Let’s get it straight here. According to the Republic Act No. 11229, otherwise known as the Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act, child restraint system, child seats, or booster seats are required for children aged 12 and below, with a height of 4’11” (150 cm.) or lower. That said, if your children are below 13 years old but are already taller than 4’11” or 150 cm., then they are exempted from using a booster seat or a child restraint system (CRS). They will still have to sit in the backseat, though.
The Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act was enacted in 2017, as a response to the United Nations (UN) and the World Health Organization (WHO) call to action towards the alarming number of children’s deaths resulting from road accidents. With the passage of this law, the government has now enacted a special protection to child passengers while traveling in private motor vehicles.
What is a Child Restraint System (CRS)?
A child restraint system (CRS) refers to a device, approved by law in accordance with the provisions stated in Section 6 of Republic Act No. 11229. It is a system otherwise known as a child seat or a booster seat, and is designed to accommodate a child occupant in a sitting or supine position.
The CRS is a mandatory device for motor vehicle owners who transport children as it is used in order to help to diminish the risk of injury to the child, twelve (12) years or younger, by limiting the mobility of the body in the event of a collision or of abrupt deceleration of the vehicle.
RA 11229 and the Use of Child Restraint System (CRS)
Republic Act No. 11229 (RA 11229), officially known as An Act Providing for the Special Protection of Child Passengers in Motor Vehicles and Appropriating Funds Therefore or Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act, is a law designed to ensure the children’s safety while aboard any form of motor vehicle by requiring the use of safe, appropriate, quality, and affordable child restraint systems in motor vehicles in addition to providing easy access to safe, appropriate, quality and affordable child restraint systems that pass the international standards accepted by the United Nations.
It was reinforced by the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 12299 jointly created by the Department of Transportation (DOTr), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Health (DOH), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG), Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC) and other concerned agencies to ensure that the provisions are appropriate and completely reasonable and safe.
Provisions for the Use of Child Restraint Systems (CRS)
Some of the provisions involving the use of child restraint systems in cars when transporting children include:
Mandatory Use of Child Restraint System in Motor Vehicles
According to RA 12299, children who are aged zero (0) to twelve (12) years old must be placed in a child restraint system (CRS) while on board a closed motor vehicle while the engine is running. This is applicable to all unless the child is at least 4’11” (one hundred fifty (150) centimeters or fifty-nine (59) inches) in height.
Likewise, really tall children who are over 150 cm. or 59 in. in height no longer need to use the mandatory child restraint system while inside a running motor vehicle. Nevertheless, they still cannot be left alone inside a closed motor vehicle, regardless of height or circumstances, as long as they are twelve (12) years old or younger.
Children in Rear Seats
Children aged twelve (12) years or younger are prohibited from sitting in the front seat of a motor vehicle with a running engine, regardless if the child is being transported on any road, street or highway, regardless if the child meets the height requirement of at least 4’11” or one hundred fifty (150) centimeters or fifty-nine (59) inches.
Safety Standards for Child Restraint Systems
A child restraint system (CRS) must also meet the minimum safety standards set forth by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in accordance with the standards detailed in the United Nations Regulation 44 and 129 as well as other acceptable international standards in the approval or disapproval of child restraint systems. It must bear the logo and certifications of the Bureau of Product Standards (BPS) sticker, a Philippine Standards (PS) mark license, or Import Clearance Certificate (ICC) license certificate before a CRS can be manufactured, sold, distributed, and used legally in the Philippines.
Prohibition on Substandard or Expired Child Restraint System (CRS)
RA 11229 also states that it is unlawful for any person, company, partnership, sole proprietorship, manufacturer, distributor, and/or importer to manufacture, use, import, sell, distribute, donate, lease, advertise, promote, or otherwise market the use of substandard or expired child restraint systems. Likewise it is illegal to use such kinds of CRS, regardless if it looks okay or not.
Video: What is RA 11229?
Learn more about the use of Child Restraint Systems (CRS) as mandated by the Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act (RA 12299) by watching this explainer video from DriveSafe PH:
Just as seat belts are mandated by law to keep the adults safe, the child restraint systems (CRS) are required by law to keep the even more fragile children just a bit safer while aboard or being transported in a running motor vehicle.
After all, not only are they too young to know how to protect themselves in cases of accidents, but children are actually more vulnerable since they cannot be expected to foresee the dangers on the road. With the United Nations (UN) and World Health Organization (WHO) constantly reporting an alarming number of children’s deaths due to road accidents, it is better to always err on the side of caution and go through the discomforts of installing a CRS than feel regret after an accident has occurred.
Plus, the law punishes those who don’t follow the rules and regulations stated in it, so it’s a pretty effective preventive measure and it works well enough to reduce the risks of accidents, injuries, and death, especially to children who ride motor vehicles. There’s also provisions for fines and penalties for both the drivers and implementing authorities in cases of failure to follow the provisions of the law.