New-born babies and traffic accidents
Children, and babies in particular, should not appear in road accident figures. Regrettably, however, babies can also be involved in traffic accidents. The consequences of these accidents depend on whether they are correctly secured or not, and whether they are using the most suitable child restraint system. Although we tend to think that there can be no safer place for a new-born baby than its mother’s or father’s lap, when you’re traveling by car this can be the very worst position of all.
In 2015, a total of five children under the age of one died in traffic accidents on interurban roads, six sustained injuries requiring hospitalization, and 208 were slightly injured. To these figures we need to add one fatality, six serious injuries and 247 minor injuries in accidents on urban roads.
In many cases, these tragedies happened because babies were not sitting in a child restraint system or, if they were, it was not being used correctly. In order to make people more aware of the importance of using child restraint systems – and using them correctly – the Spanish Midwives’ Federation (FAME) and Fundación MAPFRE are publicizing a guide with advice on traveling safely with small children. The guide is entitled “Keeping babies and children safe in cars. Child seats for vehicles” and contains specific advice on how children should travel in cars from the moment they are born until the time they can officially use the car’s own seat belts.
In addition, Fundación MAPFRE launched a draw for ten Group 0+ Pebble child seats by Bébé Confort among people who fill out a simple questionnaire. The idea was to gather in-depth information on the age of child restraint systems to help us continue to improve the safety of our youngest passengers.
The campaign ended on 31 December 2016 and the draw was held on 15 January 2017 before the Notary of Madrid.
Holding babies on your lap
What happens if you don’t put your new-born baby in the appropriate child restraint system right out of the hospital? This was precisely one of the points that Fundación MAPFRE wanted to analyze in its 2016 Child Road Safety Dossier in Spain and Latin America. (142 KB), which shows the consequences of traveling with children incorrectly.
Thus, for example, a crash test was carried out with a dummy that simulates a baby traveling on its mother’s lap, specifically in the front passenger seat. The adult dummy was wearing a seat belt.
The video shows how the adult’s head hits the baby’s head which, in turn, smashes against the car’s dashboard. You can clearly see how the consequences of traveling in this way with a child can be fatal.
We must also take into account the greater fragility of new-born babies, especially in the cervical area. For this reason, the safest way for children to travel in cars, up to the age of at least four, although we recommend you continue for as long as possible, is rear-facing.
In both our Guide and our section on “Transporting a new-born baby”, you will find useful advice for traveling safely with small children.