Child Car Seat Rules Ireland
There are currently two European standards for child restraint systems. These are known as Regulation 44 and Regulation 129 (or i-Size). Seats manufactured to either standard will have a label showing a capital ‘E’ in a circle - as shown in the picture.
What’s more, along with the 262 dead, a further 1,107 children were seriously injured during the same period and if you think we’re scaremongering a bit and that parents are ‘better’ since 2012, data reveals the opposite.
The label will indicate which standard the child car seat meets – Regulation 44 or Regulation 129 (i-Size). Regulation 44 child car seats are based on weight with an age recommendation. Regulation 129 (or i-Size) child car seats are based on height/ length and have a maximum weight. The label will tell you the weight or maximum height/ length the child car seat is designed for.
When buying a child restraint, if possible, try it in your car before you buy. Not all seats will fit or be suitable for your car. If you plan to use your child car seat in more than one car it is important to check that it fits other cars as well. Speak to the shop sales adviser who will give you advice and may show you how to fit the restraint correctly.
Many seat experts believe that it's better and safer to keep your child in the lowest group seat for as long as possible. This means staying in their current stage seat until the maximum weight or height limit is reached. Because children grow and develop at different rates it is important to keep a watch on your child’s height and weight to make sure that they don’t move up a stage too early or too late.
Make sure you follow and retain the manufacturer’s fitting instructions. The child seat should rest firmly on the car seat, with hardly any forwards or sideways movement. Once the seat is fitted – whether you use Isofix connections or the seatbelt – test that it is secure by pushing it firmly, or by fastening the harness and pulling it sharply forward to replicate the movement it would make in a collision.
Regulation 129 child car seats are based on length / height, have a minimum weight and are also known as i-Size seats. Child car seats approved according to Regulation 129 will be phased in over time. In the first phase (which is already in place) manufacturers are producing child car seats suitable for children up to 105cms – around four to four and a half years of age:
A child seat should ideally be placed in the back seat of the car, keeping it away from the airbags and dashboard. To repeat, it’s crucial that you never fit a rear-facing baby seat in the front if there is an airbag on the passenger side of the car.
If you have to take your child seat out of the car for any reason, make sure you fit it properly every time you put it back in. If it stays in the car permanently, it’s still a good idea to check it regularly to make sure it is still securely held.