Before buying new cars, parents always take note of the baby car seat law followed in Singapore. This comes from the fact that traffic accidents occur daily.
Fortunately, between 2019-2020, the rate of accidents lessened. The statistics decreased from 2.07 deaths per 100,000 people to 1.49 deaths per 100,000 people.
However, this doesn’t mean that we should disregard the implemented laws on car seats. Moreover, this further highlights why the baby car seat Singapore law is important.
As parents, it is our responsibility to take our child’s safety into utmost concern. We need to ensure that car safety should be the top priority when driving, irrespective of the distance.
What The Singapore Traffic Police Mandates
Both the Singapore Police Force and the Traffic Police have set strict regulations when it comes to road safety. Here’s what they’ve had to say about the baby car seat Singapore law:
“From 1 January 2012, age will no longer be a criterion to determine if child restraints or booster seats are required.”
The regulations state that anyone below the height of 1.35 metres needs to be secured using child restraint systems. Alternatively, you will need to use a booster seat to supplement the seatbelt or an adjustable seat belt. Those above the height of 1.35 metres and over need to wear a seatbelt.
The SGP and Traffic Police said the new criterion was made in consultation with the Ministry of Health. They reviewed international standards and practices.
The rules regarding the threshold height and seatbelts are consistent with practices in countries such as the UK, Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, and Belgium.
Why Babies Need A Baby Car Seat In Relation To Singapore Law
Image source: iStock
No vehicle is 100% accident-proof even with built-in airbags. Car safety is important, and your child’s safety should not take a back seat just because they are young. This is what makes the baby car seat Singapore law so important.
A child’s body is much smaller and more fragile. When collisions occur, babies and children are more susceptible to injuries, and potentially, death. Hence, the child car seat is essential in keeping the little one safe and secure.
In fact, most parents make a grave mistake by assuming that the child is safest in their arms. This is completely wrong for several reasons.
There have been several traffic accidents in Singapore that caused grief, injuries and death due to negligence of having a child car seat. This brings to light why we need to follow the baby car seat Singapore law.
In June 2015, a man was fined $800 and banned from driving for three months when his car crashed into a motor bus. His expectant wife was cradling their one-and-a-half-year-old daughter when the collision occurred. They were rushing to the hospital as their child was unwell.
What About Newborns?
For newborns, they should neither be carried in the arms of an adult nor be swaddled when placed in a child car seat or baby carrier/bassinet. If your child needs a blanket to cover up, swaddle or place a blanket only after buckling up.
The reason? The three-point or five-point harness that comes with the child car seat or baby carrier/bassinet is a safety feature to hold the child in place, and hence the straps should run across the child’s body snuggly with their hands free.
Watch this video to learn how to buckle your newborn in the child car seat correctly:
Rear-Facing Or Front-Facing?
Experts recommend that the safest option is to keep the child car seat rear-facing. And the further back the child is, the safer it is when it comes to impact during accidents.
Do not place the child in the front passenger seat since there is a danger wherein the child may fling towards the windscreen. In larger impacts, the front passenger-side airbag can potentially cause death due to force.
Citing SafetyBeltSafe USA, “according to a 2008 article in the professional journal Pediatrics, children under age two are 75 per cent less likely to be killed or suffer severe injuries in a crash if they are riding rear-facing rather than forward-facing. In fact, for children 1–2 years of age, facing the rear is five times safer.”
So parents, do take the safer approach when it comes to child car seat safety when you’re on the roads.
When Should Our Child Switch To A Booster Seat?
Image Source: iStock
With the height of 1.35m set as a guideline for passengers to use a child restraint or car booster seat, the criteria for “when” to switch to a booster seat is no longer based on your child’s age, but his height.
Most child car seats can take children up to an average of three years old, with a weight limit set by individual manufacturers and models. It is important for parents to note the specifications and limitations of their respective child car seat.
If your child has outgrown the child car seat, it’s time to look out for a suitable booster seat for him to sit nicely, and have the seat belt strapped across his body appropriately.
In fact, the Traffic Police states that “all persons travelling in vehicles, irrespective of their age, should be appropriately belted up. Adults below the height of 1.35m shall use booster seats or approved adjustable seat belts to lower the risk of injury in the event of an accident.”
What Is An ISOFIX System?
ISOFIX stands for “international standard for child car seat fittings.” Car manufacturers include this metal attachment into your vehicle’s seating. It also aims to make installing a car seat easier for on-the-go parents.
It is essentially an anchor amount either in the second row or front passenger seat of the vehicle. The mechanism also allows you to secure the child restraint seat or booster seat securely.
Most developed markets including Singapore mandate ISOFIX anchor mounts in vehicles. Other mandatory safety features include dual and side airbags, an anti-lock braking system, electronic stability control and more.
In fact, the ISOFIX is an international standard for attachment points for child safety seats in passenger cars.
The system has regional names including LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) in the US. It’s also called UAS (Universal Anchorage System) or Canfix in Canada. It’s also called the “Universal Child Safety Seat System (UCSSS) in some markets.
Parents can spot them in most car seat categories. ISOFIX makes fitting a child car seat quick, simple, and safe. Isofix anchor points are built into the car, so users can simply attach the system to the mount.
Always refer to the instruction manual that comes with every child car seat – note aspects such as the angle the child car seat should be, as incorrect angling affects the safety performance and comfort of your child.
Why Don’t Taxis Provide Car Seats For Babies Or Children?
Image Source: File photo
The Traffic Police has exemptions in place for taxis: “Taxis will continue to be exempted from child safety seat requirements.”
This is because it would not be practical for taxis to carry a number or variety of child safety seats which are of different sizes. However, research has shown that children face a greater risk of injury when travelling in the front seat.
The Traffic Police state that a child or person below 1.35 m should only ride in the rear seat to minimise the risk in the event of an accident. Passengers below the height of 1.35 metres who ride in the front passenger seat of a taxi need to use their own child restraint or booster seat to supplement the seat belt.
Now, what does this mean for parents?
Well, there are portable seat restraints you can consider – they’re built to be lightweight and convenient for ease of use. For newborns and toddlers (up to 18kg), consider the Sit and Stroll ($498).
Rules For School Buses
Aside from the baby car seat Singapore law, there are also safety measures for school buses.
In the past, school buses did not have any seat belts. But following concerns raised by parents, along with accidents in recent years, a new regulation has been implemented for school buses.
In July 2013, a kindergarten school bus filled with young children crashed into a road barrier. Thankfully, there were no injuries to the passengers but this flagged out the safety aspect of our local school buses.
According to the Road Traffic Act of Singapore and the Land Transport Authority (LTA): “School buses must comply with a set of safety requirements in order to ferry school children. Some examples include having a bus attendant on board or have forward-facing seats that have retractable three-point seat belts etc.”
Penalties Meted By The Baby Car Seat And More Car Safety Singapore Law For Failure Of Compliance
The Singapore Police Force and Traffic Police take road safety with utmost concern. This is why the baby car seat Singapore law is important to ensure the safety of kids.
If drivers fail to comply with the road safety regulations required when travelling with a passenger, whether child or adult, penalties are meted out:
What are the penalties for passengers who fail to belt up?
An adult passenger will have to pay a fine of $120 for failing to wear the seatbelt.
“If convicted in court, the passenger will have to pay a penalty not exceeding $1,000 or imprisonment for three months. In case of a second or subsequent offence, the court will impose a fine not exceeding $2,000 or imprisonment for six months.
The taxi driver will be liable to a composition fine of $120 and 3 demerit points. The passenger will also be liable to a composition fine of $120.”
What are the penalties for bus conductors or attendants who fail to ensure that their passengers wear seatbelts?
The rules impose a fine of $120 on the bus conductor or attendant if passengers are not wearing seatbelts.
The court will impose a penalty not exceeding $1,000 or imprisonment for three months. If it’s a second or subsequent offence, the court will levy a fine not exceeding $2,000 or imprisonment for six months.
What is the penalty for bus drivers who fail to belt up? What if their passengers do not wear their seatbelts? Will the taxi driver have to pay a fine if persons below the height of 1.35 m do not ride in the rear seat?
A composition fine of $120 and 3 demerit points.
Passengers will pay a fine not exceeding $1,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months. In the case of a second or subsequent offence, the court will apply a fine not exceeding $2,000 or imprisonment not exceeding six months.
This article was updated by Kaira De la Rosa.