Buckle Up! What You Need To Know About The Car Seat Law
For Filipinos, family always comes first. When we have kids, their safety is top priority. This is precisely what our lawmakers had in mind when they passed Republic Act No. 11229, also known as the Child Safety in Motor Vehicle Act. This was signed into law by President Rodrigo R. Duterte last February 22, 2019.
While waiting for its implementing rules and regulations, here are some key points of RA 11229 that motorists need to remember when traveling with children:
1. The use of “child restraint systems” is mandatory
The law defines “child restraint system” (CRS) as a “device capable of accommodating a child occupant in a sitting or supine position.” A CRS can be in the form of an infant carrier, car seat, or booster seat. The infant carrier or carry cot allows newborns to two-year-olds to lie down on their backs (supine position), while a car seat or booster seat lets older kids sit upright with the proper seatbelt restraint.
2. CRSs have specifications
Regardless of which CRS you choose, make sure that it is appropriate to your child’s age, height, and weight. Under the United Nations Regulations No. 129, children up to 15 months must use a rear-facing CRS, as this offers better protection for the developing head and neck of babies and toddlers.
3. There are exceptions
If your child is at least 150 cm (or 4’11”) tall AND can be secured by a regular seatbelt, you no longer need to use a CRS. Also, if there is a medical emergency or if your child has a medical or developmental condition, you are excused from using a CRS if doing so will place the child in greater danger. But of course, never leave your child alone inside a motor vehicle.
4. No children in the front passenger seat
Unless they are at least 150 cm and can be secured by a regular car seatbelt, children are not allowed to sit in front. Medical emergencies and medical or developmental conditions are no exception to this rule.
5. Penalties may be imposed
Drivers found violating any of these rules may be fined ?1,000 for the first offense and ?2,000 for the second offense. For the third and succeeding offenses, their license may be suspended for one (1) year aside from the ?5,000 fine.
6. Never use substandard or expired CRSs
Budget-savvy parents beware. Do not compromise the safety of your children by scrimping on their CRS and buying substandard ones. Choose your CRS well and stop using it when it expires. Yes, they expire. So, take note of the lifespan of your CRS before letting your child (or the next one) use it. There are also penalties for violating this rule.
7. Only children below 12 years old are covered
Contrary to the misconception that the restrictions apply to all persons under 150 cm tall, the law clearly limits the use of CRSs on children who are aged 12 and below. Yay for petite adults!