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Compulsory child seats for cars in Japan?
  1. Tatsuhiro Yamanaka
  1. Department of Child Health, National Children's Castle, Jingumae 5-53-1, Shibuyaku , Tokyo, Japan 150-0001 (Tel: +81 33 797 5667, fax: +81 33 797 5676, e-mail: CXP03223{at}nifty.ne.jp)

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    The National Police Agency considered imposing a legal obligation on drivers to put their child passengers in child safety seats in November 1998. According to a survey by the agency between 1992 and 1997, the incidence of death among passengers under 6 years of age was about nine times higher when child seats were not being used. Likewise, the chances of serious injury were about three times higher among children who were not in child seats than those who were. The National Police Agency instructs drivers to place young passengers in child seats through its traffic safety lectures and textbooks at driving schools. However, only 8.3% of drivers surveyed by the Japan Automobile Federation in May 1998 said that they take such measures compared with 7.9% in 1996.

    A recent survey by the National Police Agency showed high levels of support among the public for imposing a legal obligation for placing children in child seats. Over 70% of the 1700 respondents across the nation pointed to the necessity to put children in child seats while driving; and 35.4% of respondents supported legal obligations for the use of child seats. Over 57% said that the agency should promote such safety measures without making them mandatory.

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