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It’s not enough to hold your child in a car – why Thais are being told to use car seats.

Thai Rath reported on the issue of car seats – a subject that most Westerners will be completely familiar with but many Thais are ignorant or misinformed about.

The influential and widely read news media said that there was a widely held misconception that holding onto your child tightly would save them in the event of an accident.

There was also resistance to the use of car seats because children kicked up a fuss when they were put in them and they are expensive and need changing as the children grow, said Thai Rath.

Some experts in vehicle safety were quoted in their feature story – they criticized the Thais for their attitudes and strongly advised the use of car seats to prevent serious injury and death to children.

Dr Thanapong Jinwong said that car seats were extremely important to protect children under nine or under 140 centimeters in height as there was no other effective way to ensure their safety.

Holding onto children tightly was useless in the event of a bad accident or sudden braking. the weight of the child would cause them to be propelled forward and it wouldn’t matter how tight you were holding them.

Dr Thanapong said there were many cases of children sitting in the centre of the back seat who had been propelled through the front windscreen in accidents.

It was even worse for parents who held children n front seats. Airbag deployment could easily kill them in an accident, he said.

Car seats should be in the back and people should follow manufacturers guidelines for fitting and direction of seating.

Very young children and babies usually face rearwards with older and heavier children later facing forwards.

The experts agreed that Thailand should follow the example of the west in the use and implementation of car seats.

Statistics show that their use can prevent serious injury and death to children by as much as 60 to 70%.

And as far as cost goes the experts posed a salient question – what price do you put on your child’s life?

Thai VisaThai Rath

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