CALL TO USE CHILD CAR SEATS

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  • RTMC Urges Investment in Child Car Seats: In preparation for the anticipated surge in traffic during the Easter long weekend, the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) advocates for increased use of child car seats and restraints to enhance the safety of children in vehicles.
  • Legal Requirements and Accountability: South African regulations mandate the use of seat belts for adults and stipulate that children aged three to 14 must use a child restraint or seat belt if available, with infants under three required to be secured in a car seat where possible. Failure to comply may result in drivers being held accountable.
  • Expert Endorsement and Preventative Measures: Experts from the University of Cape Town (UCT) Neuroscience Institute and ChildSafe South Africa emphasise the life-saving potential of seat belts, highlighting the devastating consequences of improper restraint in car accidents. They underscore the importance of drivers’ commitment to road safety by ensuring children are appropriately secured in car seats, citing statistics from the World Health Organisation and the African Brain Child’s report to reinforce the efficacy of seat belt usage in reducing fatalities and severe injuries.

In anticipation of the increase in traffic volumes this Easter long weekend, the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) has called for an investment in child car seats and restraints to ensure the safety of children in vehicles.

“The RTMC calls for greater cooperation from motorists to reduce the number of children who are injured or killed on the roads,” RTMC Spokesperson Simon Zwane said on Wednesday.

South African regulations state that (a) all adults must use seat belts if available; (b) the driver must ensure a child aged between three to 14 uses a child restraint, if available, or seat belt if available; and (c) infants under three must be strapped into a car seat where possible. Drivers may be held accountable for failure to comply.

“We know that seatbelts save children’s lives, because every day we see children who are severely disabled or who die due to road accidents because they were not wearing a seatbelt.

“Children who are not properly restrained in a car are catapulted out of the car on impact, and the consequences can be devastating; nothing but a seatbelt/car seat can prevent that. Making sure a child is properly restrained is the easiest thing parents can do to ensure their child’s safety,” Associate Professor Ursula Rolhwink of the University of Cape Town (UCT) Neuroscience Institute and spokesperson for the African Brain Child Initiative said.

Executive Director and Spokesperson for ChildSafe South Africa Zaitoon Rabaney said the number of lives lost on the roads, particularly among children, is unacceptable and preventable.

“This Easter, we urge drivers to reflect on their road behaviour and commit to making the necessary changes. By simply buckling up, respecting speed limits, and ensuring our children are safely secured in appropriate car seats, we can dramatically reduce the risk of fatalities and severe injuries,” Rabaney said.

The World Health Organisation Road Traffic Injury fact sheet 2022 shows the use of a seat belt reduces the risk of fatal injury by 40 – 50% for drivers and front-seat occupants and by up to 25% for rear-seat occupants.

According to the African Brain Child’s report, 96 out of every 100 children who are admitted to ICU because they were involved in a motor crash have a moderate or severe injury to the head because they were not wearing a seat belt. – SAnews.gov.za

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