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.