As a parent, your number one priority is keeping your children safe from harm – particularly on South Africa’s roads, where incidents can happen without warning. In fact, according to statistics from the Medical Research Council, passenger deaths in children are the fourth leading cause of unnatural deaths in the country, with a staggering 84% of children travelling without wearing seatbelts. Even more shocking is the fact that simply by using the appropriate restraints, the risk of death could be reduced by a substantial 71% for babies and 54% for toddlers.
Buckle up and put your children’s safety first
While car insurance will help support you and your family financially in the event of a vehicle collision or accident, making use of age-appropriate car safety seats can further help ensure your children are kept as safe as possible on the road, no matter how short the journey:
- Infants (0 – 9 months) – Ensure the car seat is facing backwards at all times, and that the baby is securely fastened into the seat with a three-point adult seatbelt.
- Toddlers (up to 5 years old) – Once a child weighs approximately 10kg, or reaches the age of 9 months, their car seat can be turned to face forward. Depending on the seat itself, the child can be restrained with a three-point seatbelt, lap belt, or special strap.
- Children (2 – 10 years old) – Booster seats work well for this age category as they are light and versatile, and can be used in the front or back seat of a vehicle. Use a three-point seatbelt to ensure the child is harnessed safely.
- Children (3 – 10 years old) – Once a child has started to outgrow regular car seats, a booster cushion can be used as an alternative, in conjunction with an adult seatbelt.
- Children (10 years old and upwards) – Older children aged 10 or 11 are generally able to safely wear adult seatbelts without the use of car or booster seats. Check that the shoulder belt fits comfortably across the child’s shoulder and chest, without touching their neck, that the lap belt fits low across their hips, and that their knees are resting comfortably over the edge of the seat.
It’s important to bear in mind that according to South African law, every person in a car, whether in the front or the back seats, should be restrained by a seatbelt – a safety regulation that the driver of the vehicle is obligated to enforce. What’s more, should a child under the age of 14 be travelling in a car without wearing a seatbelt or sitting in a child safety seat, the driver will be found guilty of a criminal offence.
Additional road safety tips
Aside from ensuring that your children are safely strapped in and buckled up, there are further precautions you can take to ensure that your family gets from A to B with as little incident as possible:
- Make sure not to leave loose items lying around your car, such as toys, groceries or sports equipment. These have the potential to become harmful projectiles in the case of a collision.
- Never ever travel with your child on your lap. In the event of a collision, your child will be the first person in harm’s way.
- Pay attention while driving at all times. If your child becomes fussy or starts crying, rather pull over to attend to them than take your eyes off the road.
- While snacks can help keep children quiet while driving, they can also become choking hazards – resist the temptation to pass your children fruit or sweets for this reason.
Remember, when it comes to your children’s safety, always err on the side of too much caution, rather than too little. And if you’ve been driving without car insurance until now, it might be time to listen to The Wiser You, and take the extra precautions you need to keep your family and your vehicle safe.
Call us now for a car insurance quote on 0860 63 33 39, submit your details, or get a quick insurance quote online. Whether you choose to buy your car insurance online, or via phone, we’ll ensure you and your family are taken care of every time you get behind the wheel.
1. Zietsman, M. Car Safety – Protecting Our Precious Cargo: http://www.childmag.co.za/content/car-safety-protecting-our-precious-cargo#.VqCxhfl97IU
2. Travel Safety Products: http://www.childsafe.org.za/travel.htm
3. Click: http://www.childsafe.org.za/downloads/buckleup.pdf