New buckle up law to protect children

With effect 1 May 2015, it will become illegal to transport children under the age of three if they are not strapped into a car seat.  The amendment to the National Road Traffic Act will ensure that any driver not abiding by this rule will incur a heavy fine.

This long overdue buckle up law to protect our children is welcomed and supported by trauma doctors and road safety campaigners.  It will assist in reducing the risk of death in car crashes as these little unstrapped bodies are normally ejected from the vehicle on impact resulting in a 75% chance of being killed.

The requirement will only be applicable after six months from the date of publication of this regulation allowing parents to comply and invest in the correct car seat.   Whilst this piece of equipment is vital, there are questions as to whether everyone can afford it.  Parents may have to cut down on other expenses to ensure the safety of their loved ones.

Car seats are costly and it is wise to buy the best one that you can afford.  However second-hand car seats are readily available but one needs to be mindful of certain safety measures, taking all precautions into account.  Do not neglect to ask all the questions; the age of the car seat, are there any missing parts, has the seat been in an accident?  Insist on the manual as the installation of the car seat is critically important.  A car is not designed to keep children safe.

Try not to buy a second hand car seat older than 5 years.  Car seat technology is constantly being upgraded to ensure the best safety.  Some seats may also become brittle with age and the strength of strapping may deteriorate.  Ensure that the seat is the correct one for your child’s age, height and weight. While your independent toddler may insist on strapping themselves in, always double check that the straps are secure and not twisted.

Bear in mind that you as the parent, need to set an example and wear your seatbelt at all times demonstrating the correct procedure for the safety of your precious family.

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