AAP DRAFTS CHILD RESTRAINT ACT FOR PASSAGE INTO LAW
The Automobile Association Philippines (AAP), whose priority mission is to promote road safety, recently drafted the Child Restraint Act of 2017.
“This is something that the AAP has long wanted and is now proactively pushing for,” said AAP advocacies manager Cynthia Reyes.
Reyes said last year’s road safety seminars and workshops here and abroad greatly emphasized that “Road safety is a public health issue that remains to be a concern.”
This forward-facing child seat has a 5-point harness wherein 5 straps are mounted to the car frame. This particular baby child seat is designed for 0 months to 4 years old and/or can hold up to 18 kilograms.
Children are the most vulnerable road users. The World Health Organization reports that over 500 children die in road crashes each day, with 96 percent of child deaths happening annually in low- and middle-income countries.
According to Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) records, among the countries that have automobile associations, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and South Korea are the only countries in Asia that have seatbelt and child restraint laws.
AAP strongly seeks the passage of the Child Restraint Act since no legislation exists in the Philippines that requires child restraint systems in motor vehicles.
AAP proposes the Child Restraint Act of 2017 as a preventive measure to keep children safe when they are inside motor vehicles. Basically, the Act requires the driver of a motor vehicle to protect child passengers while inside a running vehicle on any road via the use of a child restraint system or child safety seat which is designed to protect children from being injured or killed should a vehicular collision occur.
Aside from child safety seats, carrycots for infants and booster cushions for older children are also child restraint systems.
Most child restraint systems are purchased and installed in vehicles. Several car manufacturers have already integrated this feature in some models as standard safety equipment.
In the draft bill, AAP proposes the testing of child restraints in cooperation with the Department of Transportation and Department of Trade and Industry. These government agencies shall provide the child restraint conditions and crash test standards.
AAP further recommends that a Child Restraint Safety Training Program be created to provide clear and readily available information regarding child restraints to parents and caregivers.
The Child Restraint Act will only affect private vehicles. Public utility vehicles are exempted.
The proposed penalties range from monetary charges, revocation of driver’s license up to imprisonment. The penalty to be imposed is left to the court’s discretion.
Local government units, the Land Transportation Office, Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group and Metropolitan Manila Development Authority will be mandated to enforce the Child Restraint Act.
The six-page draft of the Child Restraint Act 2017 can be viewed on AAP’s website at www.aap.org.ph or on AAP’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/AutomobileAssociationPhilippines/
“We encourage everyone to be involved and join the conversation,” said Reyes. “There are only a handful of countries in Asia that have laws protecting infants and small children inside motor vehicles on the road. It is high time for the Philippines to have its own Child Restraint Act.”