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49 per cent of children in Chile use car seats

El 49% de los niños en Chile utiliza sillita de coche

09/03/2021

34% of children under 9 years of age travel without a child restraint system (CRS) in Chile, as has been reported by the National Traffic Safety Commission (CONASET) an entity that is part of the Ministry of Transport and Telecommunications of the Government of Chile. In fact, only 49% travel with a car seat. This data shows that although there has been a reduction in child road accidents in recent years, there is still a lot of work to be done. As a reminder, wearing a child restraint system correctly reduces the probability of death by approximately 90% in infants and between 54% and 80% in younger children, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The National Traffic Safety Commission CONASET also highlights that, in addition, 11% of children travel in the arms of another passenger. This is very dangerous behavior and one of the most serious mistakes that can be made. A study and crash test carried out by Fundación MAPFRE reveals that in the case of a baby, the adult's head can collide with the baby's head and both collide with the dashboard. The child may be crushed. In addition, if the adult is not wearing a seat belt, the consequences for both would be much more serious. You can see all the details in this computer image.

The consequences of this behavior can be seen in the crash test:

Another fact provided by the aforementioned organization is that only 6% are wearing seat belts despite their young age. We must remember that seat belts are designed for adults and fastening a child with a seat belt and without child restraint system can have serious consequences. In the work mentioned above, the consequences of a 6 year old child traveling without a child restraint system and only wearing a seat belt have also been demonstrated. The belt is not correctly fastened. For example, the upper part does not pass properly over the shoulder area, which can lead to neck injuries. The crash test also proved that the test dummy slid forward, making the seat belt exert pressure on its abdomen which could cause a "submarine" effect. 

Here we discuss how a seat belt should be properly fastened and when it is time to move from child restraints to adult seat belts.

CHILD ROAD ACCIDENTS IN FIGURES

Road traffic crashes in Chile are the second cause of external death in children aged 1-14 years and the fourth cause in general.Specifically, children under the age of 14 who have been killed in a road traffic crash have decreased by 43%. 

In 2014, the year in which the first regulatory changes regarding the safety of the very young were introduced, this downward trend is already showing. In 2015, the age for children in child restraints and rear seats was raised, weights were included and penalties for non-use were increased. Likewise, in 2016, it was established that child restraint systems marketed in Chile must be accredited by the Ministry of Transport and Telecommunications and must previously comply with the European (R44-04 or R-129) or North American (FMVSS213) certification in force. 

It should be noted that between 2011 and 2019, children died mostly as passengers (54%) in vehicles and 41% as pedestrians. 5% were cyclists. 

With the new regulatory updates, since 2016 there has been a 57% reduction in children under 12 years of age killed as passengers in private vehicles. 

REGULATION IN CHILE

Children up to the age of 12 must be restrained in the rear seat using a seat belt or child restraint system and up to the age of 9 they must use a child restraint system appropriate to their age, size and weight.For more details please visit our Regulations section.

Failure to comply with this obligation entails fines of 5 to 3 UTM, i.e. between $76,467 and $152,934. A judge could even rule the suspension of the driving license according to the situation. 

Although it is not compulsory, at Fundación MAPFRE we recommend that children under 150 cm in height use an approved child restraint system in accordance with their height and weight. At this height the seat belt can be fastened correctly and without risk to the child. 

In this regard, it should be noted that CONASET offers a list of accredited car seats. This way, parents can check whether the child restraint system is approved and can be used in the country. The list provides the model of the child seat, the accreditation and access to the technical data sheet. 

It also runs the program #RevisaTuSilla Online (Check you car seat online), which aims to offer free advice so that families can check, learn and find out more about the correct installation of child restraint systems. The workshop is given by a specialized CONASET technician and is conducted online. 

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