We have teamed up with top UK baby brand, Joie to help you to understand the new R129 car seat regulations. Car seats are mandatory vehicle safety equipment for your baby or child. The safety of your little one is paramount and must come above all else. This post gives you information about R129 category car seats, their importance, and the difference between R44 and R129.
Car seats must conform to car seat safety regulations to ensure they are safe enough to sell. There are currently two regulations, ECE R44/04 and ECE R129/03 (R44 and R129 for short).
In the EU, from September 2023, the law is changing. R44 car seats placed on the European market before September 1, 2023, will continue to be made available until September 1, 2024. The UK still hasn’t announced it’s final decision on this.
R129 is the most recent safety regulation controlling the manufacture of children’s car seats. These new regulations force the industry to adhere to the highest possible safety standards. R44 is an older safety regulation, less stringent than the R129.
You are responsible for keeping your child as safe as possible when out and about in a vehicle. Choosing the best and safest baby equipment is an excellent way to start, and parents should have all the facts before deciding which car seat to choose.
What Is an R129 Car Sear?
R129 has been around since 2013, it was developed to make travel for babies and children even safer. R129 car seats undergo enhanced testing and have improved safety features, such as extra head and neck protection. R129 car seats are also designed provide better protection from side impacts and keep children rearward facing for longer.
i-Size is an enhancement of R129. i-Size variants make it easier to confirm compatibility with i-Size approved vehicles, as well as enjoying the other benefits of R129 seats. All i-size car seats are R129 approved, but not all R129 seats are i-size.
Current car seat law states that using either R44 or R129 approved seats is still legal. You decide which car seat is best for your little one.
This guide explains the difference between the two types of car seat regulations and why you should consider investing in a newer, safer model.
After all, the safety of your child must always come first.
What’s the Difference Between R129 and R44?
Here are the main differences between the two car seats so you can make an informed decision.
The R44 Car Seat
- These car seats are grouped based on your child’s weight and are suitable from birth to 12 years old. The groups are 0+ (birth to 13kg), 1 (9 to 18kg), 2 (15 – 25kg) and 3 (22 – 36kg).
- Children can be forward facing from 9kg ( 9 months old).
- They can be secured into a vehicle using ISOFIX or a vehicle seat belt where ISOFIX isn’t available.
- They go through rear and front impact testing but not side testing.
The R129 Car Seat
- Parents choose these car seats based on their child’s height and not their weight.
- They aren’t categorised by groups, making them more straightforward for parents to understand.
- Children can be forward facing from a minimum of 15 months and 76cm.
- They go through rear, front and side-impact testing.
- Improved head and neck protection.
Choosing a car seat based on your child’s height is easier and more accurate as height is a more consistent measure that can’t be affected, whereas with weight there can be a greater degree of variation with children depending on their particular circumstances and lifestyle.
Is Rearward Facing or Forward Facing Safer?
Whilst car seats come with minimum age or weight restrictions for when a baby can ride forward facing, it is best to keep your baby rearward facing for as long as possible.
In the event of a crash, being rearward-facing gives your child increased levels of security over being forward facing.
Young children are particularly vulnerable in a car crash as their bodies aren’t well developed and they have disproportionately heavy heads. A key body area that’s undeveloped is the neck muscles, which aren’t strong enough to properly support their head until 15 months, which is why the forward-facing minimum is set at this age.
Whether you choose R44 or R129, keeping your little one rearward facing for as long as possible provides them with greater safety for longer.
Choosing an R44 or an R129 Car Seat
R44 car seats still undergo safety testing and will still be considered safe to use even after sales are no longer allowed.
However, for peace of mind, R129 offers superior levels of safety. With more stringent safety testing requirements and invaluable improved head and neck protection, R129 is the best option for your precious cargo.
At a glance, the main aims of R129 are:
- To promote rearward facing for longer
- To make choosing the right car seat easier, based on your child’s height rather than weight.
- To produce safer seats, as they’re now subject to side impact testing.
It is never worth taking a risk regarding the safety of your most cherished gift.
At Kiddie’s Kingdom we stock the Joie I-Spin Safe R129 Rotating Car Seat and the Joie Steadi R129 Car Seat. Feel reassured and choose a Joie R129 car seat.