21 Car seats donated to #SaveKidsLives at Childsafe event
Let me begin by extending my sincere thanks for the invitation to address you all today, at what is such an important event. Raising awareness around the dangers faced on our roads daily, particularly by young and vulnerable children, is key to any effort to address the issue.
The importance of buckling up, especially buckling children up in vehicles, cannot be overstated. We have a wide pool of research into the topic that clearly illustrates how dangerous the roads have become, especially for young children.
We know that:
- 133 children were killed on the roads in the Western Cape in 2015.
- 73 children younger than 6 were killed on the roads in the Western Cape in 2015.
- 131 children were run over and killed in the Western Cape the year prior to that (2014).
- 33 child passengers were killed in the Western Cape in 2015.
- 75% of child road deaths are pedestrians.
We also know that seatbelts prevent 99% of occupants from being ejected, and incurring secondary injuries, or injuring others. Children who are not buckled up can be killed or permanently disfigured in even low speed collisions.
Protecting our children from the scourge of traffic related deaths and injuries should be at the top of our agenda as road safety authorities and stakeholders.
Most of you will be aware that in October 2014, the newly amended regulations to the National Road traffic Act (1996), NRTA, were promulgated, containing Regulation 213(d)(6A)which now requires infants (defined as 0 – 3 year olds) to be transported in appropriate child seats when travelling in private vehicles. The NRTA had previously not made any provision for the protection of children aged between zero to three years.
With the regulation in full effect, provincial traffic authorities continue to keep a keen eye on motorists and their compliance when it comes to child restraints. Let that be a warning to all road users who continue to drive on our potentially dangerous roads, with unrestrained children.
An analysis conducted by Safely Home at the time of promulgation, using audited fatality data from the Forensic Pathology Services of the Western Cape Department of Health, showed that the majority (53.42%) of the bodies of young children who died as passengers in road crashes were recovered outside or under the vehicle.
The presence of the body outside the vehicle is a near-certain indicator that the child was not restrained or was improperly restrained, as ejection does not occur when an appropriate child restraint is used. The presence of the body inside the vehicle, however, is not an exclusionary factor in determining if the child was restrained or not. The analysis therefore erred on the side of caution by default.
The data showed that a minimum of two small children were being killed on Western Cape roads each month after being ejected from a vehicle in a road crash. Passengers ejected from a crash face a 75% chance of being killed due to ground impact injuries and collisions with other objects and vehicles. This is the reality experienced daily on our roads.
My department, though our Safely Home initiative, continues to dedicate time and resources to addressing road safety in general, and specifically to raise awareness and make our roads safer for young children.
October is our dedicated “Child Road Safety” month, where we have multimedia campaigns aimed at shining a light on the plight of children. Under the hashtag #SaveKidsLives, we encourage all road users to be mindful of their conduct on our roads, and how that conduct can threaten the safety of children.
Children, who are unrestrained, even on an adult’s lap, will be seriously injured or killed, even in a slight collision. We therefore appeal to all motorists and parents to buckle young children in appropriate car seats, and protect them from the horrific injuries suffered by unrestrained kids.
I should like to wish today’s recipients of car seats a safe onward journey. I urge them to ensure that their children are buckled up and safely restrained at all times when in a vehicle, and the vehicle is in motion. Let us all so what we can to “Save Kids Lives”.
I thank you.
Spokesperson for the Minister of Transport and Public Works, Donald Grant
Ministry of Transport and Public Works
Western Cape Government
Cell: 084 233 3811