I don’t know about you but that headline sounds like a recipe for disaster, and it is! Its a morbid thought but I feel compelled to share this one.

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting a lovely young lady who popped into my office to ask if she could, for free, add a 15 minute chat to our first aid courses on the topic of vehicle safety to our candidates. Of course I said yes! Her name is Michelle Van Der Merwe.  She is an ex paramedic and passionate about the topic of children and vehicle safety.  She may only be 28 years old now but already she has left the industry having seen too many injured and dying children on our roads. Now, instead, she flies across the country training people on the subject of safety.

I was only going to write this article after I had seen her in action, but then a few days ago, there I was, driving down the freeway on my way to pick up my daughter from a friend when out the blue I see a vehicle in the fast lane ( driving at approximately 100 km p/h) with a child loose on the back seat.  Then the driver swerved off in the direction of an off ramp and as I drove past them, what I saw made my jaw drop. Here was this woman  and her 3 year old jack in the box son with the candy coated crazed look on his face, that any mom would recognise as a sugar rush, jumping around in the back seat while mom ( again we were on the freeway) is doing her make up! No seat belt and eyes, very much, not on the road.

I wished at that moment with all my heart and soul that women would stop and strap her child up properly.  At only 60 km an hour if you are in an accident, its the equivalent of throwing your child off a 3 story building! That is a fact. Our children , are our greatest assets and not taking the time to put on a seat belt, makes many moms and dads across our beautiful country childless every day!

One has to ask, with the statistics made available every day why are most parents still not buckling up? In 1st world country’s more than 90% to 99% buckle up properly. In Gauteng approximately 83% of back seat passengers dont buckle up and 93.9% in the Western Cape dont either!

Buckle Up

For some guidelines for child safe driving and buckling up, ( yes a seatbelt alone won’t cut it) check out:

this article on www.babiesonline.co.za its about what car seat to use for which age group

or

visit www.arrivealive.co.za’s article on Child Safety.

One website whose products I love is www.4akid.co.za, particularly the product I have linked to here, for older children, besides a booster seat, honestly this safety harness gives me a little extra piece of mind.

Taking that all into consideration, Michelle mentioned that knowing how to react, or as her experience goes, not knowing how to  is often fatal.

Here is what she had to say in short on the subject of what to do when you are in an accident:

What to do in an emergency

The common problem in emergencies is freezing up and not knowing what to do. It is always important to know who you should contact, for different types of emergencies. Always have at least one emergency contact number on your mobile phone and fridge.

Once you have contacted emergency services, notify the operator whether the patient is conscious and whether the patient is breathing or not. Try to stay calm so the operator can understand you and you may be able to follow any instructions given to you.

It is very important that you give the operator correct directions and landmarks to help them find your location. Main roads and cross roads are very important. If there is a petrol station or even convenient stores that can help them find their way, let them know.

If you have someone to assist you, one person should stay with the patient and another should wait outside for emergency services to escort them to the patient quickly. If you are alone you should never leave the patient alone.

Should you be aware of prior illnesses or of medication that the patient is taking, whilst the emergency services are busy, perhaps collect and inform all that might be needed by doctors or even the paramedics themselves. It is a great help if you inform the paramedics of patient medical history. Move all furniture out of the way, to minimize any obstructions.

Michelle van der Merwe

( Mikki-bee  – We Dig  Kids)

I hope that today, tomorrow and forever you remember to teach, inform and ensure your children are buckled up, properly. That you teach them why this is important.

If you know of any other vehicle safety related links, products or stories please leave us a comment.

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