident.

Child car seats have restraint devices that optimally protect your child in the vehicle throughout the journey. Depending on the age and weight of the child there are Child car seats of various classes. A child is only optimally protected in the car if the car seat fits the age and size of the child:

  • Class 1 is intended for children from one and a half to four years old or up to 18 kg body weight,
  • Class 2/3 protects children from three and a half to twelve years old who weigh 15 to 36 kilograms.

Thus, young parents have child seats-purchase actually a clear task in terms of optimal protection of your child: buying the right child car seat based on the classification.

However, “too small” children are always put in the larger child seats, as parents don’t want to spend money twice. A child seat that is too large is better than none, but the safety of your child is not always guaranteed in the event of an accident!

Our car seat recommendation

You don’t want to spend a long time looking for the various product tests or comparisons on the Internet, but rather know directly, which one Car seat best rated by customers has been? Then you may be able to make a direct decision, because the following child car seat is most popular with customers and has been rated best accordingly. In addition, you can assume that the following child car seats meet all legal safety standards and have performed well to very well in many comparisons. To be on the safe side, please check again in detail on the product page

Penalties for transporting your child without a child seat

Unfortunately, too often you hear statements like "I don’t need to buckle up my child for the short stretch" – Dear parents, this can not only be expensive, it also endangers the life of your children! No matter how far or short the distance you drive with children, never forget your duty of care and always make sure that the children are well secured.

Should it happen anyway and the child car seat has not been secured, it can and will be expensive for you. Below is the current 2015 fine catalog with which you can see what it costs if children are not secured in the child seat, in the baby seat or on the child seat booster.

facts Fine Points
1 child not secured according to regulations (e.g. with a belt, but without a child seat) 30 euro
Several children not secured according to regulations (for example with a belt, but without a child seat) 35 EUR
1 child without any security 60 euro 1
Several children without any security 70 euros 1

Buying guide for child car seats

The following sections give you the necessary background knowledge to ensure a sensible purchase of a child car seat. We have taken the technology and safety into account, not the optics.

Considerations before buying a child car seat

Some general statements can be made about what properties an ideal child car seat should have:

  • quick and easy installation should be possible,
  • ease of use should be given
  • high security standard is maintained
  • in group 1: child car seat has 5-point belt system
  • in group 2/3 child car seat has 3-point belt system
  • One-hand belt adjustment available, which automatically adjusts the belt length when adjusting the backrest
  • Buy child car seat with back support that protects against side impact

Price should be the purchase decision >

Image source: pratan ounpitipong /

You should not lose sight of the comparison results of the child car seats, because only a high-quality seat optimally protects the child in the event of an accident. It is best to find out first about the comparison reports of the child seats. Stiftung Warentest and Auto Motor Sport regularly test child car seats and baby seats.

Baby seats are seats for children up to 3 years and child car seats from 3 years. The so-called booster seats are also compared here. The comparison results can give you a good overview of which seat provides good protection in the event of an accident and which does not perform as well. When selecting the child seats, consideration must therefore be given to belt equipment and space.

Not the most expensive child car seat is the best!

Stiftung Warentest and the ADAC have compared for child seats that the most expensive child car seats are not necessarily the best. 28 child seats were compared, of which only 18 were rated “good”. Lately, and the comparators are very pleased, the level of pollutants in child seats has decreased.

The child car seats Recaro Privia and Recaro Fix emerged as comparison winners. The price for such a child seat is 310 euros and is suitable for children up to 13 kilograms. Child car seats in the price range of 465 and 540 euros were also compared, although these were not rated as good at all, but only as “sufficient”.

Therefore, do not only pay attention to the price and if it is possible for you to test the child seat you want to buy, before you buy it, then you can better assess the handling of the seats.

The ADAC warns of used child seats. Although these are usually in optically good condition, the materials are often crumbly and not as stable, which can decide the life and death of your child in an emergency. So if you have to pay attention to the money when buying a child car seat, see if there are not older comparison winner models from the previous years to buy, these are often cheaper but above all safe because they have not yet been acted on by so many forces.

Good child seats protect better

Child seat with Isofix system. Image source: Joana Lopes /

Good child car seats protect your child’s life because they are particularly at risk in the car. Even an impact (in city traffic) at 30 km / h can be fatal. Small children can hardly stand the high centrifugal forces in an accident. A child seat protects, provided it fits correctly and is properly attached.

At the TCS (Touring Club Suisse) child seat test 2011, commissioned by the Stiftung Warentest, among others, a total of 26 child seats were tested for safety. Only a baby car seat (Römer Baby Plus II SHR with Isofix base) achieved the highest mark. Nevertheless, there is a wide selection of "highly recommended" and "recommended" products for consumers. Two products failed the comparison due to insufficient protection in the event of a side impact.

Official test standards for child car seats

It does not matter which Car seat or which booster seat you use – always pay attention to the official test standard of the child car seat. Now only child seats can be used, which at least that Test seal ECE44 / 03 have. Every child seat must carry a test seal.

In the lower part of the plate there is a test number – this is eight digits. If the seat has a test number that begins with 00, 01 or 02, make sure not to touch it. This child seat no longer complies with the norm and may no longer be used. This will harm your child and if you are caught by the police in an old child seat, you will also have to pay a fine.

The new EU standard for child car seats

According to the new EU standard, child car seats are classified according to body size and categories. In addition, child seats are limited to a maximum weight. Children up to 15 months may only be transported against the direction of travel. Child car seats with the ISOFIX child seat and support foot can receive universal approval, but only for use in vehicles that have specially marked seats – they must be "i-size-compatible". Nothing changes for everyone who already owns a child seat and also uses it. Your child seats can still be used and you do not necessarily have to buy a new one.

Side impact protection in child car seats with back support

According to ADAC, when buying, you should also pay attention to a seat with back support. Because without it, a side impact could have the worst consequences. The airbag alone cannot protect the child. Thick pillows on the sides are supposed to guarantee the safety of the children in the event of an accident.

SICT calls this – Side Impact Cushion Technology – in German: side impact protection. Two Römer child seats equipped with it were tested. The crash test shows that the thick cushions automatically let air out in the event of a side impact when it gets tight. So the child is better caught. According to "test", the two seats score with very good impact protection, but take up a lot more space in the car. On the back seat with a width of 61 centimeters, only two car seats of this type fit.

Therefore, the Römer Kid plus SICT (165 euros) has a clear “good” in the overall rating. In addition to the correct size of the seat, you also always have to make sure that your child is correctly buckled up.

Safety precautions around the child car seat

The first question to ask yourself after procuring a child car seat provides, reads: "Where to with the seat?". According to numerous comparisons and according to the law, children are better protected in the back than in the passenger seat. Babies should be opposite to the direction of travel, larger children are facing forward. The Baby car seats are even directed backwards by themselves constructed. The baby’s sensitive cervical spine is better protected in the event of an impact.

The advantage of the rear child seats is the ISOFIX system, which guarantee greater safety. The ISOFIX system is a worldwide nominated plug connection between child seats and appropriately equipped vehicles. Accordingly, the child seats are connected to the vehicle via two metal hooks, with the vehicle belt no longer required for securing.

Furthermore, there is no known problem with the airbag on the rear seats. That is why accident researchers also recommend rear-facing seats for older children up to four years of age. These seats have long been common in Scandinavia, even if the installation of rear-facing child seats is very difficult, especially in small cars. It is not uncommon for the front passenger seat to be pushed all the way forward. But the effort definitely pays off, with more security.

Another safety tip is that as long as the rear-facing child seat is not yet installed and the child seat is integrated in the front passenger seat: switch off the airbag in the front passenger seat, as the airbag could become a fatal trap for the child! The airbag can remain switched on as long as the child is sitting in the direction of travel and the front passenger seat has been pushed back completely. The child seat and the child must not be in the explosion area of ​​the airbag. Accordingly, the passenger seat is only an emergency seat for older children.

Warning: not every child car seat fits in every car!

Unfortunately, not every child car seat is suitable for every car. Accordingly, the decision also depends on the vehicle equipment, whether an Isofix child seat e.g. to be bought by Römer or a universal child seat. The corresponding information can be found in the type lists of the manufacturers. So you can buy an ideal child car seat to match your car.

Determination of our leaderboard for child car seats

Our leaderboard is intended to draw conclusions about the quality and popularity of child car seats on Amazon by presenting the most popular and best rated products in our list. We use verified sales figures and customer ratings from Amazon to determine our leaderboard. Customer ratings are different levels of detail from Amazon customers, the the bought and then tested the respective child seat for the car. The Car seat, the you at top positions of the leaderboard find are appropriate best judged by customers been.

It should be expressly pointed out that on this page you can only see a comparison of the best child car seats, as we have not yet carried out our own child car test.


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Christina Cherry
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