Why Malaysia Car Seat Law Only Allowed ECE Car Seat?

Many parents are not aware of the guidelines in Malaysia for the child car seat. Many announcements and many awareness programs have been all over the newspaper and Social Media platform. Many parties are still hoping that there will be changes to this Child Seat Mandatory Law. Many parents do not understand that the main objective of the laws is to protect the child in a moving vehicle.


Dealing with parents and educating them on the child car seat. We noticed their lots of challenges for parents to select the best and suitable child car seat for their child. Apart from the cost of the child car seat, the knowledge and the awareness about this item is very low. Many think that this is not necessary as the car crashes will not happen whereas some claim that they are a careful driver. 


Do you know that the accident rate in Malaysia is among the highest in the world? If everyone is so careful, we should be among the lowest accidents rate in the world. According to statistics, there are more than 7000 death a year involving car accidents in Malaysia yearly.


Nevertheless, this is not the topic we want to discuss today. We want to share with Malaysia parents why the United Nations Regulation (UNR) car seat is being chosen. 


Let's start with the most simple one. 


  • World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations

Malaysia has signed an agreement on 4 April 2006 as a member of this Working Party. There are a total of 62 countries (As of September 2020) that have signed this Working Party agreement and Malaysia is no. 52 on the list. Due to this, all vehicles in Malaysia will be approved and following these regulations. Allowing child car seats that had been approved by these regulations is the best match.


  • Different in the approval process

For UNR car seats, all car seats are approved by the certification authority before it is available in the market. All UNR car seats will need to have a UNR ECE sticker (also called Orang Sticker). All UNR car seats will need to be re-access for every two years. There will be an approval number on the sticker that the authority can verify, the government can save resource without needing to re-access these approved car seats. The cost of the approval is at the expense of the manufacturer and not on the government and the certification authority will be the one monitoring the compliance.


The FMVSS car seat will go through the self-certification program. The brand owner or manufacturer needs to follow standard guidelines, there is no need for the authority or safety agency to certify before the car seats can be imported or sold in the market. If noncompliance is found after the test, the brand owner or the manufacturer will be penalized, follow up by a recall process. There will be lots of resources required for the government to access these car seats and the process. 


  • Easier Control for the importation of UNR Car Seat

If some of you have read the articles on how to choose a car seat in Malaysia, there is a part where we mentioned that all car seat standards are different? And of course, everyone will tell us that their car seat standard is the BEST.


For the UNR child car seat, as mentioned in the previous point; due to the approval process. Our government can verify the approval information by using the system that was available to all the members of the Working Party. And the government only needs to liaise with one party for verifications of the child car seat imported into Malaysia. 


If we allowed other standards of the car seat in Malaysia. There are way too many standards to understand and learn, with different test philosophies. Parents will get more confused with many standards of car seats. The government will have a tough time controlling many standards of car seats in Malaysia. Thus giving more flexibility for other brands to "self-certify" their car seats and harder to control the import.


  • Following countries like Sweden and Germany

Many developed countries look at Sweden and Germany (European countries) when it comes to safety. Both countries are the leading countries for safety standards. People in the safety industries will be delighted to have the opportunity to visit any of these 2 countries to learn from them in safety.


We do have parents debating on the features of the car seat that some other standard features are better when compared to the ECE R car seats. And this is the main reason why they fought it to be available for the parents in Malaysia. Think of countries like Sweden, Germany, Norway, United Kingdom that have been using ECE R44 and their child casualty rate is also among the lowest in the world. These countries have been adopting ECE R car seat for many years and yet they are doing fine. These countries will have all the problems as we do -obesity children, a car that without top tether or Isofix, Car Seat ECE R 44 that some claim not good features, and many more..


Nevertheless, let's face the facts that only ECE R car seats will be available only in Malaysia in the future. Let's work together in getting the distributors or the brand owner to design a better car seat that can suit our Malaysian market. Our FIRST steps are to get every child on the correct child seat for now. Let's work towards this objective and create awareness to get more parents to put their child on the correct child car seat now. All related parties should work together to create more awareness and help our Malaysian parents. Combine all our resources to make it successful, instead of wasting resources sharing info that is against the government guidelines. 


Malaysia Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS) was nominated by the Ministry of Transport (MOT) in preparing the car seat guideline. Other relevant governments department will be following these guidelines as soon as the directive from the ministry on the implementation starts. 


If parents would like to understand and know more about the car seat guidelines implementation in Malaysia and would like to help more parents, you can join the Malaysia Child Occupant Safety Training Program (MycostP) by the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS), and get yourself certified as Child Occupant Safety Advisor (COSA). The fee is RM200 for a ONE day course. You can visit their website for more information from time to time.

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