New parents unaware of change to child car seats lawi-Size a mystery to many mums and dads of babies

09 April 2016

Rear facing car seat with baby in it

Under i-Size, babies are kept in rearward-facing child car seats for longer 

Which? has discovered that more than half of parents of babies are still not aware of i-Size, a change to the child car seat law.

That's despite i-Size becoming part of the child car seats law 12 months ago. 

In February 2016 we questioned 1,622 parents, with at least one child aged five years or younger, on what they knew about i-Size. 

59% of parents, with a baby under one, admitted they'd never heard it.

Why is i-Size so important?

Parents need to know about i-Size, because it's the future for protecting babies and children in a car. 

All car seats must pass safety tests before they can be sold in the UK. The European standard for child car seats, known as i-Size, forms part of regulation ECE R129 that became law one year ago. 

The R129 – aka i-Size – regulation makes it mandatory for babies to stay rear facing until they are 15 months old. It will also change the way parents buy a new car seat – based on a child's height rather than the current weight groups.

i-Size seats are also required to have more protection for the delicate head and neck area, and will use Isofix connectors, to help make it easier for parents to install them. 

Do I need to buy a new child car seat right now? 

No. This is because the current R44.04 car seat regulation will run alongside R129 for a while yet. 

R44.04 is all about the current system of choosing your child's car seat based on weight. 

As both regulations are running concurrently, it means that you can currently buy child car seats based on either your child's weight or your child's height. 

But parents need to be aware of i-Size, because choosing your child's car seat based on weight will eventually be phased out in a few years.

Best Buy child car seats – we crash test all the car seats we review

Joie i Anchor i-size approved seat

Joie (pictured) Maxi-Cosi and Concord all produce i-Size approved car seats

Message slowly getting through to parents

Although the majority of parents of young babies still don't understand about their car seat choices, the message about i-Size is slowly getting through. When we asked parents the same question a year ago, only 28% of those with a baby under one knew what i-Size was. The fact that figure has now risen is heartening. 

Lisa Galliers, Which? child car seat expert said: 'It's great to see that awareness of i-Size has increased since the last time we asked parents about car seats, particularly as it is quite confusing having car seats on sale with two different rules at the same time. 

'We're doing all that we can to cut through the confusion for parents and we continue to crash test all types of car seats, so parents can buy with confidence.'

All about i-Size child car seats – including why parents with older cars can't use them.

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