#CarseatFullstop – Why this matters to me!

When Mandy Lee Miller from Pregnant in Cape Town and Tums 2 Tots invited me to a be a part of this campaign, I jumped at the opportunity. Any of my friends who have ever not buckled in their child in front of me will attest to me telling them off about the dangers of it.

You hear a lot of excuses like “we were just going down the road” but the truth is, most car accidents happen within 2 kms of your home! Research shows that the most likely cause is that we go into autopilot when driving in a familiar environment. We are just so used to driving that route that we don’t pay as much attention as we should. So the old excuse of just driving down the road really doesn’t work. It’s the MOST risk you can take. The smallest thing can cause an accident, and even if you have control of your car you can’t account for other drivers.

What about “I’ll hold him on my lap and put the seat belt over me” – Um again! NO!

“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, fwhen 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

You just can’t take chances like this with your child’s life and you really can do so much to prevent anything going wrong – just by putting them in a car seat or restraining them suitably!

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Why I’m so passionate about this cause

Ten years ago my father died in a car accident. He was 46 years old, strong, healthy and fit as a fiddle. He used to race motorbikes which he loved dearly. We were always so worried that he’d get injured during one of those races. Instead, he was driving home from picking my brother up from school, a route he had driven so many times before, it was raining and the roads were slippery. He lost control of the car and this giant, built monster sized man was thrown out of the passenger window. He hit his head and after a 5 day coma died in the hospital. It ruined our lives. It changed everything. My brother had been wearing his seat belt and with the exception of a small cut on his arm, was uninjured.

My father died because he didn’t put his seat belt on. A small act, that would have taken 3 seconds and instead changed the rest of our lives.

Am I angry about it? Of course I am but I’m also extremely passionate about it! As a result, I never let anyone ride in my car without a seat belt on. That goes for passengers in the front or back. If you’re not strapped in, you’re not driving with me. I don’t take chances and I would NEVER let my son ride in the car unbuckled.

I see people driving around all the time with their children standing between the seats and I think of my father flying through that window. If that can happen to a grown man, imagine what chance your little toddler has.

I love my son more than anything. Giving birth to him nearly killed me and I would do it all over again for him so there is no way in hell I’m going to take chances with his life. There are so many things that could happen to him but I never want to be the one to put his life in danger.

He’s ten months old, mostly he doesn’t fuss in his car seat (unless the car has stopped and he’s bored) but even when he does, I just grit my teeth and ignore his cries to get out. He doesn’t understand the consequences of not being buckled in but I do. I am the adult and I am the one who knows the risks and there is no chance I’m going to take him out that seat. If something is really wrong with him I will wait until I can safely stop somewhere before taking him out his seat. As long as the car is moving, he is staying put – tears or no tears!

“I would rather have a crying child in a car than a dead child” – Ina Meyer

Stats and other official info

How Seatbelts and Child Restraints / Baby Seats work

Child restraints are designed to prevent and minimise injury during a crash! Seat belts and restraints reduce the risk of contact with the inside of the car and also reduce the severity of injury caused by distributing the impact across the body. They also prevent the individual from being flung out the car and prevent further injury to other individuals in the car when unrestrained individuals are catapulted forward or around the car!

[bctt tweet=”#CarseatFullstop. No ifs or buts. Every child in a car seat every time no matter what.” username=”tyrannyofpink”]

Research Data and Statistics on the importance of Seatbelts / Child Restraints/ Baby Seats

A review of various United States studies has shown that child safety seats that are correctly installed and used for children aged 0–4 years can reduce the need for hospitalisation by 69%.

The risk of death for infants is reduced by 70%, and that for children aged 1–4 years by 47–54%.

Of children aged under 5 years, 485 lives could have been saved in the United States in 2002 if all the children had been in child safety seats.

It has been estimated in the United Kingdom that new rules on the use of child restraints rather than adult seat-belts for children up to 135 cm in height or aged 12 years and under will save over 2000 child injuries or deaths every year.

South African Stats

Car seats reduce the risk of death in passenger cars by 71 % for infants and 54 % for toddlers. Currently only 15% of South African children in cars are restrained; that is 85% of children who are not.

National statistics show that 84% of children in South Africa, travel in cars without wearing their seatbelts.

Passenger deaths in children are the 4th leading cause of unnatural deaths in our country (Medical Research Council) Not to mention all the injured children that suffer injury or disabilities on a daily basis.

At the Red Cross Children’s Hospital alone, approximately 20 children per month are treated for injuries sustained in motor vehicle collisions. Eighty percent (80%) of these injured children were not buckled up or restrained in any way at all. Most of these injuries could have been prevented through appropriate restraining.

Even in a minor crash, an unrestrained child would be thrown around inside the vehicle, injuring themselves and others. They could be thrown from the car through one of the windows

Now I ask you to do your bit

BUCKLE your child in, tell others to do the same, don’t allow your child to ride in a car without a car seat or buckled in!

SHARE the stories. Please LIKE #CarseatFullstop on Facebook, please SIGN UP for the newsletter, please FOLLOW us on Twitter, please FOLLOW us on Instagram or on Google+. Please invite your friends and family and colleagues to these platforms. Please hit the share button on every single story you see.

If you have a car seat you’re not using anymore then DONATE it to Non-Profit Wheel Well who run a “Car Seats for Kids” campaign! Car seats can be dropped off at ANY Renault dealership!

“You have the power to save a little life. One share, seen by one person, who straps in one child, saves a life. Saves a lot of lives, if you consider what is left of a family after losing a child.” – Mandy Lee Miller

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#CARSEATFULLSTOP IS SPONSORED BY VOLVO CARS. YOU CAN DOWNLOAD THE FREE CHILDREN AND CARS MANUAL HERE.

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