The #CarseatFullstop campaign is aimed at encouraging the proper use of carseats, child restraints and seatbelts for children. For some of us this requires changing behaviour for both parents and children. I took part in the campaign because I wanted to be more intentional about ensuring the safety of my children, and that includes their safety in the car. I want to share what I have learned so far.
Here’s what I have learned and the ways I’m changing behaviour
My changing behaviour – Never drive while my child sits on someone’s lap
How many of us have done this one thing? I am definitely guilty. Yet in a crash, the human body takes on the weight of the speed the car was traveling multiplied by the body weight. Even with the seatbelt, I could potentially crush my child in the impact.
If I apply this to my own situation
If I am a holding my youngest son on my lap who currently weighs (16.7 kg), and my husband is driving us down the road to the petrol station shop, traveling at the speed of 40km/h because we are being careful, if the car comes to a sudden stop, or swerves – this translate to him potentially traveling out of my arms with the weight of 668 kg’s, and NO there is no way I can react fast enough or with enough strength to contain him. It seems almost obvious that a proper restraint is his best safety option. The child will be thrown about in the car, they get hurt, and they can hurt others, or even die.
No one of us can predict that we will be able to hold on to the child in the event of a crash. Many variables are at stake when at that moment of Impact. Research has shown that in the event of an impact a passenger has less than a second to react in a sudden stop or collision, a critical half second when a child is on your lap. This for me simplifies things, no child on the lap at any given time.
I will not travel with my child on my lap even if both of us are using the seatbelt
What if both the child and I are wearing my seatbelt? If there is a crash at 60km/HR I would crush my baby to death. The force against my child will be the equivalent of 30 adults, each weighing 50kg (or an entire rugby team) standing on top of him.
I now prefer to use a rearfacing carseat
Babies heads are large and heavier than their bodies, therefore if a baby suffers head injuries, it often leads to brain damage. Most collisions are head on or frontal impact, being in a rear facing would protect your child’s neck for damage. That is why having your child in a rear facing car seat as long as possible for babies and young children is the best.
Use a proper restraint for my eldest child
Before this campaign, I didn’t realise that it was critically important that even older kids are in booster seat to be safe. I always thought it was enough now that he uses a normal seatbelt. Adult males with an average height of 1.5 m tall and that is whom seat belts are made for. So therefore, they are not the ideal and safest restraint for a child. The Heir is only 1.2 m in height and 29.6 kg in weight. Even though the seatbelt might slow down his projection slightly in the event of a collision, it cannot fully protect him. At his current weight with the car traveling at 60km per hour, his weight becomes 1,776kg’s.
Those are the ways that I am changing behaviour in relation to the use of Carseats for my children. I am more vigilant to ensure that I use age appropriate car restraints. I do not transport other people’s kids without proper seating. That is my contribution to the safety of my kids, it is why I am spreading this message.
We all love our children, we will do anything to show them love, create a warm environment for them, feed and clothe them, this is just one more thing that I am going to do. Car seats, booster seats and seat belts ensure better car protection.
How can you help?
Share the #CarseatFullstop message and support it, there is a lot we cannot change in the world but our own behaviour we can manage. Learn more about how to use car seats and child restrains in a proper manner by visiting the #CarseatFullstop Website.
About the Author
Lindi is a wife to Tebogo and a mother of 2 boys, Temo (11) and Melo (4). She works in the field of change management, helping people to navigate through life’s changes in the work place. Lindi also guides people to find opportunities for excellence, learning and living a better life. She is a creative and a lover of beautiful and interesting things. Lindi used to share on her blog A Well Heeled Woman. She can now be found creating beautiful events through her business, The Chic Connective.
Lindi on #CarseatFullstop
The life of a child is a precious gift that should protected from life’s worst moments. I support this campaign doing everything you can to protect ones child from harm is the responsibility of each of parent. Awareness needs to be created about the benefits of rear facing car seats in order to decrease the number of fatalities and injuries.
You have the power to save a little life. One share, seen by one person, who straps in one child, saves a life. #CarseatFullstop