Bloomberg ran a report over the weekend (VPN required to access from China) about government plans to launch a national campaign in 2015 to "encourage the use of child safety seats at the end of this year."
Beijing is among three cities (including Shanghai and Shenzhen) that will undergo the campaign. The announcement comes in the wake of news from earlier this year (which we reported back in June) of a pilot program in Shanghai that is to serve as the blueprint for a nationwide set of child safety seat laws.
According to the Shanghai Daily, Shanghai authorities discussed draft legislation last week that would require "family-use cars to be equipped with safety seat for children under four years old to protect them from death during car accidents" – however it is still unclear when these laws would go into effect in Shanghai and when they would be phased in to other cities (including Beijing), so don’t expect to see drivers with unsecured kids in their cars getting pulled over any time soon.
This brings to light the requisite questions of enforcement. Judging from past efforts to regulate public health and safety in Beijing, exactly how stringently such a law will be enforced remains very much to be seen. And just how far reaching the legislation goes is yet another question – particularly for parents who take their children along on cab rides, which for many international families in Beijing is a daily necessity.
Child safety seat laws vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and not all states in the US, for instance, require safety seats in cabs (although some states, like California, very much do). The Shanghai Daily’s report only mentions the pilot legislation targeting "family-use" cars and China’s proposed standards are reportedly based on the European Union’s (which apparently do not mandate safety seats in cabs), so it seems doubtful that parents will be expected to lug them around every time they need to catch a cab with their kids (though they are still well-advised to do so).
Regardless of how the specifics of this law turns out, increasing awareness of this important safety issue is a laudable goal. If you have any insights or recommendations on practical safety seat options for fellow readers (for either private cars or cabs), please comment below.