There are a number of key changes that will soon influence the regulatory landscape governing the way child car seats are designed. Children’s car seats are designed to protect our young ones; it’s important that child seats are reliable and any improvements made in the design and in further regulation are consistent with this goal of protection. One such change to the regulatory environment relates to the introduction of the iSize car seat regulation. The introduction of the I-size regulations phase 1 is scheduled to to come into force by the end of 2013. The regulations will run alongside the current R44 car seat regulation with ISOFIX fit as Semi Universal and Universal Seat Belt fit.
Phase 2 of I-Size is expected in 2 – 3 years and will add seat belt fit to the I Size regulation
I-size regulations will move ISOFIX style child restraints into the universal category. This change will mean that the new child seats will have to undergo more comprehensive safety and performance testing including side impact; as a result, specialist crash test dummies, the Q- series have been developed to gather more data using greater instrumentation..There is a possibility that testing with the new Q-series dummies will uncover unforeseen problems for developers aiming to meet the new regulations, not yet identified. This scenario would of course delay the progress of I-Size Child restraints entering the market. It is vital that as this transition takes effect, manufacturers and retailers consult the appropriate iSize regulation specialist. Simply relying on an R44 regulation specialist may mean that you are not ready to take advantage of the changes in regulation.
Despite causing some disruption in the manufacture and sale of child seat restraints, the new I-size regulation offers designers of child seats some new freedom.
The R44 regulation (the current European standard) broke down child seats into separate categories based on weight from 0+-3. I-size regulations will work differently to theR44 groupings, instead working on childs height. leaving the range of each new design up to the particular manufacturer. Of course, this new freedom for manufacturers will only come into effect when the new regulations are brought in, at the earliest , during the latter quarter of 2013. This transition period and the uncertainty it is generating among manufacturers and designers is a great cause of concern given the complex timing of new product releases and the phasing out of old models and in particular range selections by retailer. The next year or two ahead are full of uncertainty for manufacturers, retailers and consumers Planning and navigating the new regulation environment will be complex and confusing with essentially two versions of ISOFIX.
Are you prepared for the introduction of I-Size Regulations?