A Campaign to support car seat usage #CarseatFullstop
Why Tragedy is a terrible teacher
The debate around proper car seat usage is a long and tiring one . A couple of years ago a month after my first child was born a friend lost her baby. Even though I was not at the accident, I remember hearing that horrible news like it was yesterday. What I remember most is seeing the mom, a while later and hearing her recounting the story of an ordinary day, with ordinary actions, and ordinary choices, that became the biggest tragedy of her life. It was a Sunday, they were driving through town, baby was in the car seat and was upset and crying and crying, so she unbuckled her and held her in her arms, next thing another woman, skipped a red robot, plowed into them and her baby flew out of the window and died, he was only a few months old. She kept saying how she blamed herself, she felt she killed her child. That is a terrible weight for a mother to carry for the rest of her life.
We all know someone who has been through this terrible ordeal, some of you reading this have possibly lost someone dear to you in car accident. As human beings, though, we always believe that tragedy will not happen to us.
My own car seat usage mistakes
I am not supporting this campaign because I am a perfect mother who always does the right thing.
- Many times, I have been in a position when a screaming child wanting to get out of the car seat, has made me think that taking him out for just a few minutes would better than letting him cry it out, hearing your child cry is painful for a mom.
- I have been in a hurry just to quickly get milk at the shops and thought my nanny or sister can just hold my little one while we dash out, to the shop which is 3 minutes away.
- I did not understand that the seat belts in the car are designed for adult males over 1.5m, this means I have to re-look at how my 9 year old is restrained in the car seat
We have all been there, but I feel I need to take stand for myself and for my children; I need to stop and do the correct thing, because as quickly as I can come home, just as quickly I can have an accident that could result in my child being badly hurt or even worse die.
That is my reason for supporting this campaign; I am holding myself accountable for the safety of my children.
Why I support the #CarseatFullstop campaign
The car seat discussion can become quite heated, with guilt and justifications being thrown about. I believe there is no justification for a parent driving around with their toddler sitting in the front seat of the car, or even worse standing near the dashboard of the car. Most of those people know they are doing something wrong but can get very angry when someone points out how dangerous that can be.
This is in spite of the following alarming statistics:
- Did you know that car passenger deaths are the 4th leading cause of unnatural deaths in children in our country?
- Did you know that currently only 15% of South African children in cars are restrained; that is 85% of children who are not?
So I am here to reiterate a message, we as parents want to do everything we can think of to protect our kids from harm; this includes ensuring their safety in cars.
What is the #carseatfullstop campaign all about?
The #carseatfullstop campaign is not about guilt, it is about the practicalities of life.
- It is to help all of us make the best choice for a car seat;
- It is to raise awareness of the devastating consequences that not strapping your child in can have.
- It is about ensuring that we have age appropriate restraints for our kids.
- It is about highlighting how you can get access to a good car seat without paying a fortunate.
But most importantly, it is about ensuring the safety of our children, because sometimes it is not about you being a good or bad driver, it is about the fact that you cannot control the actions of other people on the road, and that we are all vulnerable to circumstances that could result in our children being hurt or dying.
How you can support car seat usage
So join me in holding yourself accountable, and try to implement the following:
- Let’s assist others with the correct information about car seat usage
- Do not agree to transport children without a car seat,
- Do not let other people take your kids anywhere without a car seat,
- If you can please assist if someone cannot afford a car seat. Donate used car seats to organisations such as Wheel Well, who ensure that
Car seats reduce the risk of death in passenger cars by 71 % for infants and 54 % for toddlers.
To learn more about ways to support and get involved in the #carseatfullstop campaign
- Follow the pages on social media, engage in the conversation Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, Google+
- Sign up for the newsletter
- Get involved in the constructive conversation using the hashtag #CarseatFullstop
#CarseatFullstop is sponsored by Volvo Cars http://bit.ly/VolvoChildSafety