Life with a newborn

Dear Grandparents, this is Why My Child Needs to be in a Car Seat…

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This article was written by Guest Blogger – Mandy Lee Miller, Creator & Director of #CarseatFullstop. Topic: The importance of Car seats.

One of the toughest things you face when you are trying to keep your children safe in cars using car seats is resistance from other people. While a stranger or casual acquaintance’s rolled eyes or judgment might not mean much to you; it’s a whole other story when it is your parents or your in laws… Our elders, who we have been brought up to respect and listen to.

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How often has an older member of your family accused you of “coddling” your children?

Of wrapping them in cotton wool?

How many have referred to the new generation as “soft” because we treat them like they might break at any moment? How many have started conversations with, “when we were young” or “you turned out just fine”? And let’s be honest, there is very little response you can give that doesn’t make you sound like you are disrespecting them. After all, there is a degree of truth in their frustrations – things were so very different “back in the day”. It’s hard to deal with.

If your child never travels in a car with them, you can simply nod your head or excuse yourself from the conversation. But many of us rely on our parents or in laws to look after our little ones so we can work. What a wonderful gift to our children to be able to spend this special time with their grandparents.

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So what do you do then? How do you communicate how critically important strapping your child properly into a car seat every single time is, without offending them or hurting their feelings?

It may sound silly and I know many people who would say, just tell them it’s your children and your rules… But there are many others who do respect much of what the older generation has to offer and who were raised to show your elders respect no matter what. What then is the answer? I have an idea… it really is just an idea and one that I have used a few times when faced with an irritated older person. It is worth a try…

Share a few facts that you’ve read. “I read this article the other day that shared some amazing facts comparing when I was born with now and it was so interesting!”

Now, let me be that article for you.

1. In 1983 there were 2,704,795 cars on the road compared to the 12,027,860 of this year. How crazy? That is just short of 10 million more cars on the roads. No wonder there is always so much traffic! And how much more likely is an accident when there are that many cars and people on the roads…

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2. In the 1980s, people weren’t in such a hurry! I was almost run off the road by a car that must have been going easily 160km earlier today! It must have been quite nice to commute on quieter slower roads. Everything and everybody is so rushed today. (Ask them to share a story about what the cars of the 80s were like…)

3. There were no minibus taxis driving like they owned the roads in the 80s! I can’t even imagine a world without those guys stopping dead in the middle of the road or pushing into traffic at 100kmph! What was that like?

4. In the 1980s nobody had ever heard of a cell phone!! That old brick Nokia only came to South Africa in 1995! There was an article two years ago in Essentials magazine with facts about cell phones. In 2015 South Africa had a population of 51.8 million, but around 80 million mobile connections. I wonder how many cell phones are in the average car…

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5. The World Health Organisation reported in late 2015, that South Africa has the worst rate of drunk driving and drunk driving related deaths in the world. A recent study showed that as many as three-quarters of South Africans drive under the influence of alcohol. Oh my word, if you look back at the number of cars on the roads, that means as many as 9 million cars are being driven right now by somebody who is under the influence. It is so sad that no matter how safely you drive, there is a huge likelihood of getting into a crash with somebody.

6. In the 1980s news was slow. And priorities were different. In a world of social media, every loss is noted and shared. If there was a car accident in the 80s, your nearest and dearest might know, but nobody else would. Now you might find out about somebody you know being in an accident on social media minutes after it happened. The fact that there was less chance that you heard about it in the 80s, doesn’t mean that children who weren’t strapped in weren’t dying in car crashes.

The leading causes of road deaths in South Africa are speeding, distracted driving and drunk driving.

Did you know that as cars became more common, they began implementing speed limits to see whether reducing speed would reduce the number of accidents? The graph of accident reductions and the decreasing speed limit showed a single line. This is common sense, as if you are moving too fast you can’t move around obstacles or corners, you have far less time to stop to avoid a crash, and of course, the higher the speed the greater the crash force on the car and the occupants.

According to Get It Online, a recent report stated that up to 25% of road accidents are caused by talking or texting on a cell phone while driving. This distraction results in a 37% decrease in parietal lobe activity in the brain. Also, a single use of a phone represents an average of 52 seconds of distracted driving. At 60kmph, this is equivalent to driving “blind” for one kilometre, increasing the likelihood of an accident by four times.

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I really don’t think we need to convince anyone that drinking and driving leads to death. Even the slightest amount of alcohol has been proven to slow reflexes and concentration and impairs the processing and rational response to your senses.

So in short, maybe the best way to share why we are so passionate about car seat safety for our kids, is to share more about the differences between then and now…

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When it comes to the most precious gifts we are ever given, why put their lives into the hands of others? Strangers in over 12 million cars, 9 million of them having likely been drinking, 3 million of them playing with their cell phones and all of them driving too fast. And 93% of the children in those cars are jumping around the back seat, distracting their parents or grandparents, because they are not using the car seats they so desperately need.

Car passenger deaths are the fourth leading cause of unnatural deaths of children in South Africa.

Car seats save lives.

Please share this article on all your social media channels. Tag your family and friends. “Accidentally” cc that person you have been trying to get through to in an email.

With statistics saying that up to 93% of people aren’t strapping in their kids… We ALL know somebody who is adding to that number.

“You have the power to save a little life.
One share, seen by one person, who straps in one child, saves a life.
#CarseatFullstop. Every child. Every time. No matter what.”

If you are on the market for a new car seat, you can support #CarseatFullstop by buying your little one of the safest car seats in the world through us. Join the “BeSafe with #CarseatFullstop” group on Facebook here: www.facebook.com/groups/supportcarseatfullstop and any profits will go to keeping the #CarseatFullstop initiative running! If you have any questions, you can ask them in the groups or email me on besafe@carseatfullstop.org.

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If you have an old unused car seat gathering dust in your garage, please consider donating it to our very favourite NPO, Wheel Well. You can drop your seat at your closest Renault dealership and they will get the seat to Peggie and her team. They will clean and safety check it, before giving it a new home with somebody in need for a small donation.

Comments

comments

1 Comment

  1. WorkLifeMom

    August 29, 2017 at 12:46

    Nothing bothers me more in life than seeing a child who is not strapped in. My parents don’t use the car seat if they have the kids visiting them. I leave the seat behind and they keep it in the house. I simply cannot just tell them what to do.

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