It’s hard to imagine a more valuable cargo than a small child. If you’ve ever tried to install a car seat and have been left wondering if it’s done right, or if it’s entirely safe, there’s ISO 13216.

In less safety-conscious times, small children often sat on a parent’s or sibling’s lap. Then came car seats that were held in place by a seatbelt. This was a much safer option, although it relied on having a seatbelt of the right length, a socket in the right place, and a child seat whose shape was a good match for the car itself. The results were often unsatisfactory, with seats that could shift when manoeuvring, or work themselves loose. All of those troubling variables were removed in 1999 when ISO published the standard that most people know simply as ISOFIX.

The ISO way: working together to make daily life work better

ISO 13216-1 describes a universal system for anchoring child restraint systems to vehicles. The purpose of this system is to improve the overall safety performance of child restraints, particularly by improving the convenience of installation and reducing the risk of misuse.

In practice, this means that car manufacturers can install identical anchor points in their cars, a metal loop, often hidden in the gap between the flat and upright parts of the seat. Child seat manufacturers can then a sell a product that parents and carers can install with a reassuring click. They can be sure that the seat is securely held in place, and that it will be compatible with any model of car equipped with the ISOFIX system. 

It’s a perfect example of how ISO brings manufacturers of different products to work together, using International Standards as a basis for creating compatible products that make daily life safer and more convenient.

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