Parents, heed this notice.
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has just finalized the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act 11229, otherwise known as the Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act. Signed into law on February 22, 2019, RA 11229 seeks to protect young children from injury by outlining measures safely secure them in automobiles.
The new law mandates that parents and/or drivers of any motor vehicle that they must procure, properly install, and use compliant child seats at all times whenever a child is aboard a vehicle.
One of the most important portions of the RA and the subsequent IRR is a section that prohibits children under the age of 12 from riding in the front passenger seat of a car. The logic behind the ban is the fact that a front passenger airbag is typically designed by manufacturers for adults, or persons who are about 5 feet tall and significantly heavier than a child. The three-point ELR seatbelts follow the same principles of design, and could cause injury if used on a youngster in the event of a collision.
There are, however, exceptions. A child that is below 12 years old but measures at least 150 cm or 4'11” in height can be properly secured in the front seat using a vehicle's standard three-point seatbelts. The rules are also suspended in the event of a medical emergency, or if the child being transported has a special medical, mental, psychological, or psychiatric disability that makes the use of a restraint system hazardous to their health and safety.
Any driver that fails to follow R.A. 11229 will be fined PhP 1,000 for the first offense, and PhP 2,000 for the second offense. For the third offense, the driver will be fined PhP 5,000 and will have their driver's license suspended for one year.
The IRR also issued guidelines that child restraint systems (CRS) be compliant with certain international standards set by the UN and have certain markings or decals for PS and ICC. Child seats being used should not be expired (child seats generally expire about 6 years from the date of manufacture), but in case there is no expiry date indicated on the shell, the child seat should be of a condition that can pass an LTO inspection.
In addition, a driver that uses a substandard and/or expired child restraint system, or uses a system that bears no PS or ICC sticker and certificate will have to pay a PhP 1,000 fine for the first offense, and PhP 3,000 for the second offense. For the third offense, the driver will be fined PhP 5,000 and will have their driver's license suspended for one year.