A local Cape Town mother has created a national car seat awareness campaign called
#CarseatFullstop. Launched on 18 July 2016.
The campaign is supported by award-winning
parenting bloggers, media and brands such as Volvo SA, Gumtree and Kids Emporium, all
working together to protect our littlest citizens. The message is simple – Every child in a car
seat every time no matter what. No ifs or buts. #CarseatFullstop.
“The Nelson Mandela Foundation described the celebration of Mandela Day as a global call
to action for people to recognise their individual power to make an imprint and help change
the world around them for the better,” says campaign creator, Mandy Lee Miller.
“#CarseatFullstop is 100% in line with that and we aim to encourage each and every person
to make their imprint by simply sharing the campaign messaging with their individual social
networks. You never know who might see it and make a change, saving a little life.”
In addition to trying to change the world around them through the campaign,
#CarseatFullstop will also be adding a call to action for people to donate their second-hand
car seats to Car Seats for Kids for 67 days starting from Mandela Day. You can drop your
second-hand car seat at any Volvo dealership throughout South Africa and they will get it to
Wheel Well for the Car Seats for Kids campaign.
#CarseatFullstop has been built on extensive research and hard hitting facts supported by
simple intelligent graphics. The campaign quotes industry leaders such as Arrive Alive, car
seat expert Peggie Mars from Wheel Well, Dr Anthony Figaji, head of pediatric neurosurgery
at Red Cross Hospital, as well as referencing 40 years of Volvo Car research and a variety of
online research papers and resources. #CarseatFullstop is gearing to make a real and
meaningful impact on South African society.
“We want to see an actual change in behaviour and, as a result, in the statistics,” says Miller.
“Car passenger deaths are the 4th leading cause of unnatural deaths in children in our country.
Car seats reduce the risk of death in passenger cars by 71 % for infants and 54 % for toddlers.
Currently only 15% of South African children in cars are restrained; that is 85% of children who
are not. These numbers are devastating to me.”
While there is certainly a portion of that 85% that cannot afford the top of the range car seats,
there are a huge variety of car seat options available on platforms like Gumtree where you
can find high-quality barely-used car seats for very affordable prices.
For those who cannot afford even that, there is the amazing NPO Wheel Well’s Car Seat for
Kids campaign. They collect second hand car seats in any condition and clean and refurbish
the seats that can be made safe, or dispose of those that cannot be safely used responsibly.
“Car seats are a must have for all kids traveling in a car,” says Wheel Well owner Peggie
Mars. “The problem is that there are parents that can’t afford this vital investment new. That
used seat gathering dust in a garage can be the difference between life and death for a less
This campaign is also be addressing the seeming lack of understanding of the life-or-death
importance of using a car seat as evidenced in the higher income brackets of South African
“My personal experience, and that of those around me, proves that there are as many, if not
more, cases of highly educated professionals driving top of the range cars that do not strap
their children into car seats. There is no affordability issue,” says Miller. “It shows a
heartbreaking lack of understanding of the dangers involved. It also shows an alarming lack
of knowledge or consideration of the fact that it is illegal to drive with an unrestrained minor
in South Africa. The alternatives are arrogance or negligence.”
#CarseatFullstop will be primarily focused on raising awareness of the devastating
consequences that not strapping your child in can have. It will also provide constructive
instruction on topics such as choosing the best car seat for your child, whether new or used,
which car seats should be used at which ages.
Most parents don’t know that children should be rearwards-facing until at least age 4. They
don’t know that a child needs to be in a booster seat until they are between 10 and 12 years
old. Or that a seat belt is designed for an adult male of over 1.5m tall. Or that for those shorter
than 1.5m, the seat belt becomes an additional danger unless supported appropriately.
We would love if you would add your voice to our cause. Find us on Facebook, Twitter,
Instagram, and Google+, sign up for our newsletter so we can keep you up to date with how
things are going and how you can help spread this message further.
You have the power to save a little life. One share, seen by one person, who straps in one
child, saves a life.