Safely restraining your child in the car

Allowing your child to ride in a car without the proper child restraint puts not only your child’s life at risk but also the life of the other passengers in the car. According to the World Health Organization, when a crash occurs, three phases or collisions happen. The first collision occurs between the car and the object it strikes. The second collision occurs between unrestrained occupants and stationary objects within the car, such as seats, windows, windshield and dashboards. Finally, the third collision happens when the internal organs of the car occupants collide with the chest wall or skeletal structure of the occupant. The World Health Organization suggests that the majority of fatal injuries that occur in car crashes are a result of the second collision. When unrestrained, occupants will move through the car at the same rate of speed that the crash occurred at through momentum. Unrestrained or improperly restrained occupants can collide with stationary objects or suffer ejection from the car. An unrestrained occupant can also collide with other car occupants, resulting in serious head or organ injuries. Whenever you’re on the road, make sure your child passengers are all buckled up. The safest place for children of any age to ride is properly restrained in the back seat. All children aged 12 and under should ride in the back seat. Airbags can kill young children riding in the front seat. Never place a rear-facing car seat in the front seat or in front of an airbag. To ensure your child is safely restrained in the back seat, you should use a seat belt on every trip, no matter how short it is. This sets a good example. You should also make sure children are properly buckled up in a seat belt, booster seat, or car seat, whichever is appropriate for their age, height and weight. The following will guide you on the appropriate ways to restrain your child, depending on the age bracket: From birth up to age 2 use rear-facing car seat. For the best possible protection, infants and children should be kept in a rear-facing car seat, in the back seat buckled with the seat’s harness, until they reach the upper weight or height limits of their particular seat. Check the seat’s owner’s manual for weight and height limits. For age 2 up to at least age 5 purchase a forward-facing car seat. When children outgrow their rear-facing seats, they should ride in forward-facing car seats, in the back seat buckled with the seat’s harness, until they reach the upper weight or height limit of their particular seat. Check the seat’s owner’s manual for weight and height limits. From age 5 up to age 9 a booster seat will be more appropriate. Once children outgrow their forward-facing seats, by reaching the upper height and weight limits of their seat, they should ride in belt positioning booster seats. Remember to keep children in the back seat for the best possible protection at all times. When the seat belts fit properly, let the child use the car’s seat belts. Seat belts fit properly when the lap belt lays across the upper thighs, not the stomach, and the shoulder belt fits across the chest, not the neck. For the best possible protection, keep children in the back seat and use lap-and-shoulder belts. Always ensure your child has been fastened in the car using the recommended seat. For feedback and questions about the articles posted or our organisation, leave a comment below or visit http://www.kemra.co.ke/

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