According to the World Report on Child Injury Prevention, the majority of child injuries for children below 18 years old, resulted from road traffic collisions, drowning, burns, falls or poisoning¹. These are categorised as unintentional injuries, which can be prevented.
The rate of child injury death is 3.4 times higher in low-income and middle-income countries than in high-income countries and road traffic injuries led the cause of child injury deaths in both segments.
Meanwhile, in Malaysia, it has been reported in 2011 that children transported in private vehicles (car, van, 4WD), are the first and second leading groups of casualties among children aged 1-4 years old (43.8%) and 5-9 years old (30.2%) respectively.²
Injuries are not inevitable; they can be prevented or controlled.
For a child below the age of 12 travelling in a passenger vehicle (car, van or 4WD), injuries and fatality can be prevented by using a child restraint system (CRS).
Awareness & Culture
In a survey to address guardians knowledge on CRS usage, respondents in Kuala Lumpur and younger guardians reported twice likely to use CRS. In addition, graduate respondents are 1.5 times more likely to use CRS for their children³. This show that location and guardian’s level of education plays important roles in the awareness and culture of usage.
No Child Restraint Law
Malaysia will only make it a mandatory for children to use child restraint systems by 2019 as reported in The Star newspaper. Up until this article is written, no clear direction or campaigns has been done nation-wide to increase the awareness of the public with regards to usage of CRS.
Stop Using Too Early
In the same survey of CRS usage among guardians in central Peninsular Malaysia, it was found that 74% out of 500 respondents cited they have used CRS, however, only 40% of them is currently using CRS with their children³. Usage of car seats, booster seats, and seatbelts decrease as children get older. Most children are restrained during the first year of life because they appear to be more fragile and need more protection. In 2011, NHTSA found that the youngest children (12 months and younger) have the highest CRS usage rate at 98 percent, while the oldest group (8 to 12 years old) has the lowest usage rate at 88 percent. Restraint usage begins declining for the 4-to-7 age group⁴.
Incorrect Selection, Installation & Misuse
According to Child Seat Safety UK, 37% of all children using CRS in the United Kingdom are in the wrong seat for their age/height. 23% of car seatbelts are either too loose or twisted and 17% of CRS were incompatible with the car. In general, 51% of all CRS are fitted incorrectly and one in every three children are harnessed incorrectly⁵.
Personal Preference over Best Practise
Parents may not choose best practice over personal preferences or actual safety over perceived safety and comfort. For example, caregivers might prioritize comfort in choosing the CRS over safety features or wanting to see the child more easily and move the child to a forward-facing car seat too soon over best practice recommendations.
It is pertinent to understand why a child does not fit in the normal adult seatbelt, and why they need to use a child restraint in place of it. Understand what’s happening in a crash by reading about it in this article.
Always remember that you may not be able to prevent a crash from happening, but you can prevent injuries.
1. Peden M., Oyegbite K., Ozanne-Smith J., A Hyder A., Branche C., Fazlur Rahman AKM.,
Rivara F. and Bartolomeos K. (2008), World Report on Child Injury Prevention, Geneva: World Health Organisation.
2. Norlen M., Wong S. V., Hizal Hanis H., Ilhamah O. (2011), An Overview of Road Traffic Injuries Among Children in Malaysia and Its Implication on Road Traffic Injury Prevention Strategy, MRR 03/2011, Kuala Lumpur: Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research.
3. Noor Faradila P., Baba M.D., Aqbal Hafeez A., Azhar H., Rohayu S., Akmalia S. and Mohd Syazwan S. (2016), A Survey Among Guardians on Child Restraint System (CRS) Usage in Central Peninsular Malaysia, Malaysian Journal of Public Health Medicine, Special Volume (1): 1-6.
5. Car Safe Kids: Your Essential Guide, Preston, UK: Child Seat Safety Ltd.
Edited by Dinas E. on 17th February 2018.