PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (Miros) has advised parents to purchase suitable child car seats or child restraint systems (CRS) for their children, as a ruling for the use of these seats begins in January.
Miros director general Dr Siti Zaharah Ishak said that a suitable CRS corresponded to the height and weight of the child.
“The seat can reduce the risk of injury or being thrown out of the car or hitting the hard object in the car during harsh braking or collision, ” she told The Star.
According to guidelines by Miros, every child below the height of 135cm (or approximately below 12 years old) should use the CRS.
Malaysia has adopted the United Nations R44 or R129 Standards for CRS.
The guidelines specify four different types of seats – from birth up to 13kg (up to a height of 83cm, approx 0 to 18 months), 9-18kg (71cm and above, approx 15 months to four years), 15–25kg (100cm and above, approx four to seven years) and 22-36kg (up to 135cm, approx six to 12 years).
Dr Siti said that correctly installed CRS may help to reduce the risk of death by 71% for infants and by 54% for children aged one to four years old and reducing the need for hospitalisation by 69% for children aged 4 years old and below.
“Seat belts are a proven intervention to reduce the risk of fatalities during road accidents for adults. However, it is not designed to protect a child, ” she said.
Based on recent observation during Ops Hari Raya 2019, Miros found that only 33% of children were sitting in a car seat.
Checks at outlets selling these items revealed that there is a growing demand for them.
Retailer of baby and childcare products Mothercare said that they have recorded a 250% increase in sales of CRS since October, compared to the same time last year.
Another company that sells these products U-baby similarly said there was a spike in the sales of the CRS.
“We are importing more stock in anticipation of the growing demand, ” said a spokesperson of the company.
Transport Minister Anthony Loke announced that child seats will be made compulsory by 2020.
However, he has directed the Road Transport Department (JPJ) not to penalise drivers for the first six months of the new ruling.
His deputy Datuk Kamarudin Jaffar later clarified in Parliament that large families would be exempted from installing child car seats in their vehicles.
Meanwhile, the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry (KPDNHEP) will closely monitor the online sale of CRS, which are widely available, to ensure they comply with the stipulated standards.
Its minister, Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail, said KPDNHEP has the right and duty in terms of enforcement of the items to ensure that the issue of fake and unsafe goods being sold does not crop up.
“The guideline on the characteristics for child restraint seats has already been issued by the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (Miros) this year (Nov 23), ” he said in Bukit Mertajam yesterday.
“And when the use of the CRS is enforced in 2020, we (ministry) will immediately carry out our duty, namely, to conduct enforcement in line with the conditions stipulated by Miros, namely, product safety standard and trademarks, whether false or genuine.
“And if an outlet advertises (its products), we will ensure what is advertised are available on the products sold, ’’ he told reporters when asked to comment on a Malay newspaper report that mobile car seats are available for as low as RM18 to RM39.90 each via online purchase.
He said this after handing over school uniforms and other schooling items to 150 pupils from B40 families in the Kulim-Bandar Baharu Parliamentary Constituency at the Econsave Supermarket here today.
On Oct 23, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail announced that the use of CRS in private cars will be mandatory from Jan 1.