THE Land Transportation Office (LTO) urged parents and guardians to use car seats for children ages 12 years old and below or up to 4'11" in height following the implementation of Republic Act (RA) 11229, or the Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act.

"To us parents, adopting the policy to our lives is simply an exercise of due diligence of a father's ordinary care for our children," deputy director of the LTO Law Enforcement Service Robert Valera said in a virtual press briefing hosted by Buckle Up Kids PH on Friday, January 29.

Valera said the use of car seats is applicable to all "covered private motor vehicle" as stated under Republic Act 11229, or the Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act. The car seat used must be suited to the child's age, height, or weight.

The different types of child restraint system (CRS) include rear-facing (0-15 months or 2 ft, 8 inches and below, 0-13 kgs), Forward-facing (15 months to 4 years, 2'3-4'4 height, 9-36 kgs), and booster (4-12 years, 4' to 4'11 height, 15-36 kgs).

The agency heightens such implementation following 12,487 deaths recorded in 2018 alone due to road accidents.

Valera said the law further requires that children must not sit in the front seats of vehicles and are never left unaccompanied by an adult, even if strapped in a child car seat.

Violators of RA 11229 will be fined P1,000 for the first offense, P2,000 for the second, and for any succeeding offenses -- P5,000 and suspension of the driver's license for a year.

Valera clarified that penalties will be imposed once enough time, around 3 to 6 months, has passed for parents and motor vehicle owners to prepare for compliance.

But he assured parents that the early stages of enforcement will involve warnings and dissemination of information for two to six months to ensure smooth enforcement of the measure. They will not issue traffic citation tickets to violators yet.