If you love your children, ensure they buckle up – AA

Automobile Association urges parents to set an example

One of the biggest tragedies in South Africa is the preventable death of hundreds of children in cars on our roads each year. Too often parents do not secure their children while driving and the consequences of this negligence are severe injuries and fatalities.

The Automobile Association (AA) believes large reductions in traffic fatalities are possible if everyone in the vehicle is properly buckled up. Research has shown that wearing seatbelts reduces the risk of death in crashes by up to 72%.

“In May new legislation came into effect requiring that children under the age of three travel in SABS-approved car seats. We welcome this regulation and believe it is an important move towards dealing with road injuries and fatalities, especially among children,” the AA noted.

The relevant legislation is contained in the National Road Traffic Act in Section (6A) of Regulation 213. It states that:

“The driver of a motor vehicle operated on a public road shall ensure that an infant (a person below the age of three years) traveling in such a motor vehicle is seated on an appropriate child restraint: Provided that this provision shall not apply in a case of a minibus, midibus or bus operating for reward. Reg 213 (6A) will be in force as from 30 April 2015.”

Parents traveling with children this festive season should set the example and buckle up before leaving. All children in the vehicle must also wear seatbelts or be secured in car seats.

The AA offers these tips car seats and safe driving:

  • Before buying a car or booster seat for your child, check that it is approved by the SABS.
  • Check that the car or booster seat is appropriate for your child’s age, weight and height. Remember that there is no ‘no one size fits all’ car seat so check it for your child. Height and weight are extremely important as your child must fit properly in the car seat for it to be effective in the event of a collision.
  • Place the car or booster seat on the back seat of the vehicle. Children under two should be placed in a rear-facing car seat and then moved to a front-facing car seat as they get older.
  • Check that the car seat is easy to manage for you. Does it fit properly in your vehicle? How easy is it to install? Is it easy to get your child in and out of the car seat?
  • Check the padding and head protection on the car seat. Car seats should also have side protection panels and padding.
  • Once installed, check that the car seat does not move around too much. Too much movement of the car seat may make it ineffective in a collision.
  • Make sure that when your child is in the car seat, the straps do not pinch them but are not too loose. Your child should be comfortable, secure and safe.

If your child has outgrown a car or booster seat, make sure they are sitting and properly buckled, even if the journey will be short. On longer journeys make sure your child is occupied and does not disturb you while you are driving.

“Drivers who are distracted are extremely dangerous. Children who aren’t secured in the back seat cause the driver to turn around, and even if it is for just a few seconds, may lead to a serious collision. Children who are buckled up can read or entertain themselves on safe electronic devices,” said the AA.

The AA said stopping every two hours or 200 kilometres for a rest and to stretch legs will also break the monotony of the road making the journey easier and less stressful for the children as well as the adults.

Seatbelt Digital Infographic

Contact AASA Public Affairs
Telephone 011 799 1126

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