A local Cape Town mother has created a national car seat awareness campaign called #CarseatFullstop. Launching on 18 July 2016, the campaign is supported by award-winning parenting bloggers, media and brands, all working together to protect our littlest citizens.
The message is simple - Every child in a car seat every time no matter what. No ifs or buts. #CarseatFullstop.
“The Nelson Mandela Foundation describes the celebration of Mandela Day as a global call to action for people to recognise their individual power to make an imprint and help change the world around them for the better,” says campaign creator, Mandy Lee Miller. “#CarseatFullstop is 100% in line with that and we aim to encourage each and every person to make their imprint by simply sharing the campaign messaging with their individual social networks. You never know who might see it and make a change, saving a little life.”
In addition to trying to change the world around them through the campaign, #CarseatFullstop will also be adding a call to action for people to donate their second-hand
car seats to Car Seats for Kids for 67 days starting from Mandela Day.
“We want to see an actual change in behaviour and, as a result, in the statistics,” says Miller. “Car passenger deaths are the 4th leading cause of unnatural deaths in children in our country. 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. These numbers are devastating to me.”
While there is certainly a portion of that 85% that cannot afford the top of the range car seats, there are a huge variety of car seat options available on platforms like Gumtree where you can find high-quality barely-used car seats for very affordable prices.
What about those who can't afford it?
For those who cannot afford even that, there is the amazing NPO Wheel Well’s Car Seat for Kids campaign. They collect second hand car seats in any condition and clean and refurbish the seats that can be made safe, or dispose of those that cannot be safely used responsibly.
“Car seats are a must have for all kids traveling in a car,” says Wheel Well owner Peggie Mars. “The problem is that there are parents that can’t afford this vital investment new. That used seat gathering dust in a garage can be the difference between life and death for a less fortunate child.”
This campaign will also be addressing the seeming lack of understanding of the life-or-death importance of using a car seat as evidenced in the higher income brackets of South African society.
“My personal experience, and that of those around me, proves that there are as many, if not more, cases of highly educated professionals driving top of the range cars that do not strap their children into car seats. There is no affordability issue,” says Miller. “It shows a heartbreaking lack of understanding of the dangers involved. It also shows an alarming lack of knowledge or consideration of the fact that it is illegal to drive with an unrestrained minor in South Africa. The alternatives are arrogance or negligence.”
#CarseatFullstop is primarily focused on raising awareness of the devastating consequences that not strapping your child in can have. It will also provide constructive
instruction on topics such as choosing the best car seat for your child, whether new or used, which car seats should be used at which ages.
A large portion of the campaign will draw attention to the critical importance of appropriate child restraints for children over 4 years old. A seat belt is designed for an adult male of over 1.5m tall, for those smaller than that, the seat belt becomes an additional danger unless supported appropriately.
We would love if you would add your voice to this cause. Find them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google+, sign up for their newsletter so they can keep you up to date with how things are going and how you can help spread this message further.
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. The supporters we have put together to share this message, #CarseatFullstop, that network has over 2 million single human beings following them. Imagine if every single one of you took a second to hit that share button?