You may have heard about the new European car seat safety standard i-Size. The standard was introduced in July 2013, and is proposed to be fully implimented by 2018. The regulations impose stricter requirements on how long children should ride rear-facing, and there are a few other improvements to make seats even more safe. The new rules are called UN r 129 (i-size) and will eventually replace the ECE R 44 04. Here we have answered some FAQ's about the new standard.
If I buy a ECE r 44 04 product will I have to change to i-Size within the usage period?
No, you can use ECE r44 04 seats as long as they have not expired. For several years ECE r44 04 child safety seats and i-size child safety seats will be both available and are allowed to be used.
Can I use an ECE r44 04 car seat with an i-Size approved car?
From July 2013 car manufacturers were able to begin labelling the car's seats with the i-Size logo. However, if you have an ECE r44 04 approved child restraint (car seat) you can still use it in an i-Size car, provided you can securely install the seat and the seat is still within the recommended period of use (not expired).
Wait, there are i-Size cars?
Yes, car manufacturers and child restraint manufacturers are now working together to ensure that child restraints will fit into all approved cars. This is achieved by the vehicle manufacturers making the interior of the vehicle to approved specifications.
For the child restraint (car seat) to be approved for iSize, its size and shape must fit within a set sized 'envelope' and the support leg must be long enough to touch the floor of all approved cars, even those cars with under foot storage (so support legs will be longer).
Can i-Size seats be used in non-i-Size cars?
Yes. There will still be a vehicle list for each child restraint and some of the approved cars will not be i-Size cars.
Is an i-Size car seat safer than the ECE r44 04 car seat?
I-size offers a more complete and up to date set of safety criteria, which gives a better guarantee that i-size child safety seats are safe. (For example i-Size seats will need to pass side impact tests). However for many years the best car seat makers have been engineering their seats with side impact protection, and the European consumer organisations like ADAC have been testing side impact for years as well.
Some well engineered ECE r44 04 car seats have a comparible level of side impact protection to the i-Size seats, however there are some dodgey European seats out there that probably wouldn't pass i-Size.
Will half boosters become illegal?
I-Size includes a side impact test, and half boosters can't pass a side impact test. In New Zealand you will probably still be able to by American or Australian half boosters (as it is legal to use car seats meeting either of the US, the EU or the AU/NZ standards here), but the fact remains that half boosters don't offer side impact protection. We don't sell half boosters at Global Baby.