Kids, be good and buckle up

Remember: Putting on your seatbelt can help save not just your life, but that of other occupants in the vehicle.

Remember: Putting on your seatbelt can help save not just your life, but that of other occupants in the vehicle

Children are taught the importance of putting on seatbelts when they are in a moving vehicle.

THERE have been many instances where toddlers have been thrown out of a vehicle during a crash because they were not properly secured in a car seat.

Parents or adults assume that their children are always safe in their arms in a moving vehicle but that is not true because during a road crash, a parent is unable to hold on to a child.

A road crash is not just a collision that happens between vehicles. When a collision occurs, the car stops, but your body continues in the same speed.

At this time, your seatbelt is your only speed breaker. The seatbelt will stop you from being thrown out of the car, but the child in your arms will get hurt.

With the speed that the child is moving in, the impact may be fatal. Either way, the end results will be devastating.

Staying safe

Safe Kids Malaysia director Dr S. Kulathayan says that head injuries usually result in fatalities in car accidents.

“It is universally accepted that road crashes cannot be totally prevented, but the severity of injuries can to some extent be prevented or minimised by protective devices like seatbelts and child seats,” he says.

Research has indicated that seatbelts and car seats when used correctly, are the most effective way to keep children safe in a vehicle.

Research has also found that child safety seats reduce the risk of death for infants by 71%. For young children aged between one and four years, the risk of death is reduced by 54%.

Thinking ahead

Instilling safety behaviour in six-year-olds can be an investment as these children are the future, and if there is a strong safety culture among them, the country will witness less people dying on the roads.

“Parents need to make use of seatbelts or helmets which must be a priority when travelling in a car or motorcycle respectively,” says Jaybianca Ancheta.

Her son John Carlo Ancheta Ng, is currently participating in the Toyota Traffic Tots Programme at Smart Reader Kids, Jalan Ipoh.

One of the units in the programme is about safety in the car. Children are taught that wearing seatbelts will keep them safe.

Ancheta explains that she had previously impressed upon her son the need to put on the seatbelt in the car.

However, it was only after the programme that the message was fully understood. She adds that John is now more conscientious about using seatbelts.

Parents are also encouraged to be involved in the lessons. Worksheets are given out and children are expected to work together with their parents.

The reason for getting parents involved is so that they can reinforce what the children have learnt in the programme.

Parent participation in the programme has a positive and lasting impact as it increases the chances of pupils practising what they learnt.

Role play

“We conduct role playing and have small experiments using the road safety mat. For the use of seatbelts, we place a doll in a toy car and move it along the mat which represents the road. When the car is stopped abruptly, the doll will fall off,” says the centre’s principal Goh Chooi Leng.

“This is when we discuss with the children why the doll had fallen off the car. We then discuss the possible injuries one can obtain during a collision.

“Then, using masking tape, we tape the doll and repeat the experiment. This time, the doll does not fall off and we encourage the children to give us their thoughts on the experiment. The programme also teaches them the proper ways to put on their seatbelt,” she says.

“The seatbelt must be secured across the shoulder and along the chest as this holds the passenger in place. The passenger will not be thrown forward if the vehicle stops suddenly,” Goh adds.

Informative

Ancheta is happy that her son is learning about road safety.

“Sometimes as parents, we are not aware of all the dangers out there and need expert advice.

“The programme is not only informative for the children, but is also very useful to parents,” she says.

John says he knows it is important to put his seatbelt on and behave properly when his mother is driving.

He adds that the programme is one of his favourites in school as he likes the activities that are carried out on the road safety mat.

The programme also teaches pupils the importance of the safety door. Pupils are taught to identify the safety door before they get out of the car.

The safety door would be the door closest to the kerb, footpath or away from traffic.

Using the safety door will keep children away from moving traffic which could cause harm to them.

The lesson also emphasises that children will have to wait for their parents to open the door and hold their hands when they get out of the car.

Courtesy of http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Education/2013/09/29/Kids-be-good-and-buckle-up.aspx

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