How safe is your child passenger during Child Protection Week?

How well do you care for your child while you are driving? We would like to share some info from a email to the Arrive Alive website and the responses received.

Question:

“… we live in a Private Nature Reserve.  We have quite a distance travelling to school every day.  We share the driving with two other families and I would like to make sure that we are taking utmost care with regards to our children’s safety.  We mostly drive on a tar (asphalt) road, with the possibility of wildlife crossing the road.  Althought most of the farms are fenced, there is always the possibility of and warthog, antelope or baboons running accros the road.  Outside the reserve we keep to a speedlimit of 100km.

1.  C…athan and R… are the oldest two boys and have to sometimes sit in the front seat with an airbag.  C…weighs 25 kg and R… little less.  Is it safe for them to be sitting in the front seat of the car.

2.  We sometimes have to strap two children in one seatbelt.  I am unsure of how safe this is.  Please can you let me know what can happen to our children in case of an accident.

3.  Is travelling at 100km safe?

4.  Are the extra seats in the back of a Landrover Discovery or Toyota Fortuner safe for small children even thought they are strapped into their seatbelts?

I am preparing for a meeting and would like to have my facts straight.”

Answer:

Thanks for your email and concern re safe driving with children. See recommendations below regarding your questions , highlighted in bold and some further info below:

1.  C…. and R…. are the oldest two boys and have to sometimes sit in the front seat with an airbag.  C… weighs 25 kg and R…. a little less.  Is it safe for them to be sitting in the front seat of the car?

The safest place for a child is in the back seat, strapped in. If there is no space in the back, then ONE child can sit in the front passenger seat strapped in with an appropriate toddler or booster seat.

2.  We sometimes have to strap two children in one seatbelt.  I am unsure of how safe this is.  Please can you let me know what can happen to our children in case of an accident.

NO! This is highly dangerous and both children can be seriously or fatally injured in the event in an accident. One person, one seat belt.

3.  Is travelling at 100km safe?

Driving 100km on a sand road is not safe. Always stick to the recommended speed limit and if there are no signs, keep at 60km (less for sand roads).

4.  Are the extra seats in the back of a Landrover Discovery or Toyota Fortuner safe for small children even thought they are strapped into their seatbelts?

I am not in the position to comment on the safety of specific vehicles so I would recommend referring the manual of the vehicle or contacting a dealer about this.

See some tips and pics below:

Air bags save lives.
They work best when everyone is buckled and children are properly restrained in the back seat. Children riding in the front seat can be seriously injured or killed when an air bag comes out in a crash.

An air bag is not a soft, billowy pillow. To do its important job, an air bag comes out of the dashboard at up to 200 miles per hour — faster than the blink of an eye. The force of an air bag can hurt those who are too close to it.

In summary, all children 12 years old and under are safest when properly restrained in the back seat of the vehicle. Children are up to 29% safer riding in the back seat versus the front seat, whether the vehicle has an air bag or not.

Drivers can prevent air bag-related injuries to adults and children by following the critical safety points:

Adult Safety Points

  • Everyone should buckle up with both lap and shoulder belts on eve ry trip. Air bags are supplemental protection devices.

The lap belt should be worn under the abdomen and low across the hips. The shoulder portion should come over the collar bone away from the neck and cross over the breast bone.

The shoulder belt in most new cars can be adjusted on the side pillar to improve fit.

  • Driver and front passenger seats should be moved as far back as practical, particularly for shorter statured people.

Also view: Child Restraints and Road Safety

Let me know if you have any further questions.

Kindest Regards

Ally Cohen

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