Considered by many road safety and child welfare advocates as long-overdue here in the Philippines, Republic Act No. 11229 Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act or Car Seat Law was signed this year on February 22.

According to the World Health Organization or WHO, more than 600 children die from road crashes each year in the Philippines alone.

Meanwhile, Philippine Senator JV Ejercito who is the principal author and sponsor of this law cited data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), and said that from 2006 to 2014, 5,960 children died due to road crashes, or an average of 662 deaths per year, or 55 deaths per month, or at least 1 death per day.

The senator also said that records from the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) revealed that the top vehicle type involved in the recorded Metro Manila road crashes in 2017 was CAR resulting in the injury of 7,861 people and the death of 97 individuals.

The Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act is aimed at reducing the likelihood of a road crash fatality among infants and children under the age of 12 by 70%. This figure is based on in depth studies and evidences from the use of a child restraint mechanism or system (CRS – seat belts/car seats) inside a motor vehicle.

The law basically states the two (2) things:

  • The mandatory use of age-appropriate and quality child restraint system (CRS) in motor vehicles
  • Children 12 and below will not be allowed in the front seat of a moving vehicle

Violators will receive the following penalties:

  • First Offense = 1,000 Pesos Fine
  • Second Offense = 2,000 Pesos Fine
  • Third and Succeeding Offense = 5,000 Pesos Fine and 1 Year Suspension of Drivers License

Child Restraint System

A main component of the new law is the mandatory provision of a Child Restraint System (CRS) in motor vehicles.

Apart from the regular seat belts, a CRS, or car child seat, is a tool specifically designed to protect infants and young children (12 years and below) during a collision or 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 tissues.

There’s actually a lot of science in it, and this was the focus of the Buckle Up Baby event and product exhibition held at the Atrium of the SM Mall of Asia yesterday.

Initiated by SM Retail and Baby Company in partnership with Hyundai, the event not only publicly announced to mall goers and guests details about the new Car Seat law but also provided a venue where people can learn more about what CRS is all about and how it works.

Hosted by new daddy Eric “The Eruption” Tai, the Buckle Up Baby launch talked about the different CRS brands available in the market today that meets the specifications detailed by the new law such as:

  • Graco
  • Chicco
  • Maxi-Cosi
  • Joie
  • Aprica
  • Picolo

Also present during the event were SM Retail and CEO Ponciano Manalo Jr., Baby Company Exec. Vice President Theresa Ponce, Baby Company ambassadors Edric and Joy Mendoza and Baby Company SAVP for Marketing Cheryl Justiniano.

We also heard from MMDA Head of Traffic Education Ann Alita Espinosa and a representative from Hyundai.

Prior to the enactment of the law, some car owners who are familiar of the benefits of having a CRS in placed, have already procured their very own child car seats because it’s available here in the Philippines for years already – and we just don’t take it seriously.

The new law therefore will be a driving force in conditioning the minds of car owners in the Philippines (especially those who have children) to think more of child safety first before buying any other kind of car accessories.

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