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Dear readers, dear parents, the Hari Raya Aidilfitri season will be upon us again soon and to most of us, that brings about long and arduous balik kampung journeys.

It’s an undeniable fact that accident rates spike up during these periods. The risk of having a crash is just that much higher with so many cars on the roads, all rushing to be back home before the big day.

Now, the least we can all do is to try to keep our own family safe the best we can, to not turn what is supposed to be a joyful season into a mournful one. At this juncture, we wish to again remind everyone of the importance of child car seats. Parents, if you’re looking for a time to start using one, this is as good as any.

One of the more common reasons given among Malaysia parents for not using child seats is that they are too costly to buy. From our own research, however, we’ve found that proper ECE R44-certified child seats can be had for around RM400.

That’s not a small amount by any means, sure, but if you really think about it, it’s less than what you’d spend on a set of bodykit, fancy alloy wheels, etc. Those are mere optional add-ons, compared to a child car seat that is a basic necessity for kids.

FREE child seat rental – a community service by paultan.org, sponsored by Mercedes-Benz Malaysia

Mercedes-Benz Malaysia - Future of the Nation

If you don’t want to use child seats every day, at least use them during the Raya period when the accident rates are higher? We at paultan.org, sponsored by Mercedes-Benz Malaysia, have decided to try to do something this Raya to make a small bit of difference.

We have a total of 185 units of ECE R44-compliant child seats (100 Isofix and 35 non-Isofix seats sponsored by Mercedes-Benz Malaysia this year), and we’re offering FREE child car seat rentals to 185 Malaysian families for them to use over the Hari Raya month. The FREE rental period will be for one month.

Four types of seats are available this year. The first is the Koopers Jive convertible child seat, which can be used both rear-facing (0-13 kg) or forward-facing (9-18 kg). This seat can use both Isofix and seat belt installation, with a support leg to limit the seat’s movement.

The second is a Koopers Mambo, an Isofix-type convertible child seat, which can also be used both rear-facing (0-10 kg) or forward-facing (10-18 kg). It comes with a support leg too.

Clockwise from left: Koopers Jive, Koopers Mambo and SNSKIDZ Pro. SNSKIDZ Star pictured below.

Next, we have the SNSKIDZ Star convertible car seat, which can be used both rear-facing (0-10 kg) or forward-facing (10-25 kg), as well the SNSKIDZ Pro, a front-facing booster child seat (15-36 kg). These seats use seat belt installation instead of Isofix.

A big thank you to Koopers and Safe ‘n Sound for offering the seats to us at a great price.

If you don’t require the assistance of this programme and wish to buy one for yourself, the SNSKIDZ Star is available for purchase here.

Rear-facing installation

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If your child weighs 10 kg and below, you are recommended to use a rear-facing seat. The Koopers Jive, Mambo and SNSKIDZ Star can be installed rear-facing, using either Isofix anchors or seat belts. When you collect your rental seats from us, we will install it for you and make sure you’re trained on how to install it properly.

In fact, this is actually a good way to ensure the adults in the back with the child have more space, as the wider part of the child seat is no longer at the seat back, allowing better shoulder room. We’ve used a Perodua Myvi for the demo (SNSKIDZ Star pictured). You can also interact with your child better.

Front-facing installation

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This is how the SNSKIDZ Star seat looks like installed forward-facing, ideal for kids weighing between 10 to 25 kg. As per above, we’ll install it in your car for you and we’ll even provide you training on how to install the seat properly in your car.

As you can see from the photo above, the seat is compact enough to fit in smaller cars, without taking up too much space. The demo vehicle here is a Perodua Myvi.

Isofix installation

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The Koopers Jive and Mambo are Isofix-type seats, and are relatively simpler to install compared to a belt-type seat (right). But in any case, we’ll still provide training on how to do put it on correctly in your Isofix-equipped vehicles.

Both Koopers seats come with a support leg, which works as an additional brace to minimise seat movement in an event of a crash. We’ll show you the proper way to make sure it’s locked in place.

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What is the point of this? Child seats should be used every day!

We agree, but that’s preaching to those who are already convinced. There are many out there who still do not used child seats even though there have been many attempts at educating about how necessary they are.

There must be some other reason these families do not use child seats. So we are trying to address the affordability factor during a critical period which has increased accident rates.

After the rental period has ended, we will see if the families who have rented them decide they want to use one permanently, then we will make arrangements for easier purchase of the seat they have rented.

Interested? We hope you are!

Just fill up the form attached below, and we’ll be in contact with the selected families as soon as we can.

You will need to put up a deposit (RM150 for the non-Isofix seat, RM300 for the Isofix seat) when you collect it from us at The School Jaya One, Petaling Jaya. This deposit will be fully refunded to you when you return the seat to us on July 31, 2016. We are offering low deposit amounts (significantly below the cost of the seat) so it doesn’t significantly affect the cash flow of families during the Raya period.

Dear readers, if this doesn’t apply to your own family, please help us spread the word. Tell your friends, share this on Facebook and Twitter, and let’s make our roads safer for the kids together.

The FREE rental period will be until July 31, 2016.