In May 2015 it became law that all children under the age of 4 must be restrained in an age appropriate car seat or booster seat. The consequences of not following the law could be devastating to your family.
I wrote about this last year as I am very passionate about this safety issue. http://kasheringyourlife.co.za/index.php/2015/11/22/how-much-do-you-love-your-child/.
So this time I decided to write a no holds barred post, prompted by the ‘carseatfullstop’ campaign. https://www.facebook.com/CarseatFullstop/?fref=ts, started by Mandy-Lee Miller of http://www.tums2totsonline.co.za
It is the law and yet every day I drive past cars with children standing between the front seats, bouncing around on the back seat without seat belts, standing with their heads out of the sun roof or sitting on parent’s laps. Have you ever seen a decapitated body? Sadly I have.
Are you negligent?
For those of us privileged to have our own transport, this should be a no brainer! If you don’t put your children in the correct size car seat, age appropriate booster seats, or don’t make them wear seat belts, you are a negligent parent! And to the parents who wear their seat belts but allow their children to be unrestrained, I have no words, except to ask, don’t you love your child?
So what if you have never had an accident before, and have a perfect driving record? It only takes one accident and you get to live the rest of your life with regrets.
Public transport for children
Those that I have sympathy for are the poor parents who must use public transport. They don’t get the choice of putting their little one into a car seat to help ensure that they arrive at the destination alive. They risk their lives every day getting into minibus taxis, whose drivers insist that the child sits on the mothers lap or they have to pay the full fee! The law also requires these taxis to have enough seat belts for their capacity and we all know that often these taxis have more passengers than seats. I so wish there was something that could be done but with an ineffectual traffic department, these parents just have to pray they get to their destination safely.
The most recent statistics that I could find stated that 50% of road accidents resulted in the highest number of deaths due to injury in children under 5. US studies showed that seat belts could have prevented 75% of injuries in children under 5 and 50% in children aged 4-12.
A little bit of physics; if you are travelling at 60km/h and have to brake suddenly, the unrestrained passenger carries on going not only at 60km/h but also with their weight increased by 30-40%. It is beyond my skills to give you that physics of what happens when you hit another car or a stationary object, but perhaps the video below will help you understand.
I found this YouTube video by Salim and Simah, Safe and Sound- Oman, which I think parents need to see. It may offend sensitive viewers. http://www.salimandsalimah.org/
If you have car seats or booster seats, that you no longer need, because your children are over 12, you can drop them off at your nearest Renault dealer http://www.renault.co.za/ or Wheel Well in Johannesburg http://www.wheelwell.co.za/.