New European regulation for car seats
Road traffic accidents are the leading cause of child mortality in Europe. Babies positioned facing the road too soon, model not suited to the size of the child and seat poorly installed (This concerns 70% of seats), these are the most common problems. The new regulation concerning car seats, dubbed "I-size", which entered into force on 9th July 2013, intends to provide solutions to these issues.
Since the 1990s, restraint systems for children in cars in France and European Union countries were governed by regulation R44-04. In particular, this text categorises seats into five groups according to the weight of the child.
From 9th July 20013, R44-04 will progressively be replaced by the new European regulation R129, also called "I size". The two regulations will be in force side-by-side before R44/04 approved car seats are progressively withdrawn from the market, becoming prohibited from sale in 2018. The first i-Size car seats will arrive on the market this autumn.
Here are the main modifications that make up this new regulation:
- Extended obligation to use rear-facing car seats. Previously this limit was set at 9 kg (8-9 months), from now on this will be set at a minimum of 15 months.
- Taking into account the size of the child instead of the weight. Parents will now refer to the size of their child, as they would when purchasing clothing.
- Systematisation of the Isofix system on new seats. This method of fitting allows for quick and simple installation of the car seat in order to reduce the risk of incorrect installation. The seat is clipped to specific hooks, located between the back and base of the rear seats. It must be noted that the Isofix system has been obligatory since 2011 on all new vehicles.
- Car seats must be subject to side impact tests before being approved in order to guarantee better protection of the occupant's head and neck in the case of an accident.
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