Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Keeping Your Kids Safe While Travelling

This might sound like something you have heard many times before, but especially as the holiday season approaches, the importance of car safety and using car seats cannot be repeated enough!

As we know, it is now the law that under three's need to be strapped up in car seats, but of course the ideal is to extend beyond that period. According to the Safe Kids Worldwide organisation, car seats reduce the risk of death by 71% for infants and by 54% for children ages 1-4 years and that they reduce the need for hospitalisation by 69% for children ages 4 years and under. 

With two little ones, I know that sometimes it is difficult, or near impossible to get them to stay strapped up, especially as they get older, but it really is quite important. It is still quite a common site to see small children being transported unstrapped on laps, from which I conclude that there are still many South Africans who are not aware of just how important car seats are (I refuse to think that there are parents who willingly put their kids lives in danger). 

Jacqui Marsh, Marketing and Communications Manager for Cartrack shares some essential car seat safety tips ahead of the festive and travelling season.

  • “Rear facing car seats are more ideal for new-born babies as they provide the best protection for infants until they are 1 year of age. Keep them in this position for as long as possible and only move them to a forward facing child seat when they no longer fit in the rear facing position. Some car seats allow the child to be rear facing until they weigh 25kg”. 
  • “If a child is restrained in the wrong seat for their age or weight, or the straps or harnesses are not adequately secured, it will place the child at an increased risk of both fatal and non-fatal injuries." 
  • “Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when installing a car seat and placing your child in it”. 
  • "Convertible car seats can be used for toddlers and are designed to grow with your child. These can be modified with each weight and age transition."
  • “To achieve firm support, always ensure that there is less than 2,5cm of movement from side to side and forward once it is installed.
  • “Never install a car seat where there are air bags. Airbags deploy with considerable force and can cause serious and even fatal injuries”. 
  •  “You can ask your vehicle manufacturer to switch off the airbag function for you, if installing a rear facing car seat.” 
  • “If you’re installing a forward facing seat, make sure that it’s flat against the seat’s bottom and back.”
  • “Once your child has outgrown the bigger car seat, it needs to be replaced with a booster car seat which props the child so that a standard seat belt can rest correctly across the body.”
  • “Parents need to educate themselves and take the necessary precautionary measures for a safer car seat experience and peace of mind whilst on the road. Make use of the alternative seating arrangements and always place a great deal of importance on child safety”.