With the arrival of the festive season comes a plethora of family lunches and dinners, celebratory events, the school vacation, trips to retail malls to do the Christmas shopping... all in all, thousands of journeys, both short and long distance. It is very important that you remember that no matter how short the journey, accident prevention is the number one objective.
There are so many car journeys around this time that the Directorate General for Traffic (DGT) has organized a special campaign to raise awareness and make people more careful, divided into three phases: the Christmas, New Year and Three Kings holidays. These are the dates around which they expect a huge number of trips due to the numerous different celebratory events and school vacation. The main destinations tend to be the mountains for winter sports, second homes, areas with big retail malls and places with winter tourist attractions.
Despite the festive atmosphere and the rush you might be in to get to your destination or that retail mall, or however short your trip might be, there is something that you should never forget and that is the need for proper protection, whether using a seat belt or the relevant child restraint system in the case of children.
This video emphasizes the importance of the proper use of child seats:
Advice for traveling safely this Christmas
- Being in a rush is not a good idea. It's extremely important to keep calm, especially when you're affixing a child in their child restraint system. You should do this step by step; the child must be correctly secured to ensure the seat works properly in the event of an accident or sudden braking. Consequences of the incorrect use of a child restraint system.
- Children should not be wearing a coat when seated in their child seat as this gives a false sense of tightness and means the belt might be looser than it should be. Very bulky coats reduce the efficacy of the harness.
- If you're traveling with a lot of bags full of Christmas shopping, make sure they are secured in the boot before seating your child. Remember that you should take your time to secure your child in the child seat properly. And of course you should keep the child under supervision at all times.
- Never leave handbags or any other objects on the back seat which could turn into projectiles if you have to brake sharply. Everything should be kept separate and properly secured. In a 60 km/h collision, the weight of an object increases by 56%. Something that might seem small and lightweight initially can become a lethal weapon that shoots around the entire vehicle interior.
- All children must be properly protected, without exception: with a child seat, if necessary, or by a seat belt if they have reached the legal age to use one. Don't forget that they must always travel in the back seat. They can only travel in the front seat if the back seats are already occupied by other children in their respective CRS, if it is impossible to install child seats in the back seat of that particular vehicle, or if the vehicle does not have any back seats. We recommend you read the article: "How many children in child seats can you take in your car?" If the child is traveling in the front seat in a rear-facing child seat, you must disable the passenger seat airbag.
- Adults should set an example. You should always use a seat belt, no matter which seat you are sitting in. You should also demonstrate responsible road safety habits: never pick up your mobile phone while driving, avoid animated conversations at the wheel, obey traffic signals, do not beep the horn constantly, do not handle the GPS while driving, etc. Remember that children tend to imitate what they see adults doing, and we need to inculcate responsible drivers and pedestrians.