The what ifs of seat belts

This weekend we traveled up to Oudtshoorn.

The reason for going was there were two Championship D0g Shows on.   I take Dexter to Dog Shows.

I am “that” person. It is a little like Toddlers and Tiaras, just less spray tan and false teeth, but other than that, pretty similar.

To be made up as a Champion, he has to earn 6 Championship Certificates.

Each show awards two certificates per breed – one for the best female and one for the best male in a breed.  There is a lot of competition, and it is about how your dog is perceived by the judge in accordance with the breed standard, how he appears on that day, how he m0ves, and how he compares to the other Boston Terriers there.

Part of the 6 CC’s you need to earn (to be made up as a Champion according to KUSA) is that one is awarded after he is 18 months or older.  You also have to earn at least one away from home – so you need to travel out of your geographic area to earn some of your CC points.

Three kids, a dog, and enough ‘crap and stuff’ to relocate to another country, and we were off for the weekend.

We drive the equivalent of a plumber’s van – it’s white, it’s large – the kids do not have to sit close to each other.  The two girls sat in the back row, and Connor in the middle row with Dexter.

I always check the kids are wearing their seat belts.  I am anal about seat belts.  I reverse the car out of the garage into the drive way and I wear my seat belt.

As I reverse, or when I am about to drive I always say (after I have done a visual check) “Everyone got their seat belts on?”

Then I sound out their names, and they each say yes.

We had stopped along the way, and everyone had got back in, and I had not done a check.  We were driving at at a certain point Kennith had to brake to reduce speed, it was not a huge shut-down-anchors-and-tear-the-tar, but it was a bit of a slow down – and it was enough.

Isabelle flew out of her seat with brute force, and her face slammed into the floor of the car.

She screamed.  I looked back and her face came up and there was just blood and snot bubbles, and some more screaming – initially I could not work out how she had got out of her seat and ended up on the floor.

It did not help she was in a sleeping bag, so her hands could not come up to break her fall, or protect her face.

We couldn’t pull over immediately as we were driving down a pass, and there was no where to pull over safely.  We had to continue driving for a few minutes before there was a safe enough area to pull over to the side of the road, with full screaming, me panicking, and screaming JUST GET YOUR SEAT BELT BACK ON!!! like a lunatic.

She was distressed, and had a cut on her top lip and it was swelling at a bit of a rate, and there was a lot of blood.  Smallish cut, lots of blood, I guess are synonymous with cuts on your face.

We sat with her a bit until she calmed down, staunched the blood flow, buckled her up and started driving again.

I cannot keep thinking of how much worse that could have been.  We could have had an accident, we could have been going faster, something could have happened, that made her slamming her face into the floor boards look like a walk-skip-and-jump in the park.

It wasn’t bad.  I got away with forgetting to check my daughter was wearing a seat belt by a stroke of luck, and a small wake up call.

Thank fk it was not worse.

Thanks fk that my child did not go flying through the windscreen.

Thank fk that our trip to Oudtshoorn will be remembered for the great road trip that it was, Dexter winning a CC and a BOB, and not my child being killed because I forgot to check seat belts.

If you do not buckle your child up, even for short trips, I hope you read this as a wake up call.

Buckle up yourself, buckle up your children.  No excuses.  No arguments.

Buckle your shit up!

dexter_roadtripping

Research Data and Statistics on the importance of Seatbelts / Child Restraints/ Baby Seats (Sourced here)

  • A review of research on the effectiveness of seat-belts found that their use reduces the probability of being killed by 40–50% for drivers and front seat passengers and by about 25% for passengers in rear seats.
  • A study in Norway calculated that head injuries make up some 60% of all injuries to vehicle occupants. The study concluded that drivers and front seat passengers who do not use seat-belts suffer almost the same percentage of head injuries as non-users in rear seats.
  • Ejection from a vehicle is one of the most injurious events that can happen to a person in a crash, with 75% of all vehicle occupants ejected from a vehicle in a crash dying as a result.
  • Seat-belts are effective in preventing ejections: overall, 44% of unrestrained passenger vehicle occupants killed are ejected, partially or totally, from the vehicle, as compared to only 5% of restrained occupants.
  • Seat-belts are approximately 50% effective in preventing fatalities in crashes in which motorists would otherwise die. It is estimated that seat-belt use prevented about 15 200 deaths in the United States in 2004. If all passenger vehicle occupants over 4 years of age in the United States had used seat-belts in 2004, nearly 21 000 lives could have been saved (that is, an additional 5800 lives).
  • A review of various United States studies has shown that child safety seats that are correctly installed and used for children aged 0–4 years can reduce the need for hospitalization by 69%. 
  • The risk of death for infants is reduced by 70%, and that for children aged 1–4 years by 47–54%. Of children aged under 5 years, 485 lives could have been saved in the United States in 2002 if all the children had been in child safety seats.
  • It has been estimated in the United Kingdom that new rules on the use of child restraints rather than adult seat-belts for children up to 135 cm in height or aged 12 years and above will save over 2000 child injuries or deaths every year .
  • It is estimated that within the European Union seat-belts currently reduce driver fatalities by 40%.
  • Wearing rates in European countries vary widely from around 70% to over 95%. If all European Union countries were to achieve a 99% wearing rate for drivers, 2400 lives would be saved each year.

– See more at: http://www.arrivealive.co.za/pages.aspx?i=2877#sthash.fY8lSzGC.dpuf

You are the adult … buckle up your child …. you dumb ass!

I get so annoyed when I am driving and I see kids who are not bucdles up — I get angry, like roll down your window and scream like a mad woman when I see kids jauntily bouncing around on seats and the parent blissfully driving along.

I do the morning school drop off and the afternoon school pick up – and easily more than 70% of the cars I see with children have the children driving seat-belt free.

I see the lack of putting a seat belt on yourself and your child as an indicator of IQ – or the lack of it in a certain area.

I do look at the person, then I look at the car they are driving and try to figure out where it all went wrong.  I figure that they did not walk into the 7-eleven and put cash down and pick a car.

Odds are they had to fill out some forms and go through a basic purchasing process to get the car.  It requires a bit of mental athleticism, and some dexterity with a pen and maybe a sheet of paper.

I am not suggesting that people who drive cars are gifted.

I am suggesting that if you have gone through the process of purchasing a car, and learning how to drive, your IQ should cover the basic two digit cut off point. You may even be pushing the range of “average” or “normal” somewhere between 85 and 115.

The question that I ask is.  If you are of average intelligence, clearly able to drive, and possibly able to negotiate the many pitfalls of car purchasing, why can you not figure out that when your car is being propelled forward at 65km an hour and you have a child toddling around say by him or her self or even better with you sitting in the front or back seat holding said baby – when said car comes to an abrupt stop that said child will continue to travel at 65km an hour until said child hits something that will impede it’s travelling speed?

For instance, a windscreen – which they will go through – usually with the big melon that sits above their shoulders.  The windscreen might not stop them. It will definitely assist in slowing them down, until they hit the tar of the road and their skull makes that shattering sound.

It really is not a difficult concept to understand.  Why do parents/adults not insist on buckling up their children?

What could be the reason for not doing it?  9 months seems an awfully long time to gestate a child just so you can vault it through a windscreen at an incredible speed!  Or am I misunderstanding the appeal of this no buckling up thing?

Is there a benefit of spending time at Red Cross Children’s Hospital watching them hook your child up to a ventilator whilst another doctor tries to piece together bits of your offsprings skull and grey matte,r in some crazy 10 000 piece puzzle with no box cover to act as a guide?

Is there a benefit of standing explaining to the now permanently traumatized paramedic that you did not see that car, as it jumped out in front of you, and that your child was standing between the car seats, but now has his head bashed open on the pavement?

What would your reason be when you could have avoided it with something that is sold mandatory with all cars?

I am totally open to hearing both sides of this argument.

So far I have not had one person stand up and go: “You know I personally do not believe in buckling up my child, I think it is a waste of time, and I think that the risk of my child’s brains being bashed out are so miniscule that this is all a conspiracy theory put together by those freaks over at PG Glass!”

If you are that parent, please let me know – maybe your argument is something I have not considered.

Meanwhile, I am quite a fan of Buckle Me Up on Facebook – love this page.

Besides the sage advise this page dishes out, my personal favourite is the name-and-shame photographs people post of drivers who allow kids to drive unbuckled in their cars.  Epic Parenting Fails!!

Here are some images from their site – maybe you know one of these peeps, or you are one of these peeps featured here ….

Lindy Crous – August 29 – Saw this car with a child standing on the back seat at the busy Fairtrees and De Bron Intersection at 4pm today.

2 August ar 17h00 on Bosmansdam road… 2 kids jumping around the back seat …..(there was a universal comment regarding the Jesus Saves sticker, but I think putting your child at this level of risk then expecting Jesus to save your child smacks of a bit of cheek in my opinion)

Taken in Sea Point on the 26th March… in Sea Point

14 March 2012 – Taken on modderdam road yesterday 17:20. Three children in the car.. all unbuckled.. thank you Marthie Kemp for posting …{is that a child between a buckle up safely tag x 2 on the back of this car ….. sigh}

Buckle up people, really you are the adult- there is no excuse for a child in the car you are driving not to be  buckled up! If you child does not like to be buckled up and screams, just say fk it, and buckle him/her up anyway.