Belting up

carseat w

China’s notoriously detailed Highway Code hardly lacks rules.

But until now there has been no stipulation that young children need to travel in safety seats.

As a result, 98% of parents do not use car seats for kids, preferring instead to put their children on their laps in the front, or to sit them in the back seat unsecured, according to two recent surveys cited by Xinhua.

All this may be about to change as Shanghai becomes the first city in China to make it mandatory for under-fours to travel in specially designed car seats.

Last week Bloomberg reported that the rule might soon apply to the whole country as well. “There is imminent need for China to include child passenger-safety requirements into the legal framework. Any delay in this means more casualties and damage,” the news agency quoted Pan Zengyou of the China Automotive Technology and Research Centre as saying.

Some 18,500 children under 14 die every year as result of car accidents, Xinhua reports, even though China is one of the biggest manufacturers of babys’ car seats.

But as one person pointed out on weibo a few days after the rules came into force, drivers may need more education about how to apply them. “Just saw one driver complying with our city’s new law,”  wrote one

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