While there is significant attention given to securing babies and toddlers in car seats, Dewald Ranft, the chairperson of the Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA), emphasises the critical importance of safeguarding older children when travelling in vehicles.
MIWA takes pride in its affiliation with the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI) and shares a primary focus on road safety.
Ranft highlights the need for parents and motorists to recognise that vehicles travel at considerable speeds. Even without accidents, sudden braking can propel an unsecured child forward within the car, leading to potential injuries.
He points out that older children frequently ride without seatbelts, engage in distracting activities, or lean out of windows. Tragically, accidents have occurred where children are ejected through windows, resulting in severe head injuries or fatalities.
Despite appearing as fun, such behaviour carries significant risks. The speed at which modern vehicles operate on roads, including smaller routes, makes child safety paramount. Speed, Ranft insists, is a serious threat.
Engaging older children in conversations about car risks is vital. They are capable of understanding, and implementing a rule that everyone must be securely strapped in and seated correctly is essential before any journey.
Ranft reiterates the importance of correctly securing car seats for younger kids. Startling statistics reveal that up to 70% of car seats are improperly installed. Parents should also ensure that the seat corresponds to the child’s age and size.
Long car journeys can be challenging for children, particularly toddlers who become restless. Planning regular stops for stretching and playtime, perhaps at locations with facilities like jungle gyms, can help children burn off excess energy without distracting the driver.
For expert advice on car seats or general car safety, do not hesitate to consult your local MIWA workshop. The shared goal is to ensure road safety for our children, and they are ready to provide assistance.
Source: Cathy Findley PR / Photos: Caxton Library