What is i-Size?
i-Size is a new European-wide standard designed to increase the safety of child car seats.
When was it introduced?
i-Size was introduced in Europe in July 2013 and is running alongside the current regulation R44.04.
My car seat conforms to the previous regulation R44.04. Must I upgrade to i-Size?
No, i-Size does not replace the current regulation at this time. It provides an alternative option that has been tested to higher safety levels, although by 2018 we expect that all new car seats will have to conform to the requirements of the i-Size regulation. Existing R44.04 seats, however, are still legal and may continue to be used for several years.
What are the main differences between i-Size and R44.04?
i-Size requires by law that children remain rear facing until 15mths of age, irrespective of their weight. The new standard also helps parents to choose the right seat more easily by classifying car seats by the child’s length rather than weight, (please note weight restrictions on different i-Size seats will still apply).
i-Size seats have a greater side-impact standard that gives your child better protection if hit side-on. The new tests also use more technologically advanced dummies, known as the Q-series, which behave far more like real people in a crash scenario.
Current developments in i-Size
Phase 1: ISOfix only seats up to 105cm (approx. birth to 4 years).
Phase 2: From 100cm – 135cm high-back booster seats to be introduced approx. 2016/2017 and includes ISOfix and none-ISOfix seats.
Phase 3: From birth to 105cm for products secured using the seat belt.
Why is a new standard required?
Typically parents move their babies into forward facing seats too early. This is because the current regulation is weight based and suggests a baby is ‘moved up’ at 9kg, which can be as young as nine or even only six months. I-Size seats use the ISOfix anchoring system which is considered important as it reduces the risk of incorrect installation. (The Good Egg Campaign found that 54% of all car seats fitted between 2010 and 2013 were either incorrectly fitted or incompatible with the car or the child).
Vehicle manufacturers have only been able to get i-Size approval since July 2013 when the regulation came into force and more i-Size cars will continue to come to market.
I don’t have an i-Size car but I do have ISOfix, is an i-Size seat still compatible?
Yes, i-Size is a development of ISOfix and is backwards compatible. However, make sure you refer to the car seat vehicle list to check compatibility with your car.
My car seat is seat belt only, can I use it after 2018?
Yes, only newly introduced seats will need to be i-Size compliant. Current R44.04 seats are legal and may continue to be used for some time. Phase 3 of i-Size will allow for the launch of i-Size seat-belt fitted car seats. This is not due until 2018.
This article was originally written by Securatot LTD & is published on ‘A Rear Facing Family’ with permission.
Securatot was the UK’s first ‘only rearfacing’ car seat specialist, born from a passion for promoting the benefits of rearfacing car seats. They have been instrumental in building the rear-facing seats market in the UK. Their strength was providing customised support and advice so that families could make the right decision for their needs. An incredible company with so much knowledge and an Ethos the European Car Seat Market should take a good look at!
Because of the change in the market – where car seats are sold through retailers who provide NO expert advice, they were forced to compete solely on price. This sadly made it impossible to sustain a business focused on rear-facing car seats and has now led to the unfortunate decision to close Securatot.
It’s a loss to everyone. The car seat world will never be the same. :'(
Therese has completed the ‘Advanced Child Car Seat Training Course’ at TRL (Transport Research Lab) and is a CPD accredited car seat expert. She blogs about in-car safety, car seats, tips, reviews, giveaways and advice. She’s a mum on a mission to change the law and raise awareness. She is also a breastfeeding advocate and gentle parenting promoter who loves cloth nappies, baby-wearing, BLW and co-sleeping/bed-sharing.