Car seats for 5-year-olds to keep them safe and secure (2023)

If your toddler is fast 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 five-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 and styles of car seats, some that'll last a year or so, and others that'll last from birth all the way up and into their tweens. Still, we've sifted through the masses 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.

What kind of car seat should a 5-year-old be in?

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.

Car seats for 5-year-olds to keep them safe and secure (1)

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Safety design

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.

Best multi-stage car seat for 5-year-olds

1. Nuna Tres LX i-Size Children's Car Seat

Car seats for 5-year-olds to keep them safe and secure (2)

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Shortlisted for the Mother&Baby Awards 2022, the Nuna Tres LX seamlessly follows the transition of your child from toddler to big kid. This all-in-one, i-Size seat is in it for the long haul, packed with fantastic features like side impact protection, adjustable headrest, expanding shoulder width, and harness storage.

Specifications
Suitable for: Overall height range 40-145cm, approx. birth to 12 years
Warranty: 2-year warranty
Reclining positions: 6
ISOFIX compatible? Yes

Our mum tester Margo said, “This product makes my life easier as a mum as it grows with my child and means I don't have to keep buying different seats as they get older. It has plenty of space and fits well in all types of cars so can easily be transferred between family cars if they are looking after the child. I also like the safety features of the car seat.”

Read more reviews from our mum testers.

2. Joie Every Stage FX Group 0+/1/2/3 Car Seat

Car seats for 5-year-olds to keep them safe and secure (3)

Car seats for 5-year-olds to keep them safe and secure (4)

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Another Mother&Baby Awards 2022 shortlist contender, the Joie Every Stage child seat starts out as a rearward-facing seat from birth to 18kg, before converting into forward. The seat comes with built-in ISOFIX as well as ISOSAFE connection to keep the seat securely in place with each mode. The AutoAdjust side wings and Grow Together multi-height headrest and harness enables easy adjustment of the seat as your child grows, with no rethreading of harnesses required.

Specifications
Suitable for: Up to 36kg, approx. birth to 12 years
Reclining positions: 6
ISOFIX compatible? Yes

Our mum tester Adelle 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. It is great if it does last until they are a lot older but difficult to know just yet.”

Read more reviews from our mum testers.

3. Cosatto Zoomi Car Seat

Car seats for 5-year-olds to keep them safe and secure (5)

Car seats for 5-year-olds to keep them safe and secure (6)

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Super cute and comfortable with a range of fun designs, the Cosatto Zoomi Car Seat is suitable from 9-36kg and can easily be converted to a high back booster seat when the time comes. The Zoomi grows with your child with an adjustable height and headrest, and an anti-escape system with a five-point harness included to keep little ones from wriggling free.

Specifications
Suitable for: 9-36kg, approx. 9 months to 12 years
Warranty: 4-year guarantee
Reclining positions: 0
ISOFIX compatible? No

Mum Becki on Amazon said, “I chose this brand because it's a well known and trusted. My daughter loves the design. The Anti escape feature is great but fiddly. My daughter says it is very comfortable. I'll be keen to purchase it again for my son when he is older.”

4. Joie Bold ISOFIX Group 1/2/3 Child Car Seat

Car seats for 5-year-olds to keep them safe and secure (7)

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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.

Specifications
Suitable for: 9-36kg, approx. 9 months to 12 years
Warranty: 2-year guarantee
Reclining positions: 3
ISOFIX compatible? Yes

Reviewer Heather said, “This seat was a suggestion by daughter in law, as it can fit older children as well. Once installed, effortlessly, by my son, was happy to drive around with the little one! Felt safe and snug.”

5. Cybex Gold Pallas G i-Size Child's Car Seat

Car seats for 5-year-olds to keep them safe and secure (8)

Car seats for 5-year-olds to keep them safe and secure (9)

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The Cybex Gold Pallas G i-Size Child's Car Seat won Silver for Best Multi Stage Car Seat at 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.

Specifications
Suitable for: 9-50kg, approx. 15 months to 12 years
Reclining positions: 3
ISOFIX compatible? Yes

Our mum tester Claire said, “Overall, the seat is very easy to set up and use. It's not as heavy as the previous seats I've had. The locking mechanism is very easy to use and inspires confidence. As the front restraint can be removed, it makes it easy to get our child in and out. Just be sure to follow all instructions before initial use.”

Read more reviews from our mum testers.

6. Cuggl Wave Chaffinch Group 1/2/3 Car Seat

Car seats for 5-year-olds to keep them safe and secure (10)

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Lightweight and portable, great if you're looking for a car seat to move between cars, the Cuggl Chaffinch Group 1,2,3 Car Seat has an adjustable head support to make it comfortable for children at a range of heights, as well as a five-point harness, side impact protection and a padded seat for security and comfort. Soft and sturdy, this seat is forward-facing only, and so recommended from approx. 9 months and up.

Specifications
Suitable for: 9-36kg, approx. 9 months to 12 years
Warranty: 1-year guarantee
Reclining positions: 0
ISOFIX compatible? No

One reviewer said, “Brilliant seat, I had an isofix all singing all dancing seat but found it heavy and having arthritis in my hands I found it difficult to unclip. This seat is quick and easy to fit with the seatbelt, lightweight and comfy for my granddaughter.”

7. Graco Slimfit Group 0+/1/2/3 Child Car Seat

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, five-point harness, 10 head rest 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.

Specifications
Suitable for: Up to 36kg, approx. birth to 12 years
Reclining positions: 4
ISOFIX compatible? No

One reviewer said, “I bought this seat a few weeks ago. My daughter finds it very comfortable, she happily falls asleep in this seat very quickly. It is easy to fit and transfer between cars, I'm really happy with it.”

Best high back booster seats for 5-year-olds

1. Halford’s Group 2/3 Highback Booster Seat

Car seats for 5-year-olds to keep them safe and secure (12)

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If you're looking to get a new car seat for your 5-year old, the Halford’s Group 2/3 Highback Booster Seat is suitable from 15kg (approx. 4-years-old) and is great value for money. It has Side Impact Protection, an adjustable headrest, simple 3-point seat belt installation, and even has a retractable cupholder for their favourite drink on the move.

Specifications
Suitable for: 15-36kg, approx. 4-12 years
Reclining positions: 0
ISOFIX compatible? No

Mum Ayesha said, “Simple stylish safe and most importantly my daughter says it's really comfortable with plenty of room to move legs. Dead easy to fit. I am replacing my last seat that was the same one as we were in an accident and can say am confident this seat will keep my child safe. Amazing price was well.”

2. Joie for Halfords Transfix i-Size Group 2/3 Car Seat

Car seats for 5-year-olds to keep them safe and secure (13)

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This extra-safe i-Size car seat has a secure seat belt installation system and three layers of protection; the Tri-Protect headrest with memory foam, Guard Surround Safety panels, and ISOFIX connectors. Little ones will be nice and comfy on the move with padded armrests and the adjustable headrest and seat depth making sure the seat is optimal for their growing body.

Specifications
Suitable for: 100-150cm, approx. 3-12 years
Reclining positions: 3
ISOFIX compatible? Yes

One reviewer said, “Bought a couple of weeks ago, grandson loves his big boy chair and seat belt, chair is isofix for extra safety and is really easy to remove, store in boot then put back in when carrying an adult, it is also joie with Halford, so has all their knowledge of child safety to back it up.”

3. Joie Traver Group 2/3 Toddler Car Seat

Car seats for 5-year-olds to keep them safe and secure (14)

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This locked and loaded travel buddy features ISOSAFE attachments which connect with one click to lock the seat to the vehicle ISOFIX points. It has 7 different height positions that are easy to adjust and the seat comes packed with protection with the Guard Surround Safety side impact panels for full-body impact protection.

Specifications
Suitable for: 15-36kg, approx. 3-12 years
Reclining positions: 3
ISOFIX compatible? Yes

One reviewer said, “Perfect for a growing toddler following a standard baby seat. Isofix makes it really easy to install and gives you a peace of mind that it's firmly in place (although I believe the isofix doesn't actually add to the safety of the seat as that's done by the seatbelt). Armrests and easy height adjustment nice touches
Overall, one very happy camper in the back in a 'big seat'.”

4. Cybex Silver Solution X-Fix Child's Car Seat

Car seats for 5-year-olds to keep them safe and secure (15)

Car seats for 5-year-olds to keep them safe and secure (16)

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Available in six colours, the Cybex Silver Solution X-Fix provides optimal comfort with comfortable seat cushioning, adjustable headrest and 11 height adjustable positions. For side-impact protection, the energy-absorbing shell around the headrest will absorb the force of impact whilst the ISOFIX installation makes it extra safe and stable.

Specifications
Suitable for: 15-36kg, approx. 3-12 years
Reclining positions: 1
ISOFIX compatible? Yes

Mum Sarah said, “We had this seat for both my kids (4&6). Yesterday a drunk driver hit us and we were flipped clean over. We walked away without a mark and the police say the only reason they were unharmed was the quality of these seats. They were very impressed by how they performed. Needless to say I have already ordered two more for when we get a new car.”

Best backless booster seats for 5-year-olds

1. Graco Deluxe Group 3 Booster Cushion

Car seats for 5-year-olds to keep them safe and secure (17)

Car seats for 5-year-olds to keep them safe and secure (18)

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Designed for kids weighing 22kg and up, this booster seat will give your child that boost to be correctly positioned for your vehicle's seat belt. Lightweight, affordable, and easy to move around, this booster has been rigorously tested to meet all applicable UK and European safety regulations. We also love the retractable cup holders positioned on both sides.

Suitable for: 22-36kg, approx. 5-12 years

One reviewer said, “I and the kids LOVE these booster seats for the car. They enjoy the pull out cup holders for their drinks bottles and the other one for toys. If you need the middle seat for a third passenger, there's plenty of space as these seats don't have awkward sticky out bits. The cup holders both tuck in flush. Brilliantly easy to take in and out. Lovely and secure when strapped in. Could do with a tiny bit more cushioning perhaps, not that the kids have ever complained.”

2. Cuggl Dream Group 3 Car Booster Seat

Car seats for 5-year-olds to keep them safe and secure (19)

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This lightweight and padded booster seat will lift your child to the right height for use with your vehicle's 3-point seat belt, with comfy armrests and a removable, washable cover.

Suitable for: 22-36kg, approx. 4-12 years

Mum Diana said, “We bought this on emergency 2 months back as we brought the car and next day we had to travel, but I must say this was our best "Emergency" purchase ever. The quality is really great and design is apt for kids. It is very comfortable and easy to install. My child is very Happy and prefers her seat always.”

3. Halfords Cushioned Booster Seat

Car seats for 5-year-olds to keep them safe and secure (20)

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This cheap and cheerful basic booster seat from Halfords provides extra height and comfort for youngsters when out and about in the car. It's well cushioned, lightweight, and ECE R44/04 approved.

Suitable for: 22-36kg, approx. 4-12 years

One reviewer said, “It seems smaller than the ones I have had before, it’s great and little one loves it so I’m quite happy with it as she feels she isn’t on the booster seat in a way she said…good price too.”

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.

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