Earlier this week, Kaya Drive touched on an important safety issue, “Why are people so against fastening their seatbelts?”
Sizwe shared a story about his childhood, driving with his dad as a 5-year-old, with his dad holding him on his lap while driving.
Things were different years ago and car safety regulations with regards to children have come a long way since then.
Car seats in this day and age are necessary and every parent should understand why they’re important especially for toddlers and infants.
Against the law
It’s not only dangerous but against the law in South Africa. With road traffic regulations prohibiting parents from driving with infants younger than three years of age, without a child seat.
Of course, every passenger older than three would need to be buckled up, there is no stipulation that older children should be strapped into a car seat. Perhaps this is the grey area with motorists. Despite being passed in April 2015, parents are still being irresponsible with the safety of their children in their vehicles.
Many resorting to sitting with the child on their lap. Sometimes fastening a seatbelt over the adult and child, but more often than not, failing to do even that.
The law does need some revision because a 3-year-old should not be buckled on the backseat with the regular car seatbelt or on the lap of an adult.
Why a child carseat is safer
- According to Arrive Alive, in the event of a crash, the body takes on the force of the speed you were travelling as follows: your body weight multiplied by the “weight” of the speed. So if your child weighs 13 kg, and you were travelling at 60 km per hour, your child will take on a weight of 780 kg. Scientifically, it would be impossible for an adult to securely hold onto a child who suddenly weighs hundreds of kilograms, while you are also impacted by the same force.
- Children who are not properly secured in a car seat, move around freely while the car is in motion. On impact, the child could be severely wounded, with limbs or, worse, the neck being possibly lodged between the seats.
- A child who isn’t strapped into a car seat could easily be ejected through windows or the windscreen in a crash. There’s a high probability (75%) of the child not surviving if ejected in a crash, and those who do survive are more at risk of being physically disabled.
- The impact of an unrestrained child’s head on a window, windscreen, or any other part of the car can be fatal, even if you were travelling at just 40 km per hour.
- Sitting on an adult’s lap is no safer. The trauma against their little bodies on impact is equivalent to 1500 kg, that’s almost 19 men weighing 80 kg.
- Children are curious, if you don’t have the child safety on your car doors, the child can open the car door while you’re driving. This applies to the car windows as well. You may not even notice them doing so while driving. Children can fall out of a moving vehicle.
This is why a car seat is one of the most important purchases you will make as a parent.