In the UK there are currently 2 regulations in place for car seat safety. ECE R44 and ECE R129 (this is what is often referred to as i-Size). Car seats must meet one of these regulations to be deemed safe and acceptable for sale.
So what is R44.04 and what does it mean?
This certification is based on a child’s weight (KG), seats approved to this standard will give a maximum weight that the seat can be used up to.
Children can legally be forward facing in an R44 seat from 9KG, where the seat allows. – NOTE THAT I HAVE SAID LEGALLY AND NOT SAFELY…
Seats are categorised in the following groups
– 0+, up to 13 kg
– 0+/1, up to 18 kg
– 0+/1/2, up to 25kg
– 0+/1/2/3, up to 36 kg
– 1, 9kg to 18kg
– 1/2/3, 9 to 36 kg
– 2/3, 15 to 36 kg
– 3, 22 to 36 kg
It is important to note that whilst there are many seats that span across different groups (multistage seats), they are not always the best option. See our section ‘why multistage seats are not what you think…’.
These seats can use a seatbelt or ISOFIX.
The crash test for R44 involves seats being crash tested in a 32mph frontal impact and a 18mph rear impact.
There is no side impact included in this test. A P dummy is used which has 4 sensors measuring the impact for the child.
R44 is an older safety standard that is gradually being phased out.
So now I hear you ask “if R44 is an old regulation, which is being phased out, seats that are approved under it can’t be as safe and should be avoided?…”
The answer is categorically no.
Some of the safest seats in the world are approved under R44. The reason? They are not isofix.
When R129, the newer regulation, was released, seats had to have isofix to comply. There are however a number of extremely safe seats, that have passed the Swedish plus test, that could not be approved under R129.
The next phase of R129 does however allow for belted seats so we will see more of these seats appearing under the new regulation.
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