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China plans mandatory child seats

BEIJING — China’s traffic regulator is preparing a proposal to make the use of child-safety seats in vehicles mandatory in the world’s largest auto market.

China lost almost three times as many children in car accidents as the United States in 2012, even though it has fewer than half the number of vehicles. Traffic accidents were the leading cause of death for children under age 14, according to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a research body under the cabinet.

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The Ministry of Public Security, whose oversight includes road safety, is researching the issue with the China Automotive Technology & Research Center, said Pan Zengyou, who heads the feasibility study. Once the analysis is completed, the ministry will probably submit its proposal to the State Council for approval within months, he said.

‘‘There is imminent need for China to include child passenger-safety requirements into the legal framework,’’ Pan said Thursday.

Mandatory use of child-safety seats would bring China in line with the more than 50 jurisdictions worldwide that enforce their use.

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