Recently, the House of Representatives unanimously voted to approve HB 6938, also known as the Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act. In response to this, the Ateneo School of Government, along with Global Road Safety Partnership, have launched a campaign to fast track the Bill into implementation.
ASoG's project is called ‘Addressing Policy Change on Road Safety Risk factors on the Philippines, with special focus on Child Restraints’. With that, they aim to create a policy mechanism, which will ensure that a national law on child restraints is enacted. There are two main objectives to the project. The first is to develop evidence-based advocacy materials for building a strong case for child restraint as a policy priority in the Philippines. Second is the promotion of the passage of a mandatory child restraint in vehicles in the Philippines.
According to studies, children are at greater risk of injuries in an event of a vehicular collision due to their lesser-developed bodies. It is said that the use of child seats or Child Restraint Systems in cars can reduce the chances of injuries by as much as 70 percent.
To recap, the Bill states that children must always wear the restraints while traveling on any road, street or highway. The child restraint system shall be appropriate to the child’s size, height and weight. More specifically, this Act disallows children under the age of 12 to be seated at the front, unless the said child is of a certain height (150 cm or approximately 4 feet and 11 inches). Also, the child may use the regular seat belt instead of a child restraint system if they are of the said height.