China is set to introduce new child car safety laws after a recent report was released "The Feasibility of China’s Mandatory Use of Children’s Safety Seats" by the China Automobile Research Center during the one-year anniversary of the use of "restraint systems for kids on vehicles". The report looks at the mandatory use of children’s safety seats,the current situation of kids in cars, factors that influence domestic mandatory use of children’s safety seats.
Only 5 percent of the population in China uses child car seats as compared to nearly 95 percent use within the European Union. The reason for such low use of appropriate car restraints is that majority of the parents and grandparents hold their children in their arms. These statistics were established through the use of over 2,800 questionnaires carried out by the China Automobile Research Center with over 65 percent of the parents saying that they carry their children in their arms while in the car.
Here is a look at Child restraint laws in various countries
In the US, child restraint laws vary from state to state. 50 states and the District of Columbia require child safety seats for infants and children fitting specific criteria. However, 48 states and the District of Columbia require booster seats or other appropriate devices for children who have outgrown their child safety seats but are too small to use an adult seat belt safety. Florida and South Dakota are the only two states that lack booster seat laws.
Only five states- California, Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey and New York have seat belt requirements for school buses while Texas requires them on buses acquired after September 2010.
First offense fines for not complying with a state’s child car safety law vary from USD 10 to USD 500. In some states, there is an additional penalty for non-compliance in the form of demerit of driver’s license points. The requirements vary based on age, weight and height in the form of infant, toddler and child.
The law requires all children from infancy to the age of 12 or are 135cm in height to be properly placed in the correct child restraint. The use of an appropriate child restraint applies in all kinds of vehicles, including vans, buses, coaches and minibuses. The penalty of failing to ensure that a child passenger is using a correct child restraint is up to GBP 500 also this could affect any motor insurance claims made.
In Quebec, children who measure less than 63cm while in a sitting position must be placed in a car seat that is designed according to the child’s weight.There are three car seat categories infant, booster and child that are to be used while traveling. There is no law regarding the use of car restraints in vans, buses and coaches. The penalty of non-compliance to this law is a fine of CND 115 to CND 154 and three demerit points.
The Chinese law is still in the early stages with a pilot yet to be conducted in Shanghai. The authorities chose Shanghai because they believe the rate of implementation will be faster from a big city to a small one than vice versa. The full details of this law are still not available but we will be on the look out for them. The true test of this law will come in the enforcing around the country.
Photo courtesy of “jencu” of flickr –Child_car_seat