Car Safety With Babies And Children – Don’t Neglect It!

Was it you I saw, Dad, with your little superhero on your lap as you nonchalantly drove down a busy suburban road?

Mom, I couldn’t help but think how ironic it was that you were securely buckled up, but your little girl of about three years was standing on the back seat, waving at me through the rear window.

Tots standing between the front seats, little ones leaning out of open car windows, babies held on a buckled up Mom’s lap in the front of the car… all these children are at huge risk of severe injury or death in an accident. We know this for a fact because of copious amounts of research done worldwide.

So often, in a parent’s hurried life, shortcuts are taken. Parents pop to the shops or daycare without insisting on their children being in car seats or correctly buckled up, and yet, more accidents happen close to one’s home than anywhere else. What’s more is that a child who is not restrained in a car often distracts the driver, increasing the risk of an accident.

Is this not gross neglect, a form of abuse, really? The most concerning thing for me though is that some parents will buckle themselves up, but seem to not care enough to do the same for their little ones!

Just imagine if your child was badly injured or killed in an accident, and it was the result of not being buckled-up, rather than the accident itself! How would you ever come to terms with this?

If my plea does not lead to you never again neglecting your child’s car safety, maybe a few points made on Arrive Alive’s website will:

1. Injury kills most children under the age of 18 years in South Africa.

Pedestrian children are most at risk of road death in this group.
The second largest loss of life in this group is amongst unrestrained children thrown out of cars in accidents.
Children, whose heads are proportionately bigger to their bodies than adults, become like a missile when the car is brought to a standstill in an accident and they’re not buckled-up, often leading to severe head and neck injury, or death.

2. Research done in the USA indicates that using appropriate seatbelts would prevent:

  • 75% of injuries in children under four years of age
  • 50% of injuries in children between four and 12 years of age

3. Studies done in the USA showed that:

If car seats are correctly installed and used for children from birth to four years, hospitalisation in the event of an accident is reduced by up to 69%.
There is a 70% reduction in risk of death in motor vehicle accidents for babies of under one year of age, when there are correctly used car seats.
Between one and four years of age, risk of death decreases by 47–54%, when there are correctly used car seats.
Please, I know it can be a hassle at times, but you must insist that your child is buckled up every time you start your car, even if you are just ‘popping to the shops’