Tougher line on child seats

By Linda Hall

PARENTS who fail to strap children into car seats when driving could see them taken into care.

If a child not using one of the special seats dies in an accident, parents could also be accused of involuntary manslaughter.

Forty-six per cent of children who die in traffic accidents are not strapped in, found a study into road accident mortality rates for children under 14.

Of those who die while strapped into a car seat, only 18 per cent use them correctly, said Public Prosecutor Bartolome Vargas at the formal  presentation of the report.

Fifty-one per cent of children who died in the road accents analysed for the report would have lived if child-seats had been used, or used correctly, Vargas revealed.

Under new regulations, the traffic authorities will have to inform the Public Prosecution department in cases where parents accumulate three fines for not using car-seats.

The sections dealing with traffic offences and minors will then decide whether sufficient grounds exist for taking the child into care.

When a child dies in a traffic accident, pathologists will now determine if a child seat was used and whether or not it was adequate.  If no seat was used and they consider the child’s life could have been saved, the driver will face involuntary manslaughter charges.

Fines are important, Bartolome Vargas stressed, but instructing the public is more important still, he said.


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