Today on my way to work, I passed by a car and noticed a woman backing her baby who was probably not up to a year old in the front seat of what I assume is her husband’s car. I was so shocked I kept on staring until they drove past me.
This got me thinking that in this day and age why would a woman back her baby and sit in the front seat of a car. It also got me wondering if there were even laws in Nigeria stating that a baby should be strapped in a car seat.
So I did my research and according to The Nigerian Highway Code, it states that when travelling with children, make sure that the child is correctly placed in a child safety seat. This reduces the possibility of an injury or death in the event of a crash.
- Children between the ages of 0-12 months should not ride in the front of the vehicle.
- Children from ages 1 to 7 should ride facing the front of the car in a child seat, strapped properly to the back seat.
- Do not carry a child on your laps as he or she may be crushed between your body and the dash board if there is a crash.
- Do not allow children to play with the handle of the doors or locks, use child lock where available.
- Do not allow children to ride in the luggage area of hatchbacks, station wagons or vans.
- Do not leave a hatchback open when a child is riding in the back seat.
- It is against the law to transport children under age 16 at the back of a pickup van.
- Children from ages 7 and above should ride in a vehicle facing the front but securely restrained with safety belts.
- When transporting children. the elderly and physically challenged people, the driver must not be under the influence of alcohol/drugs.
An American couple were charged with murder for not putting their daughter in a car seat before a fatal car crash a year ago.
Spinal cord.com advises that if you want to do all you can to protect your child from death, serious injury, and trauma after a car crash, follow these simple tips:
- Keep your child in a rear-facing car seat until he/she is at least 24 months old, or until he/she exceeds the weight recommended by the seat manufacturer. Keeping your child rear-facing through age three offers even more safety benefits.
- Children should remain in a car seat with a harness until age seven.
- Children ages 8-12 will likely need booster seats to remain safe.
- Children should not sit in the front seat until they weigh more than 41kg..
- Children should not sit in any seat that has an air bag until they weigh more than 41kg.
- Put car seats in the back seat of the car. The center seat is statistically the safest location, but side seats are acceptable if you have multiple car seats or your middle seat does not have an appropriate buckle.
- The car seat base should be fully secure against the seat. If it rocks or moves, it is incorrectly installed.
- The straps should fit snugly against your child's body, with the buckle flush against your child's chest not at his stomach or chin.
- If the seat has two buckles, both must be buckled at all times.
- Your child should not be permitted to move the shoulder strap under her arm or unbuckle a portion of the car seat.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said 1, 466 Nigerians died in road accidents in the first quarter of 2017, according to its Road Transport Data. The NBS Road Transport Data for the 1st Quarter of 2017 posted on its website stated that 1,363 of the 1,466 Nigerians that got killed in the period were adults. “It represents that 93 per cent of the figure are adults, while the remaining 103 Nigerians, representing seven per cent of the figure are children.
The advantages of putting your underage child in a car seat outweighs the disadvantages by a wide stretch. It is always better to be safe than sorry.