I have been very scarce here of late and I am sorry. I am missing writing and sharing, but my heart and all my attention has been focused on putting together a national car seat awareness campaign for South Africa called #CarseatFullstop.
Not for a client, not for money, but because I got tired of being that mom who shakes her head and shares stories with friends, or even on just on my blog, about the endless children I see jumping and climbing around moving cars or even just little children sitting on the front seats of cars or not strapped in sitting in the back. My blood runs cold and I realised I could make an actual difference. So I created #CarseatFullstop.
This campaign has been incredibly difficult. The research, the personal stories, the videos, the statistics, the imagery, it leaves a mark on you. Just the thought of losing a child makes me feel sick. Losing your child because you were too busy to put your child in their car seat or because you didn’t know how important a car seat was after your child turned 4, or that a seatbelt could do more harm than good to a child too small to wear one, or or or… any of the endless reasons you didn’t strap them in just this one time… Living forever knowing that you could have kept your child from dying or living a life in a wheelchair or in assisted living… Knowing that, no matter what, no matter how carefully you drive or how short a trip it might be, it was absolutely 100% your fault… I can’t even. #CarseatFullstop. Every child. Every time. No matter what. No excuses, no ifs or buts.
I have spent hours and hours on this campaign, putting together messaging that I believe will make a difference. Imagery that will stay with even one single person long enough for them to strap their child in every single time they get into a car. That is one life saved. This campaign is all about sharing. Do you know how incredibly HARD it is to get people to share things?
If I pour my soul into an article, sharing stories that will break your heart or cause you to breathe a sigh of relief for the parent who did use a car seat. If I share statistics of road accidents and how your baby is 71% less likely to die if in a car seat. If you, dear reader, read that story but you don’t share it, then the message stops here. Yes, I may have changed your heart, your mind, or confirmed your own passionate beliefs on the subject of keeping our babies safe on the roads… but what if your sister, your parent, your cousin, your high school friend, your colleague, any of the hundreds of people you share space with on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or Pinterest ot YouTube or anywhere else for that matter… What if they desperately needed to read that message?
What if tomorrow morning they wake up late and the toddler is throwing a tantrum and nobody has slept all night? What if they are tired and the creche is only 10 metres from home? What if they just give up and shout, “Just stop shouting and sit there then! Sit still!”? What if 2 metres up the road, another busy distracted driver answers his cell phone and jumps the stop street?
What if reading that story tonight meant that no matter how hard that toddler is screaming, the story of the mom who’s baby was projected straight out the side window of a car because he wasn’t strapped into his car seat is still fresh in that mama’s mind and she grits her teeth, dodges the toddler fists and straps her baby in instead. It takes a second to click a share button.
I am going to be sharing stories like that. I have gotten lots of other mommies who have platforms like this to also agree to share stories like that. I have spoken to magazines and radio stations and big familiar brand names to also agree to share stories like that. I have collected facts that have made me cry. I have heard stories that have made me get up in the night and go stroke my baby’s face. These stories can save lives. Car seats save lives.
If this matters to you, please SHARE the stories. Pleast LIKE #CarseatFullstop on Facebook, please SIGN UP for the newsletter, please FOLLOW us on Twitter, please FOLLOW us on Instagram or on Google+. Please invite your friends and family and colleagues to these platforms. And when the stories start coming from 18 July, please hit the share button on every single story.
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 network I have put together to share this message, #CarseatFullstop, that network has 2,250,000 single human beings following them. Imagine if every single one of you took a second to hit that share button?
85% of children in cars in South Africa are not strapped in an appropriate car seat. 85%! That means that you, or somebody you know, IS part of that percentage.
Every child in a car seat is a safe life and I want YOU to be part of the movement to make that happen.
#CarseatFullstop – no excuses, no ifs or buts. Always, every time.