Struggling to show restraint

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 24 June, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 24 June, 2012, 12:00am


Watching the world go by from the waterfront in Stanley last week, our eye was caught by a sign in the back window of a Mercedes Benz: 'Princess on Board'. Thanks for sharing, we thought, before pondering whether her little highness would be wearing a seatbelt.

Being in one of the world's safest cars does not prevent an unrestrained child from flying through the air in the event of an accident. In a 60km/h collision, a 15kg child (three to four years old) produces a force of 550kg. Imagine being hit by 22 bags of cement in 3/100ths of a second. At less than 20km/h, a baby can be jolted from a parent's arms in heavy braking.

In Australia, a newborn is prohibited from leaving hospital unless there is a restraint installed in the vehicle in which the infant will be travelling. Yet in Hong Kong, a mother loosely holding a child in the front seat is a common sight. A deploying air bag in the front seat can be a lethal weapon to an infant.

In Britain, the law states that all children under 135cm tall must use a child seat appropriate for their weight. Toddlers here, contrary to our laws, jump up and down on the back seat waving at motorists as their parents laugh. And then there are the drivers who treat the sun roof as if it were a toy; allowing their children to trampoline in and out of the roof.

Parents often moan, 'My child doesn't like seatbelts.' I've yet to meet a child who likes immunisation, either. And don't even mention the dentist.

We may be living in the era of child-centric 'helicopter parenting', where children seem to make the rules, but it's still up to adults to protect their offspring.

Furthermore, it's criminal that we haven't yet realised that keeping passengers alive is the responsibility of the nut behind the wheel.