Kids in car seats….. this has been a bug bear of mine since before I became a parent myself so when Mandy from Pregnant in Cape Town approached me to participate in the #CarseatFullstop campaign, I jumped at the opportunity to use my audience to help spread the message of #CarseatFullstop. No ifs or buts. Every child in a car seat every time no matter what.
I consider myself an intelligent, well read individual so I was pretty smug in the knowledge that I have kept my children safe where possible on the roads. I mean, I used baby seats and car seats all along, I’ve insisted my friends to the same when they transport my children and so I stupidly thought I knew it all.
I couldn’t have been more wrong!
Did you know that 85% of South African children are NOT transported in car seats? Quite shocking right? While reading all the material and researching for this campaign, I came across even more statistics that shocked, frightened and saddened me!
The 4th leading cause of unnatural deaths in our country is car passenger deaths in children (Medical Research Council). Not to mention all the children that are seriously injured or disabled on a daily basis. At the Red Cross Children’s Hospital alone, approximately 20 children are treated for injuries sustained in car crashes every single month.
When a car crashes or suddenly stops, the body takes on the weight of the speed you were travelling multiplied by your actual weight. If your baby weighs 10 kg, and you are driving at 60km per hour, when you hit something your baby will take on the weight of 600kg.No adult will be able to hold onto that baby or child. They would be thrown about inside the vehicle, injuring themselves and quite possibly seriously injuring (or even killing) anyone else inside the vehicle. They are also likely to be thrown from the car through one of the windows – straight through that plated glass. – read the full article here: Is the alternative my child dying?
The angle I wanted to take for my written contribution to this campaign was what we, as individuals could do, aside from sharing the hell out of this campaign and helping to inform as many people as possible, to assist those who potentially don’t have the means to purchase their own car seats and keep their children safer on the roads. Today is Nelson Mandela day and people around the country are doing their bit in the 67 minutes. But 67 minutes isn’t enough to keep our children safe on our roads. As part of the #CarseatFullstop campaign, we want to encourage you to make the world around you a better place by donating your old or unused car seats for the next 67 days!
Wheel Well receives donated child safety seats to create a “seat exchange” where lower income families can receive child restraints in return for an affordable donation. The seats are thoroughly cleaned and checked for defects before they put into stock. We encourage parents to return the seats once outgrown to perpetuate the cycle.
I’ve often heard the Car Seats For Kids campaign running on local radio stations each year in October and have had two car seats stashed in my garage which I had planned to donate during this years drive, then the #CarseatFullstop campaign launched and I donated on Friday. Donating is easy!
Here are the various drop off zones for your donations:
Wheel Well at BrightWater Commons: Please visit contact us page for directions.
River Hawk Spur: Coachman’s Crossing, Peter Place, Bryanston. Telephone: 011 706 7968
MasterDrive: Meyersdal Office Park, 65 Phillip Engrelbrecht Drive, Meyersdal. Telephone: 011 867 4778 / 011 022 0352
Petroports: Debonairs – Panorama Bridge and Total – Panorama West GPS Coordinates: S25 36.993 E28 16.669
Dekra Automotive: Get a FREE vehicle safety check from Dekra after dropping off a car seat.
Locate a branch near you.
Renault has kindly made all their dealerships nationwide available as drop off points for car seats.
Please click here for a Dealership Map.
Peggie and her team do AMAZING work you guys. I was actually quite tearful standing in their shop, meeting the team and Peggie’s passion is really contagious! They are touching and saving lives daily. Not a single donation goes to waste. If the car seat has been recalled or discontinued for safety reasons, or it cannot be salvaged, it is taken apart, then plastic and metal is collected by the Trolley Man, as Peggie calls him, he separates the plastic and metal and sells it to the scrap yard for an income and the linings and covers get donated to animal shelters to use as dog beds.
Peggie imparted so much important information to me when I was with her on Friday. Most especially about booster seats, which is an area where I think most of us, or myself most especially, has failed.
How To Know If Your Child Should STILL Sit In A Booster Seat:
- Can you child sit with their hips against the back of the seat?
- Does your child’s knee’s bend comfortably at the edge of the seat?
- Does the seat belt cross the center of your child’s shoulder and is the lap belt low, touching on the tops of their thigh’s?
- Can you child sit like this, comfortably for an extended car trip?
If you answered no to anyone of these questions, your child should still be travelling in a booster seat. Until they are either 12 years old or over 1.5m’s tall.
Peggie also showed me how to extend the back of Ava’s booster seat so that she can continue to sit in it. I did not even know that her booster seat had that function and I feel like this is where retailers that stock and sell these products, let us down. Ava can now sit in her booster seat for many more years, with her head surrounded by impact protection, the safety belt across her shoulders and lap belt low. I did not know this and I know that a number of my friends don’t either, because legislation and communication on these topics is minimal in this country.
The Wheel Well team also visit nursery schools and conduct checks on car seats for parents at the school. They told me that 8 out of 10 parents using car seats have not fitted the car seat correctly.
Here are the Golden Rules:
- Always secure your child in a car seat when you drive anywhere, most collisions occur “just around the corner”.
- Vehicles are not a child friendly zone. You have to make them so with car seats.
- Keep your child in the correct seat for as long as possible, but no longer. It is also dangerous to keep your child in a car seat that they have outgrown.
- A child outgrows their car seat when they have reached the upper weight margin of the seat or their shoulder is higher than the highest belt adjustment of the seat.
- Harness belts must not be twisted or turned.
- Tighten the harness just right. The harness must fit snug, you must be able to fit your hand in between your child’s tummy and the buckle.
- The shoulder straps of the harness must never go over and below the shoulder. At shoulder height or slightly above the shoulder is good.
- Car seats must be installed with a 3 point belt unless they are specifically designed for a lap belt only installation.
- Make sure your seat has good side impact protection to protect your child’s head and neck.
- Car seats are designed to minimize risk during a collision. They do not eliminate risk. You must adjust your driving when driving with children, remember you are already training them as drivers through your example. Be the driver you want your children to be.
- Children under the age of 13 should ride on the back seat only.
- The safest seating int he vehicle is at the aback in the center.
- Never use a car seat where there are airbags. Airbags deploy at 350km/h and can seriously injure your child or cause death.
Golden rules created by Wheel Well and Imperial Road Safety
Aside from making a donation to Wheel Well, here’s how you can help too:
Share the hell out of this article and SHARE the stories.
Invite your friends and family and colleagues to these platforms. Please hit the share button on every single story you see.
Are you ready?
#CarseatFullstop. No ifs or buts. Every child in a car seat every time no matter what.
#CarseatFullstop is sponsored by Volvo Cars