Car seat safety rules explained: What does an ECE R44/04 label mean?
When you buy a new car seat, you want to know that it is comfortable and safe for your child. It’s also essential that you buy the right one to meet car seat laws. There are two different standards to look out for: ECE R44 and UN R129 (also known as i-Size). In this article, we explain what an ECE R44/04 label means so you can decide if it is right for you and your child.
ECE R44/04 labels
Take a look under or on the side of the car seat to find the printed orange label. An orange ECE R44/04 approval label guarantees that the car seat complies with the basic safety requirements as set out in the European safety standard ECE R44.
What is the difference between ECE R44 and i-Size?
The other type of approval label you might find is an i-Size label. The ECE R44 is based on the weight of your child. i-Size car seats are based on the height of your child. Find out more about R44 v R129.
Can my child travel in any car seat with an ECE R44 code?
No. ECE R44 car seats are divided into groups that are suitable for different sized children. These groups are 0+ (birth to 13 kg), 1 (9 to 18 kg), or 2/3 (15 to 36 kg). You must choose the right group car seat for your child's size. Bare in mind that all children must travel facing the rear of the vehicle until they are 9 months old.
Can an ECE R44 car seat also comply with the i-Size regulation?
No. The orange label either indicates that the car seat complies with the ECE R44 regulation or with the i-Size safety standard. i-Size offers an even better safety performance.
What happens if my child car seat does not have an ECE R44 label?
By law, you need to use a car seat displaying the European Standard orange label, indicating approval to the ECE R44/03, ECE R 44/04, or i-Size (UN R129) standard. It is illegal to use a car seat that does not have one of these labels.
Also, take a close look at the R44 car seat code. It should be followed by 03 or 04. A car seat that was manufactured before 1995 and approved to the ECE R44/01 or R44/02 standard is no longer legal and must not be used or sold.
What does the R44 approval label tell me about my seat?
Your seat meets the European Safety Standard. Note the last two digits: these should end in 04 (latest version) or 03. R44-01 or 02 are not legal and may not be sold or used since 2008.
For ECE R44-04 or ECE R44-03, there are three types of car seat approval: universal, semi-universal and vehicle specific. ‘Universal’ means your seat is approved for installation in all cars, although you should check that the seat fits well in your vehicle. See below for more details on ‘Type Labelling’.*
Approval for weight (group). If a letter Y is added here, it means that the child seat features a 5-point harness system with a crotch strap.
European approval indicator.
Indicates the country in which the approval was obtained: 1=Germany 2=France 3=Italy 4=the Netherlands etc.
Approval number. The first two numbers (04) show to which version the child seat has been approved, in this case ECE R 44/04.
Unique number allocated to your specific seat, for testing and tracking.
Production details: week and year, in this case, week 7, 2006.
Manufacturer article reference number
Name of the product manufacturer
There are three types of car seat approvals: universal, semi-universal and vehicle specific, which you can use to find out if the car seat will fit your car.
If there is a universal approval label, it means the seat is suitable to be used in any car. You must use the ISOFIX anchorage points in your car, including the top tether or foot support, if it is an ISOFIX car seat. If you're not sure, take a look in your vehicle’s handbook to see if it says the car is suitable for "Universal ISOFIX child seats".
For your peace of mind, all Maxi-Cosi car seats have universal approval. Take a look at our range. [LINK]
If the car seat is marked semi-universal approval, it means it can be used in most vehicles. For your peace of mind, you need to check the child seat manufacturer’s car fitting list. If your car type and model is listed, you can be confident it is suitable.
Vehicle specific approval
A vehicle specific car seat is only approved for use in these cars. The car must be listed in the child seat manufacturer’s car fitting list.