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New regulations for child seats - symbol - © Friends Stock - stock.adobe.com

Traveling with the right child seat

If child seats are to be approved on the European market, they must meet a certain standard that ensures that children are safely transported in the car. The expert organization Dekra describes the dangers that children can experience in car accidents at 50 km / h as an enormous burden. The old standard for child seats has been around since 1993; this is constantly being developed. Since September 2017, the latest regulation ECE R 129 i-Size has been supplementing the standard that has been in force since 2005 for the new approval of child seats, which results in some changes. If you take children with you in the car, you should also think about a suitable child seat.

The new regulations for child seats were introduced in three phases: Phase 1 began in summer 2013; it contains new regulations for integral ISOFIX child seats (previous weight classes 0, 0+ and I). Phase 2 contains regulations for non-integral child seats in the previous weight classes II and III and was completed in autumn 2017. Phase 3 came into force at the end of 2018 and deals with the regulations for integral child seats to be attached to the vehicle belt.

Regulations for the i-size standard

i-Size is the further development of the previous ISOFIX standard and currently exists parallel to the previous regulation ECE R 44. In contrast to the old standard, the new i-Size regulation states that children up to 15 months of age are transported against the direction of travel Need to become. According to the old regulation, child seats were allowed to be turned in the direction of travel from a body weight of 9 kilograms. The background to the new regulation: backward-facing driving is safer for children than in a forward-facing child seat. Many babies are usually placed in forward-facing child seats too early, although there is still room in the rear-facing child seat (reboarder). Since a baby's neck muscles are not sufficiently developed by the age of 15 months, the pressure on the neck and head area in a head-on collision can result in serious injuries. A transport in a rear-facing seat helps to distribute the forces that arise in such a frontal impact over a larger area of ​​the child's body and to relieve the head and neck somewhat. By the way: You can tell that the child is too big for the baby seat when the shoulder straps come clearly from below in the highest position.


In addition, the child seats are no longer divided into firmly defined weight classes - with the i-Size standard, manufacturers can independently determine the size range for which their product is suitable. This is to prevent children from being seated too early in the next seat, because the body length of a child is a better criterion for determining the correct child seat. The i-Size child seats with ISOFIX are, however, also limited to a maximum weight of 33 kilograms (weight of child seat plus weight of child).
Safety in the event of a front or side crash should also be improved, according to i-Size. According to the regulation, the products now have to pass a side impact test for approval and, if this criterion is met, offer significantly more protection for the child's head and neck. In order to minimize the risk of incorrect installation, the i-Size child seats from phase I up to 105 cm are always installed with ISOFIX. All of the points mentioned only apply to child seats that are approved in accordance with the new directive - not for products that have already received the previous ECE R 44 approval. Child seats with the new i-size standard can be installed in the vehicle on all seats that have the appropriate identification. It can also be installed in other vehicles. Therefore, and since not all new vehicles have these markings, the manufacturers provide a type list for all vehicles in which the seats can be fitted. Since i-Size is the further development of the ISOFIX system and is downwardly compatible, every i-Size child seat can be used on the vehicle's ISOFIX system.

Comparison of standards - Copyright green car magazine
Comparison of standards - Copyright green car magazine


Parents who already have a child seat are not affected by the new regulation - their child seats can still be used if they meet the previous standard ECE R 44. Old child seats that do not meet the test standard EVE R 2008/44 or 04/44 may no longer be used since 03.
When buying a new child seat, consumers can still choose between the products of the old ECE-R-44/04 or the new ECE-R-129 directive. However, it is advisable to buy a child seat with the new i-size standard. When buying, it should be noted that not all vehicles have approval for the new child seat - a look at the type list of child seat manufacturers helps.
In order to provide better protection than is required by law, many manufacturers also develop their products with regard to the requirements of consumer protection tests. A good decision-making aid when choosing a child seat is the ADAC child seat test, which goes beyond the legal minimum requirements. If products are rated good in this test in the area of ​​security, then they offer good protection. The Swedish Plus test places even higher demands on child seats.

Test standards and regulations

Parents who already have a child seat are not affected by the new regulation - their child seats can still be used if they meet the previous standard ECE R 44. Old child seats that do not meet the test standard EVE R 2008/44 or 04/44 may no longer be used since 03.

When buying a new child seat, consumers can still choose between the products of the old ECE-R-44/04 or the new ECE-R-129 directive. However, it is advisable to buy a child seat with the new i-size standard. When buying, it should be noted that not all vehicles have approval for the new child seat - a look at the type list of child seat manufacturers helps.

In order to provide better protection than is required by law, many manufacturers also develop their products with regard to the requirements of consumer protection tests. A good decision-making aid when choosing a child seat is the ADAC child seat test, which goes beyond the legal minimum requirements. If products are rated good in this test in the area of ​​security, then they offer good protection. The Swedish Plus test places even higher demands on child seats.

ISOFIX

ISOFIX (ISO = International Organization for Standardization, FIX = fixation) was first defined in 1990 and represents a particularly safe and user-friendly fastening system for installing child seats in the vehicle. The vehicle's seat belt does not have to be used. Two standardized connecting pieces at the base of the child seat are hooked into the matching anchoring eyes in the car. In addition, a top tether or a support leg is attached to the vehicle as a backup. The top tether essentially refers to an additional belt strap, which is attached to a bracket in the rear part of the vehicle with a hook. The support leg is placed between the front and rear seats on the vehicle floor and thus secures the child seat against the vehicle floor. Due to their ease of use, the risk of incorrect attachment can be minimized; however, ISOFIX child seats can usually only be attached to the outer seats of the vehicle. Since child seats based on the new i-Size standard are a further development of the ISOFIX seats, they can generally be used in vehicles with ISOFIX anchoring points.
Fitting the seat and buckling up, however, harbor the potential for errors, especially for those who do not carry out the hand movements regularly. Around half of all children under the age of twelve are not properly secured in the car, according to a study carried out by the insurance companies' accident research (UDV) last in 2016/2017. 60 percent of them in such a way that they could be seriously injured in the event of an accident.
The confusing market for restraint systems, various EU standards and manufacturers' different safety concepts make it difficult to find your way around. At the same time, parents and grandparents are obliged to use every trick in the book to secure their offspring every time they make a purchase: accident researchers now see the main problem in connection with the use of child seats in their incorrect use.

Errors when installing seats for babies and toddlers were particularly common: a belt that was too loose when attaching the child seat, failure to use the guide aids for the belt and the interchanging of the lap and shoulder belt. "With the baby seat, for example, you can run the belt completely wrong and it still looks good," warns the head of the UDV, Siegfried Brockmann. In the event of an accident, an improperly fastened seat can come loose from the belt.

Special regulations for child seats in Italy

Despite uniform regulations within the EU for child seats, special regulations apply to cars registered in Italy: Especially with regard to the high temperatures, only child seats that are equipped with an alarm system (“Salva Bebè”) may be used for children up to four years of age. The alarm inside and outside the vehicle uses optical and acoustic signals to warn that someone is still in the child seat. This is to prevent parents from forgetting their child in the car due to carelessness and small children from suffering heat stroke in summer, for example.
Anyone driving in Italy without a proper child seat can be fined between 81 and 326 euros. In addition, according to the Italian penalty point system, 5 points can be deducted and in the event of a further violation within two years, a driving ban of at least 15 days can be imposed.
Rental car regulation in Italy?
The alarm regulation only applies to vehicles registered in Italy. Therefore, German holidaymakers who are not domiciled in Italy and whose vehicle is not registered there, do not have to fear any penalty if they do not comply. However, the regulations apply when you are on holiday in Italy if you use a rental car registered there. This car must have a child seat with an alarm signal on board. It is best to pay attention to this when renting.

Addendum

Cover picture: New regulations for child seats - symbol - © Friends Stock - stock.adobe.com

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