Seat belt! Tips to keep your kids safe in cars

Child Passenger Safety Week raises awareness to keep children safe in cars and on the roads.

In place of Africa Melane, Wasanga Mehana talks to Brands Africa CEO Debbie Billson about ensuring your child is as safe as possible when in the car with you.


The Child Passenger Safety Week is an initiative established in Europe years ago. It has been adopted and operated for 6 years in South Africa due to the importance of ensuring the safety of young children traveling in vehicles. Their goal is to make parents aware of how to keep their children safe in cars.

Ensuring young children are safely strapped into car seats is essential and South African law currently states that all children under the age of 3 must be in a child-restricted system.

However, says Billson, the majority of child traffic deaths are between the ages of 4 and 12.

Billson outlines some of the key issues:

Problem 1: Not replacing a child’s car seat when it is no longer sufficient for the infant or toddler model

When a child is past the age of 3 and has outgrown the size of the infant car seat, parents may feel that their child doesn’t need another, larger infant car seat.

Instead, they will use the existing adult car seat belt without regard to the child’s height and the fact that seat belts must be adjusted and fastened to accommodate the child.

Because the seat belt does not fit well, it irritates their necks and they put their arms through the belt due to discomfort.

Most impacts from car accidents are abdominal, and a child’s hips aren’t fully developed to handle that kind of force, he explains.

Problem 2: Allowing children to stand in a moving vehicle or sit on a parent’s lap while driving

Even at a low speed of 50 km/h with a child weighing 30 kg, that adds up to 1 tonne on impact and there is no way any parent can contain that force.

Debbie Billson, Managing Director – Brands Africa

The awareness campaign is to educate parents to always put their children in car seats to keep them safe.

Billson says his Maxi Cosi company aims to invest in car safety and raise awareness to help enforce the law on using a car seat to keep children safe in vehicles.

A wide range of care seats are available on the South African market, from entry level to premium care seats that are independently tested.

We believe that any parent who can afford a car, for less than 1%, can afford a car seat.

Debbie Billson, Managing Director – Brands Africa

This article first appeared on CapeTalk: Seat belt! Tips to keep your kids safe in cars

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