i-Size - What Every Parent Needs to Know
So, what exactly is i-Size and what do you need to do? Quite simply, i-Size is the new European standard for all child car seats. Introduced in 2013, it currently runs alongside the existing ECE R44/04 regulations but is set to supersede them in the coming years.
i-Size introduces several key changes to safety for occupants of child seats with particular care taken for those under 15 months. Here are a few of the key points:
- Rear facing until at least 15 months
- Higher side impact standards
- Better fit
- Easier & safer installation
- Sized by height, not weight
Introduced back in 1982, the R44 regulations were a great success, but the understanding of what happens during a car accident has greatly improved, and therefore i-Size is a natural progression from R44. Under R44/04 regulations, children must sit facing rearwards until the age of 9-12 months, however, tests have now proven that a child’s neck is under developed to deal with a crash whilst forward facing until the age of around 15 months. Under the i-Size regulations, child seats must be rearward facing until at least 15 months to ensure the greatest protection is offered to occupants.
In addition to this, i-Size introduces side impact testing. It may be difficult to believe in this day and age, but under the R44 regulations, child car seats do not need to undergo side impact testing, meaning their performance in such an incident is unknown. Injuries from side impacts can be very severe for a child’s head so i-Size introduces strict guidelines which car seats must adhere to as part of the increased awareness of child safety.
Did you know that many seats that conform to R44/04 regulations are installed incorrectly due to the difficulty in using the seatbelt to anchor the seat to the car? i-Size seats utilise ISOFIX anchoring points which are not only much safer, but make the seat far easier to install correctly. Car manufacturers are beginning to go one step further, with many new models set to include i-Size specific anchor points.
The main disadvantage with the outdated R44 regulations was the way that child seats are sized; with i-Size, seats are sized by the child’s height rather than weight, meaning that they progress to a larger size at the appropriate rate for their body, ensuring the highest safety standards are provided at all times. For our full range of i-Size car seats click here
If this all sounds rather worrying, fear not because this is not to say that seats that conform to R44/04 are unsafe - they will still adhere to legal requirements until around 2018. Seats that conform to the i-Size regulations are merely created to stricter standards and offer greater security and safety. There are many seats out there that conform to R44/04 which will provide high levels of safety and comfort in the unfortunate event of an accident and if your current seat still adequately fits your child there is little need to rush out and buy a new seat. Our advice is that when your child outgrows his or her current seat or you are in the market for a new seat in preparation for your forthcoming baby, an i-Size seat will likely offer greater levels of safety and thus peace of mind.
For any specialist car seat purchase we recommend visiting Baby & Co in Bristol for a full demonstration and consultation where the finer details of i-Size and extended rear facing can be discussed and you vehicle can be checked for compatibility. To make an appointment please call us on 0117 986 8184