While parents should always place a great deal of importance on child safety, this is especially true when driving in a car with your tot.

Keep car seat safety top of mind ahead of the festive season
 Parents need to educate themselves and take the necessary precautionary measures for a safer car-seat experience and peace of mind whilst on the road.

Did you know that car seats have been shown to be one of the most effective ways to keep babies and children safe when traveling?

Car seats cut the risk of death by 71 percent for infants and 54 percent for children aged one to four years, according to statistics from the Safe Kids Worldwide organisation. Car seats significantly minimise the need for hospitalisation by 69 percent for children aged four and under, according to the findings. Furthermore, up to 80% of child restraints are improperly used.

“The possibility of danger on the roads has become almost inevitable and it is imperative for parents to use car seats as safety devices to protect their children, while enabling the driver a safer driving experience. There are legal implications for drivers who don’t follow the set vehicle/child safety regulations,” says Jacqui Marsh, Cartrack Marketing and Communications Manager.

“Whilst it doesn’t take much to cause injury to any part of the body, infants are especially at risk for head and spinal cord injuries as their structural support is still frail. This is an important aspect to consider when choosing your baby’s car seat,” she adds.

Car seat safety advice

Jacqui offers three important car seat safety advice ahead of the holiday travel season:

  1. Rear-facing car seats are more ideal for newborn babies, as they provide the best protection for infants until they are one year of age.
  2. Keep children in this position for as long as possible and only move them to a forward-facing child seat when they no longer fit in the rear-facing position.
  3. Remember that some car seats allow children to be rear-facing until they weigh 25kg.

The importance of using car seat restraints correctly

Jacqui also notes the importance of child restraints being used correctly:

  • If a child is restrained in the wrong seat for their age or weight, or the straps or harnesses are not adequately secured, it will place the child at an increased risk of both fatal and non-fatal injuries.
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when installing a car seat and placing your child in it.
  • Convertible car seats can be used for toddlers and are designed to grow with your child. These can be modified with each weight and age transition.
  • To achieve firm support, always ensure that there is less than 2,5cm of movement from side to side and forward and back, once it is installed
  • Never install a car seat where there are airbags. Airbags deploy with considerable force and can cause serious and even fatal injuries. You can ask your vehicle manufacturer to switch off the airbag function for you, if installing a rear-facing car seat.
  • If you’re installing a forward-facing seat, make sure that it’s flat against the seat’s bottom and back.
  • Once your child has outgrown the bigger car seat, it needs to be replaced with a booster car seat, which props up the child so that a standard seat belt can rest correctly across the body.

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