This post is a continuation of my most recent post on road safety for kids. This post is focused on adults. Adults who possibly don’t care about themselves and other road users but should care about the kids in their car and in the cars they encounter they whether they like it or not. Here’s why:
1. Traffic lights are there for a reason. I see many cars jump the red light without regard for cars coming from the opposite or adjacent direction. Danfo (bus) drivers are the worst culprits and of course some private car drivers. Some even hoot and hoot for you to get going and disobey the traffic sign. I always ignore them – if there isn’t a highway robbery going on or some mad person on a mission to kill as many people as possible, then I will stay put and definitely won’t sacrifice my life and car for total strangers.
Traffic wardens can also be a problem. Many of them are more confused than drivers. The way they do their job puts drivers are more risk than if the drivers just got on with their driving and hustled their way out of a bad traffic situation. Some time last year, to cut the long story short, my sister was involved in an accident because the traffic warden told her to proceed when it was unsafe. Her traffic light wasn’t working and the adjacent road’s traffic light was green. Need I say more. No one got hurt but it was an unpleasant experience and of course the traffic warden didn’t think he did anything wrong.
2. Put a notice up! Now despite all I will say and all people will hear after today, many will still drive recklessly. My advice is if you carry kids in your car, make sure you have a kids on board or baby on board sticker in obvious positions on your car. Every time I see a car with such sticker, I tend to slow down and give them space. I am sure any responsible adult will do the same. This automatically gives you added protection. Get one today.
3. Seat belts vs Car seats. I remember helping a friend drop off her kids at school one morning. The minute they got into my car, I started to strap them to the seats. They enjoyed it because after that day each time they got into their parent’s car they would go for the seat belt. My friend even lamented once that they had ruined her seat belts trying to strap themselves 🙂 . She wasn’t complaining, she was happy! Now it isn’t going to be this easy with all kids but as I said earlier, be consistent and soon it will pay off.
Encourage your children to always use seat belt. This could be the thin line between their remaining safe and getting badly hurt or even killed if an accident was to occur. If your got hit from the back or side, the seat belt will keep your child’s body in position rather then her body being thrown recklessly around the car or even out of the car. Ideally, children should sit at the back – if an accident was to occur and the airbag was released, it could prove very dangerous for your child. Don’t do the celebrity thing of placing your child in front of you while you drive all in the name of love or bonding – that child will most likely not survive the impact of the airbag when it is released during an accident. Be firm – this does not mean you are mean to your child. There is a time to cuddle and a time to reprimand or be strict. Your child might not like it or might hate you for years to come but when the time is right, he or she will understand and appreciate you for your tough love.
So who should you be using a seat belt for?
– Any Child who is 12 and above or over 135 cms in height can use a seat belt and can even seat in the front passenger seat.
– Any Child from their 3rd birthday up to 135 cms in height (or twelfth birthday, whichever they reach first) should seat on a booster seat at the back and use a seat belt.