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'Anti-abandonment' child car seats become compulsory in Italy

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'Anti-abandonment' child car seats become compulsory in Italy
Photo: DepositPhotos
11:26 CET+01:00
New alarmed seats are now a legal requirement in Italy after multiple cases of young children being forgotten by parents and dying inside hot cars.

A new law making it obligatory for parents to use the special car seats when travelling with young children came into force on Thursday, the Ansa news agency reports.

The seats, which set off an alarm if the child is left alone in the car, are obligatory for children up to the age of four.

 
The alarms reportedly alert the driver to the fact a child is in the seat through vibrating audio and visual signals, detectable from inside and outside the vehicle.
 
The law was first proposed last year in response to several shocking cases of small children dying after being left in cars by their parents in scorching heat.

In the most recent case in September 2019, a two-year-old boy in Catania died after his father reportedly forget he was in the car and went to work, leaving the child locked inside.

From today, parents found not using the alarms face a fine of up to €326 plus five points on their driving licence, according to the new law.

Parents are being advised to buy a new seat that features the alarm system, or an alarm which can be fitted onto existing seats.

Italian road safety group ASAPS told the Ansa news agency that “parents, grandparents and carers need to hurry” to acquire the alarms after the law was rushed through, coming into force within just 15 days of it being added to the highway code, instead of the planned 120 days.

There are provisions in the government's 2020 budget bill for a 30-euro contribution towards each purchase.

However ASAPS noted that the funding made available will “not be sufficient for all children” and will only cover around one-quarter of children who'll require the seats, which the group said usually cost between €50-100.

The group added that the government funding isn't directed at “those with low incomes or those with several children under the age of 4" but will go to "those who will be fastest.”

 
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