The new car seat regulations understanding i-Size

Not so long ago I wrote this post about choosing a car seat.  Since then a new European standard known as i-Size has come into practise.  This new European regulation should help to make poorly fitted car seats a thing of the past.  The effectiveness of a car seat is heavily reduced in a crash if it is badly fitted.  You could therefore own the safest car seat there is, but fit it incorrectly and it may be one of the worst.

From the 9th July 2013 the i-Size regulations will run alongside the existing ECE R44/04 regulations.  This phase of i-Size aims to
  • Keep children rear facing for longer.  There is a video looking at this on my previous car seat post.  This is due to the increased protection to the child's head, neck and vital organs.  The age will be at least 15 months old.
  • help make choosing a car seat easier by basing on a child's height rather than weight.  
  • to fit into all ISOFix points and having 'i-Size' ready vehicles.
  • Tested more rigorously, including a side impact crash.  [Which? currently do this but the ECE R44/04 does not require it]
  • Better protection to head and neck for young babies

Both regulations will continue to run in tandem until around 2018.  This means once i-Size car seats come into the market parents will have greater choice.  As I discussed in previous post the decision to change to forward facing from rear is up to the individual, but it should be according to existing regulation over 9Kg and new regulation 15 months.  

The current law and this is taken from Britax states :

'The law requires all children to travel in an appropriate child restraint until they reach 135 cm tall or their 12th birthday (UK, NL, DEN) or 150 cm tall or their 12th birthday (GER, AU, CH, IT, CZ) – whichever comes first. It is the driver's responsibility to ensure this is the case.
Under the existing laws, parents could switch their baby from their rearward facing Group 0&0+ seat into a forward facing one when they reach 9kg (around nine months old).
Now the new regulations, called ‘i-Size’, have come into force mid-July 2013, parents that purchase a child car seat approved under i-Size will have to keep their baby in a rearward facing seat until they are 15 months.
There will be no change to the overall law about child seats being compulsory to the age of 12 or 135 cm/150 cm tall.'

Therefore the new i-Size regulations do not mean we all have to rush out and buy new car seats.  Rather we need to be aware that these two regulations are running side by side, in tandem.  From 2018 we will need to be following i-Size and keeping our children rear facing for longer.  My youngest is still rear facing at 14 months and she has no problems.  The new regulations will help to keep our children safer in the event of a crash and we will start to see the introduction of the new i-Size car seats on the market giving us, as parents, greater choice.

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  1. Oh I am glad you reassured me that my boy over 135cms still doesn't need one but wish they changed so he did, as then his friends might and then he would. Thank you for this really informative post.


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