When it comes to Children's Road Safety there are significant differences in applicable law depending on the continent in question, and there can even be differences among the countries of that continent. Many of these differences stem from the different certification systems for child restraint systems; others can be seen in the country's legislation (or in the absence thereof); and finally there are also cultural differences.
When it comes to children's safety, it is highly advisable to be familiar with the de regulations of the country you are visiting. In this way you'll know what you are dealing with, and in the case of Argentina we'll take a look at the general regulations as well as any peculiarities to be borne in mind depending on what city you may be visiting.
In 2011, it was found in Argentina that 74 percent of children traveling in cars and vans were not wearing any kind of restraint system: neither seat belts nor a child seat. In 2011 and 2012 a two-phase survey was conducted to determine the true level of use of restraint systems in the country.
The Argentine National Road Safety Agency set up various observation points in 133 towns in 2011 and in 143 in 2012, and the conclusion in 2012 was quite illuminating: most people (84.8 percent) claimed that they always used child restraint systems, yet when it came down to it very few (37.8 percent) actually did so effectively.
Today, campaigns are being rolled out to raise Argentinian drivers' awareness of the benefits of child restraint systems, though there is still a long way to go [source].
The study "Children's Road Safety: Use of child restraint systems: Analysis of the situation in Latin America and the Caribbean”, by Fundación MAPFRE, provides a detailed description of the regulations in every country on the continent and the islands, and in the case of Argentina it can be seen that following the study period (2011-2013) child mortality in the country was 6.5 percent. One of the conclusions of the study was that there is a need for stronger and more specific regulations that cover every possible situation and do not leave any loopholes.
On 10 January 2018, Argentina passed a legislative change which establishes that "children under the age of 10 must travel securely on the rear seat with an approved child restraint system suitable for their weight and size". Previously, Argentina only established that children under 10 years old should travel on the rear seats of the vehicle and the use of child car seats was only compulsory for children under the age of 4.This law is insufficient because age is not a valid indicator for this type of situation: the valid measurement is height. If we compare this to Spanish legislation, which specifies that children under the age of 18 and shorter than 135 cm in height must travel in the back seats, we can see a clear difference. This is also the case when looking at Europe-wide legislation.
Regulations can vary depending on the city or province in question. For example, in Buenos Aires the law states that children under 12 or less than 150 cm in height must travel in the back seats in an approved CRS. This type of regulation provides the highest level of child safety.
You can check out the applicable legislation in the different countries of Latin America and the Caribbean in this infographic.