After a year, children are transferred from the car seat-cradle to the seat of the next group, and it must also be safe.
A Group 1 car seat is suitable for a child from nine months to four years, or weighing from 9 to 18 kg. Instead, you can buy a more universal one, for example, a group 0+/1 chair – from birth to four years. But this option will not suit everyone: it cannot be used as a rocking chair or placed on a stroller chassis.
I carried my daughters in a restraint system as long as the traffic rules required it. I studied the car seat market in 2023, talked with experts from the auto editors and children’s editorial office of Tinkoff Magazine and will tell you about the best models.
Selection criteria for group 1 car seats up to 18 kg
The rating contains category 1 chairs – from 9 to 18 kg, or from nine months to four years, for a height of 75-105 cm. Here are the main parameters by which I selected them.
Safety confirmation. All car seats must be certified to safety standards. Today, there are two parallel standards that manufacturers adhere to: ECE R44/04 and ECE R129 i-Size. I talked about them in detail in the article about choosing a child restraint device for group 0+.
The more modern ECE R129 i-Size standard states that children under 15 months must be transported rear-facing, that is, rear-facing. However, many Group 1 seats require forward-facing installation only. The provision of the ECE R44/04 standard limits the age of rear-facing carriage to nine months. What to do in each specific case is up to the parents to decide, butIf the child still fits in a car seat of group 0+, there is no need to rush and transfer him to a seat of the next category.
Tests. To meet safety standards, car seats must undergo a series of tests. All certified car seats have a corresponding tag or badge.
The most famous and one of the most difficult are the independent tests of the German automobile club ADAC. The lower the ADAC score, the safer the seat. For group 1, the best result is up to 1.5 points, good – up to 2.5. Car seat ratings in German are available on the car club website.
Fastening to the car. In the case of Group 1 car seats , there are two options: a standard car seat belt or an Isofix fastening system welded to the car body. To attach the chair using Isofix, a special Isofix base is used, sometimes it is also called i-Size . Some manufacturers produce universal bases that are suitable for seats of groups 0+ and 1. That is, a car seat of the next age group can be attached to one base. After four years, the Isofix base is not used; the Isofix chair is attached directly to the system.
For group 1 chairs , it is important that the kit includes an anchor strap – Top Tether – or at least a fastening for it. This is a special belt that is fastened to the top of the car seat and to a counter mount in the car. Depending on the car, it may be in the ceiling, in the floor, behind the back seat, or even in the trunk. If you don’t find it, read the instruction manual: if there is a mount, it will be indicated.
Belts. In group 1 car seats , the belts can be three-point or five-point – in this case, two additional belts are attached to the central latch on the sides, which secure the child’s legs. In this scenario, the child will be even more securely secured in the car seat. Sometimes, instead of belts, safety tables are used – a solid structure that covers the child’s chest, stomach and groin. But our selection did not include chairs with this method of fastening.
Accessories and additional features. Designed to make using the car seat more comfortable. In this item I included a removable cover, convenient adjustment, the presence of pads on the belts and the ability to use on an airplane.
The best car seats of group 1 from 9 to 18 kg according to our assessment
The final list included seven Group 1 car seats that meet the stated criteria:
- Peg-Perego Viaggio1.
- Maxi-Cosi Tobi – optimal.
- Britax Römer King II LS.
- Britax Römer Trifix 2 i-Size is the best.
- BeSafe iZi Comfort X3 Isofix.
- Britax Römer Eclipse – budget.
- Maxi-Cosi Pearl.
This car seat is most often sold with an isofix base, and it has been produced for many years – I bought it back in 2010. There is a version of the Tobi model without a base, but in 2023 it is rare, and it’s only a couple of thousand rubles cheaper.
The chair has five back positions – from sitting to reclining, so that the child can sleep on the go. It can only be installed facing the direction of travel. In the past, users have complained about unclear installation instructions, but the manufacturer eventually rewrote them.
The package includes five-point seat belts and a removable cover, and there are bolsters on the sides that will support the child’s head in the event of a side impact. The headrest and straps are adjustable at the touch of a button.
Maxi-Cosi TobiFix was independently tested by ADAC in 2019 and received a safety rating of 2.3 – “good”.
Alternative. The Britax Römer King II LS car seat is not installed on an Isofix base, but has a light and sound indication of the tension of the five-point belts. If the child is not secure enough in the chair, you will know about it. The height of the headrest is adjustable from the front, and the cover can be removed from the chair and washed.
Britax Römer Eclipse
The car seat, which is simple in appearance and easy to install, is not equipped with a headrest – you will have to use a pad of a suitable size. But it has excellent side protection and a low price compared to other models on the market. The cover is removable, there are four backrest positions and convenient adjustment of the five-point harness.
This is one of the few Group 1 car seats that can be used on an airplane. True, for this you will have to buy a special installation kit , and today it is not on sale.
This model has not been tested by ADAC – the organization does not test all chairs. But the manufacturer declares its full compliance with the ECE R44/04 standard.
Britax Römer Trifix 2 i-Size
Comfortable car seat with isofix fastening, thought out to the smallest detail. The V-shaped headrest and large soft side bolsters can protect your child’s head from injury in a front or side impact, and the included anchor strap will help keep it in place in the event of sudden braking.
There are four backrest positions – for activity and relaxation. The headrest and straps are easily adjustable. The belts are not the usual fabric ones, but softer and more comfortable neoprene pads. The cover is easily removable and can be washed.
How to choose a car seat for group 1 up to 18 kg
- Before buying, check whether it fits your child: put him in the chair, adjust it and fasten all the belts.
- Make sure that the model you choose meets safety standards, at least ECE R44/04 .
- Decide what you need from a chair – several back positions, a headrest, a removable cover or other additional features. There is no point in overpaying for unnecessary options.
- For frequent trips, a car seat with an Isofix base and five-point seat belts is suitable.
- Find an anchor belt mount in your car – it is advisable to use it, especially when the child is small.