Baby on board: Breaking child safety taboo in Pakistan

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While residing in a land where passenger safety is not only taken non seriously, but in fact is a laughing matter for most, observing such precautions takes much more than just the realization that it’s imperative for you and your family’s safety and something you have to stand for. There is some encouragement required at a social level also to make people adopt safety measures and as the famous saying goes “no one can make you feel inferior without your consent”, if you realize you are the only one responsible for the well being of your family and not the people around, who would just laugh, you’ll act in a way that serves you best.

Sights which would leave one is a state of shock, owning to the lack of concern shown towards the safety of children on our roads are very common; from kids being used as air bags i.e., sitting on the lap of the driver in front of the steering wheel, really underage kids driving with their elders being proud on this stupid act, to kids peeking out of sunroofs while standing inside moving vehicles or sitting on the windows while dangling outside, there is no limit to the insanity shown without any regret until of course the obvious happens; which in these cases are mostly fatal accidents.

In order to ensure the safety of child occupants inside the vehicle, kindly consider following the measures mentioned below:

1. Never leave children unattended in a parked car during summers. A detailed explanation of what repercussions this might bring are can be read here: Don’t ever leave children in cars during summers.

10428598152. Children are not meant to be used as airbags: Whenever you drive with your kid seated in your lap, that is exactly what you are using him for. It does not matter if the child enjoys it; you are responsible for his/her safety and need to stop acting childish yourself. They would enjoy driving themselves one day if he/she outlives the dangers you are exposing him/her to.

3. Do not use extreme air conditioning i.e., chilling the air inside the car while it’s hot outside—the sudden temperature difference the child would be exposed to would lead to negative affects health wise. Sacrifice some enjoyment for their sake, you want to make him tough then find more suitable ways to do it e.g. a karate class

4. Your children are not meant to be used as a windsock, so do not use them to check the direction of the wind by dangling them out of the sunroof of a moving car. Sudden braking or steering might lead to events which you would have not imagined, visit the appropriate place for such fun like the rides at a joy land which have secure seats.

5. Moving on from the totally ridiculous things to do category, we can move to what should be done in order to make sure the kids are safely secured while travelling in a car. For this we can follow the guideline made by concerned authorities abroad after studying all aspects carefully

 

2013 Child Passenger Safety National Best Practice Recommendations

Phase 1

Rear-Facing Seats

Infants: Birth – 35+ pounds, 2+ years old. Rear-facing infant or rear-facing convertible safety seat as long as possible, up to the rear-facing height or weight limit of the seat. Properly install according to instructions in owner’s manual, rear-facing in the back seat.

Phase 2

Forward-facing Seats

When children outgrow the rear-facing safety seat (2+ years), they should ride in a forward-facing safety seat as long as possible, up to the upper height or weight limit (40 – 80+ pounds) of the harnesses. Usually 4+ years old. Properly installed forward-facing in the back seat.NEVER turn forward-facing before child meets all: AGE/HEIGHT/WEIGHT requirements set by safety seat manufacturer for forward-facing.

Phase 3

Booster Seats

After age 4 and 40+ pounds, children can ride in a booster seat with the adult lap and shoulder belt until the adult safety belt will fit them properly (usually when the child is 4’9″ tall, 10 – 12 years old).
MUST have a lap/shoulder belt to use a booster seat.

Phase 4

Adult Safety Belt

Once children outgrow their booster seat (usually at 4’9″, 10 – 12 years) they can use the adult lap/shoulder safety belt if it fits them properly.
Lap portion low over the hips/tops of thighs and shoulder belt crosses the center of the shoulder and center of the chest.
Children are better protected the longer they can stay in each phase. Keep children in each seat up to themaximum age/weight/height limits before moving to the next phase. ALL children younger than age 13 years should ride properly restrained in the back seat.

Source

6. Apart from these specific precautions for child occupants, others which are a must for all passengers should be observed such as ensuring proper maintenance of the vehicle specially tires so that any untoward incident is avoided.

7. Attaching a sticker on the vehicle’s rear clearly warning that there is a kid inside the vehicle might also add another level in our strive towards safety, you never know what might make a driver reconsider his actions

Drive safe and love your kids, you owe it to them!

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