Safety on the road is important – there is no room for overlooking safety precautions when you have kids in the car as well. It has been reported that three times as many babies (aged under 12 months) died in Singapore in car accidents in 2014 compared to the same period in the US according to the Singapore Immigration & Checkpoints Authority.
According to the laws in Singapore, anyone below the height of 1.35m is required to be secured with an appropriate child restraint, use a booster seat to supplement the seat belt or an approved adjustable seat belt. Those with a height of 1.35m and above, irrespective of their age, will be required to wear a seat belt. Taxis are exempted from this rule, however, private car services such as Uber or Grab are not. For school buses, all passengers on board small school buses are required to use seat belts and children below 1.35m are required to used approved child restraints.
In order to abide by the laws and ensure safe travelling with your little tots, make sure that you keep these guidelines in mind:
Use appropriate restraints for various vehicles
If you own a car, install an appropriate car seat for your child. 5 point harnesses are more secure for infants and children, and rear-facing car seats are recommended for infants up to 13kg. It would also be more convenient if your car has Isofix (European) or LATCH (USA), which makes it easier to install a car seat safely for children up to 18kg. There are also adaptable options for those without cars where strollers have detachable seats or straps that double up as car seats/restraints, and you can conveniently use them in a taxi or hired car. Make sure that your caretakers are able to install the car seat safely and purchase brand new car seats and restraints in order to make sure that they are functioning correctly.
Make sure kids are in the back seat
Research has proven that child seats in the rear minimise the risk of severe injuries. It is also against the law for anyone under 1.35m to sit in the front passenger seat without a restraint or booster seat. Keep in mind that it is safer for kids who are under 13 – 18kg (depending on the allowance of your car seat) to use rear-facing car seats. This keeps your baby snugly fit, secure and comfortable.
Don’t use your baby carrier in the car
It might seem like common sense for a parent to strap in your baby with your carrier and wear a car seatbelt over, however this is not safe at all. The use of baby carriers in a car might result in the baby flying out of the carrier or the adult’s limbs hitting the baby due to the impact of an accident. Letting your child sit in their own seat with a seatbelt is in fact slightly safer, though it is also not recommended.
Wherever you travel, always remember to use proper car seat installation, appropriate strap placement and seat belt use.