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Sharp rise in cases of kids not buckled up

  Tuesday, 24 l 08 l 2010 Source:  The Straits Times   
By: Mavis Toh

THE message to buckle up is still not being heard by many parents in Singapore.

More than 600 summonses were issued for offences related to child seats in the first half of this year, almost five times the 125 summonses in the same period last year. Most often, these drivers failed to put their children in child seats or to belt them up.

Also up are the number of motorists caught for seat belt-related offences. In the first half of this year, 4,697 such summonses were issued, compared with 3,982 over the same period last year.

In just eight days alone this month, there have been three accidents where child restraints were not used.

On Aug 14, an accident involving two cars along Queensway towards Jalan Bukit Merah resulted in four people being injured. Three children – aged six, eight and nine – sustained bruises to their faces and were taken to the National University Hospital.

On Aug 19, four children were injured when the car they were in hit a stationary car. A nine-year-old boy and a six-year-old girl fractured their collarbones, while the other two children, aged two and four, complained of pain in their thigh and arm respectively.

In the last case, a car collided with a taxi at the junction of Marine Vista Road last Saturday, and a seven-year-old girl had to be taken to KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital with pain in her abdomen.

Drivers who have passengers below the age of eight in their vehicles have to place them in approved child seats. Failure to do so can result in a $120 fine and three demerit points.

Housewife Tan Jing Ling, 36, is one parent who always straps her two-year-old in his child seat: “I know friends who don’t because their kids cry or because they think holding them in their arms is safer. But I know that’s no protection should an accident happen and the parent and child are thrown forward.”

Police spokesman Choo Hong Xian urged motorists, especially parents, to make it common practice to use child seats and restraints whenever they travel with children.

“An unsecured child can be thrown from the back seat to the front of the car by the impact of a crash, even if the vehicle is moving at just 50kmh,” he said.

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