The effect of inconvenience on road safety

Imagine a new television hitting the shelves. Now this one is all sleek and offers exceptionally high visuals apart from being adaptable with all your gadgets. It sounds like a catch, doesn’t it? But what if I told you that it is sleek but weighs more than 150 pounds and comes with a 50-page instruction manual that you need to go through to be able to leverage its advantage fully? Plus, you have to install it on your own. Sounds cumbersome, doesn’t it?

Despite all the features it has, still, a majority would stick to their conventional screens because, by the sound of it, it really does not look easy to use or install. Here, the functionality is topped by what we will further discuss as “perceived usefulness” and “ease of use.”

We hold a million biases about technology, and yet, some of those might just be gravely putting our loved ones in danger, especially our little angels. Don’t believe us? We have a simple question for you – how often do people in developing countries, where technological advancement is still catching up, use child safety measures in their vehicles?

Only 7.8% of child passengers were correctly secured in a CSS (car safety seat) in research done in South Africa. 92% of survey participants reported to have little or no awareness of the “need” for it. This lack of a lower perceived “need” stems from a lack of knowledge of the advantages of upcoming technology but is also driven by the fact that a number of parents are overly confident about the fact that children are inherently safer while being in a vehicle that is being driven by them.

Whether we believe it or not, in a number of geographies, child safety depends on the parents’ perception and understanding of the technology that aids it. In case parents find it to be inconvenient or time-consuming or maybe not worth the amount it costs, the chances of them dropping the idea of using that tool increases exponentially. 

Table of content –

1. Why do we avoid using certain technologies?

2. Technology acceptance model

3. Child Safety Products – what drives their usage?

4. Optimism Bias – could be the silent killer when travelling with children

So, first, let’s discuss precisely why is it that we avoid using certain technologies.

Extensions of seemingly obvious inconveniences, according to researchers, may lead to not wanting to opt for newer technology. Similar is the case for young parents, but we will move to that later. Before we talk about how the ease of use of a product in terms of child safety can be a deal-breaker, let’s learn about what the term means and where it comes from.

Like any other product that comes with regular upgrades, child safety equipment is ever-evolving. Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) highlights the odds of successful usage of such a technology when travelling with children, based primarily on two factors –

1. Ease of Use

2. Perceived Usefulness

Davis defines perceived ease of use as “the degree to which a person believes that using a particular system would be free of effort” (Davis, 1989, p. 320), whilst perceived usefulness is characterised as “the degree to which a person believes that using a particular system would improve his or her job performance” (Davis, 1989, p. 320). (Davis, 1989, p. 320).

Most child safety products currently in the market, such as child safety seats or helmets, are inconvenient to use owing to bulkiness, weight, and other factors like a child crying when you put them on or feeling uncomfortable. Such factors make it exceedingly difficult for parents to travel with their children on vacation or flights while using proper safety measures. As a result, individuals avoid using it in favour of holding a child in their arms, which may be pretty harmful, despite how seemingly convenient it might be. Car safety seats, harnesses, and seat belts are just as vital for your child as they are for you. According to ÚNICEF every day, around the world, nearly 2,000 people die in road accidents, 500 of them children. Every four minutes a child dies on the road. Hundreds of children were injured, many seriously injured 

But yet another, even scarier reason behind not using such measures is the optimism bias. In another study (can you include the link to studies here), the use of restraints by young children is frequently influenced by the driver’s seat belt usage. Nearly 40% of youngsters travelling with uncontrolled drivers were also unrestrained.

Unrealistic optimism, also known as optimism bias, is the propensity to feel that one is better skillful and less likely to face a negative occurrence than one’s peers. Melanie J. White’s research from 1989 reveals that people are too unreasonably optimistic when assessing their driving ability and accident probability. This kind of false confidence invariably leads one to believe that one or one’s child is less prone to meeting an accident if they themselves are driving. The propensity for drivers to think of themselves as more skilled may lead to a lack of usage of proper child safety products. This does not mean that they don’t care about the safety of children but, in return, leads to the failure to use adequate automobile safety measures.

To not let inconvenience dictate the usage of child safety products, proper awareness campaigns need to be conducted so as to educate the masses on the need for such equipment. There need to be more stringent laws that are put in place in order to penalize those who, due to lack of knowledge, inconvenience or because of optimism bias, opt to use child safety measures while on the road. Most Importantly, companies that manufacture these products must focus on developing products that are safe but easy to use  at the same time.in order to increase the adoption  of these products. Only then do we avoid road fatalities or the high risk of injury of our children in road traffic incidents. 

Sources –

Ren, M. Why technology adoption succeeds or fails: an exploration from the perspective of intra-organizational legitimacy. J. Chin. Social. 6, 21 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40711-019-0109-x

Davis, F.D. 1986. A technology acceptance model for empirically testing new end-user information systems: Theory and results. Doctoral dissertation. Sloan School of Management. Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Davis, F.D. 1989. Perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use, and user acceptance of information technology. MIS Quarterly 13 (3): 319–340.

Peden M., Oyegbite K., Ozanne-Smith J., Hyder A.A., Branche C., Rahman A., Rivara F., Bartolomeo’s K. World Report on Child Injury Prevention. World Health Organisation; Geneva, Switzerland: 2008.

Child Safety in Developing Nations– Ensuring a secure future for our little bundles of joy

Every day, 25 children in India die in traffic accidents, which indeed is a frightening statistic for any parent across the globe. The overall number of accidents affecting children in India each year, according to 2017 estimates, is a staggering 9,408. Many of these crashes occur on two-wheelers and are consequent of the fact that the motorist and the other passenger was not wearing a helmet.

Child Safety in Developing Nations– Ensuring a Secure Future for Our Little Bundles of Joy

In the contemporary era, where most families have dual income parents, travelling with our young ones in our cars while dropping them off to daycare or while visiting the grocery store or even simply for an appointment with a pediatrician is a regular affair. Yet, an alarming and disheartening fact that accompanies this practice is that in developing nations, about 90% of the disability-adjusted life years are lost globally owing to road traffic accidents. In motor vehicle collisions involving children aged 12 and under in 2019, 608 children died, and more than 91,000 were severely injured. In such an accident, 38 percent of youngsters aged 12 and under were not strapped up. Sadly, our children are not immune to any of this because even though it may look like a seemingly minute thing to not use car safety seats or seat belts or helmets while travelling by road with a younger one, these tools can make a world of difference in case of accidents.

While road traffic injuries are the greatest cause of death among school-aged children and adolescents worldwide, and they disproportionately impact developing nations, over the past couple of decades, the awareness regarding safer modes of travelling and using the right equipment to lessen the odds of such mishaps have been on the rise. In the developed nations, we see that CSS (car safety seats) are a law-regulated mandate when travelling with a toddler, but the same cannot be said for the developing nations. The reason behind the same can stem from a myriad of factors.

As the laws that supplement road safety for children, especially those travelling by a four or a two-wheeler, are comparatively less stringent in these countries, a general lack of awareness regarding the available equipment and tools is on the lower end of the spectrum. Additionally, in comparison to developed nations, in developing countries, the buying capacity of most families might not be enough to accommodate such safety equipment. In such nations, socio-economic variables, particularly income, typically impact the mode of transportation choice. Moreover, due to a lack of resources, administrative issues, and corruption, developing nations have a difficult time enforcing traffic safety standards.

Yet, that does not account for the fact that the gap between action and awareness is seemingly vast.

“With improved road safety regulation and enforcement, we can avoid this terrible loss of life that exacts a heavy toll on families and society as a whole,” said Dr Robert Scherpbier, Chief of Health, Nutrition and WASH at UNICEF China. To curb this problem in developing nations, a wave of robust government-aided and NGO-backed awareness campaigns is needed in tandem with the establishment and enforcement of more stringent laws that look at road safety of children as a necessity and not a luxury. The reason behind advocating for the implementation of more iron-clad and stringent laws in this case also stems from the fact that pedestrians and secondary passengers are the primary victims of road traffic injuries in developing countries, as opposed to drivers occupants, who account for the majority of deaths and impairments in industrialized countries. Moreover, the problem is not as di-fold as this. It also includes the need for building safer roads and maintaining them on a regular basis.

As bleak as it all sounds, there has been some augmentation in this realm of safety that has primarily been focussing on deploying education and enforcement of the law as the harbingers of change. In a number of developing countries, as the graph of the buying capacity for the lower-middle class is rapidly rising, so is their awareness of employing means to ensure the safety of their children. With nuclear families on the rise, in the socio-economically developing demographic, parents are reading and learning more about child safety rather than relying on taking instinctive measures alone.

In most countries, parents have come to realise that it is advisable for children under the age of 12 to travel in the backseat of a car. Rear-seat restraining decreases the chance of fatal injury by around three-quarters for children under the age of three and almost half for children aged four to eight. Furthermore, in some developing countries, even the law is being restructured in a way that it accommodates the road safety needs of our young ones in tandem with those of the older population to establish regulations that look at road safety from an eclectic lens.

The best way to facilitate a change like this outside of your immediate geography is to spread the word about its pertinence. What might be a seemingly regular or routine matter for you, like strapping a seat belt over a child or using a helmet, might come across as new information to someone from a different socio-economic demographic. For the safety of our own children and of others, we need to create a world that is more action and awareness-driven, where we voice out safety concerns in the most proactive manner possible.

Changing Modes of Commute in Developing Countries   – Why child safety is important.

Man has been a mobile creature for the longest time. Every textbook states that transportation has been a means of advancement and change throughout history, and it can be corroborated rightfully so if we carefully examine the evolution of the way we have chosen to commute over the years. Yet, as our lives continue to evolve drastically, so has our means of commute-related transportation. With an increasingly hectic lifestyle, convenience is of utmost importance to all and commuting is the one aspect of the day which everyone wishes to make as hassle-free as possible. According to a Deloitte report, 57 percent of Indian customers prefer to use ride-hailing services rather than driving their own cars. The figure is greater than in China, the United States, Germany, and Japan, where 53, 29, 32, and 31 percent of customers use car-hailing to commute instead of owning a car.

We have come full circle where vehicle ownership does not solely govern our choice of transport for daily commute once again. For heavily populated metro cities in developing nations, there has been a mushrooming rise in the practice of car-hailing.

As the purchasing power of commuters in developing countries grows, public transportation may not be the preferred option for everyone. As a result, car-hailing is the second-best alternative, or, more likely, the option that the urban population chooses more willingly today. Apart from it being convenient, as one can track the driver right through the app or even pay there, these are gaining mass popularity. As most of these vehicles run on CNG or there is a huge push from these companies to turn their fleet into EV, a large chunk of the student and working population is opting for these alternatives as they aid in building a sustainable future. Furthermore, the cost efficiency of car-hailing was comparatively higher in comparison to having one’s own vehicle

Last year, Uber supported 14 million rides each week in India, according to the American ride-hailing company, which secured the top spot in this vertical of our global markets. According to Aman Madhok, Senior Analyst at Counterpoint Research, who commented on the results found on the ride-hailing patterns of people in developing countries, “10-20 kilometers per journey is the ‘sweet spot’ travel distance most preferred for considering ride-hailing choices,” according to a survey on ride-hailing in India.

According to the same poll, the majority of frequent Uber or Ola users said ride-hailing was more cost-effective than car ownership during such times when the fuel prices are at their peak in developing nations. This is especially true among the paid middle class, where almost two-thirds of frequent users view ride-hailing to be more cost-effective than owning a car. More so than ever before, parents are opting for these services on a frequent basis as their work hours barely allow them to cover long distances to drop children to school and back or take them to other social gatherings or upskilling classes.

Families and car hailing.

In a separate study, 450 people said they were the parents or legal guardians of children under the age of ten. Thirty-seven percent, or 307 people, had used ride-hailing. Among those who had used ride-hailing, 253 people (or 82 percent) said they had done so with their children under the age of ten.

A number of parents in the contemporary era are all about making their children develop a sense of independence and ride-hailing, with tech-integrated apps that constantly show the location of the vehicle are a huge plus, according to them. It helps a child develop a level of self-confidence that might never be achieved by commuting with parents every day. They develop better communication and navigation skills as a result of this.

Is car sharing family friendly?

Yet, the car hailing eco system are not without issues. A number of parents have raised concerns about no provision of appropriate child safety seats while riding in an Uber, Ola, or other ride-share vehicles with their families. Similarly, there have been instances when parents might have been interested in hailing a cab for a young one, but due to a lack of safe car seat options, they might have chosen not to. When it comes to using car-hailing services, parents ranked having child-safety features installed in a vehicle as the most crucial factor to consider when choosing a mode of transportation for their children.

Seventy-four percent of millennials favor app-based cab services over regular cabs for ride-hailing. Given that this generation will soon be parents, it is past time for services like Lyft, Ola, and Uber to beef up their child-safety vehicular measures. This would not only help them tap into a larger demographic but also holistically improve their brand image by adding an arc of child-related safety measures. Models such as “Piggy Ride,” a Bangalore-based start-up that is India’s first cab service dedicated solely to the transportation requirements of children, provide customized trips to children aged 2 to 18, has seen a rapid growth in its sales.

Such modules that take into consideration the needs of parents with young children would significantly augment the safe travel options for children apart from adding a steep curve to their graph of growth by introducing such child-centric means of commute services.


Can you imagine taking your baby in a car without a proper and safe child seat- one without a harness or a latch? Scary, right! That’s exactly how it used to be in the 1900s when parents with cars wanted to take their babies out for a drive. Let us fathom how child seats have evolved through time, government regulations, and technological advancements and so on.

From the time when the first cars were put on roads in the 1900s, modifications, adjustments and tweaks were made to seats to protect the ones that were driving the machines and the ones who accompanied. Minimal to zero considerations were given to seats for young infants and babies.

The first child seats ever made were solely built to fulfil the purpose of raising the child to a certain height from which he or she could watch the passing visuals. It was basically a kind of a burlap sack with a drawstring that could be hung over the headrest on the passenger’s seat. The ever so important factor of safety was not addressed by the manufacturers of such seats. Imagine the nightmare the parents might have had to go through to safely transport their offspring!

It was in 1933 that the first recognized baby seat or shall we say booster seat was manufactured by the Bunny Bear Company. These propped back seat riders up so that parents could check their babies. A decade later, manufacturers came up with canvas seats attached on metal frames that could be fixed to the car’s front seat so that the baby could get a better view through the windshield. Talk about upgrades!

Once the concept of seat belts for safety was introduced in the 1960s, child seat safety ideas and regulations were propelled. Researchers and manufacturers across Europe (precisely the United Kingdom and Sweden) and the US started coming up with revolutionary ideas and innovations that laid the foundations for the modern-day baby seats that we see today. All such designs had one important criterion to adhere to – safety.

Car-Seats on Vacation; the extra luggage!

Traveling with children is the most rewarding adventure you can have together as a family. Kids
benefit a great deal from going on vacations with their parents by gaining new experiences and
forming stronger bonds with parents. Research shows that vacations not only provide us with
the much-needed family time in our overworked world but also make our kids smarter. Travel
enables plenty of quality time with children, whether it is hiking, going on road trips or flying with
your kids. Child psychotherapist Dr. Margot Sunderland tells that “Family vacations provide
children with rich learning environments that give them new social, physical, cognitive and
sensory experiences, which enhance executive functions such as focus, planning and
concentration”. As a parent, to offer an experience like this from a very young age can play a
vital role in their brain’s development. Just like reading stories to your young ones, the skills they
acquire from such traveling memories are irreplaceable.
All that being said, travelling with infants or toddlers is no easy feat and can be daunting at
times. The issue of car seats is one of the most frustrating aspects of family travel and one that
has less than ideal solutions; because most countries do not have a law that require child
restraints while travelling. In addition to having to take care of your child, there’s also an extra
luggage that needs to be carried around with you in the airport for a safe and hassle-free flight
with your child -a car seat. And choosing a safe and travel friendly car seat for your little one can
be quite a challenge. Renting a car seat often comes at a disadvantage because you’ll never be
assured of its quality and cleanliness with the added disadvantage of it being unfamiliar to both
parents and children. It’s always preferable to travel with your own car seats since studies
shows that the majority of child car seats are installed incorrectly and its always safe to use one
that you are familiar with installing properly.