Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Driving With Your Children's Safety In Mind

Every year, approximately 50 million people are injured due to road accidents, with nearly 1.3 million fatalities being reported. Within these figures, the World Health Organization (WHO) has recognised children as being some of the most vulnerable. This is supported by evidence submitted by the Association for Safe International Road Travel (ASIRT), which states that road accidents are the second leading cause of death for children aged five to 14, with further reports from organisations such as the Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT) stating that almost 12 children under the ageof 10are injured or lose their lives every day due to traffic accidents.

These are alarming figures that need everyone’s attention, regardless of them being parents or not. Though a number of accidents are unavoidable, there are measures that can be taken to insure the safety of your children, even in such circumstances.

Getting the Seat Right

Stock car seats and seatbelts are usually not designed for children, especially children under the age of five. Seatbelts maybe safe for you, but can actually injure a child in an accident because they do not sit across the right parts of the body. Because of this, the law requires that children under the age of three must travel with proper restraints like a child car seat. If you are in the market for a child safety seat, select one with a five-star safety rating. Like cars, child seats are required to show their safety ratings, so it shouldn’t be difficult to find one that is the safest for your child.

Though it is not against the law to seat your child in the front seat, it is generally recommended that they be seated in the back. Also remember, regardless of it being a long distance journey or just a short trip to the store, your child must always be in a suitable restraint as accidents can happen anytime, anywhere and without warning.


Multitasking While Driving

A study carried out by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) has proven that driving while multitasking increases the likelihood of an accident occurring. Another report published in the Huffington Post has highlighted an alarming 90% of parents admitting that they multitask while driving with their children. Whether you’re changing the radio channel or using your phone to text or make a call, it is advisable to do so while your vehicle is stationary – even if you have a hands-free device.

Furthermore, if you are too tired to drive or are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, stay away from the wheel – get a cab to pick your children up from school if you have to.

Driving fast doesn’t mean you’re going to get there in time

The speed at which your vehicle is travelling determines the distance it will take for it to come to a complete standstill. It also determines the severity of an accident (if one is to occur) which will determine the severity of you and your passenger’s injuries. If you’re late for a meeting or need to get your kids at school in time, rather drive within the prerequisite speed limit, or even slower, of your country or region. It might mean getting a warning letter from the boss or headmaster, but that is not as severe as losing your child – so drive slow.

Lastly, keep your distance from the car in front of you. The distance you should keep will depend on the speed you are travelling at. So, if you are travelling at 48km/h (30mph) – which is recommended when you are driving with your children – keep an approximate two second distance. 

Rosanne is an advocate for child safety and always makes sure her child is safely restrained in a booster seats before leaving the house.