Seat Belts Save Lives

Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs) account for more 90% of all road traffic deaths in the world, yet these countries have just 54% of the world’s vehicles.

“Road traffic collisions in Malawi: Trends and patterns of mortality on the scene” in Malawi medical journal: the journal of Medical Association of Malawi. January 2018

Poor road conditions and lack of emergency services make driving in Africa more dangerous.

As parents living in Africa, we need to do all we can to make our vehicles as safe as possible!

Let’s review physics to see the difference between a child that is properly restrained and a child that is not, when involved in a crash:

Make a “law” in your vehicle:

Buckle Up

Every Age,

Every Seat,

Every Time!

Here are the CDC guidelines for child passenger safety:

Know the stages
Make sure children are properly buckled in a car seat, booster seat, or seat belt— whichever is appropriate for their weight, height, and age.

  • Rear-facing car seat: Birth until age 2-4.
    For the best possible protection, infants and toddlers should be buckled in a rear-facing car seat in the back seat until they reach the upper weight or height limits of their seat. Check the seat owner’s manual and labels on the seat for weight and height limits.
  • Forward-facing car seat: After outgrowing rear-facing seat and until at least age 5.
    When children outgrow their rear-facing seats, they should be buckled in a forward-facing car seat in the back seat until they reach the upper weight or height limit of their seat. Check the seat owner’s manual and labels on the seat for weight and height limits.
  • Booster seat: After outgrowing forward-facing seat and until seat belts fit properly.
    Once children outgrow their forward-facing seat, they should be buckled in a belt-positioning booster seat until seat belts fit properly. Seat belts fit properly when the lap belt lays across the upper thighs (not the stomach) and the shoulder belt lays across the chest (not the neck). Proper seat belt fit usually occurs when children are about 4 feet 9 inches tall and 9-12 years old.
  • Seat belt: Once seat belts fit properly without a booster seat.
    Children no longer need to use a booster seat once seat belts fit them properly. Seat belts fit properly when the lap belt lays across the upper thighs (not the stomach) and the shoulder belt lays across the chest (not the neck). Proper seat belt fit usually occurs when children are about 4 feet 9 inches tall and 9-12 years old. For the best possible protection, keep children properly buckled in the back seat.
  • Install and use car seats & booster seats properly.
    Install and use car seats and booster seats according to the seat owner’s manual.
  • Seat children in the back seat.
    Properly buckle all children aged 12 and under in the back seat.
  • Don’t seat children in front of an airbag.
    Airbags can kill young children riding in the front seat. Never place a rear-facing car seat in front of an air bag.
  • Seat children in the middle of the back seat.
    Properly buckle children in the middle of the back seat when possible, because it is the safest spot in the vehicle.
  • Use proper restraints on every trip.
    Buckle children in car seats, booster seats, or seat belts on every trip, no matter how short the trip is.
  • Parents and caregivers: Always wear a seat belt.
    Set a good example by always using a seat belt yourself.

Download and print the CDC guidelines for car seats and seatbelts for kids:

Here is the article from the Malawi Medical Journal about collisions in Malawi.

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