Shall kids be safe in our cars?

Shall kids be safe in our cars?

The social media has been very active over the topic of whether to install child restraints in cars or not by bringing pros and cons. Some people consider it as luxury, the others — necessity.

Let’s address the issue from the professional point of view.  The issue of safety enhancement by itself is a briliant idea and undoubtedly acceptable for all. But the practical application of this prposed decree change may cause problems in several ways.

But before that an important note: by the RA Government decree of 28.06.2007 it is already forbidden to transport children under 12 years old without seat belts of child restraints. The new bill is just an amendment.

Nevertheless, both the previous decree and the proposed version raise several questions, such as:

  1. Why 12-year is chosen as age limit? First of all, it is important to take into account not the age or weight, but the height. The WHO defines an average age-related standards, which can be used to indicate the must height limit for using child restraints or seat belt as, for instance, an 11 years old child may have a typical height of 13 years old one or vice versa. In such cases, stressing the age of 7-12 is not appropriate. Thus, the criterion should not be the age, but the height.
  2. What to do in cases, if a car is not equipped with the possibility to have seat belts or child restraints. Are we going to have selective safety?
  3. How to solve the problem of families having more than two children? We mean both technical (problem of placement) and financial aspects.
  4. How is the decree going to deal with the taxis, as almost none of them are furnished with child restraints, or the public transports, in which it is simply impossible to execute the decree?

We are glad to note that there is a great interest and concern for the sphere. We propose that besides adoption of the decree  to prepare the society by raising their awareness about the importance of child restraints and seat belts in cars, as well the infrastructures. It is also possible to make safe the lives of small citizens of Armenia through additional public financial support, rent or grant programs. In parallel to this, it is necessary to gradually make compulsory the usage of seat belts and child restraints in personal cars, public transport and taxis.

As an organization with long-term experience and a strong professional capacity, we propose to initiate a public discussion that will greatly assist in the comprehensive disclosure of the problems and the outcome of the solutions, as well as raising awareness of the public in terms of road safety.