What are i-Size car seats?
Author Aira Torralba
i-Size is a new European car seat safety regulation. It’s running alongside current regualtions at the moment (it came into force back in July 2013), and applies to new car seats for babies and young children up to around four years old.
All car seats in this category will have to meet the new standard by 2018, which will mean they’ve passed far more rigorous safety tests before going on the market. In practice, there are three significant changes:
- i-Size seats undergo a side impact test to make sure they’re providing better protection from side impact collisions. They have better head and neck protection.
- i-Size seats are based on your children’s height not their weight (which makes it much easier to get a good idea if your child’s outgrowing the seat quickly).
- Babies will stay rearward-facing until they’re at least 15 months old. This is good: parents often move their young children to a forward-facing seat earlier than they should.
What does this mean for you today?
Don’t worry: it doesn’t mean you have to replace your current car seat instantly. It’s about giving you even more options to keep your little ones safer than ever before (although, eventually, all car seats are likely to be made to i-Size specifications).
The new regulation’s are being gradually phased in to the UK, but even if you have a car seat that meets safety regulations today (it’ll carry the ‘R44/04’ marking), it’s worth thinking about how long you’ve had it. Plastic deteriorates over time, and children grow faster than any of us realise. This handy infographic will help you see if you should already be thinking about making the move or change to a ‘next step’ seat for your son or daughter:
i-Size seats all use the ISOFIX system too, which is a system that makes it much easier to fit a car seat correctly into a car. They simply ‘click’ into the car’s ISOFIX points. ‘i-Size cars’ are being developed now, and the automotive industry can now test their cars to make sure they’re meeting i-Size regulations. This means there’ll be better compatibility between car seats and cars: all i‐Size car seats will fit all i‐Size cars. For non i‐Size cars with ISOFIX fixing anchor points, the fitting will still need to be checked against a compatibility list.
How can you check your seat’s fitted properly?
- Read the manufacturer’s instruction booklet
- If you can’t find the original, look for a copy on the internet
- Or, if you bought the seat from a reputable store, pop back. They’ll be happy to take you through the process until you’re confident you can do it every time.