Did you know 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-storey 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.
With these facts in mind, the Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA) urges parents to invest in car seats for their children and to strap them in.
Les Mc Master, Chairman of MIWA, says fortunately the law now supports the use of baby seats with the new child restraint law, as published in the 22nd National Road Traffic Amendment, coming into effect at the beginning of this month (May).
“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.
“As the Transport Minister, Dipuo Peters, aptly said when discussing the new regulations, 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,” Mc Master 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.