Sunday, March 20, 2011

Tips on Travelling with Babies and Children

Children are extremely vulnerable as their build differs from an adult in that the head is large and heavy in relation to the body, which in a collision will cause the child to be flung forwards, head first, at an incredibly high speed if he/she is not buckled up. This can result in serious neck and facial injuries, brain damage and death. By adhering to the following tips may you never have to say "If only…" Remember that life is precious and your child is irreplaceable.

  • Children who are not buckled up will be seriously injured or die if the vehicle in which they are travelling is involved in a collision. Always buckle your child up even if you are only travelling short distances or at a low speed;
  • Babies and children should be seated in the vehicle in a suitable child-seat. Even a small collision can be fatal for a small child who is not buckled in;
  • There are a variety of excellent rear-facing and front-facing child-seats on the market. Child-seats should be SABSapproved and appropriate to the child’s age, weight, build and stage of development. It is important to install the restraint according to the manufacturer’s instructions;
  • Never place a front-facing child-seat in the front passenger seat if your vehicle is fitted with air-bags. When the air-bag is released on impact your baby or child may be suffocated by it;
  • Never travel with your child on your lap! Should a collision occur, he or she will be thrown against the dashboard or through the windscreen;
  • Never let your child share your seatbelt because if you are involved in a collision he/she will be crushed between your body and the seatbelt;
  • A carrycot is not a child restraint. A collision will cause the carrycot to be flung around inside the vehicle, injuring the child as well as other passengers;
  • Seat belts and child restraints also serve as a restraining device against boisterous youngsters, who may distract the driver;
  • Your child should not be given the choice of whether or not to use a child restraint. It is the responsibility and legal obligation of the driver to ensure that children are buckled up;
  • Regularly check that the straps that secure the child-seat into your vehicle have not worked themselves loose.

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