Concerned grandfathers, parents, and uncles who usually sets up child car seat realize the advantages and safety of this device which led to the crafting of the House Bill 6938 or the “An Act Providing for The Special Protection of Child Passengers in Motor Vehicles”.
A child restraint system/child car seat is a device capable of accommodating a child occupant in a sitting or supine position. It is designed to diminish the risk of injury to the wearer, in an event of a collision or of abrupt deceleration of the vehicle, by limiting the mobility of the child’s body.
Furthermore, based on studies, the use of child restraint system/child car seat could reduce the road crash fatality by approximately 70% among infants, and between 54% and 80% among young children.
Statistics showed that the leading victims of a road crash, collision, and accident are young children; with an average of 1,334 yearly or about 4 to 5 children die daily from transport-related crashes.
This is the dire situation the authors of HB 6938, congressmen Cesar Sarmiento of Catanduanes and Mariano Velarde Jr wishes to prevent, a bill that focuses on young children and their safety when riding motor vehicles.
When implemented this will require private car owners to install/use CRS/CCR when transporting children 0-12 years.
Seat that Save Lives
Fortunately, the HB 6938 passes the second reading in Congress on January 30 and is up for a third reading for further approval. Meanwhile, this bill has a Senate counterpart called Senate Bill (SB) 1447 or the “Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act” authored by Senator JV Ejercito and is scheduled for hearing at the committee level next week.
HB 6938 and SB 1447 if passed and implemented will mandate the following: (1) use of child car seat for infants and children aging 0-12 years while being transported in motor vehicles; (2) requiring the use of child car seats to private motor vehicles; (3) prohibits children 12 years and below from sitting in the front seat; (4) imposition of fines on driver who fails to ensure that child passengers use quality standards child car seats; (5) imposition of fines to manufacturers, distributors, and sellers who distribute and sell child car seats that are defective, expired, failed to secure important clearance certificates, and/or who use tampered PS marks and ICC certificate; and (6) all child car seats manufactured, imported, distributed, and used must conform to UN Regulation 44 or UN Regulation 129.
Currently, 52 countries have laws with regards to child car seats which covers 1.2 billion of these countries’ total population. While in the Philippine context, there are laws addressing issues in road safety such as speed limit, helmet on motorcycles, drinking and driving, and seatbelts, however, child restraint system/child car seats are often overlooked considering that children are the most vulnerable riders of motor vehicles.
This is what Mr. Jason Salvador, Project Manager for Road Safety, wants to address. “We would like to encourage everybody to support this [using child car seats], not only to support the bill but to promote this idea.”
“It is very important not only to support the bill but more importantly to open the minds of our countrymen on the importance of child safety and child restraint system.”
CRS Availability in PH
According to Dr. Red Thaddeus Miguel, there are 7 local manufacturers and distributors of child restraint system/child car seat in the Philippines while the international manufacturers are available online. It is estimated to cost 3,000-8,000.
Parents are assured that there are child car seats that are suitable for their children available in the market such as front-facing, rear-facing or combination, and booster.
Dr. Miguel also notes “there is a bracket for every child and a lot of options to choose from that are compliant.”
Furthermore, HB 6938 mandates the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to test all CRS that is being sold, manufactured, distributed, and used in the Philippines to make sure that child car seats meet standards and that it will meet their purpose.
Child Car Seat Advocates
While the proposal of the bill is one thing, it is supported by local and international groups that advocate the use of child restraint system in the country. They are the International Federation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Global Road Safety Partnership, IDEALS, Inc., ImagineLaw, Ateneo School of Government, Philippine Red Cross, World Health Organization, MMDA, NVAP, and Vera Files.
Filipinos are also encouraged to join and support the bills thru writing letters to district representatives, party-list representatives, and senators for the immediate passage of HB 6938 and SB 1447. As well as to participate in information dissemination regarding the use of child car seats through various networks, families, friends, and in social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc) using #buckleupkidsPH and #SaferRoadsPH.# (Ehlorra Mangahas)