All about anti-abandonment devices
Anti-abandonment car seats and sensors are now required by law in Italy. Find out everything you need to know and all the anti-abandonment device options available.
Children in the car: everything you need to know about anti-abandonment devices
Italy approved and published a new law in the Italian Official Gazette on 25 October 2019 making it compulsory to use anti-abandonment devices in child car seats. We will look at the requirements and possible fines for those that do not respect the new regulations.
What does the anti-abandonment law state?
The "anti-abandonment law" that officially came into force in Italy on 7 November 2019 makes it compulsory for anyone driving a child under the age of 4 years old to install an approved anti-abandonment device that is connected to the seat and alerts drivers to the child’s presence as they are about to leave the car.
To be valid, the device must:
- turn on automatically every time the seat is used
- send an alert to the driver
- signal the presence of the child with an alarm that attracts the driver’s attention
If the device is battery-powered, it must also have a low-charge indicator so that the driver can connect it to a power outlet. Many of the products currently on sale have also been designed to connect to other communication systems, such as smartphones, so that warning messages can be sent if necessary.
Types of anti-abandonment devices
Several types of anti-abandonment devices are available on the market, as follows:
- devices integrated into the car seat
- devices that come as an optional extra with the car
- devices that are separate from both the seat and the car
This last type is the most popular at the moment because it allows people to continue using the car seat that is already in the car and to use the product in any model of car. The device can also be fitted with a system that connects it to a smartphone app.
Integrated devices are obviously the safest as they can send messages and make emergency calls to the parent (or the person driving the child), reducing the risk.
Car seats with integrated anti-abandonment sensors
In addition to separate devices, there are also anti-abandonment car seats with integrated sensors. Whilst they avoid the use of a separate device, they are not always the most suitable choice, especially for people who already have a car seat. That is because buying a new product that costs around €200–300 instead of an additional device that costs less than €100 is an expense that could be avoided.
Separate anti-abandonment devices do, however, ensure high levels of safety and they have been approved to meet various requirements without risking children’s safety.
What are the penalties for anyone that breaks the anti-abandonment law?
The anti-abandonment law stipulates specific penalties for anyone that fails to install an approved device. If the authorities discover that no device is fitted, they can impose a fine of between €81 and €326 (€56.70 if the fine is paid within 5 days) and 5 points on the driver’s licence. If the law is breached twice, the driver’s licence will be suspended for 15 days. Regardless of the penalties, it is of the utmost importance to have the device to protect children.