We bring you news of yet another tragedy involving the loss of a child’s life. According to the News Straits Times, an eight-month-old infant has died after her head struck a dashboard in an accident in Dusun Pantai near Kota Tinggi yesterday.

Kota Tinggi police chief Superintendent Ashmon Bajah said that the driver lost control of his Honda Civic and swerved into the opposite lane, colliding head-on with a Proton Wira. “The impact of the collision caused the infant to be flung head first on to the dashboard and died instantly,” said Ashmon, adding that the case was being investigated under Section 41(1) of the Road Transport Act 1987 for causing death by reckless driving.

Parents, we’ve been here before. Time and time again we have warned of the dangers of leaving a child unsecured in a moving car. Just because it’s technically not illegal right now to not keep your kids fastened in a child safety seat doesn’t mean you should.

The last we checked, the enforcement of mandatory child seat use was only supposed to come into effect in 2019. Back in 2015, that lead time seemed like way, way too long, and even now it’s coming too late to save the life of this child. Whether this latest incident will spur the transport ministry into action remains to be seen – it has already responded to the recent fatal accident involving defective Takata airbags.

But whatever happens, fine or no fine, you really shouldn’t wait until next year to start using child seats. It’s your child’s life at stake, after all – not your wallet’s. Enough is enough, and we hope that this incident will finally get parents to keep their children secured properly in their vehicles. Under no condition should a child ever be left unsecured in a moving vehicle.

Kids who weigh under 25 kg (weight is a more accurate measure than age) must be placed in a child seat (Group 0+, 1 and 2, fitted in a rear-facing position for as long a period as possible), and those under 36 kg should be secured with seat belts, together with either a booster seat or booster cushion (Group 3). These are absolute necessities, not optional.

More than that, it’s absolutely vital that they be seated in the back, and not at the front. This is to position your kids away from the front airbags in case an accident happens. You should only ever place a child seat or booster seat in the front if your car has a front passenger airbag off switch (not many cars do) – and even then, only as a last resort.

 

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Posted by Richardt Piek on Sunday, 14 December 2014

And of course, you should never hold your child on your lap when sitting in front. Apart from the fact that your arms are not strong enough to restrain your child in the event of a collision, you would also be subjecting them to the full force of the airbag, potentially causing a broken neck and a fractured skull, as well as facial injuries on yourself – as the video above shows.

An airbag deploys extremely rapidly, using controlled explosives, inflicting considerable impact on the front passenger if he or she is not secured properly. This can be dangerous to adults who are unfastened, let alone small children, who can be flung backwards violently by an inflating airbag.

Now, there’s no saying that using a child seat would have absolutely saved this child’s life, but it would have definitely minimised the risk. And this didn’t have to come at a steep cost. Don’t be deterred by expensive name brands – there are affordable, ECE R44-certified child seats out there, for just a few hundred ringgit. That’s much, much less than what most people spend on a phone every year, and in any case, how can one put a price on a child’s life?

Parents, readers, please share this to avoid such horrific tragedies from happening again.