Much safer at the back

“Shotgun”, they all call as they run to the car. It is an ongoing battle between siblings to see who will sit in the front seat. The question should however not be “who will sit in the front seat”, but rather “who should sit in the front seat” of your family car.

Did you know that car crashes are the leading cause of injury and deaths among children under the age of five in South Africa? It is for this reason that the South African government approved regulation in May 2015 that all children under the age of three are required to only travel in a car if they are secured in a car seat. Motorists who have children under the age of three unrestrained in their vehicle are to be fined. Supporting this move by government, Arrive Alive reports that correctly installed car seats can reduce the risk of deaths by 70% in the infant age, and 47% to 54% in children aged one to four. For more on air car seat safety, watch these Shatterprufe safety videos.

In South Africa, the National Road Traffic Act does however not have a specific regulation in respect of children sitting in the front seat. Regulations in the UK, Australia and America are much stricter and some passenger safety organizations, such as SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A., take the issue of children in the front seat, one step further by suggesting that children continue to ride in the back seat until they are ready to drive themselves.

Here are a few reasons why children should not be allowed in front seat of your car.

  • Air bags

Air bags offer great protection to teens and adults, but can endanger smaller children when they inflate. Most experts recommend that children under the age of 13, or shorter than 1.5m should stay out of the front seat. A car's frontal air bags deploy with such force that they can cause severe head and neck injuries to a child. Reports of deaths of children involved in low-speed crashes that they might have survived was it not for the deployment of the airbag, raises a lot of concern.

  • Flying objects.

Even if your child is properly buckled in and your air bag is turned off, he or she is at much greater risk for being harmed by objects intruding into the car in the front than in the back.

Whatever your circumstances, the most important consideration, is safety: if you're not comfortable with the idea of moving your child up front, don't cave in. At some stage children start to insist on sitting next to you while you are driving. Buy some time by getting a high-back booster seat and installing it in the centre of the back seat so that your child can more easily see and talk to you without having to sit next to you. In the end a child's safety is more important than what she thinks she wants.

So how do you know that your child is ready to sit in the front seat?

  • When the seatbelt goes over the child’s shoulder and across the middle of his chest and does not touch the neck;
  • The lap belt should fit low, over the hipbones, under the child’s belly area;
  • The child knees should be comfortable over the edge of the seat;
  • When they are taller than 1.5 meters.

Remember that three point seat belts which includes a lap belt and diagonal belt provide greater protection than just a lap belt, but lap belts are better than no belt at all. Always buckle up your children, even for a short trip. It is best to keep toddlers in their car seats and rear-facing as long as possible.

Company Bio:

Shatterprufe will Keep You Safe

More than just car windscreen manufacturers, Shatterprufe has developed exceptionally safe auto glass products for all your replacement requirements. Shatterprufe windscreens are manufactured to fit over 700 makes and models of vehicle, adding a layer of security to each. Armourplate rear glass and side glass is manufactured to fit over 3000 glass parts for different vehicles. Find out more about these auto glass products  and how they safeguard you and your loved ones.

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