Do you Know about the New i-Size Child Car Seat Regulations?
In April 2015 the UK Government passed a new car seat regulation ECE R129. The regulation updated the way car seats are tested before they are fit for sale and now classify seats depending on a child’s height rather than weight. Yet a year later many parents are still suffering from car seat confusion!
There are three main changes to note in the new regulation called ‘i-Size’
- All children will stay rear facing for longer – until they are around 15 months old
- When choosing the correct car seat for your child, height will be the measurement used rather than weight
- i-Size car seats will only work with ISOFix, not with a standard seatbelt.
There are many benefits to the new i-Size regulation.
- As the new i-Size car seats will only use iSOFix. This will make fitting your car seat correctly much easier, making it more effective in a crash. Statistics released by Maxi Cosi revealed only 2 out of 10 parents had correctly fitted a car seat using the seatbelt compared to 94% of seats fitted correctly using the ISOFix points.
- ISOFix provides a much sturdier fixing for your child as the car seat is attached directly to the cars frame.
- There is more protection offered by the new style seats for side impacts
- Babies and toddlers will be required to stay rear facing for longer, until they are around 15 months old. The head of a child this age is disproportionately larger than that of an adult, meaning in the event of an impact the head being thrown forward is more likely to cause neck and/or spine injury. By keeping a child rear facing this risk is reduced.
Under the current weight based system, children are moved into a forward facing car seat at around 9 months old. Using the new height based system children will not move into a forward facing car seat until they are 80 cm tall, this occurs at appoximately 15 months old.
There are currently i-Size seats available to buy alongside seats that adhere to the previous R44.04 car seat standard. The two standards will run side by side until 2018 to allow manufacturers time to produce a range of i-Size approved car seats. In 2018 it will only be i-Size car seats that are available to buy. However, parents will still be able to use a non-i-Size car seat that they already own for many years after this date as these are phased out.
The plan for the future is that only I Size car seats will be sold and that all i Size car seats will fit all cars. To do this car manufacturers must adhere to the i-Size approved seating position in the future. Until then i-Size car seats will be compliant with standard ISOFix points. There will be lists generated so buyers can check which i-Size seat will fit with their current ISOFix points. New vehicles made since 2006 will have ISOFix points already present, but those before may not. There are ISOFix conversion kits that can be installed to an older car to allow an iSize seat to be used. However, the older the car the less likely there will be a conversion kit available.
The law will remain the same in regards to when children can stop using car seats. A child no longer needs to use a car seat if they pass 135 cm tall or have reached 12 years old, whichever comes first.
Has the new i-Size regulation taken you by surprise?
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21 April 2016
Written by Natalie Faughy