Two children died because they were not buckled in — experts weigh in why it is important

File Photo.

Over the past few weeks various emergency service personnel have witnessed children being killed in car crashes because they were not strapped in properly.

ER24 responded to a tragic vehicle collision in Kempton Park in which two children, an eight-year-old and a five-year-old, were killed on impact because they weren’t in a car seat. Miraculously, a six-month-old baby girl was found alive in the bushes, still in her car seat. Although she sustained injuries, the paramedics could not help but think they might have lost a third child if she had not been in that seat. Because of this incident, ER24 made another effort to plead with motorists to buckle up their children and make sure they children are appropriately restrained when travelling.

Dr Robyn Holgate, ER24 chief medical officer offers the following advice after being asked what the appropriate restraint for your child is:

• Neonates and infants should be restrained in an appropriate car seat, rear-facing and suitable for their weight until they exceed the weight/ height limitations, usually at about one to two years old/ 9kg. This is to avoid the risk of a cervical spine injury should they be in an accident. Thereafter toddlers and infants should be secured in forward-facing car seats appropriate for their height and age. A school-going child should remain in a booster seat until the age of around eight to 12, or a height of 1,4m. This is to ensure the car’s seatbelt fits appropriately over their chest and thighs.

• A car seat should always be secured into the car using the manufacturers recommendations. Most importantly, children should not sit in the front seat. • Children who are tall enough to wear an adult seat belt should still ride in the back seat until they are 13 years old.

• Adjust the seat belt so the lap belt crosses the child’s upper thighs and the diagonal belt crosses the upper chest at a point between the neck and shoulder.

“There has been a significant reduction in deaths among children in motor vehicle accidents since we’ve introduced additional car safety features and additional child safety features.

These guidelines have been researched and proven to be beneficial for our little people in vehicle accidents,” said Dr Holgate.

One of the most important jobs parents have, is keeping children safe when travelling, and it is now the law that children younger than three years are restrained in a car seat. It is your responsibility to keep your child safe.

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Bianca Pindral

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