There are very few things that will make me judge you as a parent. Very few. We all know how difficult parenting can be, so I don’t care if you pushed your baby painfully out your nether regions or had them painfully cut out. I don’t care if your bottle or breast feed. I don’t care if you feed them organic food or only things that come out of tins, cuddle them to sleep or let them cry, let them watch TV or ban it, home school or public school. I honestly don’t care. If it works for your family, good for you – keep it up. You’re nailing it.
Yes, I’m going there. I’m about to lay out judgement. It’s happening.
There are a few things that get me so angry, that just thinking about it is making me shake as I type this. ANY type of child abuse will get you so heavily judged that I am borderline figuring out how I can kill you in your sleep. I’m not even joking. I think I secretly watch Dexter and murder shows just so I can figure out how to rid the World of scum like that without being caught. And uh, if you suddenly notice a rapid decline of abused women and children in the Cape Town area, this is not an admission of guilt. Just quietly thank me for getting it right and let’s all move on.
Second – only to intentionally hurting your children – is not caring if someone else does. I really feel that if you couldn’t be arsed to lock your child into his car seat, I can call your parenting into question.
There are actually no real words to describe the thoughts that go through me when I see children wandering around the back seats of cars, or worse, on their mothers laps in the front seat. Once I even saw a kid sitting on the DRIVERS lap while driving on the free way. Seriously? How in the name of all that is good in this World can you call yourself a parent that cares about your child, if you don’t care enough to strap them in? No really, how?
I was going to title this post, “Use A Car Seat Or I’ll Punch You In The Face”, but I doubt that I can combat ignorance with violence. Plus, I’m probably half the size of the person I want to lay into, so I’ll come out the loser. In the end, their kid will still be wondering around the back seat of their car while I nurse my broken body.
Although, the problem with not saying or doing anything about it, is that one day it might be turned around. I’ll be walking around fine and dandy, while they’re holding the broken body of their toddler in their arms. Dramatic much? Maybe, but guys, children not strapped into car seats is the FOURTH largest cause of unnatural deaths of children in South Africa. And only 15% of children are strapped in. That leaves a whopping 85% of South Africa’s children open to a terrible and totally preventable death.
So I asked myself, “Self, why are so many little lives being lost when it’s so easy to stop it?”
And I came up with a couple of reasons:
- You don’t want to fight with your children every time you get in the car, because they like, cry and stuff. I get it. I have three kids. I have had my fair share of threats, arguments and down right force to get them strapped in. And I do it, because even though I might not feel an overwhelming spurt of it at that very moment, I freaking LOVE my kids and wouldn’t want to be responsible for anything happening to them. I just couldn’t live with myself afterwards. Could you?
- You can’t afford it. I know, I know. I am so thankful that I don’t have to weigh up whether I should buy a car seat or if I should feed my family this month. It’s hard out in the World and this is not something we should just assume that everyone can afford.
- You’re a chop that needs to be punched in the face because, “Nothing will happen to us”. I don’t know if you have seen South African drivers? I’m sure I could just leave that there, but let me continue. I’m sure you’re a fantastic driver, but what about that idiot who ran the red light because he was looking at his phone? Yeah. It happens. More than you know.
These are all issues that this campaign deals with, which is why I am supporting it. It’s important.
Here’s how YOU help – get involved in #CarseatFullstop
OK, so you’re as passionate about this as I am, but don’t know where to start. Here’s where you start.
It’s time to share…
First off, the more we can talk about this, the better. My little circle is not big, but if all of the awesome people in my circle share this with all of their circle and so on an so forth, somewhere along the line, someone who wasn’t convinced about using a car seat, will change their mind. A little life could be saved. Obviously you want to be part of that right? OF COURSE you freaking do!
I never beg you to share my content. (Although I love it when you do) But now I’m asking, because this is matters. If this resonates with you, please SHARE the stories. Please LIKE #CarseatFullstop on Facebook, please SIGN UP for the newsletter, please FOLLOW on Twitter, please FOLLOW on Instagram or on Google+. Please invite your friends and family and colleagues to these platforms. And when you start seeing your favourite Mommy Bloggers sharing info, please hit the share button and let’s try and save some lives.
It’s time to take action…
So, besides the ones that just need to strap on their parenting face and parent up (I’m talking to you, people who have car seats but don’t want to fight with their children to use one) or the ones that need to re-evaluate their driving philosophy (the accident might not be your fault, but your kids could still die), how do we help the parents that want to protect their children, but can’t afford it?
Well, for Mandela Day it turns out that 67 minutes just won’t be enough. The #CareseatFullstop initiative is encouraging you to drop off all your unused car seats at any Volvo Dealer across the country for the 67 days – starting on Mandela Day. These seats will be refurnished, cleaned and redistributed by Wheel Well to families that can’t afford to buy their own chairs.
A few last thoughts.
Let’s get involved, let’s share some hard things, let’s talk about this and in the end, let’s save some precious little lives.
#CarseatFullstop is sponsored by Volvo Cars. You can download the free Children and Cars Manual here.