Child safety seats placed on the commerce ministry’s watch list to control prices after a new law was announced

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The Ministry of Commerce has moved to control prices for car seats and booster seats for children after a new law on mandatory safety seat for children was recently announced. 

“The Department of Internal Trade (DIT) placed the product on its watch list for May and there will be a close supervision on their prices every 15 days,” Sub-Lieutenant Chakra Yodmani, the Deputy Director General of the department said on Thursday.

The new law, which was announced in the Royal Gazette on Wednesday night, will force drivers and all passengers in front and back seats to wear a seatbelt while in transit. Children under the age of six must be strapped into a safety seat, either car seat, booster seat or makeshift safety seat, for their protection.

The law will come into effect in September, or 120 days after it was announced in the Royal Gazette. Violators could be fined up to 2,000 baht for not abiding by the new regulations. 

Chakra said that officials have discussed pricing with department stores and online platforms before placing the product on the “watch list.” Businesses told DIT that they will not hike their prices, and instead develop sales promotions for the product.

Stores that hike their prices could be fined up 140,000 baht or face jail time of no more than seven years or both. Consumers who wish to report a store could contact the DIT’s hotline at 1569, he said.

Chakra also said that the commerce ministry is working with private companies to offer car seats at cheap prices during a sale campaign at Central Rattanathibet in Nonthaburi between May 13 and 15. The campaign aims to help car owners cope with the added costs given the current economic downturn and rising inflation.

Local news reported on Thursday that some stores with online platforms have already hiked their prices, some by up to 40 per cent.

Initial research by Thai Enquirer saw that some stores within Shopee, Lazada, and JD Central have already hiked their prices for their booster seats. However, the majority are maintaining their current prices, while others are already offering sales on the product.

The average price of a car seat on the three platforms was around 2,000 to 4,000 baht, while high quality products were sold for between 10,000-50,000 baht or more. 

The Mirror Foundation, an organization that promotes human rights and equality, also pointed out on their social media platforms that there are low price car seats of around 300-500 baht being offered at a charity shop in Bangkok. The foundation is also asking for donations of unused car seats and booster seats.

The Ministry of Public Health also launched a public information campaign to spread awareness about the importance of car seats for children where they provided guidelines on how to choose car seats for different age groups.

The Director-general of the Department of Disease Control, Dr Opas Karnkawinpong, said on Wednesday that 1,155 children under the age of six have died from traffic collisions between 2017 and 2021. 

He added that 221 children, or around 44 children per year, die from sitting on normal car seats. But when seated in a child safety seat, only 3.46 per cent of children under the age of six were injured or died between 2019 and 2021, Opas explained.

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