Every time I receive accident notifications with the message of serious head injuries to children, I ask my self –“Were they buckled-in?” and “Were they sitting in child restraints?”
The seatbelt wearing rate in South Africa requires our attention – and especially that of traffic enforcement officers. You only need to park at the traffic light and count the number of unrestrained passengers driving past.
These accidents with minors as accident victims motivated us to add a section to the Arrive Alive website on “Child Restraints and Road Safety”.
It is our wish that this will contribute towards creating awareness of road safety. Our road users need to understand that:
• Seat-belts and child restraints are secondary safety devices and are primarily designed to prevent or minimize injury to a vehicle occupant when a crash has occurred. Seat-belts and child restraints thus:
– reduce the risk of contact with the interior of the vehicle or reduce the severity of injuries if this occurs;
– distribute the forces of a crash over the strongest parts of the human body;
– prevent the occupant from being ejected from the vehicle in an impact;
– Prevent injury to other occupants (for example in a frontal crash, unbelted rear-seated passengers can be catapulted forward and hit other occupants)
We need to consider the safety of more than just the driver – and plead with traffic officials to strictly enforce seatbelt legislation!
[This photo is of Anya Nel in a rental vehicle in Mexico. Her parents, Stephen & Elzette Nel, are health professionals in Canada and confirmed that the child restraint is a bit too big for Anya but this is what they could find with the rental vehicle in Mexico and they will never drive without a child restraint!]
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