CRA Motoring Safety – South Africa
Reasons given for not owning a child car seat included high cost and the belief that seatbelts were a suitable alternative.
Alarmingly low usage of child car seats, and the resultant child fatalities on South African roads, have prompted Supa Quick to take action and partner with Wheel Well, a non-profit organisation dedicated to road safety for children, to establish collection points where South Africans can drop off unused, unwanted, as well as new donated car seats.
According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a car seat reduces the risk of injury by as much as 82% for children, compared to just using a seatbelt alone.
Through the Wheel Well initiative, owners can deliver their used car seats to any Supa Quick outlet, where new and used seats will be collected, stripped and washed so they can be donated to parents in need across the country.
“While the Covid-19 lockdown has limited people’s travel, the safety of their children when they do get on the road remains just as important as ever,” said Wheel Well founder, Peggie Mars.
“Unfortunately, people have been put under pressure just to cover the essentials due to the impact of national lockdowns on their incomes. As such, it is even more important now that those in a better position can come together to offer new parents and parents of young children who are economically affected, some relief through the vital equipment that will keep their little ones safe while driving,” said Ms Mars.
While statistics from the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) show a decline in overall car accident fatalities in 2019 compared to the previous year, passenger child fatalities are on the rise, from 1 419 in 2017, to 1 576 in the following year and 1 750 reported deaths in 2019, a 14% increase over two years.
According to a recent report produced in collaboration with the University of Cape Town, the SA Medical Research Council and others, children under five-years-old were at especially high risk of serious injury and death in vehicle crashes in South Africa. The study revealed that despite their known effectiveness in reducing injuries amongst children, the rate of use of child car seats remains low in South Africa, with only 7.8% of child passengers observed to be properly restrained.
In South Africa, it is illegal to travel in a car with a child under three-years-old not strapped into an approved child safety seat.
While 92% of survey respondents claimed to have knowledge of current child restraint legislation, only 32% of those parents and carers were able to correctly identify the age requirements and penalties. Reasons given for not owning a child car seat included high cost and the belief that seatbelts were a suitable alternative.
The country needs to do more, through education and access to affordable used car seats, to ensure that all South African children are in car seats. Mars says the collaboration with Supa Quick offers an important logistical component in the ability to efficiently source and distribute car seats to those in need.
The car seat donation drive commenced on July 28.
For more information contact Peggie Mars at 072 3857121 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Article Credit To Southcoast Herald.