New amendment to the National Road Traffic Act makes it compulsory for child passengers aged three and under to be seated in appropriate seats and buckled up when travelling.

Cape Town - Thousands of young lives would be saved if motorists ensured that children in their vehicles are buckled up.

Professor Sebastian van As, head of the Red Cross Children’s Hospital trauma unit, was was commenting on an announcement that an amendment to the National Road traffic Act would make it compulsory for child passengers aged three and under to be buckled up.

The children must also be seated in appropriate seats when travelling, according to the amendment, which will take effect in April 2015.

“These new amended regulations are a step in the right direction towards the protection of young children on our roads,” Van As said.

“Parents who can afford to have a vehicle must also be in a position to ensure their children are appropriately restrained, which will undoubtedly save thousands of young lives that may have otherwise been lost in a crash.”

‘DREAM COME TRUE’

Childsafe assistant director and senior social worker Pumla Mtambeka described the regulation as “a dream come true” after years of advocating for amended regulations to help protect infants.

“Usually, parents put the child on their lap; they think they will be able to hold the child, but when an accident happens, the child goes through of the windscreen.”

An analysis conducted by the provincial transport department’s Safely Home campaign showed that in the majority of child road deaths in crashes, the passenger was flung out of the vehicle.

The data showed at least two children were killed on Western Cape roads each month.

Transport and public works spokesman Siphesihle Dube said penalties for offenders would be determined following the submission of recommendations to the chief magistrates of different districts for consideration and approval.

Cape Times