Unrestrained Toddler Five Times More Likely to Die in a Car Crash
Robin Carlisle, Minister of Transport and Public Works showed his support for the “Child Safety in the Vehicle” campaign at SACS Junior School on 23 October 2012.
The campaign, by Drive More Safely (in partnership with LeadSA) allows parents to donate used car seats to the non-profit organisation. Drive More Safely, through the leadership of Ms Alida Jones, then refurbishes the car seats and makes them available to parents who cannot afford them. To date, Drive More Safely has given out more than 600 seats since their campaign launch in February 2012.
The campaign aims to collect at least 3 000 seats leading up to the December holidays.
Research shows that children of lower income families are five times more likely to be killed in a car crash than those of higher income families. Furthermore, unrestrained toddlers are five times more likely to die in a car crash than those who are restrained.
Not buckling-up plays a crucial role in the extent of the injuries incurred during a crash. In 2011, the Red Cross Children’s Hospital admitted a total of 1 011 children into their trauma unit involved in motor vehicle crashes. 189 were passengers (majority being pedestrians). Of those, only 34 (18%) were restrained. Studies reveal further that 250 children are killed on the road each year because they were not strapped in. (Medical Research Council 2009: National Mortality Information Surveillance System 2008)
Road crashes are now the leading cause of childhood injury in the world. (World Health Organisation: World Report on child injury prevention)
“The national statistics in terms of restraints, particularly for children, are shocking. In 2010, it was observed that 92% of back-seat passengers (including children) are not properly restrained. Child car safety seats reduce the risk of death in passenger cars by 71% (infants) and 54% (toddlers). We need to work together, through initiatives such as Safely Home and Drive More Safely, to reverse this trend and create a culture of buckling-up,” said Minister Carlisle.
“The law is silent on children under the age of three when it comes to restraints. My department is considering the implementation of child restraints regulations that would ban shared seating and mandate the use of seatbelts, rear and forward facing child seats, and booster seats, as appropriate to age. Harsh penalties for non-compliance would be applied.
“We are also looking at introducing an additional offence for reckless behaviour with children in the vehicle, such as speeding, drunk driving or cellphone use. The penalties for this offence would increase exponentially should the child not be correctly restrained,” added Minister Carlisle.
“I would like to applaud Ms Alida Jones, Drive More Safely, LeadSA and other partners for taking this stand for the safety of children, especially on roads that are becoming more and more dangerous for those most vulnerable,” added Minister Carlisle.
This initiative will be running until Thursday, 25 October 2012. Donations will also be received at Somerset College, Parklands College, Eversdal Primary and Grove Primary. Seats may be dropped off at Primedia studios at Suite 7D, Somerset Square, Highfield Road, Cape Town.
For more information e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 081 311 3223, or tune into KFM 94.5.