A road accident Tuesday that left a two-year old injured has drawn sharp attention towards the safety of children in four-wheelers. The accident has also highlighted the need for child car seats and use of seat belts by travellers sitting on rear seats in four-wheelers.
The case of comedian Jaspal Bhatti, who was made brand ambassador of Chandigarh Traffic police posthumously after his death in a road accident in Punjab in October, 2012, had highlighted the need for use of seat belts by passengers sitting on the rear seats. Bhatti was sitting on a rear seat without fastening seat belt.
Experts said although it was not mandatory that children should be put on the backseats, it is protective. Also, there is no clause in Motor Vehicle Act, 1988, that makes not wearing seat belt by passengers on rear seats an offence — it is the individual’s choice.
Savita Bhatti, wife of Jaspal Bhatti, said, “Being part of a family that has lost a loved one in an accident, I know that the trauma never goes away. You are dented for life.” She said, “We see parents travelling with small children with no safety measures in place. Why do we not think of investing in a car seat? Many youngsters also don’t wear helmets while riding two-wheelers.”
Harman Sidhu, who runs NGO ArriveSafe, said, “Parents, guardians should always prefer to make their children to sit on rear seats. Special child seats in four-wheelers is the best option.”
SSP (traffic) Eish Singhal said, “Wearing seat belts, use of special child seats in cars and applying seat belts while sitting on rear seats cannot be forced through strict challan drives. These things need awareness drives and moreover, depends on the individual. People should understand the cost of their safety and they should follow the rules without hesitation.”