Parents all over the UK are confused over the new i-Szie regulations which have come into force over the recent months. This week, the Young Mummy Survival Guide headed to the Maxi Cosi offices in Borehamwood. The aim of this meeting was for the manufacturers to help the public get to grips with the details of i-Size car seats and what it means to you.
The first thing with i-Size is that there are five key points:
- i-Size offers improved protection for your child’s head and neck in an accident. This is for front and side impact collisions.
- Reward facing travel is mandatory in an i-Size car seat until your child is 15 months old.
- i-Size seats promote the use of ISOFIX. ISOFIX gives parents a greater chance of installing their child’s car seat correctly every time they travel.
- i-Size car seats are designed to fit in most ISOFIX cars and all i-Size cars (See fitting lists at your local retailer)
- i-Size seat classification is determined by your child’s height/length. At the moment, car seats are classified by your child’s weight which can lead to children being placed in the wrong type of seat. This is also a better way of determining the correct seat as parents are more likely to know their child’s length/height as this what children’s clothes are measured in.
So why is i-Size considered to be safer?
Car seats that are i-Size approved are tested to a higher level, especially in the areas protecting the child’s head and neck. This works by keeping the child reward facing until they are 15 months old. The idea of this is to allow the energy from the crash to be diverted around the child, whereas forward facing children may be forced forward, away from their seat. i-Size car seats are also tested for side impact protection, something which is not currently needed with current regulation.
Once your child reaches 15 months old, i-Size seats give you the option to keep your child reward facing until the age of four. Now, a lot of people think that this sounds a bit odd and that the child must be squashed and uncomfortable. Be assured that there is room in the car, maybe not right up until the age of four as some cars are smaller than others, but most parents find no problem with room until their child is at least three. i-Size seats can be sued forward facing though, either form 15 months or later, depending on the parents wishes.
i-Size is also considered safer as it heavily promotes the use of ISOFIX. ISOFIX is a way of clamping the child’s car seat to the car via two hooks in the back of the cars rear seats. It has been proved that ISOFIX dramatically reduces the chance of parents installing car seats incorrectly compared to those fitted with car seatbelt. It also raises a problem though. Although new cars all have ISOFIX fitted as standard and some cars from 2005 onwards will have ISOFIX, cars before this, do not. So what happens if you don’t have ISOFIX?
At the moment, i-Size seats are only compatible with ISOFIX, but some can be used with a top tether instead of a foot support. This could be an option with some older cars as some manufacturers will install ISOFIX (price varies between retailers). It’s possible that in the future, i-Size will be developed to help increase the safety of seats with seatbelt fittings.
Are current regulation car seats still safe to use?
Yes, they just don’t have the extra testing and support that i-Size offers, so you don’t need to rush to buy a new one, but if you are expecting or due to move to the next stage of car seat, it is strongly recommended that if you can, you buy i-Size.
Until next time…