Everything you need to know about car seats for kids in Singapore

Lionel Kong

Taxis and Private hire cars

Think of it as a loophole or practical reasoning, but taxis in Singapore are exempted from the child restraint requirement. The only concession to child safety is that children below the height of 1.35m can only ride in the rear of the taxi.

Private hire cars however, need to be equipped with at least one child restraint device for children aged one to seven years old and  below 1.35 metres in height.

If you have your own portable child seat, this not only gives the child a sense of familiarity in a strange car, but also the assurance to know that the seat is clean and well maintained by yourself. 

Do you carry your baby in a carrier on your chest? Think twice if you think that’s safe in a car or taxi. Tests have shown that the force of a crash can cause babies to fly out of carriers, which themselves can even rip apart on impact. A baby carrier is designed only to hold a static load. An accident will increase the baby’s weight by up to five-fold momentarily and overload the carrier’s weight limit.

Whiplash can also cause the parent’s head to strike the baby with a force enough to kill them. It’s actually a better option to strap a small child into their own seat belt than to wear them or strap them into your lap. It’s not ideal, but it IS slightly safer. 

Cars with built-in booster seats

Yes they do exist! Volkswagen’s current range of MPVs have two integrated boosters fitted to the middle row. Typically only suitable children over 1.1 metres in height, cars with such features do make for great ad-hoc child transporters such as when you have to suddenly ferry a niece or nephew along with your own children for impromptu playdates.

R129 and R44/04 safety compliance standards

When out shopping for your first child car seat you may come across R129 and R44/04 standards. What are they?

The R129 standard was introduced to Europe in 2013 in an effort to make travel for babies and children even safer. It’s newer than the previous ECE R44 standard, and R129 certified seats are put through more detailed tests for improved head and neck protection.

It is still safe to use an R44 car seat, but expect the R44 standard to be phased out eventually.

R129 standards differ from R44 in that you choose the seat depending on your child’s height, not weight. You also have to use ISOFIX attachment points, which fit the car seat’s base directly to your car’s chassis.

An ISOFIX mounting point

R44 certified car seats selections are based on your child’s weight, not height, and are suitable for children from birth up to 12 years old. They also do not require ISOFIX mounting point so are more adaptable to older cars. Car seats that meet the R44 standard are tested for rear and frontal impact, but side-impact crashes are not tested. 

All up, there are many options to keep children safe in cars even if you don’t actually own a car to have a seat permanently fitted. The onus is on parents to educate their children about safety in vehicles, so remember to be prepared to transport the newborn and keep up the safety message as they grow. 

Previous: The child seat options you can choose from

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About the Author

Lionel Kong

An old hand from the bad old days of crazy COEs, the straight-shooting, ex-CarBuyer editor is back in the four-wheeled world. Rumours that he went to another country to start a Judas Priest tribute band are unfounded.

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