If you are worried or confused about the new car seat regulations (i-size) that have quietly been implemented, then read on. I have done my best to sort through the information and answer some questions.
Do I need to buy a new car seat?
No. If you are buying a new car seat then you will be advised of the new guidelines when purchasing it. You don’t however need to rush out and buy a new car seat.
So what is the new law?
The current law now states that ‘All children and babies aged 15 months or younger must travel in rear-facing (or i-size) car seat.’ Regardless of your child’s weight or height they must be rear facing till they are 15 months. It is being phased in over the next few years so if you already have a child in a forward facing seat they can remain in this.
What is i-size?
Images taken from the i-size website.
Maxi Cosi were the first to produce a i-size car seat in the UK. I had a Maxi Cosi Tobi for both my boys and was wondering if they are still classed as safe. If you are wondering the same you can find out here.
Maxi Cosi state that ‘The current R44/04 car seats are totally safe while new seats that allow rearward facing longer can be called even safer’
So am I breaking the law by using a non i-size car seat?
No. Although this law and new car seat regulation has now come in effect, it is running alongside the older car seat regulations. This regulation has been running since 1982. It is illegal to sell a car seat that does not conform to this regulation and in 2008 it became illegal to use a car seat that does not conform to this. The new law only applies to car seats secured with isofix, ones secured by a belt will not be covered. There has been no change to the law that all children must be in a suitable car seat until they are 12 or 135cm tall whichever comes first.
What are the benefits of extended Rearward Facing?
The most dangerous collisions tend to be front on and a child in a forward facing seat will be flung more forcefully forwards. Additionally the load will be concentrated on the harness or impact shield area, whereas in a rearfacing seat the load of deceleration is spread across the shell of the car seat, so it’s less concentrated. Their head movement will be much less, so the risk of serious injury to their head and neck will be much reduced (this is a particular issue for babies as their heads are larger relative to their bodies than those of older children and adults).
So much research evidence has built up on this from crash testing that the EU is introducing this new regulation to keep babies rearfacing until 15 months. Information taken from Parentdish
Interestingly when researching this topic I found that in Sweden it has been the law for quite some time for children to be rear facing in the car until they are 4.
The new isize car seats are going to be based on height rather than weight and are meant to be easier to fit, making them safer. They are also meant to last longer meaning you need to change less often.
So what have I taken from it?
I heard the comment the other day, ‘well …. survived forward facing from 9 months’ and my two boys did too. However now I know the benefits of extended rear facing car seats I will make sure that when it is time to get a new car seat I get one that means baby girl can stay rear facing for as long as possible. If I had known about it with the boys I would have done the same. As we learn more and develop more car safety knowledge we need to listen to it and use it as best as we can.