Why have the laws been changed?
The government considers classifying car seats based on a child's height, as well as their age and weight, to be easier and safer. As a result, height information will be added to all seats.
A special label that indicates the compatibility with certain vehicles will also be added to the seat. Always check online or in-store to see if a seat is compatible with your car before buying it – and check where the seat can be placed in the car with the manufacturer.
How will it affect me?
If you're a first time parent, it may be a good idea to purchase seats that meet the new R129 i-Size regulation. Seats adhering to the R129 Regulation are tested more rigorously than those with R44 labels, so they're definitely worth considering. If they are R129 approved, they'll display 'i-Size' on the label.
states these height-based i-Size seats must be rear-facing until your child is 15 months old. After 15 months, your child can use a forward-facing seat. Bear in mind that not all cars are currently compatible with i-Size seats, so before you buy anything new, check the car seat manufacturer's compatibility list.
If you have an ISOFIX car and car seat (some cars have been constructed to fix to certain child car seats using metal bars – these are ISOFIX car seats
) you should also make sure you check that your car will comply with an i-Size seat.
How will it affect my child?
The new laws are intended to protect a child when they're most vulnerable. At the In Car Safety Centre
, they believe the longer a child travels rear facing, the safer it is. We're finding more parents are transporting their children in this way until they're three or four years old. Put simply, a child's disproportionately heavy head is better supported in a rear-facing seat.
If your child's car seat gets damaged, you should buy a new one.
Any other advice?
Buying online is fine but it's difficult to get the expertise and information required. Although it can be confusing and complicated to find the most suitable car seat – only made more difficult by the fact that two laws exist simultaneously – the main thing is to make sure your seat complies with either the R44 or R129 laws, and fits into your car.