• Child and Road Safety

    Useful Info

    Children are the future and our hope. They deserve nothing less but full information on topics that concern road safety and behavior whether this has to do with their transportation with a vehicle or walking.

    Unfortunately, in our country, Greece, it is very often and sad to see children in their mother’s lap on the right front seat.

    The Code of Road Safety is enlightening: “In order to transport kids of 12 years old or less in car, it is mandatory to use special restraining and safety means such as special children seats, seat belts etc. The relative fine is 83 euros”. In another part we find another relative paragraph: “It is forbidden for kids of 12 years old or less to take the place next to the driver without a restraining mean that is appropriate for their age, weight and height.”

    Clarification: It is very important, though, to assess that children, even of bigger age, should avoid to seat next to the driver because, in case of an accident, they are subject to probable severe injury caused by the airbags.

    The assumption is that children should be seated in the back in an appropriate restraining mean that is the child seat and under the close supervision of a parent who, of course, has also put on the seat belt.

    There are three types of children seats on the market that have to do with their age and weight.

    • Type 0+ for children of 0-15 months of age and 0-13 kilos of weight.
    • Type 1 is for children of 8 months–4 years of age and 9-18 kilos of weight.
    • Type 2/3 is for children of 3,5-12 years of age and 15-36 kilos of weight.


    When the child because of it’s increased age leaves the children seat it has to put necessarily the seat belt on and to be seated on the back seat, until the age of 12 at least, as for mentioned.


    Road Traffic behavior is also extremely important..


    We have to inform children about the meaning of road signs and the use of traffic lights.

    It is important to learn our children how to use the traffic lights, how to cross roads using the pedestrian lines, how to control vehicle movement on both sides of the road before they cross it, and to always use the sidewalk.
    Also, not to play on public roads, but in special places like parks and camps, where and when permitted.


    Why should I use a baby car seat?
    The traffic accidents are the 1st cause of death for the ages between 1 to 14 years old. Many severe injured children hospitalize after road accidents. Most injuries concern the head and neck. Some injuries end up in disabilities. The baby car seats, when are placed in the correct way, reduce the possibilities for fatal and severe injuries.

    Isn’t safer to hold the baby in my hands?
    NO. The deployed forces in the passengers’ cabinet in a case of accident are so strong that could be measured some hundreds kilograms. No parent could hold the child even in an accident with a small velocity. It is criminal, even for the slightest distance, for a parent to hold the child in the car.

    How can I understand which child seat is appropriate?
    The categories of the child seats are referring to the weight of the child. The main categories are:
    Category 0       weight 0-10 kg             age from birth to 1-year-old
    Category 0+     weight 0-13 kg             age 12 to 15 months
    Category 1       weight 9-18 kg             age 9 months to 4 years
    Category 2-3    weight 15-36 kg           age 4 to 12 years old

    When should I change the category of the seat?
    The recommendation is to change seat when the child has exceeded the weight limit of the former category. Another parameter that will guide us into changing the category is that the head of the child overcomes the back of the seat. If the baby’s head starts to stand out of the seat’s back then we should change the category 0/0+ to 1.  From the category 1, if the height of the ears approaches the back of the seat we should change to the next categories 2/3.
    Up to which age my child should sit on a car seat?
    A lot of parents believe that the children's seat is necessary up to a small age of 5-6 years. THEY MAKE A BIG MISTAKE. All the systems of passive safety of cars are designed to offer protection in passengers with height from at least 135cm and above. The children with height under 135cm that are fasten with the simple seatbelt, are not protected enough and are exposed in a very big danger in the event accident. The most frequent fatal or sever injuries are due to blows at the head (non-existence of lateral protection) and in the abdominal area (the seatbelt presses the internal organs in the abdomen because is situated to high for the child).
    Based on the Traffic Code, the use of children's seat in Greece is obligatory up to 12 years. In the United Kingdom and Holland the use of children's of seat is obligatory up to the height of 135 cm. In Germany is obligatory up to the height of 150 cm.

    For how long should my child look at opposite side of movement of the car? What is the Scandinavian model?
    The use of seats that look at the opposite side of movement of the car is the safest. It is certain that the child will remain reversed up to the limits of weight of seat. All baby seats of the category 0/0+ (0-13 kilos) are placed obligatorily in reverse. In Scandinavian countries, the overwhelming majority of children remain reversed up to the age 4 and in remainder Europe up to 9-12 months, while in USA up to 12-15 months.
    The Scandinavian model refers in the extended use of reversed seats up to 4 years and it is a method that is in power for 45 years. Research of a large Swedish car industry showed that in total of 13.000 accidents that involved 800 children from the age 0 to 4 years, the serious injuries of children that were in reversed seats were 8%, while for children that were in seats that looked at front 40%. The Scandinavian countries, each year, are the best countries with regard to safety of children in road accidents.

    What is the safest car seat?
    The safest seat is the one that suits perfectly in your car and that has been placed accordingly to the handbook of the constructor and category of seat that the child need.

    Is it safe to use seat from second-hand?
    If you are not absolutely certain that the seat has never been involved in accident then do not use it. Seats that at first glance appear safe can hide dangerous deterioration in some areas, in the interior or in the plastic parts from an accident.

    If you get involved in an accident with the child in the child seat, can I continue to use it?
    The general recommendation is NO. Excluding light impact with parking speed, speed accidents over 10 km / h, can cause damage to a child seat.

    The child denies sitting on the seat or he/she tries to remove the seatbelts. What should I do?
    Your child should learn always to sit in the children's seat and have all the seatbelts tied up correctly and tight. Be the example and always use your seatbelts. Deny starting the engine of the vehicle if every passenger has not been tied up rightly. In the event that the child unfastens the seatbelt, you will try to stop as soon as possible and explain the dangers that it involves situation like this. The children function as “sponges” from a very young age and are influenced a lot by the behavior of parents. The exemplary and disciplined behavior of parents in the car constitutes the best example for the children.

    How much time is recommended to have a baby in a car seat?
    All children seats (category of 0-13 kilos) have a declined back (roughly 45°). Their basic purpose is to secure the transport of the baby in the car and this curve in combination with the obligatory reverse placement of the seat offers the best protection for the baby. The general rule is that the baby does not remain over 2 hours in a specific position in the declined seat. The growth of the mobility capabilities requires the alternation of positions or such as in horizontal position.

    Can I place a child seat in the passenger seat while my car has airbag?
    If the child seat is turned backwards, its allowed the installation in the passenger seat ONLY when the passenger airbag is deactivated. To deactivate the airbag consult the manual of the vehicle manufacturer.
     If the child seat is turned facing forward, it is permitted the installation of it in the passenger seat but generally it is not recommended. If you used there, we advise you to go the front passenger seat as far back as possible so that there is enough space for the air bag.

    Which is the best seat in the car to place the baby’s seat?
    The answer is not simple because it depends on various parameters. Theoretically, the middle of the rear seats is more secure because that place has the bigger distance from each side of the car, hence the smaller probability of injuries in the event of accident. However not all cars  have seatbelts of 3 points in that seat (essential for the placement of children's seat) or receivers ISOfix (essential for the placement of the base ISOfix). Among the remaining places, is recommended to use the one behind the passenger. The accidents happening on the right side of car are rarer than those on left.
    In regard to the place of co-driver seat there is much confusion. In various web pages and blogs, it is reported that we should not place children’s seats in the seat of co-driver. This is not correct, at least for the seats of the category 0/0+ (0-13 kg). The car manufactures, in the past few years, have secured the front of the car because then frontal accidents are the most frequent. The decision to place or not a baby’s seat in the place of the co-driver depends on the use of the car. A mother who uses very often the car by herself, with her newborn baby, could have the baby’s seat in the place of co-driver and have better control of the child and hence better control of car (always under the term that she has deactivate the airbag).
    On the contrary, if the use of car is more frequent with the whole family, it is more convenient to place the babies in the rear seats and checked by special mirrors.
    In conclusion: in general, the rear seats are considered to be more ideal for the placement of children's seats. However, special conditions (mum alone with baby) can lead us to the choice to place them in the co-driver’s seat.

    What is the ISOfix?
    The system ISOfix is an international model for the base of children's seats in the cabin of the passengers. ISOfix base is the metal points that could usually be found in the slot between the back of the seat and the seat, in the two rear seats of the car. Most cars from 2006 onwards have on their standard equipment ISOfix base as well as some older models. In these special bases the children's seat are placed which are compatible to ISOfix and with special green signs, show us that the seat has been placed correctly. This particular system has been developed, because researches have shown that the rate of misplaced children's seats exceeds the 70%.

    How can I be sure that my car has ISOfix?
    Search the handbook of the manufacturer or address to the car’s agency to ask for this detail.
  • Car
    • We don’t drink alcohol before driving.
    • We always put on the seat belt. Deaths have been referred even after crashes with only 20 km/h because of basic organs’ injury caused by the steering wheel for drivers not using the seat belt.
    • We use children seat for children.

    • We always put on the helmet when riding a motorcycle.
    • We never overtake from the right.
    • We never speak on the mobile phone while driving. When we do that we become a danger for the others and ourselves.

    • When having an incoming call on our mobile phone that we necessarily need to respond to, first we park our car at an appropriate place informing for our move with the “alarm” button in time, and then we take the call.
    • We avoid any possible distraction such as smoking, playing with the radio tuner or whatever else distracts our eyes from the road

    • We respect traffic lights, road signs like “stop” signs, and giving priority.
    • We never forget that in crossroads without traffic signs or traffic lights, the priority is given to those who arrive from the right.

    • When neglecting a “Stop” sign even with a “low” speed such as 30 km/h the following contact can deprive human lives...
    • We hold our nerves, become patient, use the horn as less as possible, avoid arguing with others and never swear.
    • We inform the other drivers in time of our lane - direction change with the flash lights and before doing it we always keep track of our mirrors.

    • Flash light, when attempting to overtake, doesn’t force the overtaking maneuver, but it only warns.
    • Before parking we always warn in time with the “alarm” button.
    • While driving, despite our ability and speed, we put aside our ego.

    • We are gallant as far as overtaking is concerned. We don’t force an overtaking move.
    • We give space to someone who is trying to overtake us, using always the flash light.
    • We maintain safety distances from the vehicles that precede us. Sudden braking can occur at any time.

  • Motorcycle
    Motorcycle riding demands higher concentration, experience and fitness than car driving, because the body takes a bigger part in movement.
    We take care for an excellent maintenance of our motorcycle (regular services, changes of tires, etc.).
    We ALWAYS put on helmet. Helmet in case of accident can prevent heavy cerebral injuries.
    The use of special leather suits is also necessary, as they protect vital parts of the body, such as the spinal cord.

    A big mistake that motorcycle riders do is to attempt, even force, overtaking from the right.
    We always overtake from the left and with maximum care, because the driver that precedes us may not have even noticed, because of the “blind spot” of the mirror.
    We avoid passing through stopped vehicles with increased speed.
    We keep safety distance from other vehicles and motorcycles.
    We avoid sudden direction changes in front of a slow charging vehicle.
    We respect Stop signs and all the rest of the signs vigorously.

  • Pedestrian
    The road behavior of pedestrians is also of extreme importance. Contrary to common belief, they also carry responsibility, for example for accidents when pedestrians have been hit by an ongoing vehicle or motorcycle, usually at high speed, when trying to cross a road at a place where it is not permitted.
    It is of vital importance for a pedestrian to know when he has priority or not on crossroads.
    We check carefully traffic lights and prefer to cross roads from such spots, when it is noted and allowed by the “green walking small man”.

    On pedestrian lines with the absence of traffic lights, that are marked by parallel white lines on the road, pedestrians have priority, but its’ passing must be done with the proper care, because misunderstanding between drivers and pedestrians is a common mistake.
    It is necessary to use the sidewalk, when possible.

    On roads without traffic lights and pedestrian lines, we cross the road vertically and having before checked with care movement on both sides of the road.
    We never cross a road at a “blind” spot for us and ongoing drivers, e.g. a blind corner entry.

  • Driving in difficult weather conditions
    An important thing to have in mind ahead of the winter season is that during the previous months the road surface has accumulated a great amount of dirt and when rain occurs the road surface becomes very slippery.
    We don’t even have to mention the importance and necessity of always having to put on our seat belt, even on the back seat.

    When driving on slippery conditions our concentration must be very high and our moves on the steering wheel and the brake, gas and clutch pedals must be very gentle. Thus, we avoid wheel spin, and brake block.
    Also, we must avoid entering corners with high speed. We should brake before the corner entry with our front wheels straight, and because of that our vehicle’s grip is at it’s maximum possible level, decrease speed progressively with the brakes and our wheels straight and then make the corner smoothly with progressive inputs on the steering wheel.
    We should avoid, thus, to brake with our front wheels turned, or inside the corner, because that way we increase the possibility of destabilizing our vehicle.
    At the corner exit we accelerate smoothly, avoiding wheel spin, and unlock the steering wheel progressively, as far as the corner allows it.
    This way we succeed in maintaining our tires and brakes in maximum efficiency, we burn less fuel and, most important, we drive safely.
    When the vehicle is steel and we start, we must do it with a gentle input on the gas pedal and a progressive release of the clutch pedal. That way we accelerate better, burn less fuel and keep the clutch disk in better shape.
    Very important in driving, especially on a slippery road surface, is the braking phase. We brake, as for mentioned, with our front wheels straight and by asserting gentle pressure on the brake pedal. Thus, we avoid brake block and we maintain the friction materials of our brakes in better shape.
    In case of brake block, which at most times becomes obvious by tire noise and, at critical conditions, by the loss of direction of the vehicle (on most cases, loss of direction of the front axle when the front brakes have blocked, more rarely of the rear axle when the rear brakes have blocked) then we step on and off the brake pedal with a certain frequency, substituting, thus, the ABS system.
    We avoid pulling the handbrake, because this way the vehicle starts sliding on its rear wheels and gets out of our control.

    It is of extreme importance to maintain safety distance from the preceding vehicles and motorcycles on every kind of road and especially on the motorway.

    Very important for the grip and safety that our vehicle provides is its maintenance.
    We service the vehicle regularly.
    It is important that our tires and dampers are in good shape.
    We change tires after 40.000 km or 3 years of use and dampers after approximately 60.000-100.000 km and after consulting our mechanic.
    We shouldn’t alter factory standards as far tires dimensions and dampers’ characteristics are concerned.

    Wider tires, for example, don’t offer anything, on the contrary they increase movement friction and fuel consumption, they make the steering wheel heavier and increase braking distances, making, thus, braking less effective…
  • Useful advices after the accident
    In case we have an accident and there isn’t injury our first action should be to take pictures of the vehicles that took part and to sign their registration plates. We can also call the insurance accident advisor, when our insurance agency provides with such a service.

    Next, we move, if possible, the vehicles that took part, to places safe ant that not intervene with traffic. We also move particles from the road that consist possible danger for ongoing vehicles.
    In case the driver that has made the mistake recognizes it, there is the possibility of the “friendly statement”. The two parts control for the existence of driving license and exchange the data of car and driving license, identity card and insurance contracts.
    They fill in the special part of the insurance papers for the “friendly statement” and the responsibility of the responsible driver and the place of the accident are noted. Then the insurance agencies are informed and take the responsibility for the rest (autopsy of the accident place and of the vehicles that took part, cost coverage of the repairs from the insurance agency of the responsible part).

    In case there is disagreement over responsibility, then we call the police (100) and wait for a police vehicle to come and the police officers to take evidence of the accident’s conditions and to notify responsibility.
    In that case, and especially the case that a part leaves the place of the accident we try to locate any possible witnesses, obtain their data for future contact and inform the police.
    Heavy injury.
    In case of heavy injury our first action should be to call for an ambulance (166). We should have in mind that our intervention on an injured person, when we do not have the relative knowledge, can become dangerous to the injured person’s health and cause legal suction against us.
    Thus, we should try to help heavily injured persons ONLY if we have the necessary knowledge, training and experience.
    In the last case, we avoid to move the injured person, because movement could deteriorate it’s condition.
    We turn off the engine key.
    We try to put off fire with the special fire extinguishers that all vehicles should carry.

    We control if the injured person breaths by putting our fingers down its nose and in front of its mouth.
    In case we realize that it doesn’t breathe we move progressively and slowly the head in hypertension and lower the lower jaw in an attempt to free the air supply.
    We try to block bleeding by asserting heavy pressure on the bleeding wound with a clean clothe.
    In case the injury isn’t so heavy and the injured person maintains it’s senses we immobilize the part that is hurt and has sustained a possible fracture.

    We await the arrival of the ambulance for the rest.
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