What is i-Size? New European Car Seat Standards explained

When you’re choosing a new car seat, you want the safest car seat for your little one. Europe has introduced new car seat regulations ECE R129 or i-Size safety standards. Here we explain ‘what is i-Size?’ to help you to decide which is the best car seat for you.

What is i-Size? 

i-Size is a European car seat safety standard that was launched in 2013. The ECE R129/i-Size car seat standard is the most up-to-date safety standard for car seats, which aims to make car seats safer. It’s designed to keep children rear-facing for longer, provide better side-impact protection and make car seats easier to fit correctly.

What makes i-Size different from ECE R44? 

The older ECE R44 standard is based on the weight of your child. By contrast, i-Size is height-based.  

The guidelines on what car seat is suitable are based on a child’s height. Usually, parents are more aware of the height of their child than their weight. This means that i-Size makes it easier to be sure you are using the right car seat for your child. 

 Shop for Chicco i-Size car seats here.

i-Size safety for your peace of mind 

i-Size car seats are considered to be the safest, with improved head and neck protection. That’s because: 

  • Side-impact crash test results are assessed as part of the i-Size standard. 
  • i-Size safety tests are completed using advanced Q-dummies, which have more sensors than the dummies used for the R44 test.  
  • Your baby must travel in the very safe rear-facing position up to the minimum recommended age of 15 months. Some i-Size car seats can even be used rear-facing until your child is 105 cm tall, which is around four years old.  

Bear in mind that, according to i-Size, your baby or toddler car seat needs to be installed using ISOFIX. An i-Size car seat with ISOFIX connectors attaches the car seat directly to your car’s chassis and is, therefore, more likely to be correctly fitted in your vehicle.

What’s the benefit of travelling rear-facing? 

If you’re using an i-Size car seat, your baby must travel rear-facing until they are 15 months old. Travelling rear-facing will protect your baby’s delicate neck and head by spreading the forces of the impact if there is a head-on collision. Some i-Size car seats allow your growing child to travel in the rear-facing position for even longer, exceeding the safety standards and giving you even more confidence. 

Why? Because studies show it’s safer. Up to the age of 15 months, your child’s neck is not yet developed enough to withstand the forces of an average head-on collision. The excessive pressure on the neck of your baby might lead to serious neck injury. Rearward-facing seats can help to spread the forces of a head-on collision over a greater area of your child’s body, leading to less pressure on your child’s head and neck.

How can I tell if a car seat is i-Size? 

Firstly, they have the i-Size logo (pictured above). All Chicco i-Size car seats will have an orange i-Size label fixed on the seat itself. It is similar to the ISOFIX logo, but it has an i on the side. Many of the car seat models also have the letter i in their name or include the word i-Size. And of course, your car seat retailer will be able to confirm this for you.

Will an i-Size seat fit in my car? 

All i-Size car seats in the baby and toddler category are attached using ISOFIX. According to the i-Size regulation it is not mandatory to install a child car seat using ISOFIX. If you are not sure if a car seat with ISOFIX fits your car, check the vehicle handbook to find out if your car has ISOFIX connectors.  

Most new cars are i-Size approved and i-Size car seats generally fit any of these vehicles. However, some i-Size car seats fit non i-Size approved cars too. To be sure that the i-Size car seat fits your car, we advise you to check our online Car Compatibility List.

i-Size meets convenience 

If i-Size safety, convenience and getting ready to go quickly are high on your must-have list, look for a rotating i-Size car seat. These allow you to turn the seat to face you to make it easy to put your child in, buckle up and go.  

Check out the rotating Chicco i-Size car seats here.

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