Car seats are not a one-size-fits-all affair

By Kenneth M. del Rosario Philippine Daily Inquirer May 15,2019

From left, Cheryl Justiniano, SM Retail Inc. president and CEO Ponciano Manalo Jr., Joy Mendoza, Edric Mendoza, Theresa Ponce and Lani Ojeda

Getting a car seat for your child may not be optional anymore (it’s now required by law). But choosing the right car seat-one that takes into account the kid’s age, height, and weight, for instance-is equally important.

By now, you may have heard about Republic Act No. 11229 or the Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act, a law signed in February that requires motor vehicle owners to use child restraint systems when traveling with children.

And while many have hailed this move as something that could potentially save thousands of children’s lives in case of an untoward car accident, there’s still a lot of things that Filipinos don’t understand about the law-or even how to use a car seat properly.

That’s what makes the Buckle Up Baby Child Passenger Safety Drive an important event. Launched by the Baby Company, in partnership with Hyundai, the affair is a car seat expo which showcased the biggest selection of child car seats from top brands. The event also doubled as an awareness and education campaign.

Held last week at the SM Mall of Asia, individuals were able to talk to brand experts, who helped them pick up the right model for their children. During the event, experts explained to attendees the proper way to install a car seat, how to use them appropriately, and how to take care of them so they last for years.

“For us, it is a milestone, in terms of what we at the private sector and the government can do together to provide for the safety of our children. At SM, we support the effort of the Baby Company, because the children represent the future of our country. So we have to make sure that they get to their destination safely every single time,” said Ponciano C. Manalo Jr., SM Retail Inc. president and CEO.

In many ways, the Philippines is just catching up with the rest of the world when it comes to child safety in moving vehicles. In the US and Europe, for example, the use of car seats has been in practice for years.

Appropriate child restraint systems are specifically designed to protect infants and young children from injury during a collision or a sudden stop by restraining their movement away from the vehicle structure, and distributing the forces of a crash over the strongest parts of the body, with minimum damage to the soft

Under the Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act, motorists must properly secure a child with a car seat.

According to a World Health Organization report, “child restraints are also effective in reducing injuries that can occur during non-crash events, such as a sudden stop, a swerving evasive manoeuvre or a door opening during vehicle

In the Philippines, 10 percent of every 100,000 die from road related accidents. Road traffic accidents, said the Department of Health, are now the leading cause of death among Filipino children aged 0 to 17 years old, which makes this law even more important.

Under the landmark law, motorists are mandated to properly secure a child with a child restraint system (a device capable of accommodating a child occupant in a sitting or supine position) while the engine is running. The only exception is when the child is at least 150 centimeters or 59 inches in height, and is properly secured using the regular seat belt.

No child 12 years and below of age shall be allowed to sit in a front seat of a motor vehicle “unless the child meets the height requirement,” the law states.

While drivers do their best to travel safely all the time, it’s high time for parents to get the proper car seats for their children–now, not later. Because accidents do happen at the most unexpected of times. Buckling up your children properly gives drivers peace of mind, so they can focus on the road, and hopefully avoid getting into any kind of road accidents.

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