Place child in the front seat to prevent deaths? Please don’t – use child seats mounted in the rear, always

Place child in the front seat to prevent deaths? Please don’t – use child seats mounted in the rear, always

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.

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Matthew H Tong

An ardent believer that fun cars need not be fast and fast cars may not always be fun. Matt advocates the purity and simplicity of manually swapping cogs while coping in silence of its impending doom. Matt's not hot. Never hot.



  • seancorr (Member) on Mar 26, 2018 at 8:40 pm

    Please read whereby EU has not allowed child seats in front unless the airbag has been disabled. This law has been mandated more than 10 years ago and now only our ministry is recommending child seats and even then they advise to put it in the wrong place. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at their stupidity.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 67 Thumb down 4
    • Jajaha on Mar 26, 2018 at 8:58 pm

      Cry for the children.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0
    • Suka Lanka on Mar 26, 2018 at 9:35 pm

      Later she will issue another statement…d Press has taken her words out of context. ROTFL

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 0
    • Minister can propose but parent shud use their brains & logic, otherwise better dun be parents.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 94 Thumb down 60
      • 12yrsold on Mar 27, 2018 at 10:21 am

        U did not solve or give a suggestion to the problem of child safety. Many/most parents are responsible human but sad to say as human, we do Err at times.

        Your comment of “better dun be parents” sound arrogant & as if U never make mistakes in your life.

        Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 52 Thumb down 2
        • All it takes is 1 second to look behind if left anything. 1 SECOND! That oso u try to defend their inaction.

          They have plenty of time to fesbuk, selfie, twitter & instagram but not even 1 second to look back? As a parent I cant accept this sorry of an excuse, as I make sure I & wifey practice this ALL THE TIME!

          So yes, if they incapable of being responsible parents, then better dun be parent.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 50 Thumb down 32
          • 12yrsold on Mar 27, 2018 at 11:25 am

            U are very good at pointing finger at others but not yourself. Lets hope it will NEVER happen to U or family.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 37 Thumb down 5
          • Pointing fingers r those who dun take responsibility for themselves. I make sure we both r FULLY RESPONSIBLE for our children. Can u say the same?

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 43 Thumb down 1
          • prof brain on Mar 27, 2018 at 4:22 pm

            John, u certainly overestimate the reliability of an aging human brain such as your goodself. if u can forget a single thing in life, u will forget a child at your back seat given the right conditions.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 5
          • Nope. All it takes is discipline and practice, practice, practice. Once it becomes a habit, its as natural as taking a piss. By the time my brain ages to become unreliable, the kids wud have alredi grown up.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 2
    • If ministry have to be parents to the parents then sei lor. No need brains, all it takes is 1 second for them to see in the back. Parenting 101.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 44 Thumb down 0
    • The rule is only for rear facing childseats. Front facing child seat still can be fasten at the front seat legally

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1
    • Corbyn on Mar 27, 2018 at 4:31 pm

      “The use of REARWARD-FACING child restraints is now no longer allowed on the front passenger seat unless its airbag has been deactivated”.

      The keyword here is REARWARD-FACING. No problem if the child seat is facing forward. Dont misled man!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1
      • 4wheeler on Mar 28, 2018 at 3:45 pm

        Wow, have you seen an airbag deploy before? It doesn’t matter Rearward or Forward facing, when it activates, it hits you like a truck.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
        • Corbyn on Mar 28, 2018 at 5:00 pm

          So, airbag itself is not safe because it hits like a truck?

          The problem with rearward-facing child seat, the gap between dashboard (where airbag located) and child seat is too close i.e. it will hit the seat before fully deployed.

          If forward-facing seat, the gap is enough so the airbag can fully deployed before anything hit the airbag. Then it can work as a cusion to absorb impact. Provided you or the child buckle up la.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
  • New Honda City manual mentions you can turn off the front airbag, yet the switch has been left out in Malaysia spec model. Same on Subaru XV, or on Mazda. All of them do not allow you to turn off passenger airbag.

    Another issue with the child being placed on front seat is that parents are more likely to be distracted by the child.

    Please just remember you have a child in the back…it’s not groceries y’know. It’s your child.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1
  • orang biasa on Mar 26, 2018 at 9:55 pm

    It is true that who have kid below 12 years need a car seat to secure their safety when on the road. I have 2 kids, 2 and 5 years old, all sit car seat when they in car. No excuse said don’t want to sit car seat. I always told my friends always let kids sit the car seat. Sometimes i saw who sit luxury car but didn’t buy the seat for their baby or kids. I hope they consider this is a must item! I hope PaulTan or NGO or government also do a awareness campaign to let parents aware of how important of car seat, of course have to spell out the seat must meet the safety requirements.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 1
  • kiddd on Mar 26, 2018 at 11:57 pm

    No isofix for front seat..
    just hang your label “baby on board” at your driver window, so that, it will remind you your baby still inside your car when leaving..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1
  • This article is misleading. Booster seat and front facing child seat can be use on front passanger seat with airbag enable.

    Only rear facing child seat on front passanger seat, with airbag on is strictly forbid. However it can be use with airbag is switch off

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2
    • I agree. Althou front seats got no ISOFIX points, there are those properly designed for use with front seatbelts.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 28
      • john2 on Mar 29, 2018 at 3:48 pm

        Isofix is designed to secure a maximum combined weight (comprising both seat and child) of 33kg. You’ll still need the car’s seat belt when the baby and the seat weight exceeds 33kg!

        Isofix is for convenience and reduces chances of wrong installation and car seats installed by seat belt is NOT inferior to isofix installed ones.

        There are good isofix and badly manufactured isofix.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
    • Hafriz Shah (Member) on Mar 29, 2018 at 4:15 pm

      In the USA and Australia, placing a child on the front passenger seat, be it on a front-facing child seat or booster is completely forbidden.

      In most other countries, some leeway is allowed for this, but it is still recommended that children under 140 cm-tall are secured in appropriate seats mounted in the rear.

      As mentioned in the article above, placing a child in the front seat should only be considered as a last resort, and even then with the front passenger airbag turned off, with the seat pushed back as far as possible.

      However, select carmakers such as Volvo claims that you can now place a child in the front passenger seat (properly secured, of course) without deactivating the airbag. This is due to recent advancements introduced in airbag design, allowing it to offer protection for both children and adult occupants.

      This, however, is limited to newer vehicles only (Volvo claims this is applicable to models introduced as late as 2013), and may not cover all car makers across the board. So, it is still very much recommendable that you secure your child in the rear seats.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0
  • Mr. Loba Loba on Mar 27, 2018 at 7:31 am

    Again our minister talk without thinking. How to became a minister in the first place with such dimwitted thinking.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0
  • Too early to talk about WHERE to put the child seat. Many don’t even USE it. I have seen many parents just carry them on their lap.. or let their kids running around IN the car like monkeys

    Sad but true, safety awareness among Malaysians still very low. Some don’t wear seatbelt.

    Typical answer from them: Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2
  • 4G63T DSM on Mar 27, 2018 at 9:27 am

    Another half past 6 minister reading from a script maybe with very little idea about what her job entails.

    Most of us concerned parents already know why we should not put car seats or kids for that matter in the front seat. There is even a big warning sticker on/in your car.

    How could she not know?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0
  • Mokmok on Mar 27, 2018 at 9:41 am

    Every car seat nor every modern car have reminders that no carseat should be placed in the front is not recommended either airbag turned off or on, period..if you love your child dont’t compromise on their safety..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1
    • If u look closely, that reminder is only applicable to rear facing seats. As child grows older its advisable to put front facing as the larger child momentum might dislodge the chair if face rearwards. Rule of thumb, babies face rear, toddlers face forwards.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 27
  • PizzaBapa on Mar 27, 2018 at 10:27 am

    I always place my children at the back seat of my motorbike, car price expensive here, motorbike best for value for money and practical for our traffic condition, zoom zoom, faster reach destination less time spent on road hence safer for my children too.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1
  • Not Toyota Fan on Mar 27, 2018 at 11:53 am

    If JPJ want to be serious and gain the respect of rakyat, promote and enforce the use of child seats.

    So many families allow the child to roam free inside the car, some mothers even sit the child on her lap who will become her air bag when accident.

    JPJ stop wasting time on rhetoric like tinting or sticker on windows, if you really want to make a positive impact on Malaysian lives, this child seat issue is THE one to champion. Children lives are precious, be their champion.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

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