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  1. #21
    Senior Community Member Adventuredad's Avatar
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    Re: Can't use US car seat in Europe??

    I read the article mentioned in the original post about the US car seats that can't be used in European cars. If I'm correct it seems that the US regulations are more strict than the European ones?
    This is incorrect. It's the opposite, the European standard is stricter. If we look more in detail at FVMSS 213 and ECE R44 we see that both standards are good. They are also similar to each other. There are certainly some differences but overall we can say that both standards work well and that ECE R44 is slightly stricter.

    We now have a new standard in Europe called R129. Also called i-Size. The new standard aim to make everything simpler for a parent byt making sure the car seat and car are compatible. Unfortunately everything is more complicated than ever before at the moment since there are few i-Size seats and almost no i-Size cars. At we also have two car seat standards to select from.

    The Swedes came up with the Isofix standard around 1990 and it was not made mandatory in cars until 20113. R129 will likely be similar. There will be many years before i-Size cars become common. The new R129 standard is also using the same crash pulse as ECE R44. New for this standard is side impact testing.

    While that might sound impressive it's not really relevant since the testing is static and have nothing in common with real life and an actual collision. Manufacturers already to extensive testing in SIP although it hasn't been required before.

    The facts regarding side impact collisions remain the same: Forward facing seats basically provide no side impact protection since a child's head is already out of position at impact due to pre-impact braking and forward momentum. Rear facing seats provide excellent protection due to the same factors.

    We also have a standard called Swedish Plus Test. This is by far the strictest car seat standard in the world. It's using a really nasty and abusive crash pulse, kind of using a much higher crash speed, and forces in head of the dummy are also measured. The test is actually really tough and most foreign seats end up in pieces on the floor.

    But now I'm doubting if I should maybe buy a used car seat here in the U.S. (I know this is not recommended) and then buy a new European one once back in Belgium?
    There is no problem with purchasing a used seat. Don't believe all the paranoia. Just follow the very basic rule of knowing history of the seat. Never ever purchase a seat on Ebay, Craigslist etc. since you have no idea what the seat has been through. Could be fine or could be a disaster. You won't know until after a collision.

    If you are moving to US for work perhaps there is a trusted friend at work who has a car seat for sale. Since you have some time before the baby arrives there should be no problem finding a used seat if you desire this alternative.

    There is a far greater selection of good rear facing seats in Europe. Many of these have the higher 25 kg rear facing limit, a taller seat shell and also need far less space in the car. A good number of seats have also passed the ultra strict Plus Test.

    Best of luck with your move to US.
    Annika: 8 • Britax Adventure
    Daniel: 11 • Britax Adventure
    I will only post ONE comment in each thread. If you have further questions send a PM or email
    Imported child seats may not conform to applicable safety standards, laws or customs regulations in some countries.

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  3. #22
    Member Jérémie Zürcher's Avatar
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    Re: Can't use US car seat in Europe??

    the most important answer is : if your carseat serial begin with 04? if yes thats not problem and isofix and latch are the same thing but the difference that we don't have weight limits and the children need to be in a car seat until their are 12 years or 135 cm tall (150cm in switzerland) and if you want to buy an european car seat look for the groupe 1

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