It’s shocking to learn that almost 93% of South African children driving in cars are not using a child car seat. A report done by the AA indicated that children were either sitting in the front passenger seat without seat belts or worse standing in the car while it was moving. With many children not in an age, weight and height appropriate car seats.
If you are one of these parents you may want to take note of this. If your child is under three years old and is unrestrained in your vehicle, you will be fined. As of May 2016 any child under the age of three is required to be secured in an appropriate car seat. This is a new regulation by the National Road Traffic Act.
What’s equally alarming is the stat on number of adults and older children not wearing seat belts. According to the AA in South Africa wearing rates are currently below 60 percent. This means there are countless lives lost and children impacted due to almost half of all motorists not buckling up.
What are the benefits of buckling up your child? In a recent study Arrive Alive said that correctly installed car seats can reduce the risk of deaths by 70% in the infant age, and 47% to 54% in children aged one to four.
So what type of child car seat should you be getting? Here is a list of several requirements you need to look out for when purchasing a car seat.
Check that the seat is ECE certified
South African car seats subscribe to European regulations, and have to be certified by the Economic Commission for Europe, or ECE. Look for a certification sticker somewhere on the seat, which will show a number of important numbers and codes. Check the seat’s weight range (weight of the child for which it is appropriate) and look for the regulation number R44-04.
Check it’s the right size seat for your child
There are a number of different types of baby seats are available, reclining baby seats (0-10 kg), toddler seats (9-18 kg), booster seats (15-25 kg) and bum-booster seats (22-36 kg). Rear-facing seats are recommended for a new-born up to 18 kilograms.
A few points to consider:
- Combination seats, suitable for all four weight ranges, are not recommended
- Reclining baby seats for a new-born are highly recommended
- A rear-facing seat offers the best protection on impact
- Check for head protection and side impact protection in the form of visible padding and extra cushioning around the head and shoulder areas.
- The left-rear passenger seat is the safest spot for a baby seat in your ca (also important in a hijacking scenario)
- If you’re looking to buy a second-hand baby seat, check it for signs of damage