In Singapore, there were at least 6,000 road accidents from January to November 2013. It is therefore important to be aware of car seat safety practices – even when driving a rented vehicle from a car rental company in Singapore.
Parents especially should be informed on the current regulations set by the Singapore Traffic Police and the Police Force. These rules will guide you on the right use of car seat, seat belts and harnesses that can make a huge difference to the life of your child. This is even so for short distance drives. The guidelines are supposed to be followed by all drivers on the road – in your own vehicle or rental if you chose to rent a car to get around.
Road Safety Regulations by the Traffic Police and Police Force in Singapore
Effective from January 1, 2012, Singapore’s road safety regulations regarding the use of booster seats and child restraints have changed. Passengers who are under 1.35 meters in height must use a child restraint intended for their height and weight. In cases where the height of the car seat is too large for them, booster seats must be used along with an adjustable seat belt. As for passengers over 1.35 meters in height, they must wear a car seat belt at all times while in the car. This rule is applicable to children and adults whose heights fall under this standard.
The Ministry of Health was consulted prior to the amendments in the criterion for car seat safety guidelines. Consideration was made on the international practices and standards. Height proved to be more a more sensible approach when determining whether a seat restraint is required for a passenger. Several countries including Sweden, Belgium, Finland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom also consider a height threshold in their car safety laws. Thus, these changes implemented in the updated Singapore car safety guidelines would be better at preventing serious injuries or fatalities in the event of an accident.
Promoting the Safety of Your Child in the Car
No matter how expensive or great the specs of a vehicle may be, they could never promise drivers zero injuries in the event of accidents. Even if there are air bags built into the vehicle, certain practices are still needed to reduce injuries and chances of mortality. Hence, it is essential that parents remain aware of these guidelines since their children’s lives depend largely on how well they comply with these car seat safety policies.
As the little one’s physique is much more delicate, smaller, and relatively fragile as it is not fully developed yet, there is a high risk of severe injuries and even death when collisions happen. It is only with the proper use of a car seat designed for passengers matching the children’s weight and height that the additional protection would be effective. Regardless of road trips or short rides to the mall, one should never put car seat safety practices in the back burner.
Newborn Car Seat Safety
Coming from the hospital after childbirth, parents should pay close attention to providing the right car seat and restraints for their newborn. This is crucial despite the duration of the car trip. But what is the best way to do this – to swaddle the child, carry your newborn in your arms, or use a child car seat with a harness?
The answer to this question is the last option – a child car seat or bassinet with a 3- or 5-point harness. The only time you should put a blanket over your little one (if deemed necessary) is after buckling up. However, the most important thing is that you use the child car seat with an appropriate harness, as this is the best way to hold your precious newborn in place. The straps also run securely and snugly across the body while keeping the hands free and comfortable.
Car Seat Position
Child car seats may either be in a front-facing or rear-facing position. But the choice depends largely on the size and age of your child. According to experts, the rear-facing position is the most ideal for children, specifically if the child can remain further in the back for protection from impact. In an article published in Paediatrics, a professional journal, it stated that children under 2 years of age have a low risk of being killed or suffering from massive injuries in a collision if they ride rear-facing, as compared to forward-facing. Therefore, children between 1 and 2 years old should be facing the rear for maximum safety.
Once children have reached a height of 1.35 meters, they can start wearing a child restraint or a booster seat in the car. This is contrary to past regulations where age was the determining factor as to when it is best to use a booster seat. As children vary in height even at the same age, thus, the seat may or may not be comfortable and secure enough for them.
Manufacturers of car seats have indications for the weight limit of each car seat. Most of these seats are good for children up to 3 years of age. With that in mind, one should still pay attention to the limitations and guidelines given by the car seat manufacturer. Once your little one no longer fit perfectly in the child car seat, a booster seat is the appropriate upgrade. Make it a point to strap the seat belt correctly across the body in a snug manner.
Car seat belts are not only for the use of children, but also for every passenger. It should also be used in public transport and even vehicles from Singapore’s car rental services. Regardless of age, one needs to be buckled up at all times. Booster seats may be necessary for adults under 1.35 meters in height for optimum protection from serious injuries in the event of a collision.