Just like with anything else baby-related, you'll want to do your research before investing in a car seat or travel system for your newborn. Not only is it important to find a car seat that fits your car and is suitable for your newborn, but also to ensure that it meets the strict UK safety regulations.
You should buy your car seat and practice fitting it before your child is born, as you'll need it to transport your baby home from the hospital or birth centre.
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What safety regulations to baby car seats need to meet?
Car seats in the UK have to conform to one of two safety standards; ECE R129, known as i-Size, is the newest European-wide regulation, while ECE R44 is the existing regulation based on your child's weight.
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i-Size car seats keep babies in a rearward-facing position until they are 15 months old and must be fitted with the Isofix anchor points attached to the seat or base. Meanwhile, weight-based seats fall under the ECE R44 regulation and are categorised into groups, with Group 0+ seats suitable for newborns up to 13kg, and Group 1 seats for babies from nine to 18kg.
7 of the best newborn car seats
Ickle Bubba Galaxy Group 0+ Rear Facing Car Seat With Isofix base
Ickle Bubba Galaxy Group 0+ car seat, from £179, Amazon
The Ickle Bubba Galaxy Group 0+ car seat comes with an Isofix base and has impressive safety features including double layered side impact protection, an impact-absorbing shell and a five-position adjustable headrest to support your child as they grow.
It can also be attached to compatible pushchairs compatible with universal or Maxi-Cosi car seat adapters, converting them into a practical travel system.
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Maxi-Cosi Pearl 360 car seat
Maxi-Cosi Pearl 360 car seat, £279, Maxi-Cosi
This stylish car seat can be used from birth up to four years old, and is ridiculously easy to rotate, whatever position it's in, thanks to the 360 rotation handle on the base (sold separetly).
A cosy from-birth inlay keeps your newborn snug and when your little one isn’t so little anymore, the Pearl 360 allows room to grow with an extra-spacious seat plus, it's available in five colours.
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Chicco Seat 4 Fix car seat
Chicco Seat 4 Fix car seat, £178.95, Online4Baby
Offering a long-term investment that will see your baby way past the newborn stage, Chicco's Seat 4 Fix car seat can actually adapt to fit your child up to the age of 12, making it one of the most versatile car seats on the market.
It can be installed with an Isofix base, and in the Group 0+ position, it features a 360-degree swivel system that allows it to rotate and make it easier to get your baby in and out.
Once your baby is big enough, it can work as a forward-facing Group 1 seat from 9kg to 18kg, featuring an adjustable headrest and harness. Then as your child grows, it acts like a booster seat with an adjustable headrest and reclining system that can be used until your child is 12. It's well worth the investment.
Cybex Cloud Z i-Size Baby Car Seat
Cybex Cloud Z i-Size baby car seat, £240, Mamas & Papas
Winner of the Which? Best buy car seat in 2019, this group 0+ seat is suitable for babies from newborn up to 13kg, and features several safety features to protect your baby and give you extra piece of mind. They include an energy-absorbing car seat shell and a linear side-impact protection system to significantly increase your child's safety in a side-impact collision. When purchased with Base Z, light and sound indicators will also confirm when the seat has been installed correctly.
The seat also features 11 headrest positions with integrated harness guides, and a removable seat insert creates a near lie-flat position that is perfect for premature and newborn babies.
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Joie Baby i-Spin 360 Group 0+/1 i-Size car seat
Joie Baby i-Spin 360 car seat, £280, John Lewis
The Joie Baby i-Spin is a Group 0+ and 1 car seat that will be suitable for your child from birth up to four years, and features a handy 360 degree rotating seat that makes it easier to get them in and out. It has six recline positions that can be used for both forward and rear-facing, along with 19 adjustable leg support positions to provide better stability.
But that's not all; from a safety perspective, the seat benefits from Guard Surround safety panels, which provide added security for the head, body and hips, and a TriProtect headrest that has three layers of protection inside the wings.
Maxi-Cosi Marble car seat, £279, Maxi-Cosi
Maxi-Cosi has long been a popular choice for parents, so you can rest assured that the new Maxi-Cosi Marble car seat is a safe option for your baby. Suitable from birth, the innovative design allows your baby to lie almost flat in the reclined position, making it one of the comfiest options.
The seat offers optimal protection against side impacts and has a comfortable inlay for a better fit and eight recline options, as well as an ultra-protective sun canopy with peekaboo window, so parents can check on their little ones without disturbing their nap.
Ickle Bubba Mercury i-Size Car Seat With Isofix base
Ickle Bubba Mercury i-Size car seat, £319, Ickle Bubba
This i-Size car seat features a reinforced shell technology with advanced side-impact protection and a three-point harness to keep your baby safe on the move, along with a six-point adjustable headrest with air flow ventilation to ensure they are cool and comfortable too.
Extra benefits include the fact that it is both Isofix and non-Isofix compatible, is compatible with most pushchair brands to create a travel system, and has a four-year warranty.
Doona car seat
Infant car seat, £299.99, Doona
Welcome to the world’s first complete and fully integrated travel system - a stroller and car seat in one! It’s the only car seat to have been tested and certified as an Infant Car Seat, a stroller and an infant carrier, has a unique 3-layer side impact protection, anti-rebound bar crash technology, 5-point safety harness and ergonomic infant insert.
Plus, it comes in 8 colours including this blush pink, black, blue and natural.
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