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It looks like the future of widespread child seat use is still some ways away from becoming a reality, as Bernama reports that the government is still not ready to make compulsory the usage of this vital safety equipment, citing cost, economy and public awareness issues.

According to the national news agency, transport minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai stated that because parents still held a lackadaisical attitude towards child seat usage, public awareness must be prioritised and improved before any sort of enforcement can commence.

“We must educate them [parents] about the importance of using child seats in cars when travelling with children or infants,” he said. “They must really understand why infants need their own special seats.

“If you have children in the car, we advocate the usage of child seats and seat belts to secure them. The DUKE highway accident – where a child was thrown out of the car and passed away – shows the cost when we don’t belt up our children.”

Liow added that the relatively high prices of child seats have contributed to the government’s decision into the matter, as it wanted to avoid socio-economic repercussions, especially among low-income earners and the “less fortunate.” He also denied reports that the government will begin enforcement by 2017, saying that it still only plans to do so by 2019.

3-Point Seat Belt

Separately, Liow said that a study conducted by the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS) – which found that only 7-9% of passengers used rear seat belts since the government enforced its usage in 2009 – showed the dire need to improve public awareness regarding the matter.

“We cannot continue to flout the rule as it involves lives,” he said. “The people must remember and realise their responsibility. If they can wear their seat belts when sitting in the front of the car, why not when sitting at the rear seats?

“I have directed JPJ and have gotten the support of the police to help us [the ministry] enforce this ruling. We also implore the public, organisations and corporations to inform, instruct or advise others to buckle up at the rear.”

What do you think, dear readers: should the government begin enforcement of child seat usage as soon as possible, or should the public be given time to prepare? Of course, it doesn’t matter whether it’s enforced or not – you value the lives of your loved ones, so please keep them safe by properly restraining them whenever you’re on the road.