Do you strap your child in a car seat? No? Well, not only are you breaking the law you are endangering the lives of your children. Seatbelts are critical to your child's safety yet many parents fail to understand this.
According to MasterDrive SA, a child can move forward 30 times their weight if not buckled up in a crash.
How often have you witnessed a family in a vehicle with children jumping freely on the back seat and the parents are ignoring them like it's the norm. When will parents start adhering to the rules of the road?
According to an article featured on Wheels24, the stats regarding children in car seats were worrying and something we all need to take into consideration:
"The Association (AA - Automobile Association) conducted informal observational research and found that less than 7% of children in cars - deemed to require the use of safety seats - were using them. In many instances children are sitting in the front passenger seat without seatbelts, standing in the car while it’s moving, or at the very least are not in an age, weight and height appropriate car seat."
For the full story, click here.
Wheels24’s Janine Van der Post is a mom to a very busy toddler, who used to wiggle herself out of her carseat:
“Before she was even clocking 7months, my little one would wiggle and squirm her way out of her carseat. It’s so stressful when you’re driving alone, and not to mention scary.
“We were forced to buy the next level carseat much earlier than planned just to secure her tightly, and safely. Even now she can wriggle out her arms but her tiny fingers are not yet strong enough to unclick the 3-point belt which secures her into the seat. She can kick and scream as much as she wants, but in the seat she stays for the duration of the journey. Eventually she gives up and accepts the situation.
“But I cringe and want to stop other parents who don’t have their children strapped in. Even if there is no will or way for a carseat, at least buckle them up. It’s so irresponsible when children are allowed to stand between the front seats or on the back seat. I wish all parents knew you move forward 30 times your weight if not buckled up in a crash, according vital information I learnt during a MasterDrive defensive driving course. That means even a tiny little person who weighs only 10kg will be flung in a car at a weight of 300kg. How are their bodies supposed to survive any kind of impact even in a small fender bender when not buckled up?
“If you don’t want to wear a seatbelt, at least think of your children and save their lives.”
If you've been reluctant to fastening your child in his/her car seat, put a stop to it right now and follow these easy tips from WheelWell and MastrerDrive:
1. Always secure your child in a car seat when you drive anywhere. Most collisions occur 'just around the corner'.
2. Vehicles are not a child-friendly zone, you have to make them so with car seats.
3. Keep your child in the correct seat for as long as possible, but no longer. It is also dangerous to keep your child in a car seat that they have outgrown.
4. A child outgrows their car seat when they have reached the upper weight margin of the seat OR their shoulder is higher than the highest belt adjustment of the seat.
5. Harness belts must not be twisted or turned.
6. Tighten the harness just right. The harness must fit snug – you must be able to fit your hand in between your child’s tummy and the buckle.
7. The shoulder straps of the harness must never go over and below the shoulder. At shoulder height or slightly above shoulder is good.
8. Car seats must be installed with a three-point seat belt unless they are specifically designed for a lap belt only installation.
9. Make sure your seat has good side impact protection to protect your child’s head and neck.
10. Car seats are used to minimise risk during a collision. They do not eliminate risk.
11. You must adjust your driving when driving with children – remember you are already training them as drivers through your example. Be the driver you want your children to be. Drive lovingly.
12. Children under the age of 13 should ride on the back seat.
13. The safest seating in the vehicle is at the back in the centre.
14. Never use a car seat where there are air bags. Airbags deploy at 350km/h and can seriously injure your child and even cause death.
15. Always install your car seat as per the directions in the manual.