It can vary slightly depending on the country, mainly according to the age and height of the child, but in general, as you almost surely know, children must use an approved child restraining system to travel by car. It is obligatory and you can be fined for not using one (with good reason considering how irresponsible it is).
Meanwhile, do all drivers and parents understand that use of child seats is now obligatory? It can still be a surprise to learn that there are still people who consider the use of a child seat as a business and punitive strategy, to force us into spending money on child seats and to fine us if we don’t. There are still children travelling without a seat or not strapped into one. These people fall into the trap of thinking because they didn’t use one as children and survived that this is sufficient argument to justify the fact that child-restraining systems are unnecessary.
It is very easy to argue against the cliché: effectively when we were children that is how it was, but it is also true that the roads and cars then were must less safe than they are today, there is the paradox, that although there were less vehicles on the roads then, there were many more road deaths.
In case you don’t remember: many more people were killed in traffic accidents than are today, let’s hope the number of people killed in a car continues to decline.
If the roads and vehicles have progressed: so has the way we travel with children in a carTechnology and safety have advanced, we can now travel much more safely by car than we could a few decades ago. Within this progress, referred to as Road Safety, active and passive is child-restraining systems.
Every occupant of a vehicle must be restrained, since when a vehicle is moving and when there is a sudden change in direction or speed, the occupants move around inside too. It is a simple law of physics.
If the movement is smooth, the occupants move smoothly but if the movement is sudden and repeated, the occupants will move in the same manner, causing them to hit the inside of the vehicle or even be thrown out of it.
This is not a myth or a legend. In the innumerable crash tests that have been carried out with automobiles to try to understand how to make them safer and give better protection to the occupants, this has been proved again and again.
In sudden braking or an accident, the deceleration and so the force felt by the occupants is extremely high. This puts the integrity of the vehicle in danger as well as the lives of the occupants, even more so for children who have bodies, muscles and skeletons that are not yet fully formed, making it weaker and more vulnerable.
If children are not restrained in any way, being thrown forward could be fatal and for sure it would be. Worse still, if the child was thrown out of the vehicle, the consequences could be even more serious.
The prime aim of child restraining systems is, as the name suggests, is to restrain a child in their seat to prevent them from being suddenly from thrown forward and violently crashing into something. Without it the, child’s head could sustain a violent knock causing serious brain injury.
The second aim of child seats, more so the better the design, is as well as protecting the child; it absorbs the energy from this sudden deceleration. It spreads the pressure of the seatbelt across the chest, for example with harnesses that have multiple fixings, to prevent injury to the organs and internal hemorrhaging. It also reduces any head movement to prevent serious injury to the vertebrae in the neck, which could cause paralysis or even death.
To give you an idea of the force involved in braking very hard or in an accident, and so that you can see how the child restraining system behaves, please dedicate a couple of minutes to view this video of crash tests carried out by car manufacturers and child restraining systems. Remember we, the adults are responsible for safety and well being of our children.