Be responsible and buckle up your family
Learn what needs to be done to keep your family safe these holidays.
Teddy bear (Shutterstock)

With silly season around the corner, our roads become an even more dangerous place to be. Take a brief moment to read these potentially lifesaving facts and tips.

The law

South African law requires each passenger being transported in a motor vehicle to make use of the seatbelts and strap themselves in. It is the driver’s responsibility to make sure all passengers are strapped in and remain strapped in while travelling.

Buckling up

1. Infants and children under the age of 12 should travel in the back seat of a vehicle and should be buckled up, either in a car seat, booster seat or using the cars seatbelt, depending on the age and weight of the child.

2. Infants between 0 months and one year of age, or up to 10kg in weight, should travel in a rear facing car seat in the back of a car. In the event of an accident, the impact will be on the seat and not on the infant.

3. Children from 9 months, 1 to 4 years or 5 years of age, or from approximately 10kg to 18 kg, should travel in a front facing car seat in the back of the vehicle. Always make sure that the safety seat has been fitted according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

4. For children between the ages of 4 and 6 years, or between 15 to 25 kg, a booster seat can be used in the back of the vehicle.

5. Children between the ages of six and eleven years, or between 22 and 36 kg, will have outgrown their car seats and booster seats and will need to start using the adult seatbelts of the car. Booster cushions can be used to help position the seatbelt correctly and to improve the child’s view from the car.

6. Your child is ready to use an adult seat belt without a booster cushion when the shoulder belt goes over the child’s shoulder, across the middle of the chest, without touching the neck. The lap belt should fit over the hipbones, under the belly area.

7. Don’t think that if you are strapped into your seatbelt you will be able to hold onto your child in the event of an accident – you won’t! Research has proven that passengers only have less than half a second to react in a collision.

8. Don’t think that if you and your child are strapped into one seatbelt that you are both safe. You might be, your child definitely won’t be as the force of your body weight against your child will be 30 fold. If you weigh 60kg, your child will be crushed against the seatbelt by a mass of 1,800 kg!

Air bags

Never place rear or front facing car seats on the front passenger seat, especially when there are active air bags in the vehicle. The impact of the air bag can seriously injure and even kill a child.

Rest periods on long journeys
Motorists who are travelling long distances while on vacation should stop and rest at least every two hours or every 200 kilometres. Many accidents during the festive period are caused by driver fatigue.

Scary statistics

1. According to national statistics, 84% of children in South Africa are not strapped into seatbelts when travelling in motor vehicles.

2. According to the Medical Research Council, passenger deaths are the 4th leading cause of unnatural deaths in children in South Africa.

3. Child restraints in motor vehicles reduce the risk of death by 71% in infants and 54% in toddlers.

Are your kids always buckled up?

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