Why tragedy is a terrible teacher
The debate around proper car seat usage is a long and tiring one. A couple of years ago a month after my first child was born a friend lost her baby. Even though I was not at the accident, I remember hearing that horrible news like it was yesterday. What I remember most is seeing the mom, a while later and hearing her recounting the story of an ordinary day, with ordinary actions, and ordinary choices, that became the biggest tragedy of her life.
It was a Sunday and they were driving through town… The baby was in the car seat and was upset and crying and crying, so she unbuckled him and held him in her arms… The next thing another woman skipped a red robot, plowed into them and her baby flew out of the window and died… He was only a few months old. She kept saying how she blamed herself, she felt she killed her child. That is a terrible weight for a mother to carry for the rest of her life.
We all know someone who has been through this terrible ordeal, some of you reading this have possibly lost someone dear to you in car accident. As human beings, though, we always believe that tragedy will not happen to us.
My own car seat mistakes
I am not supporting this campaign because I am a perfect mother who always does the right thing.
- Many times, I have been in a position when a screaming child wanting to get out of the car seat, has made me think that taking him out for just a few minutes would better than letting him cry it out, hearing your child cry is painful for a mom.
- I have been in a hurry just to quickly get milk at the shops and thought my nanny or sister can just hold my little one while we dash out, to the shop which is 3 minutes away.
- I did not understand that the seat belts in the car are designed for adult males over 1.5m, this means I have to re-look at how my 9 year old is restrained in the car seat
We have all been there, but I feel I need to take stand for myself and for my children; I need to stop and do the correct thing, because as quickly as I can come home, just as quickly I can have an accident that could result in my child being badly hurt or even worse die.
That is my reason for supporting this campaign; I am holding myself accountable for the safety of my children.
Why I support #CarseatFullStop
The car seat discussion can become quite heated, with guilt and justifications being thrown about. I believe there is no justification for a parent driving around with their toddler sitting in the front seat of the car, or even worse standing near the dashboard of the car. Most of those people know they are doing something wrong but can get very angry when someone points out how dangerous that can be.
This is in spite of the following alarming statistics:
- Did you know that car passenger deaths are the 4th leading cause of unnatural deaths in children in our country?
- Did you know that currently less than 7% of South African children in cars are restrained; that is 93% of children who are not?
So I am here to reiterate a message, we as parents want to do everything we can think of to protect our kids from harm; this includes ensuring their safety in cars.
What is the #CarseatFullStop campaign all about?
The #carseatfullstop campaign is not about guilt, it is about the practicalities of life.
- It helps all of us make the best choice for a car seat;
- The campaign raises awareness of the devastating consequences that not strapping your child in can have.
- Together, we can ensure that we have age appropriate restraints for our kids.
- It is about highlighting how you can get access to a good car seat without paying a fortunate.
But most importantly, it is about ensuring the safety of our children, because sometimes it is not about you being a good or bad driver, it is about the fact that you cannot control the actions of other people on the road, and that we are all vulnerable to circumstances that could result in our children being hurt or dying.
How can I support car seat usage?
So join me in holding yourself accountable to ensure that tragedy is not your ultimate teacher. Let’s try to implement the following:
- Let’s assist others with the correct information about car seat usage
- Do not agree to transport children without a car seat,
- Do not let other people take your kids anywhere without a car seat,
- If you can please assist if someone cannot afford a car seat. Donate used car seats to organisations such as Wheel Well, who ensure that
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