This isn’t exactly considered as ‘parts’ for a child safety seat (child restraint system, CRS) but it is nonetheless an important part of it. In fact, it is a CRS identity regardless of which standards it follows.
When buying for a European, EU (UNECE) approved CRS, always look for the orange (sometimes red or black) stickers containing the information of approval. This sticker is called approval label and for UNECE approved seats, the current EU child safety seat standards used are either UNECE R44/04 or UNECE R129 (also called i-Size).
From April 2008, all child car seats that were manufactured before 1995 and approved to the UNECE R44/01 and R44/02 standards are no longer legal and must not be used or sold. Only seats displaying the approval to the standards of ECE R44/04 or i-Size (UNECE R129) may be legally used. UNECE R44/03 safety seats are no longer being produced when the R44/04 was introduced in 2005 but it is still legal to use it until today. However, even if the CRS was produced in 2005, it is already 14 years old and may have long reached its lifespan limit.
For UNECE R44/04 approved CRS, the example of approval label is as per the picture below. An approval label for ECE R44/04 should contain:
- The standards of approval will be written as “ECE R44/04”.
- Type of approval. There are 3 types of CRS approval for ECE R44/04: “Universal”, “Semi-Universal” and Vehicle Specific”. “Universal” means your seat is approved for installation with seat belt in all cars, although you should check to see that the seat fits really well in your car.
- Seat’s weight group it’s tested to. For example in the picture below, this CRS is for the use of child within the weight limit of 0 to 13 kg.
- How the child is restrained in the CRS. If there is a letter ‘Y’, it means that the CRS features a harness system with a crotch strap (i.e. not using the vehicle safety seat belt). Sometimes an ‘S’ is used to indicate a special harnessing system is being used specifically made for special needs children.
- Approval country in which the approval was obtained is indicated with the code ‘E’. This code is following the WP.29 country codes. For the list of UN country codes, you may check it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Forum_for_Harmonization_of_Vehicle_Regulations
- Approval numbers. The first two numbers (04) show to which version of amendment the CRS has been approved, in this case ECE R44/04.
The approval label usually comes in the form of a sticker that is located at the base or side of the CRS. Sometimes it is printed onto the fabric of the CRS cover or being sewn on it.
So does your child safety seat has this approval label?