Have you ever imagined, you are driving you car at the speed of over 60 km per hour and all of a sudden you crash and there is a child in the rear seat. Would you focus on the steering, control the car or you would see the child is safe or not? In fact, would you as a driver in the position be able to even see the child’s situation? Obviously NO! Right?
According to the World Health Organization, globally, around 186 300 children under 18 years die from road traffic crashes annually, and road traffic injuries are the leading killer of children aged 15-17 years worldwide. Two times as many boys as girls die in road traffic crashes. In addition, rates of road traffic death among children are 3 times higher in low- and middle-income countries than in high-income countries.
Then what should be done to make the journey safe for kids on drive. Our expert Samir Pathak gives tips to safeguard your kids when you are driving.
- A child below the age of 12 years should not be allowed to sit in the front passenger seat – with or without an airbag fitted in the car.
- Similarly, a child should not be allowed to travel by sitting on a lap of a co-passenger in the car. Holding a child in the arm is not a substitute for a child restraint system. In an accident, a child can be crushed against the windscreen or between you and the vehicle’s interior.
- A child safety seat should always be used and, it should be installed on the rear seat. According to accident statistics, a child is safer in the rear seat than in the front seat.
- A grown up child should sit on a booster seat or on a hard cushion placed on the car’s seat so that seatbelt fits well.
- As per studies undertaken on child safety, it is found that if a frontal impact occurs at the speed of 50 km/h, a child weighing 30 kg will be transformed into a missile equal to one ton and you will find it impossible to hold the child, even if you are wearing a seatbelt yourself.
- Most accidents on city roads happen within the radius of 20 kms from the office or home and, between the speed of 30 and 50 km/h. Hence, don’t hesitate to take precautions even at low speeds as well as on short trips.
- Under the law, “whoever drives a motor vehicle with a child who, not having attained the age of 14 years, is not secured by a seat belt or child restraint system, is punishable with a fine of one thousand rupees.” (Ref: Section 194/B of the M. V. Act, 1988. It is a recent amendment.)
Samir Pathak, Author, Professional Trainer, Consultant
(The write is a wizard and maestro in traffic and road safety matters for several decades. He has written number of books that have been turned guide to many government officials and individuals.)