Child passenger safety is in the spotlight this September through the child passenger safety campaign. An initiative aiming to educate parents and create awareness on the various aspects of their children’s safety in vehicles on South African roads.
Although buckling in children is the law and many parents are aware of the importance of car seats, studies have shown that only 7% of South Africans children are secured in car seats when traveling in a vehicle.
Thinking that they’ve outgrown the need for child car seats, parents often make the common mistake of moving their child from their front facing seat to a normal car seat and seat belt.
According to Mohammed Kaka, National Sales Manager of Maxi-Cosi, what’s actually happening is people don’t understand the reality of the situation when traveling with children in their vehicle and how their bodies are affected by even small accidents.
If you’re still unsure, here are three (very good reasons) why children that have outgrown their child car seats still need to be in booster seats.
Must read: Precious cargo: Choosing a car seat for different ages
Seat belts are for adults
The truth is that seat belts are designed to fit adult bodies and don't offer the protection children need.
“When travelling in a vehicle, any passenger under 1.5m tall is not catered for in terms of safety,” says Kaka.
Car seats are a must but just like children, they go in stages
The 1.5m limit has essentially been broken down into three categories based on what could happen to their bodies in the event that a collision occurs.
Your first grouping of car seats is from birth up until about 15 months. The second grouping, which overlaps the first, is basically from 12 months up until four years. The third group, and one often skipped by parents, is from three and a half (3.5) years up to twelve (12) years. This is typically referred to as the booster seat category. A stage that should not be skipped!
This seat utilises the normal seat belt of the vehicle but the booster functionality prevents the actual seat belt from cutting across the child’s neck and abdomen area.
Also read: How to find affordable car seats in South Africa
Booster seats offer real protection for big kids
South Africa has a very high mortality rate for children under the age of nine travelling in vehicles, and booster seats can save lives.
According to Mohammed, a booster seat places the seat belt of the vehicle over the hips of the child and on the shoulder of the child. This is to prevent internal injuries over the abdomen or the neck area.
A good booster seat also offers side protection in the event of an accident, something that is often not at the forefront of a parent’s mind.
Here’s an easy check on how to use your booster seat:
Compiled for Parent24 by Maxi-Cosi South Africa.
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