Spare the lives of children on the move, strap them in

Plea for public to donate used child seats as safety campaign kicks off

11 January 2019 - 10:05 By Motoring Reporter
Pontso Mohlotsane of WesBank Motor Division hands over a new car seat to Frikkie van Rensburg, MD of InspectaCar Morgan Motors, to kick-off the new initiative. Picture: SUPPLIED
Pontso Mohlotsane of WesBank Motor Division hands over a new car seat to Frikkie van Rensburg, MD of InspectaCar Morgan Motors, to kick-off the new initiative. Picture: SUPPLIED

Young children traveling unbuckled in cars is a regular and shocking sight on SA roads, despite road safety research proving conclusively that safety belts and child car seats are the most effective devices in preventing serious injuries and deaths in vehicle crashes.

Seat belts and car seats contact the strongest parts of the body, spread crash forces over a wide area and help the body slow down to protect the brain and spinal cord.

This information was shared by Peggie Mars, the founder and managing director of Wheel Well, a non-profit organisation that advocates for Children's Road Safety in South Africa, at the recent Women in Transport Conference.

This thought-provoking information on child safety and the importance of properly restraining a child in a child seat while travelling in a vehicle resonated strongly with co-panellist, Pertunia Sibanyoni, CEO of InspectaCar.

“If we consider the number of vehicle collisions that happen every day in South Africa, there is no doubt that it’s imperative for parents to ensure that their children are always strapped in correctly,” says Sibanyoni.

Additional studies have revealed that buckling children into age- and size-appropriate car seats, booster seats and the use of safety belt harnesses, reduces the risk of death to infants (aged <1 year) by 71%, to toddlers (aged 1 – 4 years) by 54% in passenger vehicles.

Booster seat use reduces the risk for serious injury by 45 % for children aged 4 – 8 years when compared with seat belt use alone.

In light of this information, InspectaCar will be collecting, refurbishing and donating car seats to those less fortunate, as part of a CSR initiative to pay-it-forward.

Wheel Well receives donated child safety seats to create a “seat exchange” where lower income families can receive child restraints in return for an affordable donation. The seats are thoroughly cleaned and checked for defects before they put into stock.

“We are appealing to parents who own a child car seat that they no longer use to consider donating it to a deserving family. Our dealerships around the country will be the drop off points for the pre-owned car seats. We will then ensure that they are sent to Wheel Well for the necessary checks and refurbishment,” says Sibanyoni.