By Kalbana Perimbanayagam - August 22, 2020 @ 12:23pm
KAJANG: A Study has revealed that 70 per cent of parents could not afford to buy the Child Restraint System (CRS) or better known as the child car seat.
This was the finding of the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (Miros) survey, highlighting the concerns of affordability faced by respondents following the mandatory use of
CRS in private vehicles from January.
Miros chairman Datuk Suret Singh said that affordability must be addressed first before enforcement and penalties for those defying the CRS requirement kick in next year.
He said discussions were underway with car manufacturers and CRS distributors before a comprehensive action plan could be concocted .
"It's a work in progress and we must find a way to address the concerns about affordability."
Safe Kids Malaysia's executive director, Professor Dr Kulanthayan K.C. Mani, lauded the government's decision to make the use of the CRS mandatory.
"Making it mandatory will save a child who is travelling on the road and reduce the risk of them sustaining severe injuries in the event of a crash."
He said parents should start using the CRS now, instead of waiting for next year when authorities will start to issue summonses to those who don't have a child car seat.
"Please use the CRS for safety reasons and not because the law requires us to do so," he said, adding that on average, 17 lives were lost daily due to road accidents in Malaysia.
From 2007 to 2017, he said data had shown that 1,560 children below 10 years of age were killed in road accidents. In 2018, 129 road fatalities involved children, he added.
"Our studies also revealed that the CRS could reduce fatality by 70 per cent among children up to 1 year of age; and 54 per cent among those aged between 1 and 4, specifically children weighing between 15kg and 25kg and with a height of above 100cm.
"For children aged between 4 and 7, weighing between 22kg and 36kg and with a height of between 120cm and 136cm, the CRS can reduce probability of death by 59 per cent during a crash."
He also said Malaysians could start "a new normal" by giving the CRS as a gift to new mothers.
"Employers and friends can collect money to buy a child car seat, instead of the usual gifts such as hampers, baby products and strollers. A standard CRS will cost from RM300."
Kulanthayan also recommended the use of a CRS booster seat for older children so that they could be strapped in properly with the seat belts available in a car.
"The booster seat is part of the CRS, which helps to elevate children to the height that allows them to use the existing seat belts in a vehicle properly."
He also stressed the importance of parents buying the right type of CRS-certified seats with the R129 or the ECE R44 standards.
The R129 standard came out in 2013 to make travel for babies and children safer, which is newer than the ECE R44 standard and complies to more detailed tests for improved head and neck protection.
Kulanthayan said the full benefit of the CRS could only be obtained if the adults used seat belts while travelling on the road together with the child in the child car seat.
"If adults do not strap in, they will be thrown around the car cabin and are likely to injure the child who is in the child car seat during a crash.
"This is why it is important for all vehicle occupants to wear seat belts when travelling."
He said Universiti Putra Malaysia and Safe Kids Malaysia also released a five-minute awareness and advocacy video on the importance and suitable CRS variants for children according to their age groups as part of their outreach programme.
"The English version was released just before Hari Raya Aidiladha at https://www.facebook.com/184648241551222/
"We are currently in the midst of finalising the Bahasa Malaysia and Tamil versions which will be ready hopefully by the end of the month," he added.
Tarikh Input: 23/08/2020 | Kemaskini: 23/08/2020 | ahmadmustafa
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