While many car seats have tested to side impact over the years, prior to i-Size, side impact testing was not a requirement to pass the current standard. It is known that side impact can be the most harmful to a child and is most damaging to a baby’s head versus any other part of their body. For this reason, the new i-Size standard is enforcing mandatory side-impact performance criteria industry-wide.
“...side impacts are nearly twice as likely to result in a child fatality as frontal impacts...” Source: Umtri Research Review “Side impact crashes account for one-third of all highway deaths among children under thirteen years old.” Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration “Head injuries are the target for injury prevention for children ... in side impact crashes.” Source: US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health
The most crashes and the most severe crashes happen at the front of the vehicle. When forward facing, children move forward during a crash — causing strain on the neck. Facing rearward manages the force of a crash, protecting developing little necks and spines up to 5 times more than forward facing.
“Research has shown rear facing to be 500% safer up to two years of age. It also shows rearward facing is always safer even for grown ups.” Source: carseat.se http://www.carseat.se/rearfacing/safety-benefits/ “A rear-facing child seat reduces the risk of injury in a head-on collision by more than 80% when compared to a conventional forward-facing seat with harness system, as the force of an impact is distributed evenly over a large area.” Source: Research by VTI — Swedish Road and Transport Research Institute (Rapport 489A, 2003) “...children are less likely to suffer severe crash injuries when sitting in a rear-facing seat than in a front-facing seat.” It is “estimated that children were around 75% less likely to suffer severe injuries in rear-facing seats.” Source: http://www.nhs.uk/news/2009/06June/Pages/CarSeatWarning.aspx citing research published in the British Medical Journal
i-Size makes use of the most high-tech crash test dummies available, called “Q” dummies. Not only has the sensory technology improved to test for greater sensitivity, the dummies also feature more sensors on fragile areas of the body. This equals a better understanding of what happens multi-directionally during a crash, allowing improved design of car seats. The older “newborn” dummies were made only of fabric and had no sensors. The new “Q” newborn dummies now feature 4 sensors in critical locations: the head, neck, thorax and pelvis. These sensors are extremely delicate, designed to simulate the fragility of a newborn body.
The ECE R44/04 dummies were developed in the “late 1970s and early 1980s.” The “Q” dummy series is very different and much more “advanced in terms of its biomechanical and anthropometric characteristics, it is also developed to be used in both front and side impact testing, making it the first ‘multi-directional’ (child) dummy.” Source: Humanetics® Innovative Solutions
It is well known that using ISOFIX to install a child seat makes life easier and less daunting for parents. However, ISOFIX has also been found to significantly increase the chance of proper installation. During crash testing, all testing results are based on proper and accurate installation of the child seat into the vehicle. When an improperly restrained child seat is used, the potential for injury increases substantially. This is why one of the major requirements with the new i-Size standard is ISOFIX as the only installation method. This creates a safe, secure and proper attachment to the car. Wondering if your car seat is i-Size compatible? Yes. It likely is — as the majority of ISOFIX equipped cars will accept i-Size child seats.
“Reality is that a large percentage of parents, 40-80% depending on country, drive around with car seats incorrectly installed... If we look at all data, crash test, real life usage, and habits, Isofix is far safer than installing a car seat with seat belt. With Isofix, virtually no mistakes are made, something which can not be said about seat belt installs.” Source: carseat.se
It is often challenging for parents to easily understand which child seat best fits their child and when the time has come to begin using the next child seat. A huge objective of i-Size is to make the car seat recommended usage and progression clear and intuitive — making parents’ lives easier and little riders safer. Now parents can easily just measure their child — giving them security their child is in the right seat, facing the right way — all along the way.