This post is part 1 of 4 of Happikiddo’s “Buckle Up No Excuse” road safety series #buckleupnoexcuse
The nursery is decorated and the baby essentials are ready. Stroller…checked! Baby clothes…checked! Feeding bottles? Double checked! The excitement is brewing and you’re anxiously counting down to the days your bundle of joy makes her debut into the world.
Then it happened. On her first car ride from the hospital, your baby wailed as you placed her in the car seat. It didn’t stop there. She cried whenever she was put in the car seat. Every single time. She still does. Your husband complained about the stress from not being able to focus in driving with the noise that was going on. The elderly in your family said being in the car seat made the journey scarier and uncomfortable for baby. “Bumpy roads will give them a shock. Mummy’s arms are the best!” they added.
You couldn’t take the pressure anymore. You were very close to giving in and chucking away the car seat. What do you do next?
When it comes to dealing with the probability of road accidents, we tend to say and think:
- “It won’t happen to us.”
- “I’m (or my husband is) a safe driver”
- “We don’t go fast”
- “It’s okay, it’s just nearby…”
Before we begin to get used to the excuses above, we may want to know that….
65% of car accidents in Malaysia involved children, with main cause being inappropriate car seats and seat belts. (1)
Did you know that road accidents are a major cause of death for all children in Malaysia aged between 1 to 15 years? (2)
Not convinced? Numbers don’t lie:
- Malaysia is among the top 25 most dangerous countries for road users, with 30 fatalities per 100,000 individuals. (3)
- In 2014, over 475,000 road accidents were recorded, with over 6,674 resulting in deaths. (4)
- 90% of people in Malaysia riding in the back seats don’t wear seatbelts; 23% in front seats. (5)
- One out of every 14 deaths in children in Malaysia is from accidental injury. Many studies revealed that age is an important prognostic factor in predicting the outcome of head injuries.(6)
- Worldwide, road accidents killed 1.17 million people, severely disabled 3 million, and injured 30 million people. (7)
Why buckle up?
Seat belts are designed to retain people in their seats during a crash, and hence prevent or reduce injuries. They minimise contact between the passengers and vehicle interior, and significantly reduce the risk of being ejected from the vehicle.
On modern vehicles, seat belts are also designed to work as the key part of wider injury prevention measures and safety systems – such as airbags and head restraints – which will not be as effective in reducing the risk of injury if a passenger is not wearing a seat belt.
Children – even MORE important to buckle up
For children, the odds of sustaining fatal or moderately severe injury in the front passenger seat are more than 9 times higher for unbelted children than for belted ones, and for those in the rear left seat are more than twice as high.(8)
For younger kids, car seats serve this purpose the best. It reduces the risk for death for infants <1 year by 71% and toddlers 1-4 years by 54% (9) That’s more than half the chances of survival for your children in the event of a road accident.
Protect your most precious cargo on the road – your children. Don’t let them be part of the statistics. No matter what the excuses were, it’s time we get it right. Buckle up.