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Child seats on taxis, private-hire cars: Onus on parents, not Govt, to ensure safety

Member of Parliament Louis Ng's suggestion that the Government provide each taxi and private-hire car with two child seats drew a range of reactions from TODAY’s readers.

Member of Parliament Louis Ng's proposal that the Government provide each taxi and private-hire vehicle with two child restraints drew a range of responses from TODAY’s readers.

Member of Parliament Louis Ng's proposal that the Government provide each taxi and private-hire vehicle with two child restraints drew a range of responses from TODAY’s readers.

With child booster seats shown to be effective in saving lives, Member of Parliament (MP) Louis Ng suggested last week that the Government provide each taxi and private-hire vehicle with two such devices for improved safety.

The proposal drew a range of reactions from TODAY’s readers. Many disagreed with the MP’s suggestion, saying that the onus is on parents to ensure their children’s safety on the roads. Others, however, concurred with the idea, but proposed that taxi firms foot the bill and that drivers be allowed to charge a small fee for the seats.

There are two things that came to mind when I read this. First, isn’t this the responsibility of parents? They should use a carrier for their toddler or baby that can be converted into a child car seat. Why is this responsibility transferred to a taxi driver? By the same logic, should bus drivers or companies provide wheelchairs in buses for anyone who needs it? Second, where does the taxi driver store the child car seats when they are not in use and he is carrying the maximum number of passengers, with luggage and other items filling his taxi boot to capacity? Has this idea been thoroughly thought through before being brought up in Parliament? DOREEN CHAN 

Doreen Chan, I totally agree with you. It is about upbringing. The child should be familiarised with being placed in a child car seat from a young age. It is also about safety and, when the upbringing is right, we do not need any law for this. So you own a child car seat despite not owning a car, and can use it while taking a taxi or private-hire vehicle or while renting a car. AZLAN KASIM 

The point is, if the parents are responsible for it, then this practice will definitely work. But, if you depend on the drivers most of the time, not all drivers will bother as the kids do not belong to them and it is pointless to make the drivers have booster seats if some use them, but others don't. JASON LOW 

As a parent of two children, I take responsibility for my children’s safety when they are in transit and I would rather take action and do what I can as a parent instead of waiting for regulations and initiatives. My rationale is simple: Should we meet with an unfortunate accident, who will suffer the most? No insurance or amount of payout can compensate for the damage done. I carried a foldable booster seat for my child even when I was travelling overseas with them when they were younger. Why rely on others when you can play your part? CHRISTINA MAY 

Why must the authorities give everything? The Government need not provide everything. If it is for safety, then please make it compulsory to own one. If the authorities are not going to provide the seats, then do we not have to use them? CINDY YAP 

It is quite difficult to maintain the cleanliness of these restraints as most mums are clean freaks. Will taxi drivers clean them after each use? STEPHANIE GUEE

Providing all private-hire-vehicle and taxi drivers with booster seats means costs will be high. Storage space will be needed when they are not in use, which could be 90 per cent of the time. Drivers may simply leave them at home and avoid passengers with kids. Does this solve the problem? No. The solution is to educate parents. It is, after all, their responsibility for their child’s safety. The Government can subsidise the purchase of booster seats, maybe as part of the Baby Bonus scheme. SYAFIQ ISKANDAR  

Syafiq Iskandar, then the issue will be mandating that parents carry child seats because, as long as it is not mandated, it will not be done. It is, however, also about balancing this with the need to encourage more couples to have kids and go car-lite. With another “hassle”, it pushes more couples to not have kids, or not have kids until they can afford a car. If parents need to bring their own car seats, then what is more likely to happen is that more parents will find that it's better to own a car. MATTHEW LEE 

A taxi or private-hire vehicle’s boot is already so small. Sometimes, it is hard to even fit luggage. Where to keep the child booster seats when not in use? Why does our Government need to fund it? Why are we pushing parental responsibilities to transport providers? I am not against child safety on our public transport, but don’t just find an easy way out. SURESH KUMAR 

He means well but, honestly, why should the Government be paying for the child booster seats? How many private-hire vehicles and taxis are there? How many seats would be needed? A whole lot of money and more load on the car. Having just one would take up a lot of space. The onus should be on the parents. DESIREE M TAY

Even if the Government provides car seats, the parents may refuse to use them, saying their kids would cry. Let parents be responsible for their children’s safety. MARUKO CHAN

I'm a parent and all for safety and child seats, but that should be the parents' responsibility. No need to be a nanny state. LISA HONG-PING KONG 

Shouldn’t taxi companies provide them instead? LIN LIM

I have three young kids; all of them are two years apart. If you roll out mandatory child seats for each in a taxi, I have to book two taxis to go out. The Certificate of Entitlement is already so pricey and now you want to increase costs for taxis, too? BIN AHZAM ABU UWAIS 

Bin Ahzam Abu Uwais, it is for the safety of your children. SUE NG

It has to be made mandatory. Period. JASON BOH

I agree, provided taxi drivers are allowed to charge a small fee for it. FRANK YOUNG 

I honestly think this is a great suggestion, but there are hygiene issues. And it is unlikely they will use it because it is a hassle, since you need to put it into place and take it off afterwards. ADRIAN WONG

The point is, make child seats mandatory across all vehicles. Why should there be an exception for taxis? For parents who don’t want to use the seats provided in the taxis over cleanliness concerns, bring your own. TEO JEN SEN JOHN 

Child seats save lives, so make it compulsory by law, including in taxis. The Ministry of Transport can mandate a percentage of taxis and private-hire vehicles be equipped with child seats. MICHAEL ENG

Good that he is proposing for our Government to take the lead in providing child booster seats for taxis and private-hire vehicles. Once the means are available, then it is time to change the law for it to be made mandatory. There have been so many instances where car seats have saved numerous lives. NATSEM VAD 

These comments were first posted to TODAY’s Facebook page. They have been edited for clarity, accuracy and length.

Related topics

child car seat taxi private-hire car road safety public transport Louis Ng

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