How to make sure you don't flout the law while ferrying your children
Of seatbelts and child seat regulations

In the past two weeks, the police say they have received queries from parents about the changed traffic regulation which uses height instead of age as the criterion for safety seats for children. A spokesman answers these queries.

Are the seat belt rules new?

No, the wearing of seat belts or restraints for children while travelling in a vehicle is not a new requirement. It has been in place since the 1990s.

Previously, a child under eight years old had to be properly secured with a child restraint or had to use a booster seat cushion to supplement the seat belt available in the vehicle.

From Jan 1, the rules were revised to remove the age criterion. A person's height is now used to determine if he needs to wear a seat belt or a child restraint/booster seat cushion while travelling in a vehicle. Those below 1.35m should use a child restraint or a booster seat cushion together with the seat belt.

What is a 'booster seat cushion'?

A booster seat cushion refers to a device designed for a person to sit on so as to raise his height to a level suitable for the proper fit of a seat belt.

If my children and I are sitting in a car belonging to a friend or relative, will my children and I be subjected to the seat belt rules?

Yes, the seat belt rules apply regardless of whether one owns the vehicle in which one is travelling.

The driver of the vehicle will need to ensure that he as well as his passengers comply with the requirements of the revised seat belt rules. These rules are meant to enhance the safety of a person travelling in a vehicle.

Why are taxis exempted from the child restraint requirement?

Taxis are exempted as it would not be reasonable or practical for them to carry a variety of child seats of different sizes that are suitable for children of different ages.

Children or persons below the height of 1.35m should ride only in the rear of the taxi to mitigate the risks involved should there be an accident. Research has indicated that children are at greater risk of injury when travelling in the front seat without proper seat belts or restraints.

Passengers below 1.35m can ride in the front seat of the taxi if they provide their own approved child restraint or booster seat and are belted up appropriately.

TYPES OF CAR SEATS

 

Bassinet for babies

Age range: Infant car seats are usually suitable for newborns to infants a year old or those weighing 1kg to 13kg.

Price range: $250 to $500

Toddler car seat

Age range: Nine months and above, usually up till 31/2 years or for children from 9kg to 18kg.

Price range: $200 to $1,000

Child booster seat

Age range: 31/2 years and above

Price range: $50 to $500. Some models have a backing that is more comfortable for the child