Did you know that only two-thirds of children use Child Restraint Systems when driving?
This is according to a recent observational study conducted by the AA, which assessed the CRS usage of 1 000 children at shopping centres throughout South Africa.
The figure is disheartening, given that CRS have been shown to reduce injuries in children aged between five and nine by 52%. In comparison, seat belts reduce injuries by just 19%.
Nor are parents’ laps an adequate replacement for CRS. A baby sitting on its mother’s lap could be thrown out of the windscreen at the same speed as falling from a three-story window or could be crushed against the dashboard by its parent’s body (which becomes 30 times heavier at a moment of impact) – even if the car is travelling at only 50kph.
That said, the effectiveness of CRS is compromised if it is not properly secured. Disturbingly, only 30% of systems are correctly installed.
Although it is mandatory for children younger than three to be secured in a proper car seat, punishment for non-compliance is hardly onerous, with motorists receiving a fine of just R250 – compared to other countries, where the fine may go up to R9 000.
Interestingly, mothers are more likely to ensure their children are properly secured than fathers, possibly because of different driving behaviours and perceptions around risk.
We urge you to join MIWA in sending out a strong message to your customers: the use of CRS is critical in order to prevent injury and even death. Remind your customers that if they are in any doubt about a car seat, you are able to provide advice and assistance.