Starting September 5, 2022, car seats for children will be mandatory in Thailand as announced in the kingdom’s Royal Gazette. The main objective is to protect the children from further damage or possible death in case of accidents.
The use of a seat cushion together with the car’s seatbelt is also allowed for those who cannot afford to have a dedicated car seat for kids.
Statista.com reported on its website that as of February 2022, Thailand has 7,500 minor injuries and 1,860 serious injuries in road accidents. In 2015, Thailand got the record of being the second deadliest road in the world.
The recent compulsory requirement is in line with the Land Traffic Act where Section 123 of the law says that a child six years old and below should be seated on a car seat for the child’s safety in a moving vehicle.
Thai police authorities are expected to release details and specific regulations in the coming days as some in the public already raised questions about how this new law will reflect on situations where children ride public transportation such as taxis.
Children who cannot use car seats due to health or physical reasons are exempted.
Realizing that car seats are expensive amounting to around 10,000 baht per piece, authorities amended the law to allow less expensive car seat cushions to be used instead, which are priced around 600-700 baht each. Seat cushion allows an occupant to be elevated to secure an effective restraint with the normal car seatbelts.
A study of implementing car seats for children in the Philippines and Malaysia shows that the requirement became chaotic in its early phase of implementation due to the high price of car seats, hence, seat cushions are allowed.
Thai authorities encourage the police force to be lenient on its implementation and provide an adjustment period for the motorists. Also, a massive information drive is necessary to educate the public to know the needed steps to take to ensure compliance with the new law.
Meanwhile, local car seat production and selling in Thailand are expected to increase in the coming days. The lowering of import tax for car seats and promotion of locally made ones are suggested for the government to take action as soon as possible.