There’s a new portable children’s booster seat in town that’s going to change everything for families in Singapore. We know the budget-busting option of buying or leasing a car isn’t possible for many of us, and taxis and private car services such as Grab and Uber are often the easiest means of nailing the school run, getting toddlers to playgroup or simply doing the weekly supermarket shop. But hands up if you aren’t travelling safely with your kids in taxis or Uber rides, because you don’t want to carry around a huge booster seat? If you haven’t heard about the mifold yet, this brilliant redesign of the booster seat for kids age four and up is small enough to carry in your bag, super easy to set up (our kids have already figured it out), and it’s affordable at $99! And for parents with three kids above four who need to fit the whole gang in the back seat of the family car, the compact mifold finally solves the ‘three across’ dilemma. The mifold is approved by Singapore Traffic Police, but is also certified to European crash test standards. Even better, thanks to Taxi Baby Singapore, we have five to give away! Read on for why you need this in your life, right now.
Now here’s the part where we have just come right out and say it – here at HoneyKids, more than one mum has admitted to having risked their children’s lives by travelling in taxis around Singapore and not using approved safety restraints for their little ones. We are those mothers who have jumped into a cab with bubba in an Ergo, thinking it was ‘better than nothing’. We’re guilty of fitting our kiddos into adult seat belts, riding with a toddler in our lap and – really – just hoping for the best. But we’ve started afresh – and so can you.
First, get to know the local laws around car safety for kids
You know you should be using a proper child restraint, but here’s a quick breakdown of Singapore’s car safety laws for kids – and why Grab and Uber drivers won’t pick you up if you don’t have a booster seat for your children. Kids riding in cars in Singapore must be secured with a child restraint that’s appropriate for their height and weight. As Uber and Grab cars are private vehicles by law, you MUST use a booster seat (or Ridesafer vest, which is suitable for kids 13.6kg and ages three and up) for each child travelling in the car. Can’t be bothered and the driver doesn’t mind this time? You’re breaking the law. When you get caught, the fine is $1,000 or imprisonment for up to three months. Taxis in Singapore are exempt from child restraint laws, as they are a form of public transport. But remember, taxis aren’t exempt from the laws of physics – if you’re involved in an accident, your child could suffer serious injuries even when wearing an adult seatbelt, which just isn’t suitable for protecting their small bodies.
Lucky for us (and our kids) we just caught up with Elise Mawson, founder of Taxi Baby Singapore who talked us through some great options for our tinier tots, and gave us the low-down on the mifold.
Elise, why do you think the mifold is such a game-changer?
While modern parenting in Singapore has come a long way, the sad fact is that only 6% of children in Singapore use an appropriate car seat or booster seat when they travel in cars. This has resulted in some shocking injury rates in Singapore, with three times as many babies being fatally injured in car accidents compared to the US (based on 2014 ICA data, adjusted for birth rate). Enter the mifold. This game-changing booster seat is small, light and convenient enough to take everywhere and use every time our kids put on a seat belt. We no longer have to choose between convenience and safety – we can have our cake and eat it too.
What would you want parents to keep in mind when it comes to car safety for kids?
We often get ourselves into a routine or habits which foster complacency. The first few times we do (or don’t do) something, we might feel uncomfortable or guilty, but after we’ve done it for a few weeks, we think nothing of it. This can happen with not using child restraints in vehicles. The important part to remember is that children’s bodies are not as strong as adults’, and they need more protection than we do. Children can’t be sufficiently protected by the adult seat belts alone, and especially not protected in our arms. Furthermore, in an accident, our survival instinct will override our maternal/paternal instinct and we’ll throw up our hands to protect ourselves.
That’s why you so often hear the words ‘appropriate child restraint’. A one-year-old’s skeleton is very different from a two-year-old’s skeleton, which is again different from a three-year-old’s, and so on. When choosing a child restraint, we need to find one which can provide an appropriate amount of protection in the event of an accident.
Thanks to Taxi Baby, we have 5 mifolds with a carry bag to give away, valued at $125 each! For your chance to win, simply fill in your details in the entry form below. This competition ends 17 April and winners will be announced here on 18 April. Good luck!
* By entering this competition, you’ll also be signing up for our HoneyKids newsletter, which will keep you in the loop with great reads and the inside scoop on our great events and giveaways! You may also be contacted by our competition sponsor, Taxi Baby. See here for full competition terms and conditions.
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How to survive two kids under two in Singapore
Learning to drive in Singapore: everything you need to know about tests, lessons and licences