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Buckle Up, Malaysians! The 2020 Car Seat Law is Here

by on 14/01/2020     824 1168

Buckle Up, Malaysians! The 2020 Car Seat Law is Here

It's click-it-or-ticket starting January 2020

You heard it, folks. The 2020 car seat law is here and the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS) has established the Buku Garis Panduan Kerusi Keselamatan Kanak-Kanak di Malaysia (Child Restraint System Guideline in Malaysia) as an official guide to the new mandate.

If you are a parent and clueless as to what a Child Restraint System (CRS) is and how its implementation has (thus far) affected the nation, here’s all that you need to know.

1. Compulsory child car seats from January 2020, but no penalty for the first six months

In last October, the Minister of Transport had announced that it was time to impose the mandatory use of child seats, as MIROS revealed that only 30% of car drivers have been utilising them. The new child seat regulation goes into effect starting January 2020, but there will be no summonses issued for the first six months, said the Minister of Transport, Anthony Loke. During this period, drivers who are found without the child car seats (provided you have a child or children with you in the car, of course) will not be penalised by the JPJ. Instead, they will be issued warnings and reminders to install the seats. Loke also stated that the government will impose tax breaks for child seats to make the implementation more effective and encourage quicker adoption. It was said that there will be no import duty and the excise fee will be reduced from 10% to 5% for child car seats. Parents can now get a suitable car seat for their child without burning a hole in their pocket!

2. Large families may be exempted from child safety seats rule

If you’re a parent with many children, fret not. The Ministry of Transportation recognises the plight of large families with this ruling and is considering to exempt them from the mandatory installation of CRS in vehicles. Understanding that large families may not be able to fit 4–5 CRS in a car, there will be no punitive measures, as the ministry will turn the introductory period as a training period, according to the Deputy Minister, Kamarudin Jaffar. Nonetheless, the exemption will be considered depending on the number of children and size of the vehicle. Albeit the insipid implementation of car seats viewed by some—if not most—parents with large families, all parents should always consider on getting a car seat for your child because car seats can save lives.

3. Choosing the right type of car seat for your child

When choosing a CRS (child car seat), the weight and height of the child should be considered, rather than basing it off on their age. This conception is logical because children of the same age may differ greatly in terms of their body size. The UN guidelines break it down into four groups.

Category

Height/Weight

Estimated Age

Type of Seat

Group 0/0+

  • Weight below 9 kg

  • Recommended for weight below 13 kg

  • Height below 83 cm

0–18 months

Rear-facing infant car seat

Group 1

  • Weight between 9 and 18 kg

  • Minimum height 71 cm

15 months to 4 years

Forward facing infant seat

Group 2

  • Weight between 15 and 25 kg

  • Minimum height 100 cm

4–7 years

Child booster seat with five-point harness

Group 3

  • Weight between 25 and 36 kg

  • Height up to 135 cm

6 years and older

Child booster seat

(Source: Buku Garis Panduan Kerusi Keselamatan Kanak-Kanak di Malaysia)

Seat Type

Cost Estimate (without discounts)

Infant car seat

RM200+

Forward-facing child seat

RM400+

Child booster seat with five-point harness

RM300+

Child booster seat

RM80+

(Source: Buku Garis Panduan Kerusi Keselamatan Kanak-Kanak di Malaysia)

While there is an overlapping in these categories, technically, it’s more of a rule of thumb guideline for when choosing the right CRS for your child. Another reminder for parents, if your car has an airbag system, it needs to be first deactivated before you can install a child seat over there. It’s a legal requirement, we’ve checked.

In addition, no parent should compromise the safety of their children. Contrary to the popular belief, not all quality CRS are sold at RM1,000 per unit. Those that are sold between RM150 and RM300 per unit are still in compliance with the safety standards and tests. That being said, parents should be cautious with cheap CRS, as some brand manufacturers have failed to pass the standards stipulated but attached the labels illegally. To counter this issue, the standards set by UN Regulation (UNR) will act as a safety measure, where a MIROS research officer, Nurulhana Borhan, stated that,

"It also needs to have a valid QR label sticker from MIROS, which records CRS technical specifications according to the standard."

For young parents, you can also save money by considering using car seats from your siblings and close relatives whose own children have outgrown them. Just ensure that the seat is still intact and in compliance with the most recent regulations, so it doesn’t compromise the safety of your child.

4.Buckle the Kids Right!

Remember, safety is always first. Read the car seat manual instruction prior to installing and using your CRS. Getting your first child car seat (or a new one) can be pretty exciting, but don’t throw the manual just yet. Keep it handy for future reference! All parents should keep in mind to use the car seat for all journeys, however short. Take caution when using a second-hand car seat, as you do not know the history of the seat, and never try to modify a CRS, be it is fitting, harness or buckle, to make it fit in your car. Your action will jeopardise your child’s safety, which defeats the purpose of installing and using a CRS in the first place.

(Source: 123RF)

It was reported that these child safety seats can reduce the risk of serious injuries to children by at least 45%. Regulations have been set to improve the safety standards of the equipment being sold so that your little ones are more protected in the event of an accident. As such, most parents nowadays understand the importance of using CRS. The government will also be imposing the UN Regulations on imports so that parents won’t feel that selecting the right CRS is an arduous task. How apt!