Use child seats correctly

Since May 2015 South African road safety regulations dictate that babies (defined as up to three years old) and young children be secured in a baby seat when travelling. Older children (15-25kg) should be secured in a booster seat with a seatbelt on, and preferably in the rear of the vehicle.

Children are defined as being between the ages of 3 to 14 except where the person is taller than 1.5 metres. Adults are defined as being 14 years and older and over or taller than 1.5 metres.

The national Road Safety Act requires that an adult must at all times make use of a seatbelt. The only exception under these circumstances where an adult may be exempted from using a seatbelt is where there are no seats with fitted seatbelts available. All Toyota models are fitted with seat belts bon all seats.

Motor vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of unintentional injury-related death among children ages 14 and under. Child safety seats and safety belts, when installed and used correctly, can prevent injuries and save lives. Unrestrained children are more likely to be injured, suffer severe injuries and die in motor vehicle crashes than children who are restrained.

Although sunscreen, first aid kits and cell phones are among the travel aids that parents bring to ensure safety while on holiday, many parents underestimate the importance of correctly using child safety seats for every ride. Motor vehicle crashes remain the leading killer of kids, in part because nearly a third of children ride in the wrong restraints for their age and size and four out of five child safety seats are used incorrectly.

Families should practice the following safety tips on every journey:

  • Buckle up every time, no matter how short the trip.
  • Children 14 and under should be properly restrained in a back seat. A 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. Make sure you have the right seat for your child.
  • Infants should ride in rear-facing safety seats as long as possible, until they are at least 12 months old and weigh at least 10kg.
  • Children who are at least 1 year old, weigh less than 20kg or so and can no longer ride in rear-facing seats should ride in forward-facing child safety seats.
  • Children over around 20kg should be correctly secured in belt-positioning boosters or other appropriate child restraints until the adult lap and shoulder belts fit correctly, usually around age 8.
  • Once the vehicle safety belts fit children, both lap and shoulder belts should be used correctly.
  • Install and use your child safety seat or safety belt according to the manufacturer’s instructions and your vehicle owner’s manual.

For more travel safety tips, head to www.arrivealive.co.za