What is i-Size?
i-Size (ECE R129) is a new regulation for child car seats that will run in parallel to the current regulation ECE R44 for the next few years. It has been in force since July 9th 2013 which means that as of this date child car seat manufacturers can approve car seats according to the new regulation. The key changes are:
Why will it be easier for parents to choose and install the right car seat?
First i-Size is based on the age & size of the child rather than weight. This does reflect latest data and therefore current childrens need and also makes it easier for parents to choose the right car seat.
Secondly it will be easy to understand if the child seat is right for your car through universal approval and common labelling in the car & on the child seat.
Why will i-Size be safer?
It will be safer because i-Size car seats will demand rearward facing traveling up to 15 months and have ISOFIX. Rearward facing traveling is the safest way to transport your child in the first months especially to prevent head and neck injuries. Above this age you can use either a rearward facing seat or a forward facing seat. ISOFIX heavily reduces the misuse risk which is still a key reason for incorrectly installed child car seats. And finally, unlike the ECE R44, the approval test for i-Size will also take side impact into account.
How does that affect me?
With the introduction of i-Size and first approved car seats on the market, parents will be given the extra option to choose a seat that abides by the latest standard when purchasing a new car seat for their baby or toddler.
Will i-Size child seats fit all cars?
An i-Size seat will fit all cars with i-Size approved seating locations. These are clearly signed by a label. It may be possible to install the seat in a car with no i-Size approved seating locations, but this would only be possible with a list of approved cars provided by the child seat manufacturer.
How long can I still use my ECE R44 approved car seat?
Car seat manufacturers will be able to approve new car seats under ECE R44 probably until 2018. Therefore car seats complying with ECE R44 may continue to be used several years beyond 2018.
I currently use an ECE R44 approved seat for my baby - when should I change to forward facing?
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 (15 months) for her rearward facing seat than the minimum weight (9 kg) for the front facing seat.
But do move her if her head is protruding over the top of the Group 0/0+ seat. If she outgrows the seat in height but has not reached the minimum weight for a Group 1 seat, you should then consider investing in a combination Group 0+ & 1 seat. That would be your safest option.
You can already consider purchasing a combination Group 0+ & 1 seat as your baby's first car seat from birth. Our DUALFIX and MAX-FIX will allow your child to travel rearward facing until they reach 18 kg.
Why does Britax not offer an i-Size approved car seat yet?
We will launch our first i-Size approved child car seat in 2014 when there is also a relevant number of cars in the market with i-Size ready seating positions. Car manufacturers can only get the approval since mid-July 2013. We expect the number of i-Size ready cars to steadily grow over the next years. Euro NCAP will communicate on those cars starting from mid-2013.
What is Britaxs position?
As part of the Working Party on Passive Safety (GRSP) we have accompanied and strongly supported the development of i-Size from the very beginning. Our engineering experts have helped with their extensive know-how to develop the new test protocol over the past months (e.g. through running crash tests in our in-house crash facility). We see this as an investment in the future of child safety and welcome the adoption of the new and more consumer friendly i-Size regulation.
We are particularly pleased that the new regulation requires the mandatory rearward facing transport of children up to 15 months of age, provides side impact protection and will help reduce the risk of incorrectly installed child car seats.
I have more questions who can I contact?
Our consumer service team is happy to answer your questions regarding the new regulation.
Since May 2006, it is compulsory to use safety belts and child restraint systems in all vehicles in Europe (Directive 2003/20/EC). It is also mandatory to use child car seats within the EU for children up to the heights of 1.35m or 1.5m - depending upon the member state.
All car seats must display an ECE R44/04 certification label to indicate they comply with standard safety requirement.
Year after year, our child car seats exceed the European Test Standard for Child Restraints ECE R 44 introduced in 1982. The constantly upgraded requirements of the standard clearly show the change which has taken place in child safety.
From April 2008, all child car seats that were manufactured before 1995 and approved to the ECE R Standard Regulations 44/01 and 44/02 are no longer legal and must not be used.
All BRITAX child car seats are tested and approved to the current Child Safety Standard ECE R 44/04, shown by the first two numbers on the approval number on the orange approval label (ECE-label).
Explanation of the ECE-label
European experts have determined five groups for child restraint systems, classified by the weight of the child:
The following criteria are part of the current ECE Standard and have to be met to obtain the approval for the child car seat:
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