I have a soon to be three years old son and my hubby and I are thinking of getting a car. One of the things that makes me not want to get a car is the cost of a child car seat, along with the soaring price of gas and the otherworldly traffic in Manila. I grew up sitting in the front passenger seat while my mom drove us to many destinations and we didn’t get into accidents, so why bother with a car seat? And then I was invited to attend a meeting about Car Seat Safety by Buckle Up Kids PH. They are a group made up of representatives from Ideals Inc., Ateneo School of Government, Philippine Red Cross, NVAP, ImagineLaw, International Federation, and Global Road Safety Partnership.
They want to encourage parents to buy a child restraints system AKA child car seats and to see child car seats as a necessity and an investment for their children’s safety. I was surprised to find out that car crashes are the leading cause of death in children 1-13 years old worldwide and the second leading cause of death in the Philippines for children 0-17 years old. In a country where the youth population is increasing, it is alarming to learn that the number of road crashes is also increasing. This makes the call for the bill regarding car seats to be passed very important indeed. The House of Representatives has already passed the Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Bill and next month the same bill will be up for approval in the Senate.
What is the Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Bill want people to do?
- Mandatory use of child seats for children 12 and below
- During medical emergencies and if the child has a medical or developmental condition that prohibits the use of car seats
- There will be no jail time, but there will be fines and suspension of driver’s licenses.
- The bill is going to give a leeway of 6 months after it has been passed for families to get a car seat for their kids.
- As of today, MMDAs are on notice to flag down drivers with a warning to use car seats.
- The bill covers only private vehicles for now.
- Grab and Uber were already contacted by the World Health Organization through a UP study and they are open to getting car seat options for the Philippines like in other countries.
- Pedias sometimes not care about car seats, so we don’t have much knowledge about it after giving birth. I believe this information about car seats should be given to parents while the baby is still in mommy’s tummy.
- Before, personal jeeps didn’t have seatbelts until a law was passed that required them. This shows that most Filipinos will only follow this once the Bill is passed and not before.
- Car seats are too expensive. This is a known fact. The really good brands cost upward of P9,000 to P20,000 for a car seat. During the meeting, they said there are brands that cost only P3000 but for some families that is still too expensive.
- Too many kids. There are families with 4 children under 12 and they have only a sedan. How to fit 4 car seats in a sedan? That is the question.
- Safety. This is an issue that is under-reported and underappreciated by many driving families. Many think that having a baby sitting on your lap is enough to keep them safe but this is untrue. This may cause more harm to you or the baby.
- Car seats are an investment. I remember when I bought a baby carrier that cost P8000 and people thought I was nuts. I kept saying “Why would I buy a cheap carrier that may cause harm to my son when I could buy an ergonomic carrier that was expensive but very safe for him?” This holds the same argument.
- Seat belts are the number 1 collection of the MMDA. If we all follow this Bill, we don’t have to worry about getting flagged down and penalized for it. Because come on, we all know there are some officers who like rule breakers because they benefit from it.
- The ICC stickers and PS mark will be regulated by the government so we don’t have to worry about fakes or subpar car seats.