We use roads and vehicles every day without giving a second thought about it. We don’t often consider that young children might be in danger in such a familiar environment, but they are.
Young children are quick and small making them especially vulnerable around roads and vehicles.
Take every opportunity to teach children about road and vehicle safety:
- When walking down the street, hold your child’s hand, explaining on the way the choices you make to get there safely. – E.g. why you walk on the footpath, where to cross the road and what you need to do before safely crossing the road.
- Emphasise the importance of ‘buckling up’ when getting into the car and be firm that everyone in the car must always wear a seatbelt or the appropriate restraint for their size and age.
- Be a good role model, children like to imitate and copy adults. Demonstrate road safety behaviours when driving, as a passenger or a pedestrian so that children can learn good habits from you.
- From 2009 – 2013, 59 children aged 0-15 were seriously or fatally injured as pedestrians on South Australian roads.
- In Australia, transport related injuries are the leading cause of death and the second most common cause of hospitalisation for children aged zero to 14 years.
- Deaths from vehicle crashes remain one of the leading causes of child injury deaths in Australia.
- In South Australia, approximately 1/3 of child injury deaths per year are due to vehicle accidents (Government of SA 2007; 2008; 2009). Many more young children are injured and require hospitalisation due to vehicle related injuries.
- There has been overwhelming evidence that a combination of safer vehicle design and correct child restraint use have proven to be effective in reducing child deaths and severity of injuries. Despite this evidence, many children are not restrained in appropriate child restraints (Johnson 2009; WHO & UNICEF 2008).
- Kidsafe fitting services continue to find that 70-80% of children are travelling incorrectly restrained, putting them at 7 times greater risk of being seriously injured in the event of a crash.
Child Car Restraints (Car Seats)
Children are our most vulnerable road users. Kidsafe SA recommends the following for transporting children in vehicles:
- Children as passengers in a vehicle should be seated in the most appropriate child car restraint for their age and size.
- Buckle up every child on every trip.
- Ensure you use a correctly fitted child car restraint most appropriate for your child’s age and size.
- All child car restraints must meet the Australian Standards AS/NZS 1754.
- Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using your child car restraint.
- If you are using a second hand child car restraint, ensure you know the history of the restraint and that it is less than 10 years of age and has not been involved in a car accident.
- Child car restraints must be installed in the second row of seats in a vehicle. For further information please contact Kidsafe SA.
- Ensure your child has exceeded the maximum size limits of the restraint before progressing them to the next stage
Which restraint do I use for my child?
Must use an approved child restraint that is:
- rearward facing
- properly fitted to the vehicle
- adjusted to fit the child’s body correctly
- Must not travel in the front seat of a vehicle that has a back row/s of seats.
Best Practice Recommendations
Keep your baby in a rearward-facing child car restraint until they have reached the maximum size limits.
Still unsure which child restraint is best for your child?
For further information about child car restraints, please contact Kidsafe SA on (08) 8161 6318.
Need a restraint professionally fitted?
Contact us and we can point you in the right direction.
Driveway runovers have unfortunately become an increasing cause of unintentional childhood death and injury. More than one child is unintentionally runover each week across Australia and sadly the driver of the vehicle is usually a family member or friend.
- A driveway is a small road. Don’t allow children to play in the driveway.
- Remember, ALL cars have a large blind space - some up to 15 metres.
- Always watch your children when the vehicle is to be moved. Hold their hand or hold them close to keep them safe.
- If you are the only one at home, have children in the car with you when it is to be moved.
- Restrict access to the driveway from the house and front yard by using fences and gates.
- Always walk around your car and check before moving it.
Leaving children unattended in the car, even if only for a short time can be FATAL.
Kidsafe teamed up with AAMI and celebrity chef Matt Moran to bring to life ‘The Unconventional Oven’. Matt Moran prepared a meal for awaiting food media, bloggers and members of the public interested in finding out about the ‘product launch’ of the unconventional oven. Matt then revealed to onlookers that he had in fact cooked the meal in a parked car. The parked car, which had been sitting out in the Bondi sun, had reached scorching temperatures of over 75 degrees Celsius.
Thousands of kids are left in hot cars every year, sometimes with tragic consequences.
How hot does the car get?
A parked car can become 20-30 degrees hotter than the outside temperature. 75% of the heating occurs in the first 5 minutes and 90% in the first 15 minutes.
What if the window is left open?
Leaving the window open has minimal effect on reducing the internal temperature of the car (only 1 degree Celsius when 1cm open).
Why are kids at risk?
Children are particularly at risk because they lose fluid quickly. Dehydrated children are at risk of suffering potentially life threatening heatstroke.
How does it happen?
Parents often leave kids in the car thinking that they will be back in ‘just a minute’. This often turns into 10-15 minutes which places children in extreme danger.
Sometimes kids get locked in the car because they are playing with the car keys. It is important to call emergency services to get the child out of the car as quickly as possible.
In very sad events, usually due to change in routine, parents have forgotten their child is in the back seat. We urge you to put in place a ‘look before you leave’ routine whenever you get out of the car and leave something important on the backseat that you need to take with you (e.g. your wallet).
Help us share the message, use the hashtag #theunconventionaloven and remind everyone you know: Never leave kids unattended in the car.
Roads, footpaths, driveways and shopping centre car parks can pose a number of hazards for young children.
Walking is an important part of a child’s life. It is important for their health, fitness, and their ability to get around their neighbourhood. Getting to and from school may also rely on walking.
Before 5 years of age children should never be left alone to cope with traffic situations. It is important that you hold your child’s hand at all times when near traffic. Set a good example for your child to copy. Explain to your child what you are doing when you cross the road together.
From 5 to 9 years, children should still be supervised at all times near traffic.
Tips to keep your child safe
- Hold hands when crossing the road.
- Set a good example for children around traffic. Children are always watching – they want to be grown up like older children and adults.
- Talk with children about traffic and road safety.
STOP at the kerb
LOOK both ways for traffic
LISTEN for traffic
THINK about whether it’s safe to cross
Bicycles and Wheeled Devices
Bicycles, skateboards, scooters, rollerblades and other ‘pedestrian conveyances’ are great fun for kids.
They provide a great way for children to exercise, get outside and learn, whilst helping them to develop independence, confidence and vital balance and gross motor skills. However, it is important to remember that bicycles and other pedestrian conveyances are not toys but rather vehicles that children use in public spaces, near or on roads.
In 2010-2011 across Australia, there were a recorded 2,727 cases of falls from pedestrian conveyance devices such as skateboards and scooters in those aged 5 - 14 years. In South Australia alone, hundreds of young children are treated in hospital each year for injuries involving bicycles and other pedestrian conveyances. Most cycling injuries occur when a child falls from their bike after crashing into a pole, gutter or fence. With smaller wheeled devices where braking mechanisms lack, most falls result when a child loses control.
Safety is Simple
- Avoid poorly made or damaged products
- Use protective equipment - always use a well fitted helmet. Elbow and knee pads are also a good idea for rollerblades and scooters.
- Use items that increase visibility to road users, pedestrians and vehicles
- Only ride during daylight hours
- Ensure supervised riding
- Make sure your child is taught road rules for safe riding practices.
- Know the dangers of the driveway. Children should be taught that the driveway is dangerous. They should not be encouraged to ride their bikes in the driveway.
For more information on road safety visit our resources tab
For more information on Road Safety visit the Georgina Josephine Foundation