The question we are asked most frequently in our showroom is "what is isize?" which probably illustrates that despite it's launch in July 2013, the confusion surrounding this topic is as high as ever.
In this article I will attempt to explain the fundamentals of i-Size in terms that anyone can understand.
here is a one sentence answer to the question:-
I-size or R129 is a new car seat certification standard designed to make child car seats easier to fit, provide better protection from side impacts and keep children rearward-facing for longer.
None the wiser? - here are some further details.
Why will i-Size be safer?
i-Size car seats enforce that you keep your child rearward facing travelling up to 15 months old. In an ideal world you would keep your child rear-facing for much longer - most isize seats can accommodate this but the minimum is 15 months/87cm.
Rearward facing travelling is the safest way to transport your child in the first months especially to prevent head and neck injuries.
Above this age you can use either a rearward facing seat or a forward facing seat. Some isize car seats are both rear and forward facing.
ISOFIX heavily reduces the misuse risk which is still a key reason for incorrect installed child car seats.
I-size also includes side impact testing of car seats for the first time.
It also includes a child's height in the certification not just weight. Age is generally just a guide.
i-size will be mandatory for all car seats one day and we are now seeing the first forward facing group 2/3 isize car seats being sold including the Besafe Izi Flex iSize car seat.
Do I need to buy a new seat?
NO. Any car seat you own does not become illegal and you can still purchase car seats tested to the old R44.04 standard probably for some years to come. These things take time and there will be a gradual process of car seat manufacturers updating their old R44 car seats to R129 certified car seats.
The Standards will run in tandem for some years to come probably until approximately 2028.
If you are buying a new car seat you don't have to choose i-size but they are available if you would like one.
Some seats e.g the BeSafe Izi Plus car seat are tested to an even higher standard ( the Swedish Plus Test) Whilst iSize is a welcome development it is not the be all and end all of car seat safety. Some seats like the Nuna Norr car seat are both Swedish plus tested and iSize tested.
Why do we need a new regulation?
There are more cars, more roads and more research and development in the construction and manufacture of car seats.
Child safety has evolved but still many children are killed or injured in road traffic accidents. One of the key reasons is that car seats are not used correctly or parents use a car seat that does not fit their child.
Standardization and development of that standard helps parents make an informed choice and forces manufacturers to make better car seats.
When will it become effective?
Isize was introduced on the 9th July 2013 and the first i-size tested car seats became available shortly afterwards.
In our showroom we have seen a gradual increase in i-size tested car seats being produced by manufacturers e.g. BeSafe, Recaro, Joie, Nuna, Britax, Maxi Cosi, Axkid, Baby Jogger etc.
We are always happy to answer questions about isize.