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Posted On: 31 July 2018 03:43 pm
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:19 pm

Why all children should wear seat belts

Nabeela
Nabeela
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More often than not, we see children hanging out of the windows, standing up in moving vehicles with their heads popping out of the sun roofs and jumping around in the back seat. We, sometimes, also see adults with their small children on their laps while they are driving. All these scenarios present child safety hazards in cars because children are not restrained in seat belts or car seats depending on their age and size.

Seven reasons why car seats/seat belts are a must for children

First reason

One of the main reasons why seat belts are compulsory for the driver and front seat passenger and should be compulsory for rear seat passengers is that, if there is a car accident, there is a likelihood that if any of these passengers is ejected from the car because of the impact, hits another of the car’s passengers or the car’s inner frame, in 75% cases, someone is likely to die.

Second reason

If a car travelling at even 50 kilometres per hour is in a car accident and a child is not in a child restraint (car seat, booster seat or seat belt), he/she may be flung forwards with a force that is 30-60 times the body weight and tossed around the car’s interior or even ejected through a window of the car causing them and the other passengers severe injury or even death.

children in car seats

Third reason

Dr. Ayman El-Menyar, a Research Consultant at Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC), Hamad Trauma Center (HTC), has made it very clear that if drivers and passengers are not using restraints (seat belts, car seats or booster seats), there is a higher chance of death or sustaining a life-threatening injury if in a car accident. Drivers without seat belts are 5 times more likely to die, front seat passengers without seat belts are 4 times more likely to die and those in the back seats are 7 times more likely to die if not wearing restraints. If all passengers in a car including the driver are restrained (seat belts, car seats and booster seats), the number of injuries and deaths can be reduced by over ½.

Fourth reason

According to the HTC which conducted a survey of 443 patients (0 -18 years) for injuries suffered as passengers, drivers, pedestrians, cyclists and all-terrain vehicle users it was found that only 1.2% of passengers and drivers were using a seatbelt or a car seat. In fact, risk of car accident related injuries actually follows an age-dependent pattern.

child injuries and deaths in car accidents

Source: Hamad Medical Corporation

Fifth reason

Without a restraint (car seat, booster seat or seat bel) depending on the age of the child passenger, the chances of being killed in an accident or suffering a severe brain trauma increases by 400%, but if all children are restrained in cars every time, 40 children could be saved every year and more than 100 serious brain traumas could be prevented.

Sixth reason

Other statistics from Hamad Injury Prevention Program (HIPP) and the Clinical Research Unit of HTC on road accidents that involve children probably not properly restrained in car seats, booster seats or seat belts show the following:

children involved in car accidents in Qatar

Source: Hamad Medical Corporation

Seventh reason

If a child is seated in the lap of an adult in the front passenger seat or even on the driver, and the car is involved in a car accident, the child will probably be torn from the adult’s arms even when the adult is wearing a seat belt and tries to hold on to the child or may get crushed between the adult and the car’s dashboard. That’s why it is important to always seat children in the rear passenger seats in appropriate restraints.

Reducing the risk of injury or death in children

If we always restrain children in car seats, booster seats or seat belts depending on their age and their size, no matter how short the journey is, we can reduce their chances of injury or death. The best way to set an example is if you, as a parent, guardian or care-giver, wear a seat belt as soon as you sit in the car whether you are in the front seat or the rear; this will reinforce in the child’s mind the importance of wearing a seatbelt and is more likely to be followed without a fuss.

It’s important to keep in mind that with each restraint (rear-facing car seat, front-facing car seat, booster seat or seat belt) transition depending on the height and weight of the child, there will be some decrease in the percentage of protection. As a parent you must try to delay these transitions for as long as you can without compromising on your children’s safety and security.

Reducing the risk of injury or death in children involved in car accidents in Qatar

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Car restraint stages for children

If you are confused as to what type of child restraint to invest in for your child, use the image below as a guideline.

car child restraint stages

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Car restraint groups for children

Another way to ensure your child is in the correct child restraint is to follow the chart below in addition to the one above.

car seat stages

Source: Road Safety Authority

Tips for installing a child restraint correctly

car seat installation

Source: Candy Kids

1. It’s very important to follow the manufacturer’s car seat guidelines when installing a child restraint (rear-facing car seat, front-facing car seat or booster seat) on the car’s rear seats.

2. Make sure the car’s seat belt passes through all the necessary parts of the child restraints as per the manufacturer’s guidelines, otherwise the safety of your child may be compromised.

3. To ensure the child restraint is installed properly, put your knee on the seat and put your full weight on it; tighten the car’s seat belt as much as you can.

4. Follow manufacturer’s instructions when placing a child in the restraint to ensure the child is secure and safe.

5. Every time you take your child out of the child restraint, make sure to always fit it back tightly again as the restraint may have gotten loose.

Do you strap your child in an appropriate child restraint? Are there occasions when your child is not in a car seat or seat belt? What else can we do to ensure every child is properly restrained when travelling in a car in Qatar? Tell us your views in our comments section. Like and share the article – it keeps us going!