If you are a parent of an infant or if you carry infants as passengers you might not be aware of new legislation surrounding child car seats. It hasn’t been widely covered by the national press so it might be news to you that this amendment to current law came into force at the beginning of April.

Under previous legislation, once a child had reached the weight of 9kg, they could move from a rear facing car seat to a front facing car seat. But as of early April 2015 this has changed. Now, parents must keep their babies in a rear facing (or ‘i-Size’) car seat until they are 15 months old, shifting the focus from their weight to their age instead.

What’s the reason for the change?

Babies facing rearwards are safer in the event of a collision, so government wants to keep them facing rearwards for longer. It’s known that at this young age, babies’ necks are too weak to cope with a frontal impact, resulting in a higher risk of spinal injury and possible death. It is hoped that by keeping them facing rearwards for longer, they will be better protected in the event of an accident.

Does the new legislation replace previous legislation and do I have to buy an ‘i-Size’ car seat?

Confusingly, no, the new legislation does not replace previous legislation, but will run alongside it for the next few years. It will eventually replace previous legislation but it is unclear when that will be. What the new legislation does is give parents an additional option to buy a new type of seat – an ‘i-Seat’. So that means that as long as the car seat you’ve been using is compliant with previous law, it’s fine to continue using it. But if your child has outgrown its current seat and is under 15 months old you may want to consider buying an ‘i-Size’ car seat to be compliant with new legislation.

Where can I buy an ‘i-Size’ car seat?

Many retailers already stock ‘i-Size’ car seats. For example, a selection can be found here.