'Strap them in and wise up' - Donegal mum Maria Rushe has direct words for parents who don't put car safety first.
Most days we all see something silly or shocking on our roads.
Maybe it’s a close call. Maybe it’s a near miss. Maybe it’s someone speeding…
And usually, we tut, or we hold our breath, or we swear or gesture some form of WTF at the offending driver…
But there is ONE thing that is becoming more and more prevalent on our roads, and Mammy can not for the life of me get my head around it…
Driving with kids who are NOT STRAPPED IN.
In the past fortnight, I have seen THREE cases of this.
One car swung around a busy roundabout in my town with two toddlers standing at the windows in the back seat.
One pulled in to a carpark beside me and the child, no more than 5 years old, jumped out of the front seat, having been already standing when the car came to a stop.
One had a three year old standing between the front seats as she swung into a parking space this morning. And yes, I know the child is three, because I know the woman who was driving.
Can I say anything?
Because how do you say it? Why is it my business? How do I have ANY idea what that parent has been through this morning? How can you possibly comment without turning into the one thing that I personally despise…a sanctimammy.
Others will say “Oh there were no seatbelts when we were children”. I know. I am one of that generation. But hey, guess what? There was a lot less traffic and the roads were very different.
Also, in the 80’s we thought it was safe to smoke while pregnant and that it was OK for teachers to hit our children…
So, HOW is it possible that this is happening?
My kids have grown up thinking that my car won’t start until they have their seatbelts on. Of course I have rows with them where one of them will refuse to get into the seat, or where one has planked so impressively that I can’t get their belly to buckle so I can buckle them in. And we have been late many many times because of these stand-offs.
But guess what?
This is ONE battle of wills which this Mammy will ALWAYS WIN.
Because I don’t give a continental shite how late I am, or how much she is crying, or how much I want to scream and tear my hair out, there is NOTHING in this world which will make me put my children into the car without them being strapped in.
(And trust me, I have put my back out trying!)
Because as difficult as kids can be and as much as we are “only going around the corner”, none of us know what or who is also coming around that corner and even strapped in, none of us are 100% safe on the roads.
I hate to sound preachy. I really do. It goes against every fibre of my blogging-being. But seriously, the one and only true thing of any value that we have is our children.
And while none of us can guarantee their safety when we’re on the roads, we CAN guarantee it within our cars and thereby give them the best possible chance in the event of the unthinkable happening.
I’d rather put up with tantrums and fights than live with my self if anything happened my child while I am driving. Because if you don’t strap them in, then it’s as much your fault as the other driver’s if they get hurt.
Strap them in and wise up.