Saturday, 26 October 2013

The new i-size car seat regulations and the new Maxi-Cosi 2waypearl car seat

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. 


Why is a new standard necessary ?

In recent years, the safety of children in cars has improved. But unfortunately car accidents are still the leading cause of child fatalities in Europe. Therefore changes in regulations to improve child safety in cars are always useful.

                

 

5 important specific reasons

1. Protect against head & neck injuries up to at least 15 months

Most parents prefer their child to be forward facing and join the family as soon as possible. In addition, many people wrongly believe that if their child’s feet or head are sticking out from the seat-shell, then the seat is too small. These two conditions often cause parents to switch too soon (in terms of safety) from a rearward facing to a larger forward facing child seat – usually at between 9 and 12 months. This premature switch places the baby at potential unnecessary risk of sustaining head and neck injuries. Research has shown that rearward facing to at least 15 months is better.

2. Minimize incorrect, dangerous installation

A recent UK survey found that 52% of all child seats secured with the car seat-belt were incorrectly installed, with 27% containing major faults. 

i-Size child seats use the ISOFIX system, which is much simpler, requiring just a place-and-click to rigidly connect the child seat to the car chassis. This simplicity minimizes the chance of incorrect and dangerous installation. From 2000, some car manufacturers started including ISOFIX anchorage points in their new vehicles. And since 2012 it is mandatory for all new vehicles. This means that currently about 60% of all cars on the road have ISOFIX anchorage points.

3. Protect against side-impact collisions

A child car seat can only be certified as compliant to the i-Size standard if it incorporates a specified level of side-impact protection.  Before the i-Size regulation, there were no performance criteria that needed to be fulfilled for side impact collisions. A child car seat did not need to offer any protection against side impact. But since a quarter of all collisions are side-impact this issue clearly needed to be addressed. Of course some car seats (including our own ranges for many years) have been designed and tested on more demanding criteria that included side impact, but it was not mandatory by the ECER44/04 regulation. i-Size makes side impact protection mandatory.

4. Prevent up-sizing too early

In the past, parents have moved their baby to a bigger forward facing seat at around 9 months. This is because the older regulation used a weight-based categorisation that can be mistakenly understood to allow up-sizing at 9 months. The i-Size regulation clearly states that parents can switch from rearward facing to forward facing only when the child is at least 15 months, Only then is the child’s neck strong enough to withstand the impulsive force of an average forward collision.

5. It’s our duty

It is socially, politically and ethically necessary to continually evolve higher safety regulation in all areas of life - especially when technical advances make it possible to do so. It has been almost a decade since the last major step forward in child car seats (i.e. ISOFIX), so it is now time to take the next major step forward.
        

    The new Maxi-Cosi 2wayPearl used with the new 2wayFix Base is the first i-Size compliant car seat and allows rearfacing travel up to four years old.  


    The Maxi-Cosi 2wayPearl and 2wayFix will be launched at the Baby Show Olympia on the 25-27 October and will be on sale from November 2013.

    The 2wayPearl has just been awarded the K&J Innovation Award in the ‘World of Travelling Baby’ category.

    Visit www.maxi-cosi.co.uk/i-Size for more info.

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