Protecting our children on the road for Transport Month

Let’s face it, there’s nothing more important than the safety of our children…

Keeping our children safe is one of the most important aspects of parenting and when it comes to road safety, there’s a lot that we need to be instilling in our daily lives, especially when transporting precious cargo.

According to the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) Traffic Report Jan – Dec 2017, motorcars and LDVs (light driving vehicles) made the highest contributions to fatal crashes at 47.6% and 19.7%, respectively. Additionally, these figures may contribute to the high number of passenger fatalities. The report also showed that human factors contributed 91% to the occurrence of fatal crashes, followed by roads and environmental factors at 5% and vehicle factors at 3%.

This means that it is as important to consider the safety of our children on the road, as it is our own. BabyYumYum, a portal for parenting, suggests the following road safety suggestions:

Add patience to the mix

While lack of sleep, courtesy of your little one, may not always be conducive to even-temperedness, as a motoring mom or dad there are times when you just have to suck it up and not react impulsively to any of your fellow motorists. Yes, even that knee jerk reaction when they cut you off when you’re driving.

“While it’s a natural reaction to get ticked off by an obnoxious or annoying fellow motorist, it’s a better idea to keep your irritation in check to avoid unnecessary problems relating to road rage or creating additional distractions,” says Amanda, Founder of BabyYumYum and Chief Mommy.

Child restraint/seatbelt

Child restraints reduce the likelihood of a fatal crash by approximately 70% among infants and between 54% and 80% among children, says the WHO Global Status report on road safety (2015).

“Although SA does not have a child restraint law or any restriction about children on the front seat, seat-belts are essential,” says Amanda. “Child restraints for rear-seat passengers can decrease the likelihood of severe injury in the event of an accident, while also protecting the driver and passenger in the front of the car.”

The ABCs of BOBs

While the “Baby on Board” sticker may look like a proud statement by a motoring mom or dad, in reality it’s a simple, effective way to indicate to other drivers and emergency personnel (fire, paramedics, police) that there may be a child inside your car.

Best practice “BOB” guidelines are as follows:

  1. Applicable. Use the sticker when relevant. Remove the sticker when your child is older or when you are using a different vehicle to transport them.
  2. Best position. The BOB sign must be placed on your rear window, away from any other stickers, to increase its visibility. Ensure that the BOB sticker finds the happy medium of being adequately sized to be visible to other drivers, while at the same time not obstructing your view as the driver.
  3. Choose a clear, simple sign. The BOB message must be straightforward and uncluttered.

“Transport Month provides an ideal opportunity to draw attention to safe driving practices and precautions parents can implement to safeguard our young on the roads,” says Amanda. “Our aim is to use the BOB sticker as a springboard to creating awareness of road safety, encouraging safer, considerate (and more tolerant) driving.

Also read: How to make travelling with kids easy

Most importantly, the BOB sticker alerts fellow motorists and emergency personnel to the fact that there’s precious cargo on board, providing an extra precautionary measure to protect the most valuable and most vulnerable on the road,” concludes the BabyYumYum founder.