A couple who filmed their 18-month-old son steering a car escaped jail yesterday, but were heavily criticised by a magistrate for their irresponsibility. Kwun Tong magistrate Rickie Chan Kam-cheong spent more than an hour berating property agent Keith Yu Cho-kwong, 32, and his wife Ng Lai-wa, 27. Ng filmed a video lasting one minute 50 seconds of her husband with the toddler sitting on his lap and steering a BMW. The video was posted on Facebook and went viral. The couple later handed themselves into police. Chan said if the car had crashed the infant could have been propelled through the windscreen 'like a missile or a flying golf ball'. He told them: 'As parents, you cannot act solely on your own preferences. You must protect the baby because he is not capable of doing so.' He said the offence was serious and that the court had to send out a 'clear signal' to the public that such behaviour would not be tolerated. Yu earlier pleaded guilty to dangerous driving while Ng admitted aiding and abetting the offence. They could have been jailed for up to 12 months, but were ordered to serve 160 hours of community service. Their driving licences were suspended for six months. The offence took place on August 1 in Cheung Sha Wan on land near the Hoi Lai public housing estate. It spurred debate on the internet, with some saying the parents had no common sense while others said it was no big deal. The defence said Yu was in control of the car and there were no pedestrians on the road, so the act did not pose a danger to the public. But Chan said driving dangerously could be punished even though no damage or injury was caused. He cited two recent cases in Britain. In one, a person was convicted of dangerous driving for speeding even though there were no pedestrians. In the second case, a police officer was convicted over a crash in which the other driver died after he went through a red light while chasing a suspect's car. Chan said: 'Some people say too strong an emphasis was put on this case. They just don't understand what dangerous driving is.' He said the BMW could have crashed if the boy had slipped off his father's lap and fallen on the pedals. But he accepted the defence's plea for leniency after positive comments in a community service report.