Parents who have yet to get car seats for their kids better brace themselves for additional expense this month as the car seat law starts to take effect.
Republic Act 11229 or the “Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act requires kids 12 years old and below, with height below 4’11”, to use a Child Restraint System (CRS) when riding a private vehicle. This is to ensure the safety of kids, and to prevent traffic-related injuries and deaths, according to the DOTr.
The department clarifies in a Facebook post, however, that the measure has a one-year transitory period. In a press briefing, the Land Transportation Office (LTO) said violators will not be fined for the time being, and will only be given warning and information about the law.
Once it is fully implemented—which may be in three to six months—violators will pay the following penalties: P1,000 for the first offense; P2,000 for the second offense; and P5,000 and suspension of driver's license for a year for the third and succeeding offenses.
ANCX spoke to some parents to hear their current car seat situation and how they plan to respond to the new ruling.
Bem Gorubat, father of three kids ages 1, 4, and 9 admits they don’t even have a single car seat yet. And since they have no plans of taking the kids anywhere far, they’re not planning to buy anytime soon. They would likely get a branded second-hand car seat once it’s needed. “Pero three car seats for my kids? Baka isa lang for all,” he says.
Like Gorubat, Amiel Rufo, father to 7-year-old Mattie, isn’t keen on getting a car seat since the kids don’t really go out of the house that much. “My son is already 4’5”. Sana tumangkad pa sya [so he doesn’t need to use a car seat],” he says, laughing.
If you check the online shopping mall Lazada, a whole world of car seats for kids will open to you, and the prices range from as low as P1,000 to less than P50,000? Meanwhile, parents who are already car seat owners shared to ANCX the car seats that have worked for them.
Suzy Unas-de Vera’s 6-year-old daughter Fely has been using an Enfant baby/toddler car seat, which she got from Landmark at P5,000. “I like that my daughter feels comfy and secure in it, even on long drives,” says Suzy. Their car seat carries a weight of anywhere from 9 to 18 kilograms, so once her daughter turns 7 later this year, she will have to buy another one, “preferably something cheaper.”
For several years, Bernadette Dimadura’s five children were sharing two Safety First car seats that the family got from TriNoma at P4,500 each. She said the kids seemed to like using it, but now that their family has grown bigger and they hardly fit in their cars, they decided to park the kiddie car seats temporarily. Now that the government has mandated the use of car seats, they will have to get a bigger vehicle—most likely a van—that would sit all of them comfortably.
Paola Zupancic also stopped using their car seat for two reasons—it takes up so much car space and their 3-year-old toddler, Hunter, seemed to have outgrown his Aprica car seat anyway. “It was okay until age one. He likes to sit on his own, with a seat belt,” she says. Since young kids are not allowed to go out anyway, they aren’t planning to buy a new car seat anytime soon. “If ever I’ll buy, yung pwede na din magamit ng next baby,” she says.
Mothercare, a leading retailer of products for expectant mothers and children up to 8 years of age, supplied ANCX a shortlist of their top-selling car seats. The variety the brand offers prove not all car seats are created equal. There are types that go beyond just securing a child and offer better comfort and improved safety features. Here are five of Mothercare’s bestselling brands and their smart features.
Cybex Sirona S i-Size (0-4 years old)
It allows you to transport children rear-facing from birth up to a height of 105 cm (up to 18 kg, approx. 4 years), thereby reducing the risk of injury in case of a head-on collision. It can also be used as a forward-facing car seat for children who are 76 cm to 105 cm tall.
Graco Extend 2 Fit (from birth to 36 kg)
It transitions from a rear-facing harness (4-50 lb) to forward-facing harness (22-65 lb) and also features a four-position extension panel that provides up to 5” of extra rear-facing legroom, allowing your child to safely ride rear-facing longer.
Graco 4Ever (from birth to 120 lbs)
It has an easy cleaning and machine washable cover that pulls off in 60 seconds without uninstalling the seat, and an integrated belt lock-off which makes it easy to install using the vehicle’s seat belt.
Joie Spin 360 Isofix (from birth to 18kg)
It features five recline positions that can be used both rearward and forward facing, multi-height headrest, plush cushioning and fabrics to keep baby cozy, and built-in side ventilation to keep baby cool on those warm days.
Joie Every Stage (from birth to 36 kg)
The side impact protection provides added security for the head, body and hips. The AutoAdjust side wings widen as headrest is raised to accommodate growing children.