Don’t take a backseat to child safety

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This past weekend ER24 responded to quite a tragic vehicle collision in Kempton Park where two children, an eight-year-old and a five-year-old, were killed on scene.  Miraculously, a 6-month-old baby girl was found alive in the bushes still in her car seat. Although she sustained minor to moderate injuries, one can’t bear to think what could have happened had she not been in her car seat. As first respondents to such scenes, ER24 pleads with motorists to buckle up and make sure children are appropriately restrained when travelling.

So, what is the appropriate restraint for your child? Dr Robyn Holgate, ER24’s Chief Medical Officer, offers the following advice:

  • Neonates and infants should be restrained in an appropriate car seat, rear facing suitable for their weight until they exceed weight/ height limitations, usually at around one to two years old/9kg. This is to avoid the risk of a cervical spine injury should they be in an accident. Thereafter toddlers and infants should be secured in forward facing car seats appropriate for their height and age. A school going child should remain in a booster seat until the age of around eight to twelve or a height of 1,4 m. This is to ensure the car’s seatbelt fits appropriately over their chest and thighs.
  • A car seat should always be secured into the car using the manufacturers recommendations. Most importantly, children should not sit in the front seat.
  • Children who are tall enough to wear an adult seat belt should still ride in the back seat until they are 13 years old. Adjust the seat belt so the lap belt crosses the child’s upper thighs and the diagonal belt crosses the upper chest at a point between the neck and shoulder.

“There has been a significant reduction in deaths of children in motor vehicle accidents since we’ve introduced additional car safety features and additional child safety features. These guidelines have been researched and proven to be beneficial for our little people in vehicle accidents,” said Dr Holgate.

One of the most important jobs we have as parents is keeping our children safe when travelling, and it is now legislation that children younger than three years are restrained in a car seat. It is your responsibility to keep your child safe.

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