Protecting your children while on the road

18 December 2013

The AA advises on how to keep your children safe while on the road this festive season

The festive season is finally here and families will be heading out on their much needed holiday, but how do you make sure your little ones are safe while on the road to your destination? For parents and care givers this may be daunting, with planning, packing the car and getting the kids out the door.

The Automobile Association of South Africa (AA) has some tips on how to keep your precious cargo safe and entertained during these long trips: 

  1. Ensure everyone in the car is safely buckled in. South African law states that all vehicle passengers should wear a seatbelt at all times, and the onus is on the driver to ensure it happens. A baby should be in an approved, and preferably rear-facing, child seat.  Older children (15-25kgs) should be secured in a booster seat with a seatbelt on, preferably in the rear of the vehicle. 
  2. Make sure your baby is not exposed to direct sunlight for long periods of time while in the vehicle –block the sun with a towel or shade screen. 
  3. Never leave your baby unattended in a vehicle - temperatures can easily reach over 40 degrees Celsius within a very short period of time, and this can cause heat exhaustion and sometimes prove fatal.
  4. The trip home after the holiday has ended is always the least enjoyable part. Ensure not to rush home as this will put you and your family at risk. To keep safe all the way, rather treat the trip as part of your holiday – so keep your speed down and enjoy the scenery. 
  5. For peace of mind, keep your AA Membership card at hand and download the AA Rescue app to assist you in an emergency from This is available to you whether you are an AA member or not, just remember to register. 
  6. Take regular breaks. Make sure to stop every one and a half to two hours, or every 200km, to give yourself and your children the opportunity to stretch legs. It’s also an opportunity to get rid of the children’s excess energy by having them run around a little, which will go a long way in ensuring they don’t distract you while driving. 
  7.  Ensure doors are locked and activate the child locks on rear doors to avoid children opening them while the vehicle is moving or in unsafe places.
A long trip need not be stressful, and can be a great opportunity for the whole family to spend some much needed time together after a long year. 

Automobile Association of South Africa (AA)
General enquiries: 
011 799 1000

Media enquiries:
011 799 1180

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