More often, children have been seen not buckled in their seats, standing during the road trip and sitting between a car’s front seats – all of which breaks the road legislation. However, children are careless and are too young to take responsibility for their legal actions. But the driver of vehicle can and should.
Kids have rights, as much as adults do; especially when it comes to road safety. Although child safety laws were void for years, the South African legislation now addresses the concern – with more reference to children younger than 3 years of age. This specificity is due to children older than 3-years, having the ability to be bulked-up.
Introduced under the National Road Traffic Act, the Minister of Transport has ensured that all children under three years of age to be strapped into a car seat during vehicle commune. The National Road Traffic Act on car seats for kids have, under Regulation 213, defined a child as a person between the age of 3 and 14 years, unless taller than 1.5-metres. Contrasting to this, an infant is defined as a person below the age of 3 years.
Studies read that properly-installed 0 to 4 years safety seats and restraints, reduces road crash hospitalisation, by 69%. All child-restraining devices in vehicles must therefore comply with the standard specification SABS 1340, and possess a visible certification or approval mark.
As a vehicle driver under the Act, it is your responsibility to ensure that a child is seated on an available vehicle seat with a child restraint, or is strapped on an available vehicle seat that has a seatbelt. In terms of an infant, it is the vehicle driver’s responsibility to ensure that the infant is seated on a child restraint seat. If no seat with a seatbelt is available, the child must be seated on the rear seat.
Although adult drivers are responsibility for child safety, it is also the responsibility of traffic offers to do their job correctly. In other words, the implemented car seat rules will only be effective, if traffic officers take action when drivers are not abiding to the Regulations.
If a child is not restrained in a seatbelt during an accident, this may cause damage to the windscreen and child’s head, upon impact. Vehicle drivers are therefore obliged to follow all road laws implemented for child and infant safety.
Although the car seat regulation seems ‘a bit much’, it is important for the safety of young children and infants. When thinking about child restraint and road safety, you need to consider the reliability of your vehicle’s seat belts; the importance of car seats for kids; selecting authentic and sale child restraints, baby seats, booster seats or car seats; and which child restraint best suits particular age groups.
The benefits of making sure your child is strapped in a car seat is:
- Reduced interior contact
- Less injury
- Crash force is distributed over strong body parts
- Child will not be ejected from the vehicle
- No injury to other occupants
In essence, adults should be more cautious in their road safety decisions, when it comes to infants and children. Vehicles have become a dangerous cause of child injury due to stats of high volume road accidents.
CarZar encourages you to think of your child’s human right for safety. Buckle your child in their car seat. Drive with defense. Avoid becoming victim to a tragic accident.
The above information, as retrieved from Arrive Alive, is simply a guide and does not change any laws, rules and regulations, as stipulated in the South African National Road Traffic Act or National Road Traffic Regulations.
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