Sunday, July 11, 2010
Unlike most places abroad, we Indians are still completely ignorant and careless about the basic standards of safety when it comes to driving in a car with our little ones. Not only are we ignorant, we choose to completely overlook the issues of child-safety in a moving vehicle, and unless and until something tragic happens, we continue to flaunt rules and continue the way things have been going. Well, if we didn’t do it till now and nothing bad has happened, we believe it is alright to carry on the same way. But the moment we read or hear about any sort of mishap involving a child in a vehicle, we sit for a moment and decide that from now on we will be careful and not repeat what someone else did. But sadly, that moment passes away too soon and we end up being as careless and casual about the whole thing as we were before.
In India, not only do we not follow the basic child-safety guidelines (the best excuse is that it isn’t yet an official rule hence we wont be fined for not obeying), we also display immense talent to do just exactly what is the most dangerous travel method and probably the one that can turn fatal: the practice of carrying our little one in our lap as we sit in a car. You see, carrying your child in your lap, especially if you are sitting in the front seat, can be extremely fatal in any way you plan:
1. If you are putting the seat belt only on you and not on the child, chances are that, in case there is a collision, the child will always be thrown off your hands. The force of the crash increases the child’s weight at the moment of the crash and it is literally impossible for anyone, even a very strong adult, to hold on to them. Which means the child will surely be out of the so-called safety of your arms.
2. If your child is sitting in your lap and you are putting the seat belt on yourself as well as on the child, you are increasing their risk of being crushed under your weight in the face of a crash.
3. Putting a little one on their own in the rear seat and buckling them in the regular safety belt is not a good choice either, as these belts are too big for their tiny frame and can end up choking them or being completely useless in the event of a collision.
4. And putting your little one in the car seat, front or back, without a seat belt, is definitely not done.
5. Having a child in the front seat can also be distracting for the driver. And if the child is too young, a sudden movement of the little one’s hand or legs or sudden jumpy movements or even too much conversation could distract the person who is driving.
The safest seat for a child in the car is the middle rear seat. We Indians do not believe in investing in a car seat, as we feel we are better equipped at taking care of our children and it seems a waste of money to spend so much on something that will be out of use so soon. We may be totally okay to spend on movies and popcorns and burgers and colas, but when it comes to car-seats for our little ones, tell me honestly, how many of us are using it already? Well, to tell you the truth, this is something that I still haven’t been able to convince my hubby about, though I feel very strongly about the same and believe that each one of us should make this a habit, but now that he is beginning to at least talk about it, I know I am going to get it soon, no matter what.
Kinds of child-car seats:
1. If your little one is an infant, you should place him/her in a rear-facing child-car-seat.
2. A toddler will be sitting in a front-facing child-car-seat.
3. A child who has outgrown the child-seat should be placed in a booster seat till the age of 8 or 12.
Always check the seat belt and adjust it to the size and height of your little one. Also, make sure that when you are buying the child-seat, you drive in your own car so that you know how well it fits in your car.
Take care before it is too late. Accidents never announce themselves and there is only so much we can do. We may be extremely careful and cautious when it comes to driving, but not everyone out there will necessarily drive by the book.