Do infant/toddler car seats (not boosters) in the EU market have a "suitable for aircraft use" testing/labeling process, akin to that for AU/NZS or FMVSS/CMVSS seats? It is alright if such testing/labeling is a manufacturer's option -- I just want to know if such a thing exists in the EU, as lap children aren't nearly as crashworthy as even a 9-G (old standard) airline seat, while a certified and properly installed CRS should perform adequately even to the newer 16-G standard for airline seating.
According to the European Aviation Safety Agency, a FAQ on child car seats for flights states the following:
Regarding the use of a car seat as an acceptable child restraint device, this is regulated under the Regulation on Air Operations, through Annex IV (Part CAT), specifically CAT.IDE.A.205. The basis for the provision on child restraint devices is JAR-OPS 1 guidance material.
To conclude, the proposed examples for acceptable child restraint devices include car seats, and item 2 of AMC1 CAT.IDE.A.205 lists the standards with which the CRD should comply. This includes the UN standard ECE R 44, -03 or later series - this is commonly indicated on the car seat's label.
Information regarding this standard is available from a car seat manufacturer here.
Warning: from April 2008, all child car seats that were manufactured before 1995 and approved to the ECE R44/01 and 44/02 standard are no longer legal and must not be used or sold. Only seats displaying the European Standard orange label, indicating approval to the Standard to ECE R44/03, ECE R 44/04 or i-Size (UN R129) may be legally used.
It appears that the current standard version is R44/04 and should look like this:
Source: maxi-cosi.com (external link from above site)
Note that the FAQ also states that you must check with each individual airline:
In the first instance, passengers wishing to use their car seat as a child restraint device (CRD) on board an aircraft should contact the airline or travel agency through which the ticket has been booked, in order to obtain information on which CRDs are acceptable and also to ensure that the car seat can be installed properly on the seat of the particular aircraft with which they will fly.
For example, BA states:
If you have paid for a separate seat for your infant, or your child is under 3 years, you can bring your own forward facing car seat to secure into the aircraft seat.
The car seat:
- can only be used for infants over six months old and children up to three years old
- must be designed to be secured by means of a normal aircraft single lap strap and face the same direction as the passenger seat on which it is positioned
- must have a 5-point restraining harness
- must not exceed the dimensions of the aircraft seat, and should fit into an area of 45cm x 45cm (17.5ins x 17.5ins)
- must be strapped in place ensuring that the adult lap strap buckle does not lie directly over any part of the frame or under the structure of the car type seat after tightening