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By Enkosi Selane

Digital Journalist

Two-year-old survives near death after being flung from car in crash

An unstrapped two-year-old survived a car crash after being ejected through the vehicle's windscreen.

The importance of car seats and properly strapping children in seatbelts was thrown into the spotlight again recently after a two-year-old toddler was ejected from a vehicle during a car crash in KwaZulu-Natal.

Two-year-old boy ejected

It was midday on Tuesday when one of the most horrific predicaments one could think of occurred at the R102 and Tottenham Road intersection in Ottawa, north of Durban.

A little boy travelling with his father in a white VW Golf was flung from the vehicle when it suddenly collided with a bakkie.

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According to the Reaction Unit South Africa (RUSA), the Hyundai H100 “collided into the side of their vehicle at the intersection”.

“The unrestrained minor was ejected from the car through the windscreen,” said RUSA.

Luckily, the boy only suffered facial injuries.

The father and three other passengers from the other vehicle also suffered minor injuries.

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Paramedics from a private ambulance service stabilised the injured on the scene before they were taken to medical facilities in the area.

No reports of fatalities were recorded.

Child passenger safety and legalities

The South African Automobile Authority (AA) cautions drivers about the devastating implications of a car crash on an unrestrained child.

According to the AA, regulation 213 of the National Road Traffic Act states that the driver is responsible for ensuring that everyone travelling in his vehicle is wearing a seatbelt.

“Besides providing for the regulations for the fitting of seatbelts, and the legal seatbelt requirements for adults, the regulations also set out the seatbelt and child restraint requirements.

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“They state that the driver of a vehicle must ensure a child on a seat of the motor vehicle uses an appropriate child restraint. If no child restraint is available, the child must wear a seatbelt if an unoccupied seat, which is fitted with a seatbelt, is available,” says the vehicle regulating authority.

“Children under two should be placed in a rear-facing car seat on the front passenger seat, and then moved to a front-facing car seat as they get older,” added the association.

Furthermore, a driver not adhering to the provisions set by the law is prone to facing severe charges.

These include reckless and negligent driving, as well as culpable homicide, if the infant or child passes away from a car crash.

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Properly strapping in your child

According to Arrive Alive, car crashes are the preceding cause of unintended injury-related death among children ages 14 and under.

“Motor vehicle crashes remain the leading killer of kids, in part because nearly a third of children ride in the wrong restraints for their age and size and four out of five child safety seats are used incorrectly,” said the agency.

To prevent any further injuries or fatal car crashes among the child population, Arrive Alive provided the following safety tips:

1. Always restrain your child, no matter the distance of the trip.

2. Children 12 and under should be properly restrained in a back seat. A back seat is generally the safest place for a child to ride. While airbags can save lives, kids riding in the front seat can be seriously injured or killed when an airbag comes out in a crash. Even with advanced airbags or no airbags, the back seat is safer for children.

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3. Never put a rear-facing child in a front seat with an active frontal airbag.

4. Choose the right child safety seat or safety belt for your child’s size and age. Make sure you have the right seat for your child.

5. Infants should ride in rear-facing safety seats as long as possible until they are at least 12 months old and weigh at least 20 pounds.

6. Children who are at least 1 year old, weigh 20 to 40 pounds and can no longer ride in rear-facing seats should ride in forward-facing child safety seats.

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7. Children over 40 pounds should be correctly secured in belt-positioning boosters or other appropriate child restraints until the adult lap and shoulder belts fit correctly, usually around age 8.

8. Once the vehicle safety belts fit children, both lap and shoulder belts should be used correctly.

9. Install and use your child safety seat or safety belt according to the manufacturer’s instructions and your vehicle owner’s manual.

10. Ensure your child safety seat has not been recalled.