So you can’t afford a Car Seat! Now what?!

Hey everyone! So I am back in the movement of #CarseatFullstop, Spreading the VERY important message of proper car seat safety for children and that every child should be strapped in EVERY TIME! There is honestly no other safe way to travel with a child in a car, even if you are going a short distance or if you think you are not driving fast, it is still not safe at all! I am gonna tell you why and I am going to tell you how you can make a plan to get a car seat when you can not afford one. So read on….

But first I am gonna scare the shit out of you so that you will get the point! Because apparently that is what it takes to get people to listen and share information.

***Did you know that being strapped into a car seat reduces the risk of death by up to 70% in babies and 54% in Children. But why are only 15% of children in SA strapped in!??!
*** Did you know that when you are in an accident it is physically impossible to hold onto your child if they are sitting on your lap, it is a simple calculation: Take your child’s weight (lets say 4kg) and times it by the speed you are traveling, so my 4kg child and the car going 60km means that my kid will then be flying out the car at 240kg! I could never hold that weight! So tell me again your kid can just sit on your lap quickly and you will hold onto them! 
*** Did you know that you should always make sure your child’s car seat straps are not twisted at all and are pulled tight that they can not slip out or get an arm out. Do not strap your child in with a puffy jacket or blanket around them, the blanket or jacket can cause them to be flung out of the car seat because the straps are not tight when the jacket or blanket is compressed on impact. Strap your child in and then put the blanket over!
***ALSO Do not just fasten the belt around your child’s waist and leave the arms out! Seriously guys, if you are in an accident like that then your child’s upper body is going to get flung forward at an immense force and cause EXTREME internal damage and whiplash, AGAIN even if you are only going 60km, see above calculation! Imagine 240kg of force put on your 4kg baby’s tiny little waist while the head gets launched forward. For my 18kg 4.5year old, that is 1080kg of force if you are traveling 60km! If you think you can put your seat belt around you and your child, think again! Read the below image.


Second hand car seats south aafrica

Ok so you really really do not have an income and can not at all afford a car seat.. Here are some tips for you to get your hands on one.

1- Ask family and friends to loan or use their Car Seat

How many people do you know that have kids? I bet a good few, friends and family members and maybe even friends of friends. You can arrange and ask to borrow a car seat from someone if they have one that is not in use, I know of many friends who have car seats put away in the garage that they are keeping for future children. So if you know you HAVE TO go some where in a car, then arrange to borrow a seat for a while or for that certain occasion that you need to travel in a car with your child.  You do not have to make them give you the seat, but you can ask to use it and then return it when you are done with it.

I have “time shared” any baby items with friends because lets face it, some items you only use for a few months until baby out grows it and then you move onto the next thing. So car seats, prams, cribs, feeding chairs and other large expensive items are well shared between friends.

2- Ask your community for a car seat that is not in use!

Ask people you do not know, sounds harsh right?! But which would you rather have, your child being crushed to death in an avoidable accident, or sucking up your pride and reaching out to your community where you live. I know my town has a Facebook group for the community with 36 000 members! I bet you one of those members will have a car seat they are willing to part with for a while or even sell at a price you can afford, maybe even let you pay off on it. People are a lot kinder than we think if we just give the community a chance to stand together.

Car seat deaths

3- Buy a second hand car seat

If you have some money but you do not have enough money, you can always look for a second hand car seat. Gumtree is a great place to do this, a quick search and you will find a few ranging from around R250 up to R950 and above. BUT be careful when buying second hand, make sure it fits the second hand safety requirements, here are questions you can ask:

  1. Has the car seat ever been in an accident or ever been damaged in any way or repaired. Do not buy a seat if any of these have happened.
  2. How old is the car seat, do not buy a seat that is over 6 years old.
  3. Has the seat had any sun damage, was the persons car parked in the sun a lot with the seat in long periods of direct sun? The heat from constant sun light can make the plastic brittle. you should be able to see if the car seat is heavily faded from the sun.
  4. Is the instruction manual available with the seat or to download online or can you request it from the manufacturer or a shop that sells the brand. It is important for you to read the manual when installing the seat correctly and also to make sure that when you buy it, there are no vital parts missing.

If your seat passes these test questions then it should be safe to purchase! There is a huge market for second hand car seats because parents usually sell when the child out grows them and they have to buy a larger next stage seat, Our town even has a few second hand baby shops that they can be bought from at very affordable prices and some shops even take lay buys so you can start saving for one from the moment you find out you are pregnant.

4- If you are in JHB you can contact Wheel Well

Wheel well is Jhb based and they receive donated child safety seats to create a “seat exchange” where lower income families can receive child restraints in return for an affordable donation. The seats are thoroughly cleaned and checked for defects before they are used. They also encourage parents to return the seats once outgrown to perpetuate the cycle. You can also contact them to donate any seats you have that you are not using, you could help save a little life!

So if you are in JHB and struggling to afford a seat then you can contact them HERE

I Challenge you! To donate your old seats…

Why not make a difference by donating your old unused car seats! I know there are a good few of you that have some stashed in your garage, just taking up space! You can drop off seats at any Renault dealership or contact Wheel well directly HERE 

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