Toddlers are safest in child seats

2015-06-23 06:01

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adjusted key visual motif summer, PHOTO: Quickpic

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The new child seat regulations for South Africa are an important step towards reducing traffic-related injuries and deaths.

The new regulation to the National Road Traffic Act introduced by minister Dipuo Peters aims to protect young children.

As of 1 May, it stipulates that all children under the age of three must be strapped into a child car seat when travelling in any car. Previously it was not compulsory for them to wear seatbelts or be buckled into a suit­able safety or restraint system.

According to the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC), road traffic accidents are the leading cause of injury or death among children under the age of five, with most of these children not buckled up at the time.

SAMRC reports that South Africa has among the highest number of road deaths in the world, with an estimated 17 000 deaths each year. And for each of these deaths, it is reported that around four people are seriously injured.

According to research by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States, strapping babies into appropriate car seats reduces the risk of their death in car crashes by 71%. The risk of death is halved for toddlers between one and four years old if they are properly strapped in.

Booster seats also cut the risk of serious injury in half for children aged between four and eight years, compared to seatbelt use alone, the CDC reports.

“South Africa has a sophisticated road network and some of the latest vehicle technologies, yet we have a tragic number of road injuries and deaths each year,” says Niel Langner, marketing manager for a well-known tyre brand.

“We applaud and fully support the department of transport for introducing this essential new legislation, which should help reduce the loss of lives, particularly amongst young children. However, it needs to be vigorously implemented and enforced by the traffic authorities, along with the existing regulations that require all vehicle occupants to be strapped in at all times.”

– Quickpic

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