The potential danger when driving with children in cars is often underestimated by parents. A caring “Please take care!” or “Daddy always drives carefully” cannot prevent serious consequences for unrestrained or not properly secured children.
When having an accident with an impact of 50 km/h, a child weighing 30 kg can become a dangerous “projectile” of approx. 750 kg, seriously hurting itself and other passengers in the car.
Without a child car seat, an impact at 50 km/h is equivalent to a fall on concrete from the third floor of a building. An impact at 15 km/h can be deadly, and there is a seven times greater risk of being killed or badly injured.
Safety systems in cars to protect children can only work to their full potential if the child restraint systems are installed and the belts are used properly.
Here you will find the top 10 mistakes. Avoiding them could save your child’s life:
1 CHILD COMPLETELY UNRESTRAINED
Parents transporting their children completely unrestrained, e.g. standing between the front seats or in front of the co-driver’s seat, put their life on the line. Even at lowest speed; this can lead to serious consequences. When undertaking a spontaneous short trip children also must be restrained always!
2 CHILD UNRESTRAINED SITTING ON AN ADULT’S LAP
Anyone who thinks they can hold their child with their hands or arms alone could not be more mistaken. Even the tiniest baby will be wrenched from your arms in a collision. Even if the adult and child fasten the seat belt around them, they are putting their lives at risk. This is because the heavier body could easily crush the smaller body. Also, the seat belt may not rest in an ideal position.
3 CHILD UNSECURED IN CHILD RESTRAINT SYSTEM
Children are also in grave danger when they just sit in the car seat without having been properly restrained with the harness system or safety cushion. Another dangerous situation occurs when children are restrained, the car seat, however, is simply placed in the car without using ISOFIX and/or the belt system of the car.
4 CHILD UNRESTRAINED IN CARRY COT
Please never place your baby in a carry cot on the rear seat. In the event of a frontal collision, the baby will be lifted out of the cot and catapulted forward.
5 CHILD RESTRAINED BUT HARNESS IS NOT TIGHT ENOUGH
Please always check whether the harness is too loose every time it is fastened and adjust accordingly (your hand barely fits between harness and body). In wintertime, children are often secured in the car seat wearing a thick and warm jacket or parka. This bears the risk that the harness is not tightened properly.
6 CHILD RESTRAINED HOWEVER SAFETY COMPONENTS ARE LEFT BEHIND
Child car seats with safety cushion (impact shield) must be used with this safety feature in Group I (approx. 9 months up to 4 years, 9-18 kg). Otherwise, the child would be exposed to serious risks. The safety cushion resembles an inflated airbag and helps to significantly reduce the force of impact in the event of an accident and the strain on the sensitive neck, head, and shoulders. Allow your child time to get used to the safety cushion after switching from the infant carrier to the Group I seat, which can even perfectly be used as a playing area.
7 CHILD RESTRAINED BUT ACTIVATED FRONT AIRBAG
Infant carriers should never be used on a passenger seat if the front airbag is activated. If the passenger airbag remains activated and an infant carrier is placed on the front seat, this can lead to serious injury in an accident. The passenger seat may only be used for an infant carrier if the front airbag has been deactivated.
8 CHILD RESTRAINED BUT INFANT CARRIER INSTALLED FORWARD-FACING
If an infant carrier is installed facing forward, this can have similar fatal consequences. In the event of a frontal collision, it could break the child’s neck since the head is still much too heavy in comparison with the rest of the body. This is why infant carriers are designed without exception for rear-facing installation.
9 CHILD RESTRAINED BUT WRONG INSTALLATION OF THE CAR SEAT
Your child could also be at risk of death if the seat is positioned the wrong way round, or using the wrong safety belt or if the belt is not secured tightly enough. Generally speaking, the tighter the connection between the seat and vehicle, the more protection the seat is able to provide.
10 CHILD RESTRAINED BUT CAR SEAT DOES NOT MEET SAFETY STANDARD
The child restraint system is not suitable for the child’s size and weight, the standard is out of date or the seat already contains hairline cracks, which can easily be the case with second-hand seats of unknown origin. Never use a car seat that is too big or too small and always make certain it is appropriate for your child’s weight. Only a correct seat can provide the right level of safety. The head of your child always has to be within the safety zone of the seat. Please never use old child restraint systems having been produced prior to 1995. Child car seats must comply with the regulation ECE R 44/03 or the latest ECE R 44/04 having been valid since 1995. Never use second-hand car seats not knowing their history.
Please visit our CYBEX Child Safety Centre for more information:
Please stay tuned. Next Friday we will introduce another topic about travelling with children in cars.
YOUR CYBEX CHILD SAFETY TEAM