Since 2015, it has been law that children under the age of three years of age must be strapped into a car seat while travelling in a moving vehicle. Statistics show that a baby has a 71% chance of surviving an accident when strapped into a fitted car seat.

A recent Gumtree survey, reported that 84% of respondents were aware of this law and 97% agreed with it, while as many as 57% of parents with children under the age of three years, did not have a car seat.

The main reason given by respondents for not owning a car seat, was a belief that they were too expensive (81%) followed by 25% of parents who thought that normal seat belts were sufficient.

Jeff Osborne, Head of Automotive for Gumtree SA, says that the figure is “alarming”. “Unfortunately owning a car seat is non-negotiable – as is installing the seat correctly. Children are extremely vulnerable to injuries, even from a minor crash. They can be injured badly by air bags deploying, for example, if not in a rear-facing seat. A toddler, whose head is much larger than their body physiologically, will be propelled forward with much greater force (and impact) than an adult, leading to the risk of neck and back injuries. Seat belts alone do not fit properly, and can’t protect young children.”

Osborne did find some encouragement in 64% of respondents knowing that if a car seat was too big or too small for a child, it offered no protection at all. He urges parents to keep checking the baby seat for size and also to always ensure that it is properly mounted in the vehicle. “Your seat requirements will change as your kid’s age. Make sure that your child is seated in a rear-seating seat until the age of 2. Your child should ride in a safety seat until his or her shoulders no longer fit under the straps. The seat has to be correct for the child’s height and weight. From about age 4 or younger they should use booster seats, and at age 8 they can graduate to the back seat without using a booster.”

*Source: Gumtree SA