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Everything You Need to Know About the Child Car Seat Law’s Whirlwind Implementation

Here are the facts and figures so you can shop smartly when choosing which car seat to get for your child

Yesterday, February 2, Republic Act No. 11229—or the Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act—took effect. While strict implementation of the law has yet to take place, a number of parents have spent the past two days ordering online or rushing to the mall to purchase child restraint systems (CRS—or car seats) for their vehicles.

Under RA No. 11229, children 12 years old and below with heights below 4’11” are not allowed to sit in the front seat of the vehicle, placed in a restraint system. Otherwise, they should be secured by a belt. Penalty for violating the law can go from Php 1,000 to Php 5,000, including a year’s suspension of the driver’s license. These penalties will also be given to drivers who use defective or substandard car seats. 

The announcement of the law, which is a step forward in ensuring the safety of our children on roads, has been confusing for many, following inadequate information and guidelines. More than that, an LTO official caused quite a stir early this week after a remark of his in a TeleRadyo interview last Monday, February 1, went viral. (He has since apologized for what he’d said.) 

Former senator JV Ejercito, the law’s principal author, has said that he supports the postponement of the full implementation of the child car seat law. “Anyway,” he said, “the children have to be home. There’s no school. Supposedly they’re not traveling so it becomes moot and academic. So, while there’s [a] pandemic, I would also suggest to hold in abeyance the implementation of this particular law,” he told ANC.

Photo: Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

Senator Grace Poe has also called for the postponement of the law’s implementation. On Twitter, she wrote: “Maganda ang intensyon, ngunit hindi napapanahon. Dapat suspendihin muna ang implementasyon hangga’t walang maayos na guidelines sa pagpapatupad nito.” (“The law is well-intentioned, but the timing is not right. The implementation should be suspended until there are clear guidelines.”)  

She, along with five other senators, have filed Senate Resolution 633, urging the Department of Transportation and the Land Transportation Office to defer the law’s implementation for the very same reason Sen. Poe has stated. 

Furthermore, an LTO official has said that for six months, they will not be penalizing violators just yet. In an interview with TeleRadyo, Robert Valera, director of the LTO Enforcement Service, said: “Hindi po kami manghuhuli within 6 months, ‘wag kayong mag-alala. Ie-educate namin kayo at inaayos na namin ang aming inspection protocols,” he said. (“We are not going to fine within 6 months, don’t worry. We will educate you and we are fixing our inspection protocols.”) 

If you have no plans to travel anytime soon, don’t sweat it—wait for the approved list of car seats, and if you already have one, you can bring it to the LTO to have it inspected. In the meantime, check back here for more updates.

Lead photo from ABS-CBN News