Is your child’s life worth a text?……This week is Child Passenger Safety Week and we have been considering the major issues that contributes to child passenger safety and how to keep your kids safe on the roads.
Being a parent is sometimes tough and many parents live in a constant state of anxiety, thinking at least 100 times a day about their children, myself included. We worry about our child’s well being for example if they are healthy, are getting their 5 a day? to their emotional well being and many wonder, is my child happy? There is an epic list of parental worry triggers and it is endless. But do you think about your child when you are driving, your child’s safety when they are being car pooled or on a school bus?
At the forefront of most parents minds is safety, this is the thing that causes the most amount of parental stress. No parent would directly put their child in harms way, you would never let your child jump down the stairs wearing roller skates or run with a sharp knife in their hand or cross a busy road unsupervised. So why do we put our kids in danger when they are in our cars and vehicles? We make sure we have the correct car seat, that it has been fitted correctly by a trained child passenger safety technician we even know the regulations but still we let distraction take hold.
When parents welcome their kids into this world they make a promise to protect and shield their kid for as long as they live and most parents would offer up their own lives for their children, but many of us are putting our precious children’s lives in danger everyday!
Car pooling, soccer practise, a trip to the grocery store, a road trip to visit grandparents …..every time you put your child in the car their life is in your hands and in the hands of strangers who share the road with you and your precious cargo. So why would you use your mobile phone while driving? Distracted driving kills 500 children globally everyday, that is 500 families who have lose the most important person and thing in their lives all because we can not wait until the journey is over to reply to that text, answer that call or even change the radio. Is anyone’s life, is your child’s life worth a text, a snap chat to your friends or worth a song change? NEVER
Hands free is not risk free, many people believe because they are not holding their cell phone that they are not distracted, but this is not the case. When you are not concentrating fully on the road in front of you, you are taking a risk. Chatting to your Mom on hands free is a distraction and one that could be fatal.
In a society where child protection is at the forefront of everyone’s minds, society continues to put our young people at risk. We would never drink and then drive our kids to soccer or ballet practise, but many people drive while distracted.
Parents are not the only people who should kick habit of touching their cell phones when driving, this issue relates to everyone in society who sits behind the wheel of a vehicle. Anyone person who drives on our roads has a social and legal obligation to drive safely at all times – Even if you are alone in the car, you are never alone on the road. We are all in this together.
At times when I am in my own car with my little girl buckled up safely in the back seat and I am queuing in traffic, I can see fellow motorists on their cell phones. I get snap chats from my friends while they are driving and witnessed people driving with one hand speaking on their handheld device. This is unsettling as a parent. That safety is disregarded and my childs life treated with such unimportant.
When did society never mind the authorities accept this? Many social practises are shamed upon in society including drink driving, disciplining a child that is not your own or speeding outside a park or school. Ask yourself, your partner your family members why are we allowing fellow motorists to put us and our children in danger? It is not acceptable to use your cell when driving and nothing less should be accepted. Distracted driving is driving blind using your cell, hands free, eating or even yelling at your kids can cause a distraction one that is unavoidable.
In many states there is a texting ban that enforces penalties for texting while driving and include fines, jail sentences and demerit points but many states do not have a ban. There is in fact several states who do not have a ban on using a hand held device when driving.
Could you live with the death of someone on your conscious?
Ask yourself do you love your child enough to never touch your cell while driving? Do you love your child enough never to become distracted while driving?
Grainne Kelly, CEO of BubbleBum Car Booster Seat. A parent and a road safety campaigner, has made it her mission to help save lives on our roads, launching the #ILoveYouEnough Road Safety Campaign in the UK. Grainne decided to develop the campaign after attending a Safe Kids Conference and witnessing a crash on her journey to the airport. This experience has left an imprint on Grainne and it has propelled her to fight for children and to give them a voice.
My child is worth it! is yours?