ISOFIX systems

ISO standard provides child restraint and car manufacturers with a tool for the assessment of the usability of new and current ISOFIX systems

Ever installed a child car seat and were not 100 % sure that it was properly installed? The ISOFIX attachment system for connecting the car seat to the vehicle –intended to make fitting child seats safe and simple– has just been improved thanks to a new ISO standard.

Let us face it: installing or removing a child car seat can be a tricky endeavor, particularly if you have more than one car. This is because car seats, seat belts, and their anchorages vary between different models of cars. This makes it sometimes tough to fit a child car seat correctly or to know if it has been properly installed.

ISOFIX is designed to solve all these problems. The ultimate aim is that any ISOFIX child car seat you buy will fit your car simply by plugging it into the ISOFIX points. The other benefit of ISOFIX is that it will create a rigid link between the child seat and the car to provide extra solidity.

In order to promote smart and user-friendly design, ISO 29061-1:2010, Road vehicles – Methods and criteria for usability evaluation of child restraint systems and their interface with vehicle anchorage systems – Part 1: Vehicles and child restraint systems equipped with ISOFIX anchorages and attachments, provides child restraint and car manufacturers with a tool for the assessment of the usability of new and current ISOFIX systems.

At the same time, ISO 29061-1 provides consumers (parents and caregivers) with information on the key features related to the proper use of the ISOFIX system. This will assist them in selecting car seats (also known as child restraint systems (CRS)) and vehicles with ISOFIX systems that are easy to use properly.

Prof. Lotta Jakobsson, Convenor of the team that developed the standard comments: "The usability of a child restraint system – in both correct installation and day-to-day use – is of utmost importance. This ensures that a child restraint system is used in accordance with the manufacturer’s intentions, and that it will function properly in a crash situation.

“I foresee ISO 29061-1 benefiting child seat and car manufacturers as a development tool, on the one hand, and consumers, on the other, by helping them select a user-friendly CRS for their purpose."

The new standard addresses the usability of ISOFIX both in terms of the child restraint system (attachment system) and in terms of the vehicle (anchorage system), as well as the interaction of the two, emerging when child restraint systems are mounted in cars.

The rating system consists of an assessment form and a manual contained in ISO technical report ISO/TR 29061-2, currently under development. It has been developed with participation from, and based on the experiences from, usability rating systems from Canada, the USA and the European Union.

ISO 29061-1 was developed by ISO technical committee ISO/TC 22, Road vehicles, subcommittee SC 12, Passive safety crash protection systems, working group WG 1, Child restraint systems in road vehicles.