Confused by car seats? Mark Bennett, car seat safety expert from BRITAX explains the new regulation called ‘i-Size’ that all parents should know about
To put simply, i-Size is a new regulation for child car seats that will make it easier for parents to choose and install the right seat, making travelling safer for children.
One of the most significant changes parents need to be aware of, is how long a child should remain in a rearward facing car seat. Under existing laws, parents could switch their baby from their rearward facing Group 0/0+ seat into a forward facing Group 1 seat when they reached 9kg or approximately nine months.
The new i-Size regulation means parents will have to keep their baby rearward facing until they are at least 15 months old and the move will be based on the size and age of the child rather than weight. The new length and age classification will help make it easier for parents to check that their child is ready to be moved to the next stage car seat.
The new regulation is also about the reinforcement of ISOFIX seats use, which are easier to fit correctly and safely than those secured with the car seat belt. Only a third of belted seats are fitted correctly which can have serious implications in the event of a crash*. Side impact collisions are one of the most severe types of collisions on the roads** and for car seats to adhere to the new regulations they must pass the newly introduced side impact safety standards.
Why is this regulation coming into force? Well there are a number of reasons, but in a nutshell, parents are too keen to move their babies forward facing on the premise they believe their child will be happier facing forwards rather than waiting until they have actually outgrown the seat. Parents are also unaware babies are much safer rearward facing in the event of a collision.
Below 13kg a baby’s neck is not yet that strong and keeping your baby rearward facing for as long as possible (up to at least 15 months) will help protect their vulnerable neck in a frontal crash situation.
So much research evidence has built up on this from crash testing that the EU has introduced this new regulation to keep babies rearward facing until 15 months. BRITAX has accompanied and strongly supported the development of i-Size right from the very beginning.
So how does it affect you? As soon as i-Size approved car seats are on the market parents will be able to choose between a seat that abides by the older ECE R44/04 regulation or i-Size. The current ECE R44/04 regulation is not replaced by i-Size, and instead will continue in tandem until 2018. The introduction of i-Size simply means that consumers now have an extra option when buying a car seat for their baby/toddler.
When should you change to forward facing?
Here are some guidelines on switching:
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 (9kg) for the front facing seat.
BUT do move them if their head is protruding over the top of the Group 0/0+ seat. If they outgrow the seat in height but have not reached the minimum weight for a Group 1 seat, you should then invest in a combination Group 0+ & 1 seat. That is simply the safest option.
You can already consider purchasing a combination Group 0+ & 1 seat as your baby’s first car seat from birth. DUALFIX and MAX-FIX from BRITAX will allow your child to travel rearward facing until they reach 18kg
What is the current law when it comes to car seat safety?
The law requires all children to travel in an appropriate child restraint until they reach 135 cm tall or their 12th birthday (UK, NL, DEN) or 150 cm tall or their 12th birthday (GER, AU, CH, IT, CZ) – whichever comes first. It is the driver’s responsibility to ensure this is the case.
Under the existing laws, parents could switch their baby from their rearward facing Group 0&0+ seat into a forward facing one when they reach 9kg (around nine months old).
Now the new regulations, called ‘i-Size’, have come into force mid-July 2013, parents that purchase a child car seat approved under i-Size will have to keep their baby in a rearward facing seat until they are 15 months.
There will be no change to the overall law about child seats being compulsory to the age of 12 or 135 cm/150 cm tall.
This post was brought to you as part of the BRITAX Mumbassador programme.
Safety: Safety is the state of being “safe” (from French sauf), the condition of being protected against physical, social, spiritual, financial, political, emotional, occupational, psychological, educational or other types or consequences of failure, damage, error, accidents, harm or any other event which could be considered non-desirable. Safety can also be defined to be the control of recognised hazards to achieve an acceptable level of risk. This can take the form of being protected from the event or from exposure to something that causes health or economical losses.
As I am lucky enough to have been a BRITAX Mumbassador, I am currently feeling a tad guilty about being a little behind in informing you about the latest developments in car seat safety. Safety for our children is paramount in any given situation, not least when our children are in the car and their safety is somewhat out of our hands, as we are sadly not the only people on the roads. I was involved in a car accident when my eldest child was just twelve weeks old (not recently don’t worry!) I had serious whiplash, and the car was a complete mess…however my gorgeous daughter fast asleep in her BRITAX car seat didn’t even wake, and thankfully wasn’t hurt in any way.
With all of this in mind, today I am publishing this post to tell you about BRITAX launching a safety campaign to help parents choose the right car seat solution for their family. Even though this announcement was a few weeks ago the campaign is still very much relevant to all parents and BRITAX are passionate about keeping your children safe. They are one of the world’s leading manufacturers of travel solutions for children, with an impeccable reputation of creating safe and stylish products for families.
The following information comes from BRITAX…
There is an on-going debate about which is the safest way for your child to travel in a car, forward facing or rearward facing. It can be incredibly confusing for parents and whilst safety is of paramount importance when choosing a car seat, we here at BRITAX know that every family is unique and has different concerns and practicalities to consider.
Recently there has been a significant surge in popularity of rearward facing seats for children up to the age of four. This is already the norm for parents and families in Scandinavian countries and recently the American Academy of Paediatrics changed their recommendations to say all children should remain rearward facing until the age of two years.
There is no doubt that rearward facing seats offer the best protection in the event of frontal collisions. These are extremely serious and the most frequent types of accidents on the roads. BRITAX believes that parents should sit children rearward facing for as long as it is realistic for their child, car and family’s lifestyle and wholeheartedly supports the new Europe-wide initiative called ‘i-Size’ which dictates a child must be seated in an ISOFIX fitted, rearward facing car seat until the age of at least 15 months.
However, it is important to state that safety cannot be defined simply by the direction a child is travelling in the car and is influenced by several factors, including the angle of the crash impact, the correct installation of the car seat, which car seat is compatible with your car and how many children you may have to accommodate on the back seats.
This is an incredibly important topic and we have dedicated pages to this subject on our website where we offer parents all the information they need to make an informed choice to find the optimal rearward or forward facing car seat for their family. We want parents to feel confident that whatever BRITAX seat they choose, their child will be as safe as possible.
To find out more, please visit http://www.britax.co.uk/car-seats/rearward-facing-car-seats/rearward-facing-home
Thank you for reading, I hope you have found the above information helpful. There will be another post from me soon all about the new i-Size regulations so keep your eyes peeled!
BRITAX: Is a UK-based manufacturer of automotive safety equipment. It began making automotive safety equipment and accessories in 1938, and to import car and motorcycle accessories. During the 1970s, Britax began making childcare safety products, primarily child safety seats and strollers.
If you saw my tweets last week you will know that I am so proud to announce that I am now a BRITAX Mumbassador!
BRITAX are a world famous brand offering fantastically safe and stylish products for you and your family. BRITAX offers the latest state of technology so you know your child could not be in better hands. They sell a wide range of products from car seats to baby carriers, from pushchairs to bike seats.
I am so excited to have been given the opportunity to work with BRITAX and help readers of my blog keep up to date with the latest in car seat safety, offer fantastic competition prizes, and hopefully some honest reviews of their brilliant products!
So keep an eye out for all of the above on my blog and check out my tweets @InstinctiveMum!