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August 3, 2012

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City to mandate kids' safety seats

SHANGHAI is to mandate the installation of child-safety seat in cars to protect children's health and safety, experts told a seminar pushing the legislation yesterday.

Medical experts and legal professionals are preparing the draft, which may be passed in two or three years.

The draft will include rules saying children below 12 should sit in the back and children below four should sit in the back in a child-safety seat.

"Among all the traffic accidents in China involving the death of children below 12 years old, 20 percent are passengers of household cars," said Dr Pan Shuming from Xinhua Hospital, which leads the legislation research.

"Many could have been saved with protective measures. Chinese parents have little awareness on the use of child-safety seats."

The hospital carried out a survey of 970 local parents with children at kindergarten, finding 3.9 percent of parents have had traffic accidents in the past two years.

About 52 percent of the parents wrongly believed that front airbags can protect children.

Experts at three toll stations on highways leading out of the city found only 0.1 percent of cars put children in child-safety seats, while 26 percent of children, including those below four years old, sat in the front alone and 36 percent sat in an adult's arms.

The country has no law on the use of special safety seats for children. They are, however, required by law in more than 40 countries.

In many developed countries, more than 90 percent of parents use safety seats for their children, which greatly reduced the death and serious injury to child passengers.

"It shows legislation is an effective method to protect the safety of child passengers," Pan said.

According to the traffic authorities, more than 18,500 Chinese children below 14 years old die in traffic accidents every year, about 2.5 times the number in Europe and the United States.

"Experiments confirmed the risk of injuring the head and legs rises greatly if a child sits in the front without protective measures or in an adult's arms. This is extremely dangerous to child passengers," Pan said.


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