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New Car Seat Could Actually Endanger Your Child’s Life!

Author: Melissa Cohen
Date: 2017-07-18
A Chinese manufactured car seat harness has proved to be illegal in South Africa. Find out if your child’s car seat meets SABS standards.
What is more important than your child's safety? As a parent, you will do anything to make sure that your child is protected and safe. Making sure your child has all the child safety gadgets, however, can be rather pricey. In many cases, the parents will opt in for the more affordable and wallet friendly option. This could, however, come with consequences. We delve into the issue of car seat safety and investigate the controversial “car seat harness”. This horrific product has been sold worldwide but the disastrous safety test results expose the real gruesome truth. See the video below to see just how deadly these seats can be!

When Is Cheap Just Dangerous?

With a wide variety of car seats to choose from, many parents usually go for the most reasonable option. This however, could end up in disaster as the cheapest seat on the international market is actually not ECE approved. Not only this, but it does not meet SABS standards. What is commonly known as the “Car Seat Harness” or “Child Secure Seat Belt Vest”, is manufactured in China and is being sold across the world via many online sites. It is made out of a cheap cloth-like fabric that you simply attach to the seat. Despite it being aesthetically appealing, and look like it would protect your child, it is practically useless. In an accident of 60kms/hour, your child is actually at risk of dying.  According to Wheel Well’s Peggie Mars, these seats are being manufactured in bulk and being pushed to the market from mainly online retailers.
“The ECE standards is the minimum standard that the seat must at least adhere to. They test those seats in a testing facility at 50km/h. I know that that little seat has not made it through,” explains Mars.
Mars mentions that each individual product that is used to make the seat needs to be pre-approved by the EU standards in order to be manufactured.

What Does SA Law Say?

According to the 2015 National Road Traffic Act, all children under the age of three have to be strapped into a car seat while travelling in a car. This means that if a child is found travelling in a vehicle without a car seat, the driver will be penalised as this is seen as a criminal offence. The ArriveAlive campaign emphasises the importance of child vehicle safety. In a recent study, the implementation of a child car seat has proven to reduce hospitalisation after a crash in children by 69%. Every product, no matter what it is, has to be approved by the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS) in order to meet SABS standards. NRCS’s Principal Inspector of the Automotive Department, Dewald Horn explains the importance of adhering to the regulations.
“Nobody is allowed to advertise or sell a child car seat in South Africa if they have not been NRCS approved. The company that is found stocking the illegal product will be penalized and will be told to take it off their shelves,” explains Horn.
Horn encourages all parents to ensure that before they purchase a car seat for their child, that they make sure that they find an orange sticker on the side of the product. This is to ensure that it has been SABS approved. If you can’t find the sticker- don’t make the purchase!

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How Is It Still Being Sold If It Is Illegal?

None of the well-known baby shops and large retailers in South Africa sell this car seat. It can, however be found on various online sites such as Dudes Gadgets.  Interestingly, it is currently being advertised at a 70% discount. The car seat is advertised as a harness or vest that can also be attached to tables. This, acting as a high chair as well as a seat for your child to sit in while driving. The red flag on the advert however, is the fact that it is warned that you should use the harness in conjunction with the cars inbuilt seat-belt.
“The moment you add speed to things that’s when you have a serious problem on your hands. Our bodies are basically designed to travel at 8km/h which is walking speed. It is opportunistic people that are selling these devices. They are wanting to make a fast buck because these things are cheap,” says Mars.

Here’s What Makes It A Killer

The car seat harness is made out of a piece of fabric that goes across the child’s back and under the buttock. The harness is secured with the seat belt that goes through the loops on the front of the harness. The harness is fastened around the front of the child where all the vital organs are.
“During a crash the child’s head or shoulders would throw forward. Their arms and legs will also be thrown forward. The spine can also snap. This is called internal decapitation. The baby’s weight is not enough to lock the seat belt like it would do for an adult in the case of a high impact crash,” says Mars.

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So What Is The Best Car Seat Option?

Here is ArriveAlive’s parent guidelines according to the age of your child:

Mars however, swears by the rear child car seat. She emphasizes that this type of car seat is the safest option for your baby to travel in.
“Rear facing is the safest by a very long mile because the baby is looking out the back window and it [the car seat] can catch baby. There’s no strain on the neck, head or on the spine. The child is caught at the back of the seat. They will also not held by a harness in the event of a high impact crash.”
If you are travelling with a newborn baby, Mars recommends that parents should keep the baby in the carrier. This should be done for as long as possible and be used in the car. This form of seat, is easy on the baby’s very agile body. So ask yourself this: would your risk your child’s life to save a buck or two? Contact us today and make sure that you have full coverage on your car in time of an accident!

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