7 months ago
Make sure under two-year-olds are in rear-facing car seats before and during rides. Older kids must be strapped in at the back seat.  ~ 

WE ALL agree that kids are the most important little people in our lives, but are we taking proper care of them when we drive?

SunWheels asked some driving mums what they do to keep their kids safe and what other drivers can do to help.

- Phindile Sibiya (28), a Mangaung Metro communications officer, drives a Hyundai i20. She said: “I buckle my eight-year-old kid up and aim to keep them calm during the journey. I make sure I’m extra alert when driving.

“I hate it when people let their kids sit in the passenger seat. If the car brakes quickly, the child will fly through the windscreen. People think everyone tries to drive well. At the end of the day you can only control how you drive not how others drive.”

- Thembi Nkosi (38), a jewellery store manager in Tshwane, drives a Toyota Auris. She said: “I make sure my kids aged 14 and eight are always sitting down and have their seat belts on. I try to drive under 100km/h when they are in the car, which is why I keep to the slow lane. I drive a bit faster when they are not with me in the car.

“I see a lot of irresponsible drivers on the road. People speaking on their phones or texting while driving. It is like they forget they have their kids with them. I know we’re always in a hurry, but make sure your kids’ seat belts are properly secured. Take a few extra seconds and check.”

- Neo Sesinye (28), a journalist, said: “I have two kids, one and two years old. I put them in a car seat with fastened seat belts and make sure they are safe. The same rule applies while their grandfather drives them around.

“What really angers me is when parents let kids stand on the seats while they are driving. Also, I think it’s time we made stricter laws about smoking in cars with children.”

- Keneiloe Serongoane (28), an account manager at a Joburg public relations agency, said her son (4) gets strapped in as soon as he’s inside her Kia Picanto.

“What bugs me are drivers who don’t safely strap their kids. You find kids sitting in the middle of the back seat between the front seats. I fear what would happen if the driver had to slam on the brakes.

“This is especially problematic in Mzansi where drivers of smaller cars get bullied by taxi drivers, SUVs and bigger vehicles. We need strict laws that also tackle overloaded and unroadworthy taxis, especially those transporting kids.”

SunWheels talked to Trevor Case, managing director of accidentANGELS, a special hospital plan that covers victims of vehicle collisions.

He said: “Any child being driven in a car needs to be properly buckled in. The seat belt needs to cross over the shoulder of the child – NOT above her or his head. Smaller children need to be put in a baby car seat or a booster seat, depending on their age.

“Never transport kids on the back of a bakkie – it’s tremendously dangerous.

“Also take note of the tread on your tyres. This is often ignored, but when people drive it reduces their ability to safely stop the car – especially on wet surfaces,” Case said.

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