CELEBRATE MANDELA DAY WITH ROAD SAFETY FOR CHILDREN.
July is the month when we celebrate the legacy of the great Nelson Mandela. Recognised by the United Nations, Mandela Day on 18 July – Nelson Mandela’s birthday. It is a call to action for acts of kindness and service to one’s community.
As the campaign message states:
“Mandela Day is an annual global celebration that takes place on 18 July to honour the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela. This day is a call to action for individuals, communities, and organisations to take time to reflect on Mandela’s values and principles and to make a positive impact in their communities.”
This year the Mandela Day campaign’s theme – #ItIsInYourHands – focuses primarily on sustainable food and climate change. But this sentiment applies to any individuals who wish to better their communities.
Nelson Mandela was also a fierce fighter for the rights of children – something that aligns with the ideals of Wheel Well itself. Thus we want to take this moment to talk about some of our current campaigns that improve the safety of children on the road.
Road-related deaths are the common cause of death for young people between the ages of 5-29 years. 90% of these deaths occur in developing countries, such as South Africa. Campaigns such as ours serve to mitigate these statistics by providing adults and children with information and tools to make good judgments when it comes to staying safe on our roads.
CAR SEATS FOR KIDS
Children from low-income families are three times more likely to face serious injury or death in car crashes. This is due to many families finding themselves unable to afford the proper restraints required to keep children safe in the event of a crash. Wheel Well’s Car Seats for Kids campaign aims to provide support for these families by offering them affordable car seat options through donations.
Wheel Well additionally offers a Car Seat 101 workshop and Car Seat Clinic for parents. These workshops focus on helping parents install, use and maintain car seats to ensure optimal safety.
To date, almost 11 000 children have benefited from this campaign.
How Can You Get Involved?
- Do you have a spare car seat at home that your kids have long since outgrown? Why not donate it to a family in need? If you wish to donate a car seat in any condition, please contact Wheel Well.
- For those who want to put their 67 minutes of kindness towards helping children, we are always looking for an extra set of hands to help with our car seat handout days.
- Our Mandela Day Car Seat Handout will take place on 22 July 2023 at Supa Quick Fourways from 9am-12pm. Come visit us if you are currently looking for a car seat or need advice on seats and installation.
KIDS ON THE GO
While Car Seats for Kids focuses primarily on car seat safety, Kids On The Go sets its sights on creating awareness around the safe usage of child restraints and seat belts. We believe that all children have the right to be safely transported.
We encourage parents to ensure that their children make use of a Secure-A-Kid harness when using a vehicle. Seat belts are typically designed with adult body size in mind. However, the Secure-A-Kid harness easily adapts a regular 3-point seat belt to be more suited to safely restraining the small body of a child in a car crash. The small compact size means that children who take public transport can carry the harness in their school bags.
Our fight does not stop at restraint awareness for children and their parents. We also want to fight for better legislation to enforce road safety for children on a larger scale.
We currently propose the following changes to legislation:
- All school-going children should be considered one person for the purpose of vehicle loading in school transport.
- An approved child restraint must be used for children under 1.5m tall in all school transport
How Can You Get Involved?
- Invite Wheel Well to give a talk at your child’s school on road safety and proper seat belt and restraint usage – for both children and parents.
- Urge your child’s school to work with student public transport to try and improve seat belt or harness usage in their vehicles.
- Invest in a Secure-A-Kid harness for your children and encourage them to make use of it.
GLOW KIDS GLOW
Many children in South Africa rely on walking to and from school. However, their small stature and impulsive nature puts them at great risk of getting struck by a car. Pedestrians in general are at great risk of this, especially during low light times of the day. 75% of pedestrian deaths caused by collisions occur at dawn, dusk and at night. Making use of reflective clothing can reduce the risk by 85%.
Young children are often smaller in height than the bonnet of a car, which puts them at great risk of not being visible to drivers.
In response to this problem, we have designed our reflective Hale Beanies as part of our Glow Kids Glow campaign. These beanies offer 360-degree reflective visibility while not being restrictive while children play.
How Can You Get Involved?
- Are you an avid knitter or part of a knitting or crocheting group? We need you and your swift needles!
We will provide a “beanie pack” containing reflective yarn, wool in various colours, crochet hooks, knitting needles, patterns, instructions, and leaflets on the benefits of reflective gear. Each pack has materials to make 100 beanies, which we will then distribute to local communities through the Rotary Club of South Africa.
- This is also a great project for school home economics/crafting classes, which in turn opens up a discussion on road and pedestrian safety awareness for children.
- Should knitting not be in your skill set, sponsorship of beanie packs will go a long way to ensure that many children will enjoy the warmth and reflective safety of our Halo Beanies.
READING ROAD SAFETY – SPEAKING BOOKS
Road safety is a multi-faceted problem and should be tackled in a multitude of ways to ensure its efficacy. Speaking Books are a helpful tool in providing children with consistent and repetitive messages in a way that is engaging and appealing to them.
Each speaking book consists of 16 pages of colourful illustrations supported by a straightforward and easy-to-understand text. For each page, there is a corresponding push button that triggers a spoken recording of the text. No matter what the level of comprehension, the information will be seen, read, heard, and understood, resulting in a powerful and effective media combination.
As we do not want language to be a barrier to road safety, we aim to include mother tongue literacy as a byproduct of these books. This will allow children to learn lessons from these books in the language they are most familiar with.
How Can You Get Involved?
Speaking Books is a costly project whereby each print run of 1000 books costs R320,000. We are looking for companies or individuals who would be willing to sponsor this project, either for the full amount or in part.
Benefits to sponsors include:
- Effective and contained spend of CSI funds.
- 100% BEE
- Branding and the back cover page for a message to the community.
- Help reduce the death toll amongst our most vulnerable road users.
Please contact us if you would like more information on this project.
HOW ELSE CAN YOU HELP KEEP KIDS SAFE ON THE ROAD?
Start by setting a consistent and firm example of road safety for your children by driving lovingly and with their safety at the forefront. Talk to your children about the dangers of the road and repeatedly show them how to make safer judgements on or around the road.
If you are a parent or teacher looking to start the conversation on road safety with your kids, Wheel Well has several free downloadable infographics to help you.
For parents, we also offer information sheets that will help you choose the correct car seat for your child and other road safety.
Word of mouth is also a valuable tool for our campaigns. Please talk to your family and friends about how to keep children safe on the roads, as well as direct them to our website for more information.
If you would be interested in having Wheel Well come do a talk at your school, get in touch!