Last updated on Jan 29th, 2021 at 03:26 pm

National statistics show that 85% of children in South Africa travel unrestrained in cars.

Child passenger deaths are the fourth leading cause of unnatural deaths in our country, according to the Medical Research Council of South Africa. This could be reduced if the correct child safety seat is always used, says David Roache of Car safety seats can reduce the risk of passenger deaths by a staggering 71% for infants and 54% for toddlers.

ALSO SEE: What to look for when buying a car seat

“I always drive slowly, so seatbelts aren’t necessary.”

 South African legislation stipulates that everyone in a car should wear a seatbelt.

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Even in a minor crash, an unrestrained child would be thrown inside the car, and, in extreme cases, be flung from the car through one of the windows.

A test result from showed that at 40km/h, the blow to a child’s head is the same as dropping him on concrete from a height of 6m.

Car safety tips for children

  • The safest way for children to travel in cars is in an approved car safety seat or booster seat. A properly fitted child restraint that is appropriate for your child’s height and weight reduces the likelihood of your child being injured or killed in a car crash.
  • Make sure that you buy a car seat that adheres to current and tested regulations and standards. In South Africa, we adhere to European standards. The car seat must feature an orange European Economic Commission stamp of approval sticker.
  • Buckle up every time, no matter how short the trip.
  • Children aged 12 and under should be properly restrained in the backseat. The backseat is generally the safest place for a child.
  • While airbags can save lives, children riding in the front seat can be seriously injured or killed when an airbag is deployed during a crash.
  • Never put a child in a rear-facing seat in a front seat of a car with an active frontal airbag.
  • Install and use your car seat or safety belt according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • If using a second-hand car seat, ensure it hasn’t been in an accident.

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