i-Size is a certification norm for child seats that applies in addition to ECE R44/04. The goal of the i-Size norm is to make parents’ search for a suitable child seat easier. i-Size is a part of the UN directive ECE R129. This is a UN regulation for all countries, designed to improve child restraint systems and developed by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). The regulations and norms define the standards for child safety.
Until further notice, ECE R129 shall run in parallel with ECE R44/04. There are significant differences between the two norms:
i-Size (ECE R129)
Parents often switch from an infant carrier to a larger child seat model too soon. The risk of head and neck injuries for small children increases as a result of this premature change from a rear- to a forward-facing child seat. i-Size supports the use of ISOFIX systems and stipulates that children must face away from the direction of travel until 15 months of age. In addition, the norm specifies a higher standard for protection from side collisions, which is not covered by ECE R44/04. We at RECARO recommend rear-facing travel for your child for as long as possible. In this way, you are providing your child with the highest level of protection in the event of an accident in the car.
The first phase of ECE R129 came into effect in 2013. It concerns integral child restraint systems – the i-Size regulation. This states that every child must be secured with a harness and that childrens’ seats must be secured in the car in two places – either with ISOFIX and a top tether or ISOFIX and a support leg.
In the second phase, the norm ECE R129 was expanded and has permitted the use of booster seats since 2017. This concerns booster seats installed using the vehicle’s own 3 point seatbelt system and optionally using ISOFIX. However, booster seats are still approved under ECE R44/04 and can be used without hesitation. Phase 2 relates to children who are between 100 and 150 cm tall.
The third phase of i-Size regulates precisely how child seats must be secured in the respective vehicle using an integrated harness system, and without ISOFIX. This regulation concerns children from birth to a height of 105 cm. Booster seats without a backrest are only permissible for children weighing 22 kg and over, and measuring 1.25 m in height or more.
What does i-Size mean for RECARO child seats?
All RECARO child seats were developed in accordance with extremely high safety standards. Our very good results from the Stiftung Warentest (German consumer and goods testing organisation) and the ADAC show that fulfilment of ECE R129 is not absolutely essential for maximum safety. Nevertheless, RECARO explicitly supports the i-Size regulation. Our seats are equipped with advanced side protection (ASP). Our seats regularly remain well under the critical thresholds during side crash tests. With the RECARO infant carriers or reboarders, children can be transported facing away from the direction of travel until 15 months of age. When buying a child seat, parents have the choice between seats approved by i-Size (ECE R129) or by ECE R44/04.
In addition to i-Size child seats, vehicles with i-Size seating are being developed and offered by the automotive industry. However, in contrast to ISOFIX, i-Size is not obligatory for vehicle manufacturers. The installation of i-Size child seats in vehicles with i-Size seating is immediately possible; in other vehicles without i-Size but with ISOFIX, installation information can be found in the RECARO type list.
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