Last updated on Sep 13th, 2020 at 11:41 am

Did you know that South African law requires children under the age of three to travel in a car seat, only in a private vehicle?

As parents, our children are the most important part of our lives. We care for them, feed them, clothe them and put their safety above all else. But are we doing everything we can to protect them when travelling on the roads?

Follow these tips the next time your child travels in any vehicle:

1. A car seat should never be optional!

Did you know that South African law requires children under the age of three to travel in a car seat only in a private vehicle? This is shocking and specifically precludes registered operators, which means they profit from transporting children unsafely.

Best practise dictates that a child needs to meet the age, weight and height requirement in order to be able to travel without a car seat or child restraint. This means that a child should be 12 years or older, weigh at least 36kg and be taller than 1.5m before moving into a seatbelt alone. If your young child is not in a car seat you are putting their lives at risk.

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2. Be aware of projectiles

When travelling with your child, try and limit the number of loose objects in the car. If you are in an accident every item becomes a potential projectile that could injure those in the vehicle. Did you know that when you are in an accident at just 20km/hr, a one-litre bottle of water (1kg) will fly through the air with the force of 20kg?

The best way to keep your car as projectile-free as possible is to store what you can in the boot and then use the glove compartments and secure seat pockets.

3. Know who is transporting your child

In an ideal world we would be the only ones transporting our children. However, the reality of life means that often we need to rely on a third party to assist. And, worryingly, many parents rely on seemingly well-vetted strangers to lift their child to and from school. How much do you really know about the driver to whom you have entrusted your child? Do they have childcare experience? Will they know what to do in the event of an accident or hijacking? Will your child feel safe with them?

Click here to read more about what you should be aware of when selecting a third party to transport your child.

4. Why a lap belt is not good enough

Lap belts are insufficient when it comes to properly protecting your child’s body in an event of an accident. And, if your child is in a car seat these are unable to be properly installed without using a full three-point seatbelt. Most private vehicles are equipped with three-point seatbelts throughout, but if you are using public transport with your child, you need to think twice if they don’t have proper seatbelts installed.

Holding your child or taking a risk because it’s a short journey is never OK as you are putting their lives in danger.

5. Demand more for your child

School outings cause much anxiety for many parents as they are forced to either use the transportation provided by the school, which is likely to be a bus without proper seatbelts, or to rely on other parents who they don’t know (and who are unlikely to have sufficient car seats for all passengers). Demand more from your school and insist they provide the safest option of group transport they can for the children, so that you have peace of mind knowing your child is safe.

Travelling on the roads in this country is always worrying, especially when you have children in tow. Cool (kids’) Cabs is one of South Africa’s leading scholar transport providers. They are OBSESSED with safety and ensure your child gets from point A to B safely and happily. They have recently launched ‘The Big Yellow Bus’ service which is the first bus in South Africa to have full three-point seatbelts and car seats on every seat.

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