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i-Size is a new standard for increased safety. It will lead to improved protection at higher forces for side and front impacts and a much better protection of the child’s head and neck areas. Rearward facing travel will be mandatory up to 15 months. i-Size also promotes ISOFIX. i-Size legislation will be effective in addition to the current legislation ECE R44.
i-Size consists of:
- Improved protection at higher forces for side & front impact and better protection of head and neck
- Rearward faced travelling mandatory up to 15 months
- i-Size promotes ISOFIX
- i-Size car seats will fit all i-Size cars and almost all cars with ISOFIX
- Length classification for easier choosing the right car seat
i-Size is developed to further increase the safety level for children transported in cars in Europe.
Often parents switch too soon from a Gr 0+ to a larger seat. This premature switch from rearward- to forward facing, places the child in greater danger of head and neck injury because the baby’s neck is not yet developed enough to support the relatively heavy head. Also, the current EU legislation (ECE R44) does not provide performance standards for side-impact collisions.
The new standard will help create greater usage of the safer ISOFIX systems. It requires to travel at least up to 15 months rearward-facing and includes a minimum performance requirement for side-impact collisions.
1. To minimize incorrect, dangerous installation i-Size promotes ISOFIX installation, which has less chances of being installed incorrectly.
2. To protect against head/neck injuries up to at least 15 months
Only when the child’s neck is strong enough to withstand the impulsive force of an average forward collision, he/she should be travelling forward facing.
3. To protect against side-impact collisions
Currently there are no performance criteria that must be fulfilled for side impact collisions in the ECE R44 legislation.
4. To prevent up-sizing too early
Many parents move their baby to a bigger forward facing seat too early.
i-Size is effective as of the 9th of July. Car seat manufacturers can now officially homologate their products as i-Size and to sell them on the market.
The development of the i-Size legislation can be divided into three different phases:
- Legislation is finished and effective
- Estimated timing: 9th July 2013
- i-Size Phase 2 for 100 to 135 cm (Gr2/3) started mid 2012
- Estimated timing: Mid 2015
- i-Size Phase 3 for birth to 105 cm belted products
- Stricter requirements for belt installed seats with internal harness.
- Estimated timing: End 2015 – Beg 2016
Yes. On the 9th of July 2013 the new UN R129 (i-Size) legislation has officially been adopted by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). EU countries have to follow the agreements that are established at the level of UNECE but some of them may have to adopt these rules in national laws. i-Size approved child car seats are even safer than ECE R44-04 approved child car seats and are often referred to as super ISOFIX. The i-Size car seats can be seen as an evolution of the ECE R44-04 car seats. Because of i-Size, the safety level for children transported in cars will further increase.
Yes. i-Size is an evolution of the current ISOFIX car seats, and is often referred to as super ISOFIX. i-Size car seats have always been intended to be backwards compatible with ISOFIX cars. The legislation is also officially adopted in order to allow this installation.
Yes. i-Size will run in parallel with the current safety regulation ECE R44-04 in the coming years. Car seats complying with ECE R44-04 can continued to be sold and used safely.
We support the new i-Size legislation because we believe that i-Size approved child car seats are even safer than ECE R44-04 approved child car seats. Because of this new legislation, the safety level for children transported in cars will further increase.
The European Union has formed a task force that defines the i-Size legislation. All the following parties are involved in the development of i-Size:
Dorel is the parent company of Maxi-Cosi. Representatives of Dorel form part of the i-Size group. As a long-time and leading manufacturer of child car seats, Dorel has established an advanced Technical Centre in France. This center encompasses everything necessary to conceive, build and test car seats in a modern, state-of-the-art facility. This facility, along with Dorel’s experience and expertise in child seat design and manufacture were deployed by the UNECE to help develop and define the new i-Size standard.
i-Size is introduced as a new legislation next to the current ECE R44 legislation. This means that, for now, new car seats can still be homologated as ECE R44 and consumers can remain using the ECE R44 products.
Both i-Size and ECE R44 are laws. Meaning that manufactures such as Maxi-Cosi can choose to make either i-Size and/or ECE R44 car seats. Likewise, consumers can choose to either buy an i-Size car seat (safest) or an ECE R44 car seat (safe).
The concrete differences between the current ECE R44 and i-Size are summarized in the table below:
i-Devices are generally seen to be intelligent, convenient and well thought-out. These are the characteristics of this new safety standard. The word “Size” appears in the name because the length primarily determines how to choose a child restraint system, more so than age or weight.
The neck of a child matures with age, and not when it reaches a certain stature or mass. Up until 15 months, the baby’s neck is not yet developed enough to withstand the impulsive force of an average frontal collision because of its relatively heavy head. The excessive pressure on the neck of the baby might lead to serious neck injury. When travelling rearward facing, the forces of a frontal collision are better spread over a greater area of the body of the baby, which leads to less pressure on the head and neck.
Yes, i-Size cars are developed at the same time as i-Size car seats. Since the 9th of July, automotive industry is able to homologate their cars according to the i-Size standard. i-Size though is not mandatory for car manufacturers, while ISOFIX is.
One of the advantages of the i-Size legislation is that the automotive industry is also involved. The result is that the fit between car seats and cars is further improved: all i-Size car seats will fit all i-Size cars. i-Size car seats can also be used in cars with ISOFIX positions, and you can consult the fit in a compatibility list.
Side-airbags have no negative effect on child restraint systems, also not in rearward facing mode. In some but not all cases of a side-impact collision, the side-airbag will provide additional safety for the child. This effect of side-airbags does not differ whether the child is travelling forward or rearward facing.
Frontal airbags do have a negative impact on the safety of rearward facing transported children. The airbags have to be switched off always when travelling rearward facing on the passenger seat.
All Maxi-Cosi car seats are safe and meet all current safety standards and requirements. These products are also tested by independent test institutes like STIWA, ADAC, ANWB, ÖAMTC and TCS. Many of these tests also include side-impact parameters. Maxi-Cosi has established an advanced Technical Center in France which also includes a crash sled for crash testing. In this center all products are being tested extensively on safety performance by Dorel, also on frontal and side- impact and misuse.
The current R44/04 car seats are totally safe while new seats that allow rearward facing longer can be called even safer.
Up until 15 months, the baby’s neck is not yet developed enough to withstand the impulsive force of an average frontal collision because of its relatively heavy head. As of 15 months, the neck is more developed and withstands the forces in forward collision better. The biggest leap in safety enhancement can be achieved by prolonging rearward facing travelling until 15 months (compared to 9 months in many cases).
It is important to note that Maxi-Cosi recommends to use car seats as long as possible rearward facing. New car seats that are currently being developed by Maxi-Cosi therefore allow for rearward facing travelling up until 4 years.
This has to do a lot with cultural differences. In Scandinavia safety in general is a developed item, while in other European countries other elements such as comfort or ease of use or are also of high importance. In addition, cars have been larger on average in Scandinavia than in other European countries. Since rearward facing products need more space in the car, this has also been a factor.
The child’s length is a better scale to determine the fit in a car seat than weight or age. In addition, parents know the length of their children better than their weight since this is similar to clothing sizes. There is a lot of variation between the length of children and their age. Children are known to grow differently, as they can have growth spurts at different times.
Age and kilos can still be used as an indication to the fit in a car seat next to the length. Length however will be the main denominator since it tells best if a child fits a seat well and when a parent should switch to the next car seat.
This is because research has shown that on average the neck of a 15 month old child is developed enough to withstand the forces of a forward collision. This is based on the child’s age and not his stature or weight.
Although transporting rearward facing is required to at least until 15 months, Maxi-Cosi recommends to transport children rearward facing as long as possible.
Maxi-Cosi has been highly active in establishing the new i-Size legislation. Thereby, all manufacturers will be obliged in the future to enable longer rearward facing travelling with their products.
At the same time, the product development teams are working on solutions that allow for longer rearward facing travelling.
It is known that parents are eager to switch from rearward to forward facing seats since this enables the baby to interact more with other car passengers. A common misinterpretation is the 9kg limit for forward facing that is often mistakenly understood as 9 months. Another misunderstanding is that parents think that the child has outgrown the child seat when the child’s feet stick out of the child seat. Only when the baby’s head sticks out of the top of the baby shell, it is the right time to switch to a consecutive car seat.
Basing seat type advice on specific child length helps avoid giving in to the temptation of premature upsizing and premature switch from rearward to forward facing.
ISOFIX is an international standardized fitting system, which provides a safe, easy and quick way to install a child car seat without the need of car seat belts. The name ISOFIX stands for ISO (International Standardization Organization) plus FIX (Fixation). ISOFIX car seats make use of two standard attachment points at the base of the seat in the car, plus an anti-rotation device to prevent forward pitching: this can be either a support leg or top tether.
From 2006, most new cars are equipped with ISOFIX and a top tether anchorage point. ISOFIX is also fitted in a large number of car brands built prior to 2006.
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