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How Does The Height Requirement Of Child Car Seat Law Compare To Other Countries?
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  • Vehicle-owning parents were caught off guard with news of the full implementation of the “Child Car Seats Law” to start today, February 2, 2021.

    From the way it went down, it felt like the car seat requirement came out of nowhere. But Republic Act 11229, or the Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act, was signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte in 2019.

    Enforcement of the law happens once the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) have been drawn up and published.

    The IRR for RA 11229 was signed on December 23, 2019. Technically, this law should have taken effect 15 days after it was signed or published in Official Gazette (or two major newspapers). But COVID-19 happened, and it is safe to assume the enforcement was de-prioritized in light of the pandemic.

    Height requirement of car seats in the Philippines

    Two issues that became hot topics for the car seats law were the applicable age — “any person 12 years old and below” — and the height — 4’11 feet and below.

    By now, you know what Land Transportation Office (LTO) Metro Manila director Clarence Guinto told TV host Amy Perez in her public affairs program on TeleRadyo. Guinto later issued an apology, saying his statement was “made in jest.”

    Guinto eventually clarified that children who are taller than 4’11 feet don’t have to use car seats.

    While age tells us the typical body measurements to expect, there are 12-year-old kids who are considered tall or big for their age — adult size.

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    So, more than age, height AND weight matter in car seat safety. And manufacturers will indicate the height and weight limit of the car seats.

    Height requirement of car seats in other countries

    We decided to take a look at the height requirement of other countries where car seats have long been a requirement for kids. How does ours compare?

    Singapore

    All vehicles in Singapore must have booster seats or child restraints for passengers under 1.35 m (roughly 4’5 feet) in height. This rule applies also to private hire cars, such as Grab SG, but not to taxis.

    United Kingdom

    In the UK, kids have to use a child car seat until they’re 12 years old or when they reach the height of 4’5 feet, whichever comes first.

    European Union 

    European Nation (EU) member-nations, such as France, Italy, and Spain follow the EU law. It provides mandatory use of the child restraint systems (CRS) for children who are 12 years old and below with a height of 4’11 feet or less.

    Additionally, the CRS used must be appropriate to a child’s age, height, and weight, and has to be mounted in a rear seat of the vehicle.

    United States

    Car seat rules vary by state in the U.S. In California, for instance, children under age 8 and height of 57 inches (roughly 4’7 feet) must be properly secured in a child restraint system.

    All other children, with ages 8 to 16 or height over 57 inches, must be secured in a properly fitted seat belt.

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    New Zealand

    Under New Zealand law, all children under 7 years old must use an approved child restraint appropriate for their age and size. Those aged 7 have to be secured in a restraint if one is available in the vehicle. 

    Australia

    Children aged 4 up to 7 years old in Australia must use a forward-facing child car seat with built-in harness or a booster seat with an adult lap-sash seatbelt or child safety harness. 

    Japan

    A law in Japan simply states that any child under the age of 6 needs to be in a car seat when riding in a car.

    But there are recommended guidelines: a rear-facing car seat until the child is 2 years old or 9 kg (20 lbs); a forward facing car seat for children under the age of 4 and weight of 18 kg (40 lbs); and a booster seat for children under the age of 8 and weight of 36 kg (80 lbs).

    South Korea

    In South Korea, children under six years old need to be secured in an infant or child car seat of no specific type. 

    Taiwan

    Regulations in Taiwan mandate rear-facing or reclining safety seats for infants under 1 year old or less than 10 kg. Older and heavier children are to use “some kind of safety seat.”

    But, according to Taipei Times, new rules are to be implemented. These include requiring children with ages 2 to 4 and weight from 10 kg to 18 kg to use an infant safety seat.

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