I remember when I first moved to Cape Town, going away for the weekend. I remember having to slow down at what I thought was a roadblock, except it wasn’t. It had been a car accident. In the middle of the road, a BMW was lying on its side. I still remember driving towards it, the roof was facing us and it was right across the middle of the road. There was glass everywhere. We had to squeeze past this car that literally blocked both lanes.
I was sitting in the back seat, I was looking out the window, as you do and on the other side of the car accident, there was a tiny body. It was covered in a cloth but I could see that the body was definitely not big enough to even be a teenager. This little body in the road belonged to a little human of no more than 7 or 8. Maybe 9. It happened so quickly but I knew it was a small child immediately.
That was 12 years ago, maybe 13 and I still have nightmares about that body. I wonder if his or her parents had thought about the chance that their child might die? I wonder if they had considered that properly restraining their child might save their life? So many people think it’s okay let their children sit in the back without seatbelts or booster seats, because nothing will happen to them back there of course.
I often wonder if parents think about the consequences of their actions. If they think about what it means to “just drive down the road” so they don’t buckle in their kids because “nothing will happen so close to home.” Except that, that is EXACTLY where a car accident is most likely to happen. Ina Meyer is a mom who thought it wouldn’t happen to her but it did. And it could happen to you too!
My child will be staying in a rear facing seat until the maximum age possible! Watch this video on what happens to your child if they are forward facing versus rear facing.
“Many people say that they don’t have car seats in their cars because they are too expensive. Firstly, no matter what the expense, it is cheaper than the aftermath of an accident where they are not restrained. Secondly, you can get a brand new booster seat from R1000. You can get a second-hand seat on Gumtree for a lot less. And if you really have no money, you can approach Wheel Well in Joburg and they will give you a cleaned and refurbished car seat for whatever donation you can afford. And lastly, there is NO amount of money that can make the cost of losing your child bearable.”
Unfortunately in South Africa there are very limited options for Rear Facing seats and they are generally quite expensive. However, I’d take out a second mortgage on my house in order for my son to be safer while travelling in the car with us. There are just way too many accidents to take the chance.
In the words of my friend Maz from Caffeine and Fairydust “please don’t give me the “car seats are expensive” crap – do you know what else is expensive? Tiny little baby coffins and funerals.” I don’t think anything is more truthful than that. Harsh but SO accurate! I’d rather spend my money on protecting my child, than burying him!
If you think it’s too late to move your child back into rear-facing seat, then read how Mandy-Lee Miller did exactly that with her daughter!
A few people have asked me what car seat I would suggest they use for their toddler. These are three options available in South Africa to keep our toddlers rear-facing that I consider.
Rear facing car seats that I’d trust putting my child in
Featuring improved leg room, added tilt and recline options and luxurious new upholstery, our rear-facing child seat provides optimal comfort and safety for children aged 9 months to 6 years or who weigh approx. 9–25 kg (making it the longest rear-facing option). The compact design and low weight mean it is also easy to install, adjust and remove. Volvo seat – R6 748.20 (ex VAT)
The iZi Modular concept is the new innovative child safety system from BeSafe, used from newborn up to approximately 4 years! For this age the BeSafe iZi Modular, consist of one ISOfix compatible base and a child seats which conform to the new EU standard R-129 (i-Size). The iZi Modular can be used both rearfacing and forward facing on the same base. The base module can be extended to allow more leg room for the child, which means children up to the age of about four years (105 cm tall) can be transported rearfacing.
Prices (correct at the time of article) – Contact #CarseatFullstop to purchase your seat and support the work we do!
I know these prices are steep but the more we talk about keeping our kids in rear-facing seats, the more we spread the word, the more we educate and lead by example, the more car seats will be introduced into the market. Sure, not everyone can afford to keep their kids in rear-facing seats and but at the very least, we need to improve the stats on how many kids aren’t in seats at all.
The #CarseatFullstop campaign isn’t about telling you to work your magic and spend money you don’t have. It’s about creating awareness, educating and getting more kids into carseats. If you can’t afford to rear-face for extended periods, we get it. Just make sure your kids are in a carseat! If you can’t afford a car seat at all, there are options available to you. Places like Wheel Well can help you get a good quality, tested, second-hand carseat. There just isn’t an excuse anymore to not protect your child in the best way you can.
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About the Author
Jonelle is mommy to gorgeous 3 year old named Oden. She is a Swazi-born South African living in New Zealand.
Jonelle blogs at Tyranny of Pink. She is fierce in her beliefs and the causes and people she supports.
Jonelle on Tyranny of Pink
Tyranny of Pink is a blog about self-acceptance. It’s my blunt take on life, death, becoming a mom, following your passions and living unapologetically.”
In September 2015, I went into labour and ended up nearly dying. I survived 6 surgeries in 8 months, an induced coma and being an Ostomate.
Jonelle on #CarseatFullstop
I see children standing freely in cars and sitting on the laps of adults. I hear “I’ll hold them tightly”. I’m tired of feeling helpless. Being a part of this campaign means I can do my part to educate and inform people. It’s something I feel really strongly about.