Parents – Stop Being Stupid

So, there is very little that I feel the need to “brand” or “categorise” as a parent.

Whether you formula or breast feed, whether you cloth nappy or only use Huggies, whether you feed them or let them do their “baby led weaning thing”, whether you let them cry it out to sleep at night or if you smother them with cuddles or even whether you let them watch TV for the entire day or not.  All of these things contribute to how we bring up our children but shouldn’t define us as parents or make us feel like any less of a parent.  At the end of the day we are doing what we think is best to raise our children – and that’s OK.

This whole new trend in Mommyhood at the moment – where we feel the need to box ourselves into select categories and ostracise others who do things differently infuriates me (enough for it to take up its own post another day), but not more than what I experience every single day in traffic.  I see it so often that my hands are shaking in anger as I write this.

I am generally a chilled driver.  I enjoy my morning trek with the kids to school, even with bad traffic and that guy who really wants to get to work so badly that he has to cut me off at a moments notice.  For me it just means a couple minutes extra “me time” – I’m not complaining.  But what really gets me going is this new catergory that should be branded – or actually the only category that should be branded.

The criminals in question are what I like to call “THE CHOPS WHO DON’T HAVE THEIR KID BUCKLED IN TO THEIR CAR SEATS!”  Or probably more to the point, “THE PARENTS WHO DON’T SEEM TO CARE IF THEIR CHILD DIES“.

A bold statement.  Too bold?  No, I don’t think so.

Seriously you can’t be living in South Africa and not know how dangerous our roads are.  Every time you put your child into that car without a car seat you are literally putting their little lives, that you have been given to protect and nurture, in your hands…  And even worse, in the hands of all the other drunken, stupid drivers in our country.  What could you possibly be thinking?  Because I can tell you that you are not thinking about your children – that’s for sure.

Before you tell me how hard it is to get children to sit in a car seat and how they cry and fuss and scream and buckling them in there feels like you have just gotten latex pajamas onto a jelly fish and it possibly even took you 20 minutes – let me just tell you that I have 3 children.  Every single day of my life I have to struggle to get them into the car – it’s quite possibly the worst parts (yes plural) of my day.  But I do it.  Whether they kick me or scream in my face or cry all the way to our destination – I do it.  Because I love them with every little fibre of my being and I would hate myself for the rest of my life if anything ever happened to them.

2013-08-24 14.35.11

Also let’s acknowledge how clever and crafty children are at pushing the boundaries – you give them “just this one time” and (if you are lucky enough to make that trip safely), the next time you get into the car all hell will break loose.  For real.

Now I know some of you are passionately nodding in agreement, because like me, you cherish your little people and you buckle them in to your car seats.  Others of you are possibly thinking that I may have gone mental and you will never stop by to read here again.  And so be it.

But before you go off in a huff, let me give you some interesting things to think about before you go, because I don’t like making big statements and calling people stupid without doing a bit of research.

First let’s address some statistics from actual real life studies that appeared on various sites that I searched, but that I took off of   I like to look at numbers, because numbers make sense to me.  Knowing that I am 20 times more likely to get a chocolate after I bath the kids is great incentive, knowing that I am 20 times more likely to die of obesity after eating that chocolate every night would definitely put me off.  I urge you to read the entire article, but besides the point about BLEEDING OF THE BRAIN AND THE NEED FOR A BREATHING MACHINE only being needed in cases where children WERE NOT IN CAR SEATS, there were some other interesting points that stood out.

“Compared to children who were appropriately placed in car seats and seatbelts, children not in appropriate car seats and seatbelts had to stay in the hospital an average of 20 times longer.   The only deaths occurred in children who were not in appropriate car seats and seatbelts. None of the children in proper car seats and seatbelts died. Although virtually all four to eight year olds should be placed in booster seats, many parents mistakenly believe that it is safe to use only a seatbelt once their child reaches four years old. “

Or what about these little bits of info from Safe Laaities.  Did you know that…

At a mere 25km/h (the speed of a parking lot), a baby can be killed if the car comes to a sudden stop and is unrestrained? In a collision at only 40km/h the blow to a child’s head is the same as dropping them 6 metres onto a concrete floor?
The lap is the most dangerous place in the car? You will not be able to hold onto the child; she will either fly out one of the windows or bounce around inside the vehicle, killing not only herself but possibly anyone else she crushes.
You have half a second to react in a collision? There is nothing you can do to save your unrestrained child! All people and objects in the car weight 30 to 60 times more during a collision of only 50km/h? The faster you are traveling the more their weight increases.

Sometimes the facts are hard to relate to because they are just facts.  So sometimes it the bits that are hard to hear, that hit home the most.  This could have been your child.  This is a real life example from the Telegraph and the following words felt like ice running down my spine…

“Angel was found 150ft along the carriageway, alive but with severe head injuries. She died in hospital several hours later.  Both parents and their six-month-old son Henry were all wearing seatbelts and escaped unhurt.”

And if you’re thinking that this only happens overseas, don’t be even more naive than you already are about not strapping your kids up properly.  This happened right here in SA.

These are not the only examples, but South African sites suck and I couldn’t bare to Google it anymore than this, my stomach was turning and the tears were already running down my face, just from reading about these few lives lost for such ignorance and wanting to make life just a bit easier for them.

SO let’s be the change.  If you have done this and this post leaves you with a bit of guilt building up in your heart, let’s leave the guilt right there and make sure that it doesn’t happen again.

If you still haven’t made up your mind and are still going to continue to gamble with your precious babies life,  I urge you to do your own research.  To be a responsible parent.  To want to give your child the best chance at survival in this already difficult world we live in right now.

If you’re still reading this and you are not a parent, I urge you to make the parents in your life aware of this.

You could save a life.

18 thoughts on “Parents – Stop Being Stupid

  1. And dont forget the grandparents that take them off in their cars…. its a schlep but the seats need to be transferred to their cars, even if it is just a short journey. most accidents happen 5ks from home……

  2. I feel exactly the same way that you do. But I also want to complain about the standards of SA’s car seats. My friends from the USA bring visit SA with their own car seats because our car seats (post Piccolo and pre-booster) only have one buckle – the main one. That means that any slightly frustrated child can easily free their arms – which leaves them at risk of injury even in the seat. The ones from the USA come standard with an extra buckle that holds the arm straps together at the chest. CLEVER! So why not here? I have looked and have not found a single one. The result of the chest buckle is that the impact of an MVA is distributed better for the child. Seems to make sense to me.

    • I was looking for something like this just a week ago! My son was freeing his arms the second I strapped him in his seat. I phoned 2 big retailers as well as their head offices where both of them told me that what I’m looking for is not legal anymore which is the reason why they’ve stopped selling those buckles. Anyways, I bought a new car seat… didn’t see any other way. But I agree, they really do need to do more research regarding this matter and set a standard for all baby and toddler car seats manufacturers in SA. Because as snobbish I might sound right now, some seats are simply better quality than others.

  3. A friend of my sister was in an accident a couple of months ago. Her 12 year old daughter was on the lap of the front seat passenger. She spent 6 weeks in ICU and then transferred to a rehabilitation centre. She nearly didn’t make it. I appeal to everyone, an unrestrained child turns into a human missile… Buckle your kids up in age/size appropriate seats!

  4. Agreed!!!! As a mom who’ve already got one son in heaven, it makes me absolutely furious and I cry when I see when parents don’t buckle up their children! A few days ago one morning I saw a dad driving a small truck with his baby boy on his lap!!!! That child is probably 6-9 months old? No-one else was in the car but them. Such a gift was given to you, a gift of life and love, and to chose not to buckle up your child goes beyond my imagination.

    • Gwyneth is this a Youtube video? Won’t display where I am now or on my phone. But I have this to say: If booster seats and car seats are useless after the age of 2 why is it illegal in the UK not to use them up to the age of 10?

  5. Great article, and i agree 100%. I have two kids, and i actually have never had a problem with getting them into a car seat. The car seat has always been a part of their driving, and safety belts too. My 4 year old, jumps into his car seat, and if his seat belt isn’t on, he is the one who tells me as soon as the car starts moving. 99% of the time i do remember the seat belt, but when i don’t, they remind me themselves. If you just always do the car seat and safety belt thing, it will become a habit for both you and your kids.
    Plus, my parents have their own car seats for the kids.

    I also get highly peeved off when i see parents holding their babies on their laps in the front seat, or see kids standing between the two front seats. Some parents either don’t have brains or they just don’t care. The problem is they think…” It will never happen to me”, but when it does, you may not ever have another chance to make up for that moment of stupidity!

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