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Where’s My Car Seat???

After much research into the Kenyan Law on issues relating to road safety, it can safely be said that there is no law requiring the use any means of child restraint while travelling with children in motor vehicles. The Traffic Act Section 22 A (3) states that “No person shall be in a motor vehicle which is in motion on a road and occupy a seat in that vehicle in respect of which a seat belt is fitted in accordance with this rule without wearing the seat belt”. That is all the direction you get. In the United Kingdom, the law requires that a child who is less than 12 years or 135 centimeters should have child restraints, in Australia, the age is 7.

 

Many are the times that we see mothers carrying their infants while travelling in the front seat of motor vehicles. Just a couple of weeks back, a 10 month old boy was the sole casualty of a road accident. While all the passengers in the motor vehicle were belted, he was lying in his mother’s arms in the front seat. It can be argued in this particular case that was the child was in restraints or a car seat at the back, the chances of survival would have increased significantly. Although the statistics for Kenya on use of restraints on children is not available, information from the United States show that use of child safety seats reduce fatal injury by 71 percent for infants (younger than 1 year old) and by 54 percent for toddlers (1 to 4 years old) in passenger cars.
The sad reality is that, while Kenya has a law requiring everyone travelling in a motor vehicle to wear seat belts, many don’t and furthermore, the traffic police are not vigilant in enforcing this law on a continuous basis. The only occasion when this law was enforced to a high degree was during the period when Mr. John Michuki was Minister of Transport. It therefore suffices to say that a requirement for child restraints for those children under a certain age does not ensure that the law will be followed. In addition, there is the extra cost of acquiring the child safety seat. In this instance, road safety awareness campaigns on the effectiveness of child safety restraints may be the only means by which the benefits of using child restraints may be disseminated.
The Chariots of Destiny Organisation supports the implementation of a law that requires a child restraint while travelling with children.

 

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