JOBURG – The purpose of the week is to give drivers and parents information on how they can keep children safe and buckled up in their vehicle.
1 576 children under the age of 14 died as passengers in vehicles in South Africa, in 2018. According to Wheel Well, this shocking number could have been prevented if child restraints or seat belts were used. The number is 157 children deaths more than the year before.
Child Passenger Safety Awareness Week from 15 to 22 September highlights the plight of children as passengers. Peggie Mars, director of Wheel Well stated, “Children do not drive vehicles, we do. It is up to us to keep them safe.”
Children under the age of three must be in a child restraint according to the National Road Traffic Act, the Act also states that the driver is responsible for the safety of all the passengers.
Vehicle seat belts are designed to prevent death and reduce injuries by doing these three things:
- Prevent a person, or child, from being flung out of the vehicle
- Prevent a person, or child, from bashing into the interior of the vehicle and other occupants of the vehicle
- Seat belts and car seats help the body ‘ride down’ the forces of a crash.Mars said, “Children who are not restrained typically die from blunt force trauma to the head or multiple blunt force trauma to the body.”
Seat belts are designed for an adult of at least 1.5m tall, they can not provide the same safety benefits for children that are smaller in stature.
Children are ready to ride with a seat if they can say yes to the five questions:
- Can you sit with your back against the backrest of the vehicle?
- Can your knees bend over the front of the seat?
- Does the shoulder belt rest on the middle of your shoulder?
- Does the lap belt fit low over the top of your legs?
- Can you sit like this for the whole ride?
Source: Sandton Chronicle