Rear-facing travel seats are to be required for children aged over one and under two if amendments to the Regulations on Implementation of Child Safety Seats in Automobiles (小型車附載幼童安全乘坐實施及宣導辦法) take effect from Sept. 1 as the Ministry of Transportation and Communications plans, it said yesterday.
The date of implementation depends on the Ministry of Economic Affairs’ Bureau of Standards, Metrology and Inspection, which is to establish manufacturing standards, the transportation ministry said.
Articles 4 and 14 of the regulations state that children under the age of one, or who weigh less than 10kg, must be in rear-facing safety seats or beds, while those aged one to four who weigh 10kg to 18kg should be in safety seats in the rear.
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The amended version states that children younger than two should travel in rear-facing safety seats or beds, while children from the age of two and under four who weigh less than 18kg should be in a safety seat, preferably rear-facing, in the back seat.
Breaches of the amended regulations would incur fines of NT$1,500 to NT$3,000, the transportation ministry said.
Department of Railways and Highways official Lee Chao-hsien (李昭賢) said that the amendments were made after suggestions by experts and studying legislation in other countries.
The forces in a crash are tremendous and the notion that mothers can protect children by holding them is wrong, Lee said.
Citing studies by the American Academy of Pediatrics, Lee said that the cervical vertebrae in a child under two have not fully developed and whiplash could snap vertebrae.
Such injuries are hard to recover from, Lee said, adding that rear-facing safety seats offer more protection, as they distribute forces that might otherwise be put on a child’s cervical vertebrae and shoulders.
The removal of weight limitations for rear-facing seats is to encourage their continued use up to age two, the transportation ministry said.
The weight limits were instituted in 2001, but the metrics and standards have changed, it said.
Rear-facing seats are recommended for children over two, but that decision is up to parents based on a child’s weight, it said.
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