“I grew up using jeepneys and tricycles as my mode of transportation, I remained safe and I was not familiar with a child car seat at all.”
“Car seats are very expensive. I have no budget for it.”
“My child is safer on my lap.”
“I don’t ride the car when the driver doesn’t drive safely, this means my child is safe even without a car seat.”
“The law about child car seat is not strictly implemented here. It is not even known. Why should I put my kid in that seat?”
“My child cries when he / she is in his / her car seat and my heart breaks hearing him / her, I have to take him / her out of it.”
“If my child gets car seat, there will not be much room for other people to fit in our car.”
“We are in the Philippines, kids here don’t need car seats.”
Have we got the same thoughts about this Child Car Seat thing, my dear fellow parents? Yes, that used to be my mentality when I was pregnant with my first child and when she was just a new born baby. All those points of view were in my mind when I thought about the child car seat topic.
But not anymore!
After educating myself, I got unprejudiced.
And now, I would like to share with you my insights, realizations and stories that could help you be enlightened as well:
- I was already in elementary when we had our first family car/van. I never got familiar with kids car seats. I never used nor seen one in the Philippines back then. Until I got pregnant and my husband was very particular in choosing one. He is the one who informed me about its real importance – not just because he is an Australian and they are strict with car seat law in their country, but because accident occur anywhere and we want safety for our children.
- When I say safety, I am talking about doing our best to prevent our kids from getting hurt or dying from car accidents. No matter how safe we drive, we have no idea how other people on the road drive. When a car-crash occur, kids are the first ones to get hurt. Because of their weight, they can quickly crash into the fixtures inside the car such as the seats, dashboard or other passengers. They could also be ejected through the windows. Of course, this can result to serious injury or death. And since the babies’ and kids’ organs (their skull, liver, heart, stomach, spine, etc…) are still very soft, they can easily be damaged when they get hit by the bones surround them due to high speed. Hence, child car seats are invented. I guess I made myself clear when I talk about accidents here.
- When my first child was born, my husband was away for work when we were going home from the hospital. He reiterated to me that his baby must be in her car seat when we drive home. Did I put her in her seat? No. This resulted to having a very upset husband. I was doubtful still and I thought she was safer in my arms. But no. What if an accident transpired, right? My newborn then would not be home with us. Safety first, parents.
- Oh, Finally, Philippines have passed a law for the Special Protection of Child Passenger in Motor Vehicles, the Republic Act 11229, which consolidates Senate Bill No. 1971 and House Bill No. 6938. This was passed on December 11, 2018, signed into law on February 22, 2019 and the the copy was released on March 12, 2019. We may be late in having this law, but Better Late than NEVER. Some important highlights I could share about this law are the following:
- —This law states that a child 12 years and below is NOT permitted to sit in the front passenger seat of a car.
- —Kids under 15 months must be secured in a rear-facing seat.
- —Public utility vehicles are temporarily exempted, because there are no firm guidelines for them yet.
- —Age, height and weight of a child are considered in choosing appropriate car seats to be used.
- —There are equivalent fines or license suspension for drivers who have kids passengers who are not following this law.
- I remember when we were in Australia for holiday and I only had one child back then, we had to stop and park for a while to breastfeed my child or calm her down, which made some trips longer. Longer but safer.
- Okay, car seats are expensive. They range around Php5,000 to Php15,000. Depending on the brand, the size and age of the kid who will use it. But it’s about time! If you can afford a car, why can’t you afford a proper car seat for your child? Invest on their safety. Do not wait ‘til you are regretful and feeling sorry. By the way, child car seat has manuals and instructions so you can decide and study which one is truly suitable for your kid.
- We Filipinos have our way on getting ourselves fit in a car. Imagine a tricycle here can even fit 10 people, if they are stubborn and they just want to. What more in a car? What more when there are no rules? In here, they only check the seat belts of the drivers and front seat passenger. That is how lenient our law is. But is it good? Safety wise, not at all. It is not even comfortable. And this is a dilemma for me, when relatives or friends would like a ride and I am too shy to say no because they have no room as we implement kids car seats and wearing of seat belts in our car. But I realized that safety is always still the priority. And may I remind, when we put our kids on their car seats, we do not just sit them there, we put their seat belts on fittingly. And we adults must stay safe too, being buckled up, we may be sitting in the front or back.
- It will be difficult I am telling you. The baby will not just sit still and enjoy. The kid will cry. But hey, crying because they are not used to it is better than crying in pain or getting hurt from an accident. There are some ways to keep them okay. As a family of travelers, driving is our kids’ opportunity to have gadgets. We let them get busy watching nursery rhymes. Or sometimes we sing all together. Or talk / story telling as family. Or we sometimes give them lollies. It could be frustrating too! Most of the time, I sit in the back with the baby and hold their hands or even breastfeed.
Lastly, dearest parents and future parents, just keep in mind that A Child Car Seat can save our kid’s life.
Some Photos of my kids in the car seats: