By Chito Chavez
A law that would strictly make car restraint seats mandatory on all private vehicles in the country could protect thousands of children from injuries and death during road mishaps.
Records from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) disclosed that an average of four children have died in the country on a daily basis from 2006 to 2014.
With the PSA data, this translates to 12,000 deaths of children aged one to 19 years old from road crashes in the same period.
On an annual basis the data showed that 1,334 children or about four children perished on the streets on a daily basis due to vehicular accidents.
“We can’t just glance through all these information and do nothing. In countries that require car restraints for children it has been proven that they minimize the risks for injury and death in the event of road crashes,” said Einstein Rojas, New Vois Association of the Philippines (NVAP) project manager on road safety.
Rojas said the use of child car seats could lower the chances of death and injury of infants and children by 59 percent to 89 percent from road crashes.
A child car seat is a device that is attached to the passenger seat of a vehicle to accommodate a child occupant in a sitting or lying down position for protection against injury or death from a road crash.
“It is very unfortunate that despite the risks we face daily in accident-prone roads such as Metro Manila we are not doing anything to protect the most precious passenger inside our cars,” Rojas said.
Rojas is calling on parents to support and campaign for a law that would require all private vehicles with children onboard to have car restraints.
He said at the moment there are two pending legislations in both houses of Congress that support this call for a law on child car restraints.
House Bill 5595 and Senate Bill 1447 both require that age-appropriate car seats be installed in privately owned vehicles to accommodate children passengers aged 12 years and below.
Under the proposal, children should never sit in the front seat of the car and never left alone without an adult in the vehicle.
Rojas said car restraints or more commonly known as child car seats could be forward facing or rearward facing depending on the size and age of the child.