Have you heard about the new iSize car seat regulations? It is a bit confusing trying to work out the ins and outs of it all, so Britax have kindly put together some information to help explain it all.
I have edited the following information slightly, so it fits in with the style of my blog. I have also added some extra clarification in places.
i-Size is a new regulation for child car seats, which will make it easier for parents to choose and install the right seat, and make travelling safer for children.
isize will run alongside the current regulations until 2018, when it will hopefully replace the current ECE R44/04 regulation.
One of the biggest changes parents need to be aware of, is how long a child should remain in a rearward facing car seat. Under existing laws, parents can switch their baby from a rearward facing Group 0/0+ seat into a forward facing Group 1 seat when the baby reaches 9kg or approximately nine months.
The new i-Size regulation means parents have to keep their baby rearward facing until they are at least 15 months old. The move will be based on the size and age of the child, rather than just their weight. The new length and age classifications will help to make it easier for parents to check that their child is ready to be moved to the next stage car seat.
The new regulation also reinforces the use of ISOFIX seats, which are easier to fit correctly and safely compared to those secured with the car seat belt. Only one third of belted seats are fitted correctly, which can have serious implications in the event of a crash*. Side impact collisions are one of the most serious types of collisions on the roads** For car seats to adhere to the new regulations, they must pass the newly introduced side impact safety standards.
Why is this regulation coming into force? There are a number of reasons. In a nutshell, many parents are too keen to move their babies to forward facing, rather than waiting until they have actually outgrown the seat. Many parents are also unaware babies are much safer rearward facing in the event of a collision.
When they weigh below 13kg, a baby’s neck is not very strong and keeping your baby rearward facing for as long as possible (at least 15 months) will help protect their vulnerable neck in a frontal crash situation.
Evidence has built up on this from crash testing. On the back of this, the EU has introduced i size to keep babies rearward facing until 15 months. BRITAX have strongly supported the development of i-Size right from the very beginning.
How does i-size affect you? As soon as i-Size approved car seats are on the market, parents can choose between a seat which abides by the older ECE R44/04 regulation or i-Size. The current ECE R44/04 regulation is not being immediately replaced by i-Size. It will continue in tandem until 2018. The introduction of i-Size means that consumers now have an extra option when buying a car seat for their baby/toddler.
When should you change to forward facing?
Here are some guidelines on switching:
Don’t do it just because your baby’s feet are pushed against the car’s back seat.
Wait until your baby is closer to, or ideally at, the maximum age for their rearward facing seat than the minimum weight (9kg) for the front facing seat.
BUT do move your baby if their head is protruding over the top of the Group 0/0+ seat. If your child outgrows the seat in height but has not reached the minimum weight for a Group 1 seat, you should invest in a combination Group 0+ & 1 seat. That is the safest option.
*Farid Bendjellal, 6th International Conference on Protection of Children in Cars – Munich 2008
“Child Car Passenger Fatalities – European Figures and In-Depth Study”;
Alan Kirk; Loughborough University, UK; Conference: Protection of
children in cars, Muncih, 2011
DUALFIX and MAX-FIX from BRITAX will allow your child to travel rearward facing from birth, until they reach 18kg.
What is the current UK law when it comes to car seat safety?
The law requires all children to travel in an appropriate child restraint until they reach 135 cm tall or their 12th birthday – whichever comes first. It is the driver’s responsibility to ensure this is adhered to.
Under existing UK laws, parents can switch their baby from their rearward facing Group 0&0+ seat into a forward facing one when they reach 9kg (around nine months old).
The new regulations, called ‘i-Size’, have come into force mid-July 2013. Parents who 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 old.
(PLEASE NOTE: You do not have to go out and replace your existing car seats! You can still choose to adhere to the old regulations until 2018, but the new i-size seats are the safer option).
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