In light of the rising number of injuries and deaths involving children being left in vehicles, the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development has revealed several recommendations that can be practised by parents or guardians to prevent such tragic recurrences in the future.

Its minister Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim told the press that her ministry looks upon the matter seriously – the negligence of parents leaving children in the vehicle has caused the deaths of five children and infants since 2016.

According to Bernama, Rohani mentioned a number of suggestions, such as asking parents to put a special seat in the vehicle specifically for infants and children aged five and below, placing infants on the front seat and anchored by a safety belt, and not permitting children to be placed on the back seat, especially behind the driver’s seat because it is a blind spot.

“In addition, parents bringing infants or children in the vehicle are asked to place important items such as handbags at the back depending on the suitability of whether these are placed on the seat or in the passenger’s leg area or [alternatively] place the bag needed by the child on the front seat to remind [the driver] that the child is at the back,” she said.

Rohani was responding to a question from Senator Datuk Shahanim Mohamad Yusoff during a question-and-answer session at the Dewan Negara. However, are the suggestions sound? Not quite, we think.

In fact, it’s absolutely vital that children are seated in the back, properly secured in a child safety/booster seat, and not at the front. This is to position your kids away from the front airbags in case of a frontal accident (the most common type of crashes). The only time you should ever place a child seat or booster seat in the front is if your car allows you to turn off the front passenger airbag (not many cars do, and even fewer still have Isofix anchors on the front passenger seat) – and even then, only as a last resort.

If you have the tendency to “forget” about having a child with you on board, then the safest practice is to put the child in the rear left seat of the car – properly secured, and within your view. This should eliminate any concerns of having a “blind spot”, and is still the safest way of transporting your child in a motor vehicle. You should also avoid having loose items in your vehicle, as they would turn into projectiles in major accidents.

So remember, dear parents. Secure your children in appropriate child safety or booster seats (car seat belts are designed for adults, not kids), and always place them in the back seats for extra protection from dangers. Leave the front seats for adults, thank you.

We’ve gone into detail on why the use of a child seat is of utmost importance, so watch the videos here to find out why. For first timers, refer to the second video to determine which child seats to buy, and how to install them.