Not securing children in car seats is a crime, the head of road safety promotion non-governmental organisation, Reaction, Marios Stavrou said on Monday.
The group called for a revision of the legislation concerning children’s car seats and the introduction of stricter penalties on drivers who do not put children in car seats.
“Unfortunately in Cyprus we daily witness children playing or moving aimlessly in the car or worse, standing between the seats. It is clear that in a collision even at 35 kilometres per hour, these children will suffer physical injury,” Stavrou said in an announcement.
Current legislation provides that children under 1.50 metres tall must be transported in the car with the appropriate child restraint system, in accordance with their weight, he said.
“It is a crime, for parents to properly wear a seat belt, but their children not, and a worse crime is the fact that many parents and grandparents hold children in their arms, let alone infants,” Stavrou said.
The car seat, he said, must be in line with the international United Nations standard for all EU member states – ECE R44 / 03 – or later, and must bear the capital letter `E` and a number which indicates the country of approval.
He added that manufacturers must also indicate the minimum and maximum weight of the child that can use the seat, while it must bear the word ‘Universal’ meaning it is compatible with all vehicles.
“The driver of the vehicle is responsible for the safe transportation of children under 16 years and the use of child restraint systems,” Stavrou said.
Every year, he said, more than 4,300 children are killed in the EU in road accidents, while one third of these deaths concern children who were passengers.