Safety is vital, functionality too, and design an increasingly crucial consideration. What’s more, the latest infant car seats feature all kinds of extras that can help persuade parents to purchase a particular model.

Theraline – These animal cushions from Theraline are real allround performers: a cuddly buddy for baby to snuggle with in the car and a stable support for little necks, providing extra comfort and safety while on the move. And, for longer journeys with an overnight stay away from home, the neck cushions can also serve as a temporary pillow. Available in two sizes and three animal designs.

Kiddy – The Kiddy Phoenixfix Pro 2 has been awarded top marks for safety, handling and the absence of harmful substances in tests conducted by German motoring organisation ADAC and German consumer body Stiftung Warentest. With its clever ergonomic design and single-hand adjustability, it also features the Kiddy impact shield system and enhanced side-impact protection at shoulder level, thus providing a safety argument guaranteed to convince not only the experts but also parents too, for whom this remains a key purchase consideration.

Stokke – It’s a familiar situation: you’re almost there, and the baby finally falls asleep. For parents with the iZi Sleep™ X3 by BeSafe from STOKKE, their baby can be lifted from the car while still in the seat and happily continue its nap or wake at its own pace. Fitted with an adjustable five-point harness for extra protection and soft padding for exceptional comfort, the plush car seat can also be fitted to all Stokke stroller chassis without the need for an adapter.

Britax – Let’s face it, kids fidget, particularly in the car. Naturally, parents worry whether belts and straps are as tight as they should be. Not any more: the new KING II ATS from Britax (Group 1, 9–18 kg) comes with an innovative safety feature that automatically monitors and adjusts harness tension throughout the journey. Should anything slip or come loose, a warning light and sound are activated.

Sterntaler – Because little ones can get bored on longer journeys in the car, it’s good to have something to distract them. A hanging toy from Sterntaler offers a welcome change from the back of mummy’s head and the road outside. Also great as a small gift.

Storchenmühle – The Car Seat Protector from Storchenmühle does two jobs at once: it provides extra stability for the car seat, thereby enhancing child safety, and also protects vehicle upholstery from pressure marks, scratches and biscuit crumbs – a feature guaranteed to appeal to car-proud fathers and anxious grandparents.

Recaro – Sunshine is fine for driving, but a hot car can soon put a strain on young passengers. To help soothe parents’ nerves, Recaro has come up with a new summer cover for its Monza Nova IS car seat, which prevents perspiration and is agreeably comfortable on hot days. What’s more, it is bacteria-resistant and washable at 30 °C.

Osann – With its height-adjustable headrest, the Colorado child car seat from Osann is suitable for children from nine months to 12 years. The anatomically formed seat and adjustable backrest not only ensure a comfortable ride but also provide added protection in the event of a side impact. In a new feature, a warning sounds if the harness has not been properly fastened or is opened by the child.

The German motoring organisation ADAC has published a child car seat guide that helps retailers and parents to find the best model:

By Julia Anderton