What is i-Size?
”i-Size” is the name of a new European safety regulation that affects car seats for children under 15 months of age. Effective in 2013 and provides extra protection in several ways, most notably by providing rearward facing travel for children up to 15 months instead of 9 to 12 months, which the previous EU regulation advised.
No obligation to upgrade
The i-Size regulation does not replace the older ECER44/04 regulation, so you do not need to upgrade your existing child car seat. If you currently use a rearward facing child car seat that is fixed to the car by the seat belt, you can continue. The introduction of i-Size simply means that you now have an extra option when buying a car seat for your baby/toddler – an option that complies to the new i-Size safety regulation.
But it is safer
Child car seats that comply with the new i-Size regulation provide up to twice as much protection as conventional child car seats. For example, i-Size seats provide better head and neck protection, thanks to the longer rearward facing of 15 months. i-Size also provides better side-impact protection because, for the first time ever in a child car seat regulation, it includes a set of minimum performance criteria for this type of collision.
i-Size seats are also much less likely to be installed incorrectly, because they have a simple place-and-click fitting procedure that does not involve the car’s seat belt. In addition, the i-Size regulation will help prevent up-sizing too soon, from a rearward facing seat to a larger forward facing one. That’s because it has the clearly specified requirement of 15 months old and/or 75/80 cm in length, instead of 9 to 12 months. The chance of up-sizing too soon is also minimized because the child’s length is used in the deciding factor and parents will not mistakenly conclude that their child has outgrown the first seat because the top of his head is sticking out, or because his feet are outside the seat.
And finally, i-Size means more peace of mind. Not all current child car seats fit all car models securely. However, all i-Size car seats do fit all cars equipped with the ISOFIX system.
The 5 key points of i-Size
Why is rearward facing safer?
Recent research has confirmed that babies are safer in a rearward facing seat up to the age of at least 15 months. Only then is the child’s neck strong enough to withstand the impulsive force of an average forward collision. That’s why the new i-Size regulation clearly requires using rearward-facing seats for all babies up to the age of 15 months.
If a baby travels in the car facing forwards, the relatively heavy head is unrestrained in a forward collision – the head will be thrown forward. This can cause serious neck and head injury. Rearward facing restrains the head and spreads the impact over a greater area.