Car seat now a must

2015-04-30 16:51

ER24 has welcomed the new regulation to the National Road Traffic Act that aims to protect children by use of a child car seat.

The use of a child car seat for all children under the age of three will be compulsory from 1 May. Motorists that have children under the age of three unrestrained in a vehicle will be issued a fine. Several motorists still refuse to take seriously the constant warnings and calls by emergency services and authorities to have children restrained in vehicles.

“On a daily basis while on the road you will find young children jumping on back seats, hanging out of windows and sitting on passengers’ laps. Upon speaking to parents some will tell you that they never grew up with child car seats and they survived. Parents may also tell you that their children do not like being restrained and cry constantly.

“The number of vehicles on the road today has increased drastically. With the number of cars, buses, bikes and other modes of transport we are surrounded by every day and the number of distractions on the road, there is no better and safer option but to have your child restrained. If your child does not like being restrained make them understand that it is not up for discussion,” Chitra Bodasing, ER24 spokesperson, says.

The sad truth is ER24 and other emergency services attend to horrific collisions involving children on a weekly basis. The majority of unrestrained children are flung out of vehicles and either sustain critical injuries or die in collisions. For those parents who cannot afford new car seats, remember that there are organisations that sell second-hand car seats or hand them out for an affordable donation.

Bodasing says while the law forces parents to use child car seats for children under the age of three, this does not mean that adults should ignore the need to restrain older children.

In terms of the appropriate restraint for your child, ER24 offers the following advice: Infants should ride rear-facing at least until they are a year old. Once they exceed the weight or height limit set by the manufacturer of the infant safety seat, they should continue to ride rear-facing in a convertible safety seat.

When they have outgrown this seat, they should use a forward-facing safety seat with a full harness. This should be used until they exceed the weight and/or height limit set by the manufacturer of the seat and children who have outgrown a convertible safety seat should use a booster seat until they are at least four feet. Children who are tall enough to wear an adult seat belt should still ride in the back seat until they are 13 years old

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