Can a CRS approved by older legislation such as the R44-03 standard still be used?
There are currently two coexisting approval standards: R44-04 and R-129. The first standard is based on the child’s weight and divides the child car seats into groups, among other features, while the R-129 standard is based on the child’s height and includes other additional tests such as a side crash test. The R-129 standard is slowly substituting R44-04.
It is fairly typical for a child car seat to be passed between friends and family. This is why one can still see child restraint systems under the R44-03 standard. You will no longer find these child car seats in stores as selling them is now prohibited. As pointed out by the Spanish Department of Traffic (DGT), “Seats approved under the R44-03 standard can no longer be sold but they can still be used”. However, the Department of Traffic does not recommend using them because they do not comply with the latest safety standards. Child seats had to fulfil fewer requirements to obtain the R44-03 approval standard than if they were to pass the tests under the R44-04 standard.
At Fundación MAPFRE we, therefore, recommend using child car seats that have been approved under the two current regulations. This recommendation is due to the safety tests they have undergone and the fact that a number of years have passed since they were manufactured. You should be aware that factors such as the passage of time and merely using the seat can affect the materials and the quality of the CRS. For this reason, manufacturers advise against using child car seats that are over 6 or 7 years old.