Now your kids must buckle up too

MAY 4, 2015

In case you missed it; it is now illegal to drive with children under three-years-old without strapping them into a car seat after Minister of Transport introduced a new regulation to the National Road Traffic Act as of 1 May.

Previously, persons older than three years had to be buckled up but there was no stipulation enforcing drivers to ensure that children younger than this were safely restrained in a car seat.

However, the new provision does not apply in the a case of a minibus, midibus or bus operating for reward, where passengers aren’t legally obliged to buckle up.

“This new legislation in South Africa addresses a void which has for a number of years frustrated all those so deeply concerned with the safety of our children on the roads,” says a spokesman for Arrive Alive.

“We have unfortunately too often seen a disregard for this road legislation and have seen far too many children not buckled up, standing on the back seats of cars or between the front seats of vehicles,” he adds.

“The effectiveness of the car seats legislation will depend on the ability of our traffic officers to enforce the legislation in a manner that is effective and non-corruptible.”

Science

Scientific studies have shown that seatbelts are the most effective method of reducing death and serious injury during a crash. 

Holding an unbuckled child on your lap won’t protect them in a crash, as you won’t be able to hold on and prevent them from flying through the windscreen.

Babies and small children require a child seat, as an adult safety belt can cause the lap belt to ride up over the stomach and the shoulder belt to cut across the neck, potentially causing the child serious abdominal or neck injuries.

A booster seat can improve the seat belt fit when your child is too big for a forward facing child seat and too small for an adult belt. As a general guide, buy a rigid booster seat with a back, side wings and a sash guide to keep the seat belt in place.