i-Size car seat guide

There’s a lot to think about when shopping for your baby’s car seat, and with their safety in the forefront of your mind, it can feel a little overwhelming. The good news is all car seat manufacturers have laws and regulations they must abide by, meaning strict safety measures have been met before a seat is approved for sale.

When searching for car seats, you’ve probably heard various names and terms, including i-Size, and if you’ve been left baffled by what it all means you’re not alone! Below we provide the key information you need about choosing a safe car seat for your baby, so you can feel happy and assured with this important purchase. 

What is i-Size?

i-Size is part of the latest child car seat safety regulation, ECE R129. Put simply, i-Size aims to ensure all infants travelling in cars do so as safely as possible, through standardised, regulated i-Size car seats which are simple and straightforward to fit and use for every journey you make with your child.

i-Size will eventually apply to all child car seats up to maximum car seat height requirements. However, the roll out is in three parts, and the current regulation has been in place since 2013.  At the moment i-size primarily applies to Group 0 to Group 1 car seats, or from birth to 105cm.

Is i-Size safer?

Yes, undoubtedly. i-Size have introduced mandatory regulations to car seat manufacturers to improve safety. This includes an integral restraint design, which takes the form of a five-point harness to increase child safety if there was to be a collision. 

Every parent wants to keep their child safe on the road, and i-Size essentially makes doing that easier. When you shop for your car seat, as long as it complies with the i-Size regulations then you can rest assured you’re making the safest choice for your baby’s car seat.

What differences can I expect with an i-Size car seat?

If you had a baby earlier than 2013, the law was a little different. For example, keeping your newborn rear-facing when travelling was mandatory, but you could choose to move them to a forward-facing Group 1 car seat earlier than you can since i-Size has been introduced. Being rear-facing for longer is considered a safer way to transport your little one.

With i-Size:

  • Seats are based on your child’s height rather than their weight.
  • Group 0 seats remain rear-facing until your baby is 15 months old, an increase on the previous minimum age.
  • i-Size seats have been tested for side impact, to ensure they still provide infant protection when a car is hit from the side during a collision.

Staying rear-facing after 15 months

As the law stands, parents can choose to move their baby to a forward-facing position in their car seat once they are a minimum of 15 months old. However, safety advice recommends extended rear-face travel if possible and there are many car seats available with the option to remain rear-facing for longer. Some offer the choice between rear and forward facing so you can switch positions when you feel ready, or once your little one isn’t quite so little. 

Do I need an i-Size seat by law?

If you have a car seat from your last baby that isn’t i-Size, you can still use it for your next, so long as it is in excellent working condition and hasn’t been in a collision. At the moment, i-Size has not replaced the existing car seat law R44/04. Instead, the two run together. So unless you wish to change to an i-Size seat, you can legally still use your current seat which will comply with the R44/04 regulation.

Which car seats are i-Size?

You’ll certainly not be spoilt for choice when it comes to purchasing an i-Size car seat. There are a huge range of i-Size options, compatible with your pram’s brand should you want to be travel-system ready. 

You can click to view our extensive choice of i-Size car seats, including Cybex Sirona i-Size, Joie i-Level, Silver Cross Dream, Maxi Cosi Rock, Nuna Pipa Lite and many more.

At Little Angels Prams we offer unpressured, expert baby car seat advice online, in our stores or over the telephone. Just contact us here or on 01159 305772 with your baby and toddler car seats and base questions and we’ll be happy to help.