I am halfway through a nice “I’m back” post, and I promise I will finish it. I didn’t want to just jump straight back into the car seat business. I even have giveaways for you guys for the next 2 months to make up for deserting you for so long while I made that my focus. But I just HAVE to write about this right now. You guys may be sick of my #CarseatFullstop campaign. You may be sick of seeing articles all over all the parenting blogs. You may be sick of seeing my name or my face or hearing me on the radio. Fair warning, I am going to be in a few print magazines in November as well. Although the campaign ends at the end of September, I don’t think it is ever going to end with me. And THIS is why. THIS is NOT ok!!
One of my team shared this link with me this afternoon. And I am devastated. I am heartbroken. I am furious. I feel SO guilty! What have I done wrong that even though everybody is SICK of seeing me and the campaign and reading about statistics and car seat safety and heart wrenching stories of loss, that these parents weren’t reached? A little boy, a baby, only 4 years old, went straight through a windscreen. Because, instead of him being strapped safely into a car seat, he was sitting on his mother’s lap in the back seat of the car. This is not ok.
In case you can’t read that image… At the moment of impact, when you smash into another car or another car smashes into you, or your brakes fail, or the other driver is drunk or distracted, at THAT moment. Your brand new baby, that teeny tiny bundle that weighs a perfect 3.2kgs as you leave the hospital, or your beautiful spirited 4 year old toddler who weighs 20kgs. If you are travelling 60kmph home from the hospital or 100kmph on the highway. You multiply those numbers. Their weight. That speed. Your newborn baby weighs 192kgs in THAT moment. Your little 4 year old, THAT little 4 year old, weighs 2,000kgs. You physically CANNOT hold onto them. You can’t. It isn’t even vaguely possible.
Look at the picture of this windscreen from the News24 article published earlier today. THIS IS NOT OK! If you click on the image below, it will take you to the original article. Look at the first image… Do you see that the front seat is folded over? There was no barrier between the back seat and the windscreen, just a further obstacle.
In an accident, anything not properly strapped down – ANYONE not properly strapped in, becomes a weapon. A projectile. That weighs tens or a hundred times more than their body weight. That word image I quoted in my first ever article around car seats, before I had even thought of the campaign, before I had even one millionth of the information and knowledge I have gathered since then. At 40km per hour the blow to your unrestrained child’s head making contact with any part of the car is the same as dropping him/her from 6 meters (19 feet) onto concrete.
I said it then, and I will say it again now – This isn’t some nitpicky law put together by big business to stifle your rights! This is a measure to try and SAVE YOUR CHILD’S LIFE!!! Car seats save lives. A properly restrained child is not going to be thrown through a windscreen.
Your little baby needs to be IN AN INFANT SEAT! Your toddler needs to be in a convertible or exclusively rear-facing toddler seat until they reach the maximum weight and height limit of the seat. Your “older child”, still your baby by the way, between the ages of 4 and 12 (or between the weights of the toddler seat and their reaching 1.5m tall AND able to achieve ALL aspects of the 5 point test) needs to be in a high-back booster seat that positions the seatbelt (that is designed for an adult male over 1.5m tall), correctly over them – and not over their tummy or neck. Every SINGLE child. Every SINGLE time. NO MATTER WHAT.
Before even thinking that I should not feel guilty for this little 4 year old flying through that windscreen, stop. Read this.
My vision for this campaign is simple – sharing as much information as far and wide as is possible. If that isn’t happening, we don’t reach parents like the one’s from today’s tragedy. This is not ok
If anybody that knew that family, or had a friend that knew that family, or was on a parenting group or local area Facebook group had SHARED this article by Lindi or this one by Sharon or Maz’s or Melissa’s or Zoe’s or Cindy’s or Sarah’s. Or, guys, if anybody they knew or who knew somebody they knew had shared Jonelle’s article… This is not ok.
ANY of the articles that are being posted every day to our web page and our Facebook page and our Twitter account and our Instagram account and our Google+ account. What if? What if you had shared and somebody you knew had shared and then that father’s cousin had shared, and that mother’s brother had shared and she had seen it?
We are doing everything we can to give you as many stories, with as many different angles and voices as possible. We are trying to make it as easy as possible for you to share it with as many people as you can, in whatever way suits you best. Help me please. Help me by sharing more. And encouraging the people you know to share. And those friends you have that never strap their kid in? Those friends you have to physically bite your lip to stop from ruining 20 years of friendship by yelling at them? Share it with THEM! Because you know what else ruins friendships? Losing a child.
You have the power to save a little life. One share, seen by one person, who straps in one child, saves a life. #CarseatFullstop.