Child Passenger Safety Seat System
There are several types of car seats, which vary in the position of the child and size of the seat. The United Nations European Regional standard ECE R44/04 categorizes these into 4 groups: 0-3. Many car seats combine the larger groups 1, 2 and 3. Some new car models includes stock restraint seats by default.
Generally, countries that regulate passenger safety have child safety laws that require a child to be restrained appropriately depending on their age and weight. These regulations and standards are often minimums, and with each graduation to the next kind of safety seat, there is a step down in the amount of protection a child has in a collision. Some countries, such as Australia and the United States, forbid rear-facing child seats in a front seat that has an airbag. A rear-facing infant restraint put in the front seat of a vehicle places an infant's head close to the airbag, which can cause severe head injuries or death if the airbag deploys. Some modern cars include a switch to disable the front passenger airbag for child-supporting seat use.
In Australia there are six different types (Type A to Type F) of child restraints under the mandatory standard. Note: these restraints are NOT based on weight but on HEIGHT. All car seats with the AS/NZ1754 sticker will have height markers. These markers show clearly for what height the seat is appropriate.
Crashes that meet all of these criteria are much less severe than the dynamic testing requirement for compliance with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 213 and are highly unlikely to affect future child safety seat performance.
(1) operating a vehicle transporting passengers for hire, excluding third-party transport service providers when transporting clients pursuant to a contract to provide nonemergency Medicaid transportation; or
Child restraints are sometimes the subject of manufacturing recalls. Recalls vary in severity; sometimes the manufacturer will send an additional part for the seat, other times they will provide an entirely new seat.
Rear-facing weight limits range from 9 to 23 kg (20 to 51 lb) depending on the manufacturer and country of origin. Forward-facing limits range from 9 to 40 kg (20 to 88 lb) depending on the seat model and the manufacturer and country of origin.
2013: New EU I-Size regulation is introduced: “i-Size” is the name of a new European safety regulation, UNECE Regulation 129 that affects car seats for children under 15 months of age. It came into effect in July 2013 and provides extra protection in several ways, most notably by providing rearward facing travel for children up to 15 months instead of 9 to 12 months, which the previous EU regulation advised. Read more about I-Size. This new regulation is to be phased in between 2013 and 2018 and will be run in parallel to UNECE R44/04 until 2018 when it completely supersedes it.
After reaching one year of age and 20 pounds (9.1 kg), children may travel in forward-facing seats. Most Scandinavian countries require children to sit rear-facing until at least the age of 4 years. This has contributed to Sweden having the lowest rate of children killed in traffic in international comparisons.