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child safety

Child safety

Recognising the need for an educated South African public on the critical importance of child safety seats, Ford South Africa has placed its support behind Johannesburg-based NPO, Wheel Well, and national car seat awareness initiative, #CarseatFullstop.

South Africa follows the European standards, as opposed to the American standards, on child safety seats or car seats. The differences are in the testing standards, as well as the design of the seats.

According to Statistics South Africa (2018), transport accidents are the leading accurately recorded cause of non-natural death in children under 14 in South Africa. A correctly installed and used car seat reduces the risk of your child dying by up to 71% and reduces the need for hospitalisation by 69% (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11691560). And yet, a study conducted by the Automobile Association found that 93% of children in private cars in South Africa that need to be in a car seat to be safe in a crash, are not in car seats.

“Children are dying every day because their caregivers didn’t know. They didn’t know that the slightest mistake in installing their car seat or securing their child in that seat might mean that the seat won’t work… Most importantly, they didn’t know – or fully understand – that a car seat is needed by every child under 1.5m tall EVERY single time they get into a car,” says Mandy Lee Miller, director of national car seat awareness initiative #CarseatFullstop and Ford South Africa Ford Everest brand ambassador. “No parent should lose a child because they didn’t know.”

Child safety seats and safety belts, when selected, installed and used correctly, can prevent injuries and save lives.

Child safety

Recognising the need for an educated South African public on the critical importance of child safety seats, Ford South Africa has placed its support behind Johannesburg-based NPO, Wheel Well, and national car seat awareness initiative, #CarseatFullstop.

South Africa follows the European standards, as opposed to the American standards, on child safety seats or car seats. The differences are in the testing standards, as well as the design of the seats.

According to Statistics South Africa (2018), transport accidents are the leading accurately recorded cause of non-natural death in children under 14 in South Africa. A correctly installed and used car seat reduces the risk of your child dying by up to 71% and reduces the need for hospitalisation by 69% (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11691560). And yet, a study conducted by the Automobile Association found that 93% of children in private cars in South Africa that need to be in a car seat to be safe in a crash, are not in car seats.

“Children are dying every day because their caregivers didn’t know. They didn’t know that the slightest mistake in installing their car seat or securing their child in that seat might mean that the seat won’t work… Most importantly, they didn’t know – or fully understand – that a car seat is needed by every child under 1.5m tall EVERY single time they get into a car,” says Mandy Lee Miller, director of national car seat awareness initiative #CarseatFullstop and Ford South Africa Ford Everest brand ambassador. “No parent should lose a child because they didn’t know.”

Child safety seats and safety belts, when selected, installed and used correctly, can prevent injuries and save lives.

Installation of Car Seats

Click to watch the video below

Installation of Car Seats

Click to watch the video below

Families should consider the following:

  • Buckle your child securely into their car seat every time, no matter how short the trip.
  • Children under 13 years old should not be allowed to travel in the front seat of a car. The back seat is generally the safest place for a child to ride. While air bags can save lives, kids riding in the front seat can be seriously injured or killed when an air bag comes out in a crash. Even with advanced air bags or no air bags, the back seat is safer for children.
  • Never put a rear-facing child in a front seat with an active frontal air bag.
  • Choose the right child safety seat or safety belt for your child’s size and age. The maximum limit for your child’s seat can be found on the orange sticker on the body of child safety seat. All car seats approved for sale in South Africa will have this orange sticker.

  • Your child needs 3 car seats in their lifetime:
    • Infant seats should be used up to 75cm or 13kg. An infant seat should only ever be used rear facing.
    • Toddler car seats should be used only once your child has outgrown the infant seat. They should be used with the five-point harness up to 105cm or 18kg (whichever comes first). There are two forms of toddler seats:
      • Extended rear facing. An extended rear facing car seat can be used up to 105cm or 18kg (this is the minimum recommendation in Europe). There are 2 car seats available in South Africa that allow for additional rear facing with a five-point harness up to 25kg or 115cm.
      • Forward facing. A forward facing car seat can be used up to 105cm or 18kg. There are 2 car seats available in South Africa that allow for additional use of the five-point harness up to 25kg.
    • Full back booster seats should be used from the time your child has outgrown their toddler seat with the five-point harness until they reach 1.5m tall.
  • Your child is only seat belt ready when all 5 of the below are true:
    • They can sit with their back against back rest and legs flat on the seat.
    • Their knees bend over edge of car’s seat, and their feet are flat on the floor.
    • The shoulder belt should fit smoothly and diagonally across the chest, midway between neck and shoulder.
    • The lap belt should sit as low as possible on the pelvis or upper thighs, away from the belly.
    • They must be able to remain comfortably like this the whole trip.
  • Checks that your child is safely secured in their seat:
    • When using a 5 point harness, where the belts comes out of the back of the seat and over your child’s shoulder is critical. When rear-facing, they should be at or just below the shoulder. When forward facing, they should be at or just above.
    • The car seat harness should not be twisted at any point when fastened. The twists compromise the ability of the harness to properly and evenly “catch” and support the body in a crash.
    • A car seat harness is only tight enough when you cannot pinch the fabric of the belt between your fingers at all. If it is tight enough, you will not be able to get more than 2 fingers between the harness and your child’s collarbone.
    • A bulky jersey or blanket between the car seat harness and your child leaves slack that can lead to your child being ejected when crash forces compress the material.
  • Don’t use belt positioners, covers, inserts, pillows or restraints of any kind that haven’t been crash tested with car seats. They can compromise the safety of the seat or react dangerously under crash forces.
  • Install and use your child safety seat or safety belt according to the manufacturer’s instructions and your vehicle owner's manual.

Families should consider the following:

  • Buckle your child securely into their car seat every time, no matter how short the trip.
  • Children under 13 years old should not be allowed to travel in the front seat of a car. The back seat is generally the safest place for a child to ride. While air bags can save lives, kids riding in the front seat can be seriously injured or killed when an air bag comes out in a crash. Even with advanced air bags or no air bags, the back seat is safer for children.
  • Never put a rear-facing child in a front seat with an active frontal air bag.
  • Choose the right child safety seat or safety belt for your child’s size and age. The maximum limit for your child’s seat can be found on the orange sticker on the body of child safety seat. All car seats approved for sale in South Africa will have this orange sticker.

  • Your child needs 3 car seats in their lifetime:
    • Infant seats should be used up to 75cm or 13kg. An infant seat should only ever be used rear facing.
    • Toddler car seats should be used only once your child has outgrown the infant seat. They should be used with the five-point harness up to 105cm or 18kg (whichever comes first). There are two forms of toddler seats:
      • Extended rear facing. An extended rear facing car seat can be used up to 105cm or 18kg (this is the minimum recommendation in Europe). There are 2 car seats available in South Africa that allow for additional rear facing with a five-point harness up to 25kg or 115cm.
      • Forward facing. A forward facing car seat can be used up to 105cm or 18kg. There are 2 car seats available in South Africa that allow for additional use of the five-point harness up to 25kg.
    • Full back booster seats should be used from the time your child has outgrown their toddler seat with the five-point harness until they reach 1.5m tall.
  • Your child is only seat belt ready when all 5 of the below are true:
    • They can sit with their back against back rest and legs flat on the seat.
    • Their knees bend over edge of car’s seat, and their feet are flat on the floor.
    • The shoulder belt should fit smoothly and diagonally across the chest, midway between neck and shoulder.
    • The lap belt should sit as low as possible on the pelvis or upper thighs, away from the belly.
    • They must be able to remain comfortably like this the whole trip.
  • Checks that your child is safely secured in their seat:
    • When using a 5 point harness, where the belts comes out of the back of the seat and over your child’s shoulder is critical. When rear-facing, they should be at or just below the shoulder. When forward facing, they should be at or just above.
    • The car seat harness should not be twisted at any point when fastened. The twists compromise the ability of the harness to properly and evenly “catch” and support the body in a crash.
    • A car seat harness is only tight enough when you cannot pinch the fabric of the belt between your fingers at all. If it is tight enough, you will not be able to get more than 2 fingers between the harness and your child’s collarbone.
    • A bulky jersey or blanket between the car seat harness and your child leaves slack that can lead to your child being ejected when crash forces compress the material.
  • Don’t use belt positioners, covers, inserts, pillows or restraints of any kind that haven’t been crash tested with car seats. They can compromise the safety of the seat or react dangerously under crash forces.
  • Install and use your child safety seat or safety belt according to the manufacturer’s instructions and your vehicle owner's manual.