The National Kids Safety Week is held every third week of June, and this year is no exception. For those who haven't heard of it, yes, it's a real thing. In fact, it was mandated as Presidential Proclamation 1307 by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in a bid to promote road safety among children.

This year, in celebration of the National Kids Safety Week, Safe Kids Worldwide Philippines has partnered with various government agencies and elementary students in order to launch the Coalition of the Child Road Traffic Injury Prevention Program.

The program was launched in order to increase awareness on road-related injuries as well as to help make roads safer for children, particularly those walking/traveling to and from school. According to the Department of Health (DoH), two kids die every day in Metro Manila alone due to the road-related accidents. In fact, DoH says it is currently the leading cause of death among children, beating out deadly diseases such as dengue.

“Road safety is a shared responsibility. In as much as the government has the responsibility to design and implement laws that protect lives and prevent injuries, individuals and road users — kids and their parents — we have a responsibility to adhere to the laws as a condition of use,” said DoH undersecretary Dr. Ronaldo Domingo.

While motorists do play a big factor in keeping the streets safe, Domingo states that pedestrians should also use the roads properly. Rather than simply crossing any street or walking on the road, pedestrians should use the designated crosswalks, sidewalks and overpasses both for their own safety, as well as the children.

As motorists, we also have a big responsibility towards children's safety on the road. Not only do we have to follow the rules on the road, but new laws have been put in place in order to protect children.

Child seats

The most recent effort made by the government to keep children safe on the road is through Republic Act No. 11229 or the Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act which was signed into law by Duterte last February 22. The new law aims to safeguard children and infants riding in vehicles from serious injury or death in case of an accident. The law states that children below 12 years of age should be secured in a 'child restraint system' or a child seat when on the road. No children shall also be allowed to seat in the front unless they are 150cm tall and can properly use the factory three-point seatbelt.