Friday, 2 April 2010
Seething about Seatbelts
Its not very often that things really really annoy me. I am a fairly laid back kind of person happy to leave each to their own. So, when something does annoy me people around me know that its either very serious, important or means a lot to me.
At the minute it is children travelling in cars and in particular the use of car seats and seatbelts.
I don’t know whether it is becoming more and more of a problem or whether I am simply noticing it more because it makes me so mad.
Now I know that there are occasions when a child seat is not possible, busses, taxis, an unforeseen emergency etc. However my view is that these occasions should be few and far between. Even supermarkets sell car seats now a days so there really is, in my opinion no excuse for people not owning one.
Even not having a car is no excuse for not owning a car seat. My brother does not drive or own a car but he knows its inevitable that he will need lifts to various places and go out with friends so he owns a car seat for his daughter for such occasions.
I have been asked before to give a lift to friend of a friend and his son. I refused due to a lack of car seat. The gentleman in question was not best pleased and insisted it would be fine. It was not a risk we were prepared to take though.
I regularly see children in the back of cars, jumping and climbing about or packed in rows of 4 or more or sat on each others knees. If the adults in the car wish to travel in such a dangerous way then that is entirely their choice, but to put children who are unable to make that decision for themselves into such a life endangering position is just selfish.
What really got my blood boiling was a sight I saw yesterday.
We were heading back to our car in a shopping centre car park (ie the kind of car park you would only be in if you were working or shopping in the town centre, not the kind of car park you would be parking in if you were making an unavoidable essential trip). A man pulled into a car parking space, in the back of his car was a baby (ie less than 6 months old) in a travel car seat, positioned sideways on the back seat with no seatbelt.
What I found even more frustrating was that he was wearing his own seatbelt so obviously know the benefits of doing so!
Now I am assuming that this person spends most of his days as a parent doing everything he can to keep his child safe. Hot drinks out of reach, cot bars to stop the baby falling out of bed, positioning foot to foot in the cot etc. and yet when it comes to going out in the car all such safety concerns appear to have disappeared.
There are so many places that will happily show you how to install and use your car seat at absolutely no cost that I just can not comprehend how situations like what I saw yesterday can still occur.
If peoples own morals and conscience for their own children’s safety are not enough to make them use suitable child safety seats then what hope does the law regarding child seats have?
NB: This post is not intended to offend. If you find yourself in a situation where you are not using a child car seat then all I ask is that you consider whether your journey is really essential. You make a conscious decision for yourself when you get into the drivers seat and put your seat belt on. If your child in the back is not able to make that decision for themselves then are you really being fair to them?