i-Size directive (new child seats UN Regulation 129)
Europe’s child car seat regulations will soon be upgraded and will finally start to incorporate facts long known to majority of the experts out there. One of the main argument parents had for buying very inexpensive seats was that they meet regulation requirements. Problem was that those regulations were simply not enough as they did not keep up with progress and new data on safety. It was not necessary to test child seats for side impact, speed for crash tests was way to low …
Let’s take a quick look what will new regulation named UN r 129 (i-Size) bring us:
- main guide for choosing right seat for a child won’t be his weight anymore, but his or her height/length
- rear facing is mandatory up to age of 15 months
- promotes use of ISOFIX
- requirements for side impact protection
Changes already started rolling out in 2013, but will become mandatory in 2015 (I saw some are referencing 2018 as year i-Safe will completely replace old directive). Which means that if you are currently pregnant and choosing care seat for your baby, keep in mind that it would be prudent to either buy big enough 0/0+ car seat or be prepared to go to rear facing 1+ car seat (which I think is smart thing to do anyway).
Why are they pushing Isofix? Every country I researched had huge problem with incorrect use of seat belts that anchor child seats. And some were reporting more than 50% were not correctly installed so that really is major issue. Quite frankly my fine motor skills suck, so I went with Isofix 0+ car seat anyway. Isofix does have its limitations though – technology currently only supports car seats that are made for children up until they are 18kg.
You still have maximum weight listed in i-Size seats, but I find it a lot easier to shop by their hight instead. As I was researching 1+ (up to 18kg) i-Size seats all were listed as up to 105cm hight and max 18 kg weight.
My greatest hope is that these kind of directives will slowly bring more awareness that rear facing is not something to run from but to strive to. I’ll never forget how one of Scandinavian car seat sellers explained why they don’t even sell forward facing seats for toddlers in his country with: “Why would we want to endanger our own children?”