Legislation to allow the use of child seats which conform to UNECE Regulation 129, otherwise known as ‘i-Size’, has recently come in force in Great Britain.
The two relevant pieces of legislation – The Motor Vehicles (Wearing of Seat Belts by Children in Front Seats) (Amendment) Regulations 2015 and The Motor Vehicles (Wearing of Seatbelt) (Amendment) (No 2) Regulations 2015 – have completed Parliamentary processes and came into force on 27 March and 1 April respectively.
Child seats come in an array of overlapping size groupings which can confuse parents, and encourage them to switch to a forward facing seat too early.
As well as requiring a child to travel in a rearward position until the age of 15 months, which is safer in the event of a collision, i-Size also provides side impact protection for better protection of the head and neck, with a more rigorous testing procedure for new designs.
Furthermore, by doing away with the overlapping groupings and moving to a system based on the child’s height, it is designed to make it much easier for parents to choose the correct seat. It will also be easier for parents to fit the seat in the vehicle correctly through the use of ISOFIX fittings.
The new standard does not replace the current one (UNECE Regulation 44) – both are running in parallel. Car seats complying with either standard may continue to be sold and used, and parents do not have to purchase a new child seat if they are using one which meets the current standard.