I stumbled across a fairly recent article (April 2015) about the new regulations for children’s car seats which appear to have added more confusion to car seat restraints than ever. So I thought I would try and decipher the new regulations to help parents understand what this means for children travelling in a car and for those of you who are looking to purchase a new seat.
- With i-Size, the height of the child will be used to find the correct i-Size car seat, instead of weight
- i-Size car seats will enable babies to be rear facing up to 15 months, instead of 9-12 months as per the previous EU regulation
- i-Size also requires ISOFIX fitting points, which has less chance of being incorrectly used than belted car seats
The current law on car seats being compulsory to the age of 12 or when they reach 135cm tall (whichever comes first), will not change.
So why the change?
i-Size was introduced in July 2013 to make car seats easier to fit, provide better protection from side impact and keep children rearward-facing for longer. i-Size gives better protection for the head and neck in a side impact collision. Tests have shown that the impact for children in an accident (particularly head on collisions) are less when they are rear facing, rather than forward facing as the force of being flung forwards is reduced and there’s also less head movement.
Further testing for peace of mind
Side impact testing will now have clearly defined test conditions and a new test dummy that measures the effects of a crash more accurately when a child is carried in an i-Size car seat. Any i-Size car seat that doesn’t pass this test will simply not be allowed to be sold.
Do I have to rush out and buy a new car seat?
For now, no. The good news is that although the new regulations are in force, they are running concurrently with the old car seat regulations. So, if you have a 12 month old and they are now forward-facing in a new car seat; this is fine. Or, if you’re out shopping for a new car seat and your car doesn’t have ISOFIX fixings in your vehicle, you can purchase a seat approved under the old regulation, just look out for ECER44/04 on the label.