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  • Children May Be Exempted From Car Seats If They Fall Under These Specific Circumstances

    Here are some clarifications on the Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act.
    by Kitty Elicay .
Children May Be Exempted From Car Seats If They Fall Under These Specific Circumstances
PHOTO BY Shutterstock/ANURAK PONGPATIMET
  • While the full implementation of Republic Act No. 11229 or the Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act has been deferred amid the COVID-19 pandemic, parents are still left with many questions about the mandatory compliance.

    According to the law, all children ages 12 years old and below and with a height of 4’11” and below should be secured on a CRS or Child Restraint System. The car seat should also be “appropriate to the child’s age, height, and weight.” They should also not be allowed to sit in the front of the vehicle unless they meet the height requirement and are properly using the seatbelt.

    Within three to six months of implementation, motorists will be given printed materials on the law, according to Roberto Valera, deputy director for law enforcement of the Land Transportation Office. After this period, violators will be apprehended.

    On our Smart Parenting Facebook page, parents wondered whether there are exemptions to the law, such as when children are riding public utility vehicles such as jeeps, buses, taxis, or vans, as well as ride hailing services like Grab.

    One mom with a special needs child expressed her concern about the mandate. She explains, “I have a 2-year-old son with autism spectrum disorder and twice a week ang therapy schedule namin. Through Grab ang transport namin since wala kaming private vehicle.

    “Sensory overload sa kanya ‘yung iuupo sa car seat plus the strap. Would this law be exempted kaya for him?”

    In its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR), the law states that there will be “exceptional circumstances” where the use of a CRS will not be required, particularly if it would put the child in greater danger.

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    One circumstance is during medical emergencies involving the child. Children with special needs may also be exempted.

    The law states that the CRS will not apply “when the child being transported has a medical, mental, psychological, psychiatric, or developmental condition or disability that makes the use of a child restraint system hazardous or detrimental to the child’s health and safety.”

    However, the law clarified that it should be “certified by a duly licensed physician” and that “appropriate modified, special purpose, special needs restraints or customized child restraint systems should be used when prescribed.”

    As for CRS in public utility vehicles, the law mandates the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to “conduct a study” on its use in various modes of public transportation.

    Because the law has been deferred, motorists without a CRS will not be penalized just yet. However, once full implementation takes effect, motorists who are caught using expired or substandard child car seats will be fined the following amounts:

    • Php1,000 for first offense
    • Php3,000 for second offense
    • Php5,000 and one-year driver’s license suspension for third and succeeding offenses

    The Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act was signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte in 2019. (Read our story here.)

    Enforcement of the law happens once the IRR have been drawn and published. The IRR was signed on December 23, 2019. While it should have taken effect 15 days after it was signed or published in the Official Gazette (or two major newspapers), it is probable that enforcement was de-prioritized due to the pandemic.

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