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The government is set to propose an amendment to the Road Transport Act 1987 to regulate the use of child seats in cars, which is expected to be enforced by 2017, The Sun reports.

Transport ministry senior officials held a meeting two days ago to discuss making mandatory the use of child seats in cars, while the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS) has been asked to conduct a feasibility study before the move is implemented, according to the English-language daily.

“Statistics have shown that children, aged one to four (43.8%), and five to nine (30.2%), were involved in accidents. So it is important to install a child restraining system to prevent injuries in this age group,” a senior government official told The Sun, adding that studies show the use of child seats can reduce infant deaths by about 70%, those of children aged one to four by 54% and injuries of children aged four to seven by 59%.

But it’s not as easy as simply buying one and using it – there are many child seat types and configurations, and you need to find the right one for your kids, or it could be fatal. The report says MIROS, in its recent safety tests, found a particular toddler seat model seriously flawed and unsafe.

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The seat, a portable ‘pocket’-type with harness, is claimed by the manufacturer to be suitable for children up to 18 kg. A dummy representing an 18-month old toddler was strapped in, the seat placed in the rear quarters and the car collision-tested at 40 km/h.

The Sun reports that despite the low speed, the harness ripped apart from the seat and the dummy was flung towards the front of the vehicle. “Tests have shown that the harness-styled or portable car seat disintegrated upon impact. Its material durability was dreadful as it did not withstand the crash,” said MIROS director-general Prof Dr Wong Shaw Voon.

Checks by The Sun revealed these ‘pocket’ child seats to be widely available online, at hypermarkets and at baby shops for as low as RM30. However, Wong said that overall, the quality of child seats currently sold in the market is good.

Volvo V40 Child rear seat crash test

“Parents only need to look at the important requirements. If your car is equipped with Isofix and top tether, please find child car seats with the same specifications to mate with the safety features inside the car,” he told the English-language daily.

“Look for the orange R44 label – (that shows the child seat) is in compliance with the United Nations’ standard ECE regulations,” MIROS PC3 lab crash specialist Yahaya Ahmad told The Sun, adding that his team carried out checks early this year at supermarkets, baby shops and other places selling child seats.

“We found that 80% of the child and toddler car seats sold in the market are already in compliance with UN ECE R44 specifications,” he said, adding that he observed that Malaysian retail prices of UN-compliant child seats have decreased significantly over the years.