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So, why do you need a lie-flat car seat for your baby?
Newborns should lie completely flat when they are sleeping, even when travelling by car, to help with breathing and healthy spine development.
Lying flat prevents a baby's undeveloped neck from flopping forwards and restricting air flow, particularly when they fall asleep.
The majority of Group 0/0+ car seats (designed to be used from birth) have a slight recline, so experts recommend that children only spends two hours at a time in one.
Over the past few years a new breed of lie-flat car seat has emerged to combat this two-hour rule, meaning that your newborn can spend longer in their car seat with less risk to their health or development.
Some lie-flat car seats have been designed to fully recline whilst travelling, whilst others only have this function when used when out of the car, when attached to a pram or pushchair chassis for example.
So, choosing a lie-flat car seat is the best option for your newborn, allowing them to be in the correct position even if you are travelling long distances in the car.
Here are our favourite lie-flat car seat buys:
1. Maxi-Cosi Marble (including base)
*The latest from-birth car seat by Maxi Cosi
*ISOFIX base included
*There’s a large, integrated adjustable sun canopy
This Maxi Cosi car seat offers maximum body support and breathability. It may seem pricier than others, but takes safety to the next level with its enhanced safety features.
It's designed with added side impact protection thanks to a large energy-absorbing layer for added peace of mind for parents in event of a car crash.
There’s a thickly padded newborn insert so even the tiniest of babies can travel in safety and comfort and it's made to accommodate children up to around 13kg (roughly 12-15 months old).
The Maxi Cosi Marble conforms to the latest i-Size safety regulations, which promotes rear facing travel and enhanced side impact protection. It comes in several colours including sleek black and on-trend grey.
2. Joie i-Level, £200
*Patented Intelli-Fit foam for ultimate side impact protection
*Multi-position, ergonomic carry handle with soft-grip
*Lies flat when connected to a pushchair chassis as a travel system
Joie is known for its practical and affordable baby gear that often boasts the same features as pricier brands.
The latest i-Size model from the brand has a lie-flat function that can be used in and out of the car and is made with durable foam for greater side impact protection.
The i-Level reclines to a 157° angle, which is the most ergonomic position for your baby's safety and comfort whilst travelling.
It’s compatible with compatible with many of Joie’s pushchairs including the mytrax™,chrome™, and litetrax™ 4.
3. Jané Matrix Light 2, £300
*The Matrix Light 2 can be converted into a carrycot for occasional overnight sleeping
*Children can travel rearward facing until around 18 months old
*It has a super-safe five-point harness
The Matrix Light by Spanish baby brand Jané was one of the first lie-flat car seats for babies.
Now 20% lighter than the original Matrix and with the option of both sit-up and lie-down positions, this car seat and carrycot combo is a great choice for newborns.
It's very comfortable and the integral harnesses are very easy to adjust. It also can be used in conjunction with all of Jané’s pushchair range to form a travel system.
And as another plus, the Matrix Light 2 can even be used for overnight sleeping when used with a safety mattress. How clever is that?
4. Cybex Cloud Z, £239
*Gives an ergonomic lie-flat position when used outside the car
*There’s a removable newborn inlay for premature and very small babies
*Has a 11-position height-adjustable headrest
Designed with your baby's comfort and safety in mind, this from-birth car seat by German baby brand Cybex has a fully reclining backrest and a side-impact protection system, plus a super-tough energy-absorbing shell, which will absorb any force in the event of collision.
To make it easier to get your child in and out of the car, the seat can even be swivelled to face your car door, thanks to the innovative Base Z rotation mechanism.
It also comes with a sensor that will alert you if your child undoes the buckle or starts to become too hot in the back of the car.
5. Britax Baby-Safe 2 I-Size
*Is designed in line with the latest i-Size safety regulations
*Five-point harness and side impact protection
*Compatible with Isofix base for added security
This latest version of Britax's award-winning Baby Safe car seat complies with the latest i-Size regulations and can also lie flat for your baby's health.
The Baby-Safe has an adjustable handle and headrest and can be attached to a range of compatible Britax pushchairs with the Click 'n' Go system.
The patented lie-flat technology means that the seat adjusts as you move the headrest, so you can always be sure that your child is in the safest and most comfortable position.
Suitable from birth, the Baby-Safe will fit children until around 12-15 months old or 13kg.
*Weighs just 3.9kg
*Has a 157° angle, flat recline
*ISOFIX & coloured installation indicators
This neat little first stage car seat comes with a three point harness and a one handed adjustment system to alter the headrest and harness as your baby grows. The fabrics are made from soft Merino wool and TENCEL lyocell fibres, designed to naturally control moisture and help your baby maintain their body temperature. The heavy-duty shell protects your baby, as does the side impact protection and steel stability leg with crumple zone. There is a removable full body insert for very young babies so they can find the most comfortable position.
*Seat backrest can be reclined to the lie-flat position
*Comfortable to carry
*Good side impact protection
This neat little car seat fits on any of Bébécar's smart pushchairs and allows your baby to lie flat while travelling. The handle can be adjusted to the back for easy access to your baby. To recline the seat, just pull the cushion forwards until it locks in position. It's simple and easy to do and to allow your baby to sit up again, pull the seat again lift, then slide it back to its original position. The seat has good side impact protection and can be harnessed into your car with the seat belt, or you can use an additional base.
Why do newborns need to lie flat in a car seat?
Lying completely flat is the healthiest position for newborns to be in. It helps with healthy spine development and is the best position for their breathing, too.
This why a car seat that can lie flat is the best way for newborns to travel.
Many car seats have a slight recline, which makes them unsuitable for longer car journeys or for use as a baby seat outside of the car for extended periods of time.
How long can a baby be in a car seat for?
Experts recommend that newborns should not be in a car seat or infant carrier that does not recline fully flat for more than two hours at a time.
You can now buy many car seats that can lie completely flat, in and out of the car, so are much better for babies to travel in for long distances.
What is the best car seat for a newborn?
A lie-flat model is the best type of car seat for a newborn to travel in, meaning that your child can spend longer in their car seat with minimum risk to their health or development.
This type of car seat does tend to be more expensive, though.
But, what other features should you be looking for in a newborn car seat?
Isofix fittings are a must for safer journeys. This is when a car seat is connected directly to a car's chassis using build-in Isofix connectors for a more secure fit.
Babies must also travel rear facing from birth until they are fifteen months old – or longer if possible. All newborn car seats are made to rear face.
This is because babies and young children are much more safe if they travel rear facing and tests have shown that they'll sustain less head and neck injuries in an impact.
You can buy extended rear facing car seats that children up to four years old can travel in.
Many from birth car seats are also compatible with certain prams and pushchairs to make a travel system.
A travel system means that a car seat can be clicked onto a pram or buggy's chassis, so you can move a baby from car and back again without waking them up.
Some lie-flat car seats are infant carriers, with a useful carrying handle and can also be used as a baby seat outside of the car. Others, such as the Matrix Light 2, by Spanish baby brand Jané, are designed like a carrycot and can even be used for occasional overnight sleeping.
Brands of lie-flat car seat include Cybex, Britax, Maxi Cosi, Jané and Joie. You can buy them from retailers websites such as Amazon, John Lewis, Argos and Samuel Johnston. Many of these retailers offer free delivery for added value.