Thursday, April 23, 2009


I've seen the following on more than one occasion: a single adult driver in front driving the car. There's nothing unusual about that. We see lots of single occupancy vehicles on the road, in spite of the government's efforts to get the nation to carpool many years back.

But, the single adult driver is not my concern here. Too many times, it's the other person I see that makes me shake my head in amazement and wonder, "What is it about these people?". What am I talking about? It's that two or three year old kid who's standing on the front passenger seat beside the driver - that child who's not restrained in any sort of way. That child may as well be standing or sitting on the bonnet of the car for the kind of protection that he or she is getting in that manner.

For the life of me I can't seem to understand how parents can go round driving their vehicles all safe and buckled up while their children are standing beside them! Reminds me as well of the many times that I see motorcyclists (some of whom are parents as well, no doubt) who ride their bikes with their helmets on but the children who ride pillion go without any such protection!

What gives?

The first impression I get when I see something like this is that these parents obviously value their lives more than their children. How else do you explain such phenomena? The second is that such parents are probably ignorant, or just callous in matters of child safety in vehicles. Don't they know that if they only applied just a slight sudden pressure on those brakes and their child (or children) will go flying, smacking their fragile heads against the windscreen?

I'm no expert but any educated person can tell you the simple law of physics that an object will continue to be in motion unless there is a force in the opposite direction that stops it. That's why we buckle in front, and recently, buckle at the back as well - so we're not propelled and become paste in front of the car.

Children should be in restraints as well. But since, it will take some years for them to grow into the standard belts in the cars, baby carseats are the way to go to keep them safe while you're driving.

But, having said that, some of them can be quite unwieldy. Since Adelle was born, we've gone through two now. The first was a combination of a baby carrier and carseat for infants, the second was a proper carseat for when she was about a year old until about two. She has a third now, a booster seat which should last her till she's able to use the standard seat belts.

While the first two took less than 5 minutes to anchor to the backseat of the car (of course, the first time took longer) this current one is a real time-hogger. The first time I installed it in the backseat of my wife's car, it took me at least half an hour. By the end of it all, I was all sweaty. And since my wife recently sent her car in to install the middle lap belt in the backseat, that meant that the booster seat had to be taken away.

Just this evening, I attempted to reinstall the booster seat. To do it, you have to loop the car belt round the seat so that it is secure. I had trouble with this the first time I did, but this time it was not the same. It was worse!

The car seatbelt wouldn't give me enough leeway to loop round the booster seat, and try as I might, it just could be done. I enlisted my wife's help and we finally managed to secure everything after one hour! Just to install the seat!

Phew! I hope that seat doesn't need to be unsecured in a long while.

Stay safe.

1 comment:

Nick Phillips said...

I think I wrote a post about this a while back. And what takes the cake was there was this one time I saw this idiot who had a kid on his lap and he was the driver!