Why child safety seats mat­ter

Lesotho Times - - Motoring -

THE in­crease in c car ac­ci­dents in­volv­ing chil­dren ev­eryev year is a sad re­al­ity which brings­bring to the fore the is­sue of child safety.safety Ac­ci­dents hap­pen, but what mea mea­sures have par­ents taken to en­sureensu the safety of their chil­dren whil while on the road?

It is be­com­ing a wor­ry­ing trend that the us­age of seat belts and child safety car sea seats are not some­thing that most pa par­ents take se­ri­ously.

Most par­ents se seem to think that hold­ing their chil­dren­chil or let­ting them sit on the l lap is enough to pro­tect them from the im­pact of ac­ci­dents.

This is com­poun com­pounded by the fact that the use of child safety car seats are no not. In Australia, ba­bie ba­bies who are be­low one year old are requ quired to use child s safety car seats. In the US, chil­dren must be se­cured in child safety car seats un­til they are six years old or weigh­ing at least 60 pounds.

When a ve­hi­cle col­lides with an­other obj ject — a tree, a wall or an­other mov­ing ve­hi­cle, for ex­am­ple — it is stopped sud­denly by the im­pact. How­ever, any­thing not held down in­side the ve­hi­cle will keep mov­ing, and that in­cludes the pas­sen­gers. This hap­pens be­cause of in­er­tia. In­er­tia is an ob­ject’s ten­dency to keep mov­ing un­til some­thing else works against this mo­tion.

Imag­ine that you’re coast­ing at a steady 80 kilo­me­ters per hour. Your speed and the car’s speed are pretty much equal, so you feel like you and the car are mov­ing as a sin­gle unit.

But if the car were to crash into a tele­phone pole, it would be ob­vi­ous that your in­er­tia and the car’s were ab­so­lutely in­de­pen­dent. The force of the pole would bring the car to an abrupt stop, but your speed would re­main the same.

Your face might hit the wind­shield, the steer­ing wheel or the back of the seat in front of you. Your ribcage might hit the dash­board. You could even be thrown from the ve­hi­cle.

Your in­ter­nal or­gans, too, will keep mov­ing. Your brain would be com­pressed to­wards the front of your skull, and your heart, lungs and kid­neys could smash into each other or into bone.

It sounds hor­rific, and that’s why we wear seat­belts. Seat­belts are de­signed to hold you into the car and spread the de­struc­tive force of the im­pact over the more re­silient parts of your body, in­creas­ing your chances of avoid­ing death or se­ri­ous in­jury in a crash by up to 50 per­cent.

How­ever, seat­belts are de­signed for adults. They go across your mid­dle and over the shoul­der, ap­ply­ing most of the stop­ping force to your ribcage and pelvis. For a seat­belt to do this ef­fec­tively it must fit cor­rectly, and on a small child the seat­belt is sim­ply the wrong size to do the job. In­stead, a specif­i­cally de­signed child car seat should be used.

Rear-fac­ing in­fant seats and con­vert­ible seats For­ward-fac­ing child seats Booster seats and back­less boost­ers

Start­ing with a baby’s very first jour­ney home from the hos­pi­tal, par­ents are re­spon­si­ble for mak­ing sure that their kids travel safely. Un­in­ten­tional in­jury is the lead­ing cause of death in chil­dren, and more kids die in au­to­mo­bile crashes than in any other type of un­in­ten­tional in­jury.

You can pro­tect your kids by fol­low­ing sim­ple safety mea­sures and by teach­ing some ba­sic rules.

Us­ing a child safety seat (car seat) is the best pro­tec­tion you can give your child when trav­el­ing by car. Ev­ery state in the United States re­quires that an in­fant or small child be re­strained — and with good rea­son. Child safety seats can re­duce the risk of a po­ten­tially fa­tal in­jury sub­stan­tially for ba­bies in par­tic­u­lar and also for tod­dlers. But many safety seats are used in­cor­rectly.

When choos­ing a car seat, keep some im­por­tant guide­lines in mind. The best car seat is not al­ways the most ex­pen­sive one — it’s the one that best fits a child’s weight, size, and age, as well as your ve­hi­cle.

Once you se­lect a seat, be sure to try it out, keep­ing in mind that store dis­plays and il­lus­tra­tions might not show the cor­rect us­age.

It’s up to you to learn how to in­stall a car safety seat prop­erly and har­ness your child for the ride.ed­u­ca­tional pro­grammes to dis­sem­i­nate in­for­ma­tion and pro­mote aware­ness on the im­por­tance of child safety car seats can go a long way to­wards re­duc­ing the num­ber of ac­ci­dents and fa­tal­i­ties in­volv­ing chil­dren.

— Kid­shealth

The safest place for your child is in a prop­erly fit­ted CHILD CAR seat.

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