Child Passenger Safety week highlights importance of appropriate car seats
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Cape Town - In order to bring awareness to motorists travelling with children in the back seat, Child Passenger Safety Week will be running from September 19 to 26 this year to highlight the importance of ensuring that all children are properly secured in an appropriate car seat or seat belt.
Despite continuous advancements in vehicle safety, road traffic accidents continue to be the leading cause of death for children under the age of 10.
Operations Director at Maxi-Cosi Debbie Billson said that regardless of it being law that every child under the age of three be securely strapped into a car seat, 93% of motorists, taxi and bus services flaunt this law, and this has resulted in the majority of injuries, through car accidents due to a complete lack of any kind of child safety restraint.
“We want to educate and inform South African road users of the dangers of travelling on our roads with children who are not securely strapped into a car seat, as well as ensuring the car seat they use has undergone the minimum crash testing required. Strapping our children into a well secured car seat needs to become something every single one of us do, no matter how short a car trip we are doing!”
“Children under 150cm are not safe just being secured by a seat belt. They are physically not developed enough to be secure. This is because the lower belt doesn’t sit on their hips, as it is intended to do with adults, and rather ends up around their abdomen, which can result in fatal internal injuries in the case of a crash.
“The upper section of the belt rests dangerously across their neck, as opposed to being on their shoulder, and can easily break a child’s neck in the case of an accident. A simple booster seat can prevent unnecessary injuries and deaths,” Billson.
In South Africa, motorists are fortunate to have a large selection of well-tested, reasonably priced car seat options, hence, Automobile Association of South Africa spokesperson Layton Beard said that motorists should use this to their advantage not only for their safety but also for their children.
“Too often, we are seeing people ignoring the law, and we are seeing parents driving with babies on their lap or children standing in the back seat. That is extremely worrying to us. Hence, we encourage motorists to take a look at the #SaferCarsForAfrica programme, where we do crash tests on vehicles that are available locally.
Those safety ratings are not on the safety of the vehicle but important information on the safety of the passengers in those vehicles, and the safety ratings that we’ve developed for about 15 cars now, also give you an idea of not only the front passenger, but also give you the safety ratings for the back passengers which include a toddler and a baby,” said Beard.
To ensure that you are using your car seat as effectively and safely as possible, here are some safety tips to take into consideration:
– Always use a car seat, even on short trips
– Use the correct size car seat
– Install car seats correctly.
– Pull the car seat’s safety harness tight. If you can just slip one finger between the harness and your child’s chest, it’s tight enough.
– Take your child’s coat off
– Make sure the safety harness is at the right height and not twisted
– Use a rear-facing car seat for as long as possible
– Beware of activated frontal airbags
– Keep loose items off the rear parcel shelf