With the Winter school holiday season approaching fast, the Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA) is urging parents to invest in car seats for their children ahead of the holidays and to strap them in when on the road.
Vishal Premlall, Director of MIWA, points out to parents that if you have a collision at 50kph with a baby on your lap, the child will be hurled through the windscreen with an impact similar to that of falling from a three-story window or being hit by a 3.5 tonne elephant.
Alternatively the child will be crushed against the dashboard by the force of your body weight which is 30 times heavier at the moment of impact ie 45kg becomes 1360kg.
“The fact is that it is against the law not to strap your child in. According to the 22nd National Road Traffic Amendment published in May 2015, children under the age of three are required to be strapped into a car seat. Besides the threat of a fine, should a driver be caught with a child not buckled in, the reality of what can happen to a child in the event of an accident should motivate drivers to do the right thing,” he says.
The Medical Research Council (MRC) has reported that road traffic accidents are the leading cause of injury deaths among under-fives in South Africa, with most of these a result of children not in car seats. Over and above that the majority of brain damage cases in children under the age of five are directly related to injuries sustained during car accidents.
“Money should not be an object when it comes to ensuring the safety of children. Parents who are strapped for cash should bear in mind that revamped second-hand car seats are also available at reduced prices. Wheel Well in Johannesburg, for example, offers this service using a donation system,” Premlall mentions.
He also recommends that drivers consult their local accredited workshop if in doubt about what car seat is appropriate for their vehicle. “It is important that the seat fits and is fitted correctly into the vehicle. Don’t let any factors come in the way of putting your child’s safety first,” he concludes.