What’s i-Size all about?

As it’s Child Safety Week I thought it would be a good idea to try and decode some of the confusion behind i-Size car seat regulations. As a mum to a toddler and baby, I myself wanted to know what it was all about and why the laws were changing. I went to an i-Size event at Maxi-Cosi today to get my head around it a little better.

  
So firstly, what is i-Size?

It’s the new European wide car seat standards that have been slowly drip feeding in since 2013. Maxi-Cosi were the first to introduce their i-Size compatible car seat in October 2013 and now they have several compatible car seats available. It’s being rolled out over a 5 year period (so don’t panic!)

Why i-Size?

i-Size has been introduced to improve the safety of our children when in collisions to put it bluntly; before now, there was never any mandatory testing for side on impacts and the test dummies never recorded the impact that the collision had on the child’s head, i-Size has changed this and because of this, new, more stringent tests have been put in place to ensure new car seats meet the rigorous safety standards.

The 5 Key Points of i-Size

i-size-key-points

I think for me, the biggest changes as a parent is the fact it will be mandatory for your child to be rearward facing until they are 15 months (and it is recommended that they stay rearward facing longer than this!). Lots of parents, including my own husband, question the reality of keeping a toddler rearward facing but having heard what the experts have said, I am definitely going to look into this in more detail for my newborn, Benjamin.

The current regulations ECER44/04 state that you can move your child to a forward facing car seat at 9kg (approx 9 months) but the new i-Size regulations will go on height rather than weight.

There will be no change to the overall law about child seats being compulsory to the age of 12 or 135cm tall.

I have to admit I didn’t understand the real benefits of rearward facing car seats when  we looked at moving my daughter into a toddler seat and in retrospect I feel we moved her up to the next size too early. I can’t remember exactly how old she was but it was around 10 months. We moved her into the Maxi-Cosi Axis which is great as you can twist the seat to face the car door and not hurt your back! But, I now wish we had invested in a rearward facing seat as I am going to buy a new one for my son.

Why 15 months?

Research has confirmed that until your child is 15 months or older, their neck isn’t strong enough to support their head (which is 25% of their bodyweight!). If your child is rearward facing, their head and neck are less likely to be seriously injured in a collision as the car seat would protect and also spread the impact of the collision over a greater area. If your child was forward facing, their head would be thrown forward in the impact.

The i-Size car seats would have to use the ISOFIX anchor points in your car and all cars will soon have to be made with ISOFIX points. This will take a lot of the confusion of fitting car seats away and would ensure that your child’s seat is properly fitted. Good Egg research indicates that a massive 71% of car seats in England and Wales aren’t fitted properly meaning these children are more at risk of serious injury in a collision.

This is just the first of three phases of introducing i-Size standards but I think it’s making some really important changes to the safety of our children.

 

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