Since 2013, new R129 regulations (i-Size) has come into force for the approval of baby car seats. The main aim of this new standard is to improve the safety of children in the car by generalising ISOFIX® fixing systemthe classification of car seat by the size of the child or by making mandatory rear-facing position up to 15 months. For the time being, this new legislation will have to coexist with the old ECE standards R44/04 and R44/03, which are still in force today, but which should gradually be phased out. The scope of these different standards is summarised at the orange approval label affixed to all car seats sold in France. This label certifies that the car seat complies with one of the two European standards in force. This certification ensures that the car seat complies with the latest safety requirements defined by European regulations.
Comparison of ECE R44/04 and i-Size (R129) approved car seat labels
When you buy a car seat, it must be type-approved. in accordance with European regulations currently in force. Every child car seat must carry this label because it is the only way to prove official approval in the event of a roadside check, for example. To check the seat's conformity, simply check the labelling on the car seat. This must include an orange label attesting to its certification to one of the European standards ECE R44/03, ECE R44/04 or i-Size (R129). Only seats that meet one of these standards are legally allowed to be used. In addition to mentioning the type of approval to which the car seat belongs, the labels provide many other indications that it can be useful to know how to decipher.
- The head office responds to one of the European ECE R44/04 or i-Size (R129) standards currently in force in Europe. Note that standards R44/01 and R44/02 have not been valid since 2008. Consequently, they can no longer be used or marketed.
- There are three types of approval to find out whether car seats are compatible with your vehicle : universal, semi-universal and specific to a vehicle.
- Universal approval = These car seats can be used in all types of vehicle. ISOFIX car seats must always be secured using the ISOFIX system. ISOFIX attachment and another anchor point (strut or top tether).
- Semi-universal approval = The car seat may be fitted with a special device that requires you to check that the car seat and your vehicle are compatible. This is particularly the case with vehicles fitted with a storage compartment in the floor, which could prevent the correct positioning of a support leg, for example. You should check the compatibility of the car seat with your car on the manufacturer's website.
- Vehicle-specific approval = Car seat installation is specifically limited to certain car models. As far as we know, there are virtually no longer any car seats that can only be used in certain vehicles, and no new seats have been approved in this category.
- It states weight or height for which the seat is approved. The presence of the letter Y indicates that the seat has a 5-point harness system with a strap at crotch level.
- The European type-approval mark is indicated by the letter E. The number following this mark indicates the country in which approval has been granted (1=Germany, 2=France, 3=Italy, 4=Netherlands, 5=Sweden, 6=Belgium, 7=Hungary, etc.).
- It involves the approval number of the car seat. The first two digits correspond to the version number of the standard to which the seat has been approved (04 for ECE R44/04 or 03 for ECE R44/03).
Apart from changes to classification criteria of car seats, which is now carried out according to size of your child rather than their weight, there are some very little difference between the ECE 44/04 and i-Size (R129) European approval labels. However, a number of additional labels have been introduced to make it easier to check that car seats comply with the latest regulations.
How to recognise an i-Size approved car seat (R129)?
To recognise an i-Size approved car seat, all you need to do is look out for the different labels found exclusively on this type of seat. They make it easier to choose the right car seat, and with the widespread introduction of the i-Size standard in the years to come, it's essential to be familiar with them.
|The "i-Size" label to recognise an approved car seat
|This label indicates that the rear-facing position is compulsory up to the age of 15 months.
|The label showing the classification of the car seat and its "i-Size" approval can also be found
As a reminder, the new i-Size regulation (R129) aims to generalise several devices to considerably improve the protection of our children in the car.
- Rear-facing position compulsory up to 15 months
- ISOFIX fastening system on all vehicles
- Classification of car seats by child size and no longer by weight
- Performance criteria in frontal and side impact more important
The differences between the ECE R44 & i-Size (R129) standards
|By weight of the child
|By size of the child
|Back to the road
|Up to 9kg
|Up to 15 months
|Collision front (50 km/h)
Impact rear (30 km/h)
No side impact
Use of older generation mannequins (P-Dummies)
|Collision front (50 km/h)
Impact rear (30 km/h)
Shock lateral (24 km/h)
Use of new-generation mannequins (Q-Dummies)
|Belt or ISOFIX
|Date of implementation
|Gradual disappearance from 2021
|In force since July 2013