Most of us are already aware of EU laws regarding R44 car seats and the introduction of the newer, more robust R129 regulation.
The Baby Products Association explains how sales of R44 car seats will be affected from September 2023.
As our members know child restraints (CRS) must be approved to a United Nations (UN) regulation to be legal to use in the UK, as well as other countries around the World. There are two CRS regulations in force: UN Regulation No. 44 (R44) and UN Regulation No. 129 (R129). R44 is an older regulation first introduced in the 1980s. Recent changes to R44 mean it can no longer be used by CRS manufacturers to approve a new restraint. Instead, they must use the more advanced R129.
What is Changing?
CRS that are already approved to R44 can continue to be manufactured, sold and used, but things are changing in some countries. As well as stopping new approvals, R44 was also changed to give countries the option of not accepting R44 CRS anymore after 1st September 2023. This means that countries can choose to stop the sale of R44 CRS from this date.
In the European Union (EU), separate legislation is in force that means they will follow this cut-off date for R44 CRS. However, the EU saw that more time was needed to sell CRS already manufactured and in stock. They updated their legislation to allow an extra 12 months for CRS already placed on the market by 1st September 2023. This means that no R44 CRS can be sold in the EU after 1st September 2024.
Making sure we don’t confuse Regions:
This EU legislation does not apply in Great Britain (England, Scotland & Wales) and so R44 CRS can continue to be sold after September 2023 with no restrictions. However, the EU legislation does apply in Northern Ireland, due to post-Brexit trade arrangements, but that might change in the future. As far as we know, the UK Government has no plans to stop the sale of R44 CRS, but of course that might also change.
The EU legislation applies only to the sale of R44 CRS in their territory. R44 CRS can continue to be used in the EU, so if you travel to the EU for a holiday with your R44 CRS, it will still be legal to use there.
What does this mean for manufacturers in Great Britain (England, Scotland & Wales)
Many CRS brands produce their products for sale in EU markets, which combined are of course normally bigger in market turnover size than Great Britain. They must make their own decisions as to whether or not they continue past the above dates to produce R44 CRS for sale in Great Britain. Some have already taken the decision to exit R44 CRS sales in line with the above EU legislation and will not make CRS specially for the Great Britain, however, this is purely a commercial decision.