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Children safety car seats in Malaysia, start using them now!

Why are safety car seats important? Motor vehicle crashes are the No. 1 killer of kids!

Why? In many cases, children are either not properly buckled into their safety seats or parents don’t realize that a booster seat is vital to ensuring children fit safely in their vehicle’s seat belt. It is probably the most overlooked thing here in Malaysia where I have personally seen many parents quite happy to not use a safety car seat or a booster seat. Most common is where the parent holds on to the child at the back seat. Quite a famous scene here in Malaysia.

Dear Parents,

I have a son who is about to turn three in a couple of months and I cannot stress enough importance on using a safety car seat. We are truly unlucky that such safety rulings have not been enforced here in Malaysia. In most foreign countries, it is compulsory to use a safety car seat for children.



The objective of this post is to introduce you to safety car seats if you are not familiar with them and hopefully, you will take action by installing them in your car for the sake of your kids. This post may be long but PLEASE read it!

Let’s start with the three types of car seats most commonly used.

1. Rear-Facing Car Seat

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Illustration of a rear-facing car seat

Age Group: Up to 2 years old

In April 2011 the American Academy of Pediatrics(AAP) published new guidelines on children in car seats, recommending that children ride rear-facing until at least age 2. Yes, you read it right. Two! This includes newborns so you are not holding that baby of yours when you leave the hospital but he/she is going to be comfortably buckled up in a rear-facing safety car seat.

A lot of good car seats actually start of being rear-facing and then allowing you to swap it around to a forward facing one.

It is also important to know that research has shown that children aged 0-2 are 5 times safer riding in a rear-facing car seat versus a forward facing one. A 2007 study in the journal Injury Prevention showed that children under age 2 are 75 percent less likely to die or be severely injured in a crash if they are riding rear-facing.

“The ‘age 2’ recommendation is not a deadline, but rather a guideline to help parents decide when to make the transition.

2. Forward-Facing Seat

ff_convertible_installed_w_child

Illustration of a forward-facing car seat

Age Group: 2 to 7 years old (Depends on the weight supported by the car seat)

The front-facing safety car seat can be used once the child has passed two years of age. It should be locked in place safely with a seat belt or the latches which come in your car. (Follow the instructions that come with the seat or get a professional to help). A regulation passed in 2002 made it compulsory for all US manufactured cars to have  LATCH system for securing safety car seats. There is also a standardized system called ISOFIX. Cars are required to have ISOFIX points to help secure the safety seat.

Shocking Truth: Most Malaysian cars do not have the ISOFIX point. We use  a Perodua ALZA which does not have this ISOFIX point making it rather difficult to properly install the car seat.

3. Booster Seats

Backless Booster Seat

Illustration of a backless booster car seat

Age Group: 4-12 years old

Once your child is tall enough, you can then move them to a booster seat. A booster is a belt positioning device – the booster’s entire job is to make sure the seat belt stays on the proper parts of the child’s body. The key difference between a safety car seat and a booster seat is that for the safety car seat, you use the 5 point harness which comes with the seat but for the booster, the child is secured by the car seat belt.

When do you move away from the booster seat? A child can stop using the booster seat once they pass the 5-step test.

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It is important to note that most kids are actually 10-12 years old before they can get off the booster seat. Surprised? I hope that after reading this, you will take the necessary action of installing safety car seats in your cars.

What if I have three kids and all require a safety car seat?

You can install three safety car seats at the back. This is not uncommon but may not work for all cars.

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Three infant car seats installed in a 2007 Volvo XC90

It would be a good time to evaluate the car you drive or also the options of using two cars if the car seats cannot fit but this is certainly not an acceptable excuse to endanger your child’s life!

There are plenty of information out there on car seats and this is something I urge every parent to take seriously. You may feel fun holding your child in the car while it moves but it cost the life of your precious one. Your car should not move until everyone is buckled up.

If you are wondering what Zeenee and I chose for Saivhes, we picked a car seat from First Years. I posted this back in March 2011 but you can still read it here and get some info on this particular safety car seat.

Lastly, please share this post with any parent you know. Encourage them to use a car seat and hopefully such laws will soon be passed in Malaysia.

Featured Image Source: Flickr@seandreilinger

Kugan Kumar

V.Kugantharan is the founder of Joy With Music, where he teaches adults and kids the joys of playing the piano. He also runs a web design agency, 504 Studios. A father of a very "opinionated" four-year-old, he divides his time between his passions -- blogging, reading, music, design and books.

Comments (9) Write a comment

  1. Where can we get this Booster seats age group 6 to 8 ?
    Used are better ,Thanks ,
    Please reply ,need to get ASap

    Reply

  2. Where can we get this Booster seats age group 6 to 8 ?
    Used are better ,Thanks ,
    Please reply ,need to get ASap
    And i have Perodua Alza Advance..so what to do ?

    Reply

  3. Pingback: Some of the Top Posts on Kugantharan.com Over The Years | V.Kugantharan

  4. If you don’t figure in the laeilgty of car seat use or the safety issues presented by seat belts that are meant for adult sized humans, I think we do it simply because we enjoy the inconvenience of a car seat. You know, having to get it in the car correctly, having to make sure the child is strapped in, the fight that goes along with it. We really enjoy that part. Then there’s the extra space it takes up, the way it wears the car seat, the chance of something getting under the seat and staining the actual car seat, and the inconvenience of having to transfer it to other cars if you are planning an outing where another person is driving. Of course, having a child whose legs are really too long so that they rest mid thigh on the edge of the seat and their feet are always “tingly” makes it even more fun.My children both stayed in theirs until they were eight which is the law in our state. My son chose to use it longer because he was still a little short and was able to see out the window better when he was in his seat.Oh, and I also miss the big long metal slide that left me with burns clear down my backside at least once a summer.References :

    Reply

  5. Hi,
    I am getting rear facing child seat for my grandson who is about 7 months old BUT my car does not have an isofix point(anchor point I presume) so How do I secure the seat.?
    Much appreciate if you could let me know
    Thanks
    Regards,
    Chng

    Reply

    • Hi

      My car does not have an isofix point as well. But What we did was use the seat belts to secure the seat. then the front co-driver seat is also moved back to sort of lock the seat in place if you feel it is a bit loose. Ensure that the seatbelt is secured as tightly as possible.

      Reply

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