We have put the child on one of the rear seats, with an approved child restraint system suitable for their size and weight, the child car seat is properly installed and the child is well secured. The child car seat is rear-facing. Nevertheless, we leave loose items in the vehicle or we do not stow them away properly. The child is using a tablet to entertain himself during the journey. Are we aware of how dangerous this could be?
THE DANGER OF LOOSE ITEMS
Did you know that any loose object inside the vehicle can fly out and hit any of the occupants and increase its weight by up to 40 times at a speed of only 50 km/h? According to the Department of Traffic, for example, a console weighing only 218 grams could weigh up to 7.8 kg if we apply the brakes or have an accident at 50 km/h. When braking at 90 km/h, the weight of this console would be 25 kg. If we are talking about a 560 g tablet, its weight could go up to 23 kg in a sudden braking at 50 km/h and up to 75 kg if braking occurs at 90 km/h, which would be the equivalent of a St. Bernard dog directly crashing into one of the passengers.
This also occurs with toys, despite how light they may seem. In fact, the child car seat itself should be properly anchored even if the child is not in it, since it could also come flying out.
WELL SECURED OBJECTS IN UNSUITABLE PLACES
It is not enough to firmly secure the object, you must also be very careful about where you stow them. The back of the headrest or the front part (in the case of rear-facing children) is not the most suitable place to stow items. The child could be hit on the head by one of these items if, for whatever reason, the child car seat is not properly secured or does not react as it should do.
There have been cases in which the child has died for this reason. It was verified that the child was traveling in a suitable child car seat and that the cause of death was due to a sharp blow from a computer tablet in the backrest of the seat in front.
Preventing children from flying out of their seats and hitting themselves against the vehicle's windows is one of the main concerns. This is one of the reasons why children must travel on the rear seats. However, all these security measures are useless if we put objects that could compromise their safety, such as the tablets mentioned above, in the backrests, or screens with DVDs or trays that unfold on the seats. The child should not, in principle, crash into the backrest but, if this were to happen, it is preferable that they do so against something cushioned rather than against a hard screen.
THIS IS HOW A CHILD SHOULD TRAVEL
The current law in Spain states that in vehicles with up to nine seats, including the driver's seat, children who are equal to or smaller than 135 cm in height must travel on the rear seats using an approved child restraint system suitable for their height and weight. Only three exceptions can be made:
- If the vehicle does not have any rear seats.
- If all the rear seats are already occupied by other children in their respective child restraints.
- If child restraint systems cannot be installed in the said seats.
Furthermore, you should install the child car seat and secure the minor according to the manufacturer's instructions in the manual or brochure.
In addition, if the child has to sit in a front seat and the vehicle has a front airbag rear-facing child seats may only be used if the airbag is disabled.
The best idea is for children to travel in a rear-facing position for as long as possible and as a minimum until they are 4 years old.
In this infographic we cover some of the main errors committed when taking children safely by car: