Tag: Parenting

Every time I think I know, I learn something new | #CarseatFullstop

Early this year, I reviewed the BeSafe iZi Up X3 car seat. I was extremely impressed with our choice – the features, especially SIP (Side Impact Protection); the fact that it comes from safety focused, award winning Scandinavian brand BeSafe; and of course that it’s a pretty good looking car seat, which is a prerequisite when you’re this cool. 👇🏼


A little while ago though, I found myself questioning this car seat we had been so, so happy with. We were making our way home after a mini groceries run, when a moron – who clearly has no respect for little things like rules, road safety, or life – turned right in front of us, causing Shawn to quickly hit the brakes to avoid hitting into his car.

The frantic braking caused Zee’s car seat to move forward and then back again, giving her a huge fright. Seeing and hearing how scared my child was, made me think immediately that perhaps we’d chosen the wrong car seat. All sorts of things ran through my mind. Why didn’t we just take the iZi Up X3 Fix instead? If it was an ISOfix car seat, the seat wouldn’t have shifted, and my little girl would feel safer, and be better protected.

I did some research to try and put my mind at ease (or to decide if we needed to take out a loan, in order to rush out and buy an ISOfix car seat), and this is what I found:

~ When a car crashes it stops suddenly, but the child car seat and the child carry on moving. A car seat is designed to protect your child by holding him or her in place, absorbing some of the forces of the crash, and actively controlling how their body moves to reduce injury to their internal organs, and delicate areas such as the head, neck and abdomen.

~ When a seat is installed using a seat belt, there is some give in the belt. This means the seat moves slightly more in a crash, but the forces transmitted to the seat (and hence the child) can be slightly lower, because of the energy absorbed as the belt flexes.

~ With ISOfix mounts the connection between the seat and the car is more rigid, and more of the crash force is transferred between them. In a sideways impact the car seat is often held more firmly on the seat, so there can be less sideways movement, and more force is transferred to the seat. However, some ISOfix car seats now have connectors which allow for a bit of sideways movement, to compensate for this (or in the more awesome case of the iZi Up X3 Fix, SIR – Side Impact Rotation, where in the event of an impact from the side the child car seat will rotate inwards towards the centre of the car so that the child is turned away from the point of impact instead of being thrown forwards against the door)


~ The main thing to remember is that ISOfix was introduced to make installing a child car seat much easier, and to lower the risk of getting it wrong. If a seat is installed incorrectly, it won’t give as much protection as it’s designed to, which could lead to a higher risk of serious injury. In other words, a properly installed belted car seat is just as safe as it’s ISOfix twin. The most important thing is that your child is safely strapped into one.

In case you’re wondering, “Why all the car seat fuss for an “older” child, a child who’s just turned 8?”

In South Africa it is illegal to travel in a car with a child under 3 years old not strapped into an approved car seat – most of us know this. But did you know that every child until roughly 12 years of age needs to be in a car seat to be safe in case of a crash?

Once a child outgrows the 5-point harness toddler seat, they should be moved to a full back booster seat with side impact protection until they are over 1.5m tall or over 36kg. At just 1.18m and 20kg, there’s no way I’m letting my little one travel in a car without a car seat.

CarseatFullstop Zee

A car seat belt is designed to be used by an adult male over 1.5m tall. The seat belt’s job is to distribute the force of a crash to the body’s strongest points – mid-shoulder, chest and pelvis. On a child however, the seat belt sits over their 2 most vulnerable points – the neck/throat and the belly area containing all the vital organs. The seat belt becomes a definitive threat to a child who isn’t using a child car seat to protect them from it.

As parents we’re always learning something new. Perhaps, before reading this, you weren’t aware of the facts regarding why it’s vital for “older” children to be in a car seat. I remember how shaken I was when the 2016 #CarseatFullstop campaign launched, and I learned that I was in fact making big mistakes (despite being someone who’s always felt so strongly about car seat safety) – I learned that I had moved Zee to a forward facing car seat WAY too early… and that I had been strapping her in with the harness fastened a little too loosely. Being surprised or shaken by what we learn isn’t enough though, we need to apply that knowledge.

Being on the #CarseatFullstop team this year, I want to do my part in sharing the lifesaving information we’ve learned, and are still learning with other parents.

With statistics saying that up to 93% of people aren’t strapping in their kids in South Africa… We ALL know somebody who is adding to that number.

You have the power to save a little life. One share, seen by one person, who straps in one child, saves a life. #CarseatFullstop. Every child. Every time. No matter what.


#CarseatFullstop is a very proud retailer for the BeSafe car seat range in South Africa. This means that if you purchase a BeSafe car seat through #CarseatFullstop, the profits go to maintaining this initiative! If you would like to have your little one as safe as they can be, be sure to join this group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/supportcarseatfullstop/ or contact us on besafe@carseatfullstop.org.

And if you have a car seat that your little person has outgrown, please consider donating it to Wheel Well. Wheel Well is a non-profit organization that collects used car seats, which are then cleaned and refurbished in order to provide a safe option for parents who are unable to afford a new car seat. Seats can be dropped off at any Renault dealership.


One Messy Mama

Be Safe with #CarseatFullstop: How to choose a car seat


Purchasing a car seat is the single most important decision you will make as a parent. In South Africa, it is illegal to travel in a car with a child under 3 years old not strapped into an approved child safety seat. However, every child under 1.5m tall (between 10 and 12 years old) needs some form of support to travel safely in a car.

International leaders in the development, manufacture and testing of car seats, BeSafe collaborates extensively with research institutes, organisations promoting road safety and traffic related medical institutions worldwide. BeSafe’s South African team, Born Fabulous, has teamed up with national car seat awareness initiative #CarseatFullstop and NPO Wheel Well, to share as much information, awareness and best practice for car seats and car seat safety specifically with the South African market.


How to choose the right car seat for your child

There are 3 stages of car seat: the infant, toddler and child booster seat.

Your infant seat should be used from birth up to 13kgs, or until their head is more than 1 inch below the top of the headrest, when the headrest is in its highest position.

Infant seats should be a “bucket” shape to hold your baby securely. They should have a 5-point harness, several recline positions, and should only ever be installed facing backwards. Never turn your baby forward facing before they are 13kgs and at the very least 1 years old.


The carry handle of an infant seat has a secondary purpose? When installing the seat, pull the handle towards the backrest of the seat to create a “roll cage” effect.

Toddler car seats should be used from the time your child is 13kgs until they are at least 18kgs, or the weight specified with the “Y” on the orange sticker on the side of the seat. It will have a 5-point harness, that should be easily adjustable with the headrest to just below the shoulders on a rear-facing child and just above the shoulders on a forward-facing child.

There are two kinds of toddler car seats, the convertible seat that allows forward- and rear-facing and the exclusively rear-facing car seat. For safety, your child should rear-face for as long as possible, ideally until at least the age of 4 years old.

Rear-facing car seats are slowly becoming available in South Africa, most commonly the seats that allow rear-facing to 18kgs (around 3-4 years old). The orange sticker on the side of the seat will clearly indicate until what weight the seat can face rearwards. Always check this.


Rear-facing car seats are safer for developing bodies than forward facing car seats. There are 2 car seats in South Africa that allow for rear-facing up to 25kgs, which is between 4 and 6 years old.

The child booster seat is used between 15 and 36kgs (4 – 10/12 years old) and is forward facing. You should only ever purchase a high-backed booster seat. The back rest should provide “wings” that offer side impact protection, protecting the child’s head and neck. The high-back booster will have guides to direct your car’s three-point seatbelt through. This positions the seat belt safely over the strongest points on your child – the shoulder, chest and upper thighs – as opposed to their vulnerable neck and stomach.


A car seat belt is designed to be used for an adult male over 1.5m tall. Its job is to distribute the force of a crash to the body’s strongest points – mid-shoulder, chest and pelvis. On a child, a seat belt sits over their 2 most vulnerable points – the neck/throat and the belly area containing all the vital organs. The seat belt becomes a definitive danger to a child who isn’t using a booster seat to protect them from it.

There are a few tips that are relevant no matter which stage your child is in.

1. Consult your car’s manual. Check if your car has ISOFIX anchors. An ISOFIX car seat cannot be used without it. Check where the recommended positioning of a car seat is in your car.

2. Try your child in the seat in your car before making your purchase. Check if your seat belt is long enough to install the seat correctly. With rear-facing seats, ensure that there is sufficient space between the seat and the front seat to allow safe installation. Check where the belts sit when threaded through the booster seat guides on your child.

3. Always follow the installation instructions in the car seat manual. An incorrectly installed car seat is NOT safe.

4. The car seat harness should not have any twists when fastened. It is only tight enough when you cannot pinch the fabric of the belt between your fingers at all.

5. Your child should never wear a bulky jacket, jersey or blanket under the harness. Place the blanket or jacket over the secured harness.

6. Do not use any belt positioner, cover, insert, pillow or other product that is not sold with the seat by the manufacturer. If it hasn’t been crash tested with the seat your child is in, it could stop the seat from doing its job.


This post was written by Mandy Lee Miller | Creator & Director of #CarseatFullstop

Meet the Mommy [Week 9] – Charlene

A while back I was thinking about how all the moms I know are different in many ways – be it their parenting style, or whether they go to work, stay at home, or work from home. Some have one little person, while others have three or four. Some of our babies began their journey inside us learning the sound of our heartbeat, whilst some began in another only to meet us later and hold our hearts forever. Whatever the differences in how we became moms, how we parent… Being a mom, plus ALL that comes with it, is what we all have in common.

And that’s how I came up with the idea for this feature – a short interview with regular moms like you and I (short, because for moms, the time struggle is real yo!). Here we’ll get to “meet” different mommies, and find out a little about them.

This week we meet mommy blogger (and my curly hair + name twin 😊), Charlene from Pretty Please Charlie. I’ve been a fan of Charlene’s blog for a few years now, so I’m really excited about featuring her on mine today.

1. Please tell us a little – or a lot (we like details) – about yourself?

My name is Charlene and I am an almost 40 year old dog-loving, wine drinking, chocolate eating, technologically impaired Capetonian. My husband and I have been married for 8 years and we have a 6 year old little girl. I work full time and after hours (or when the boss isn’t looking) I blog about beauty, parenting and lifestyle. My family and friends are my everything. And the older I get, the more I realise that my life would mean nothing without them. I also love rock music, tattoos, sushi, watching Friends, singing in the car and lately I’ve developed a tiny (read: huge) crush on Ed Sheeran.

Meet Mommy - Charlene

2. What’s the one thing you find most challenging about being a working / stay at home mom?

Time. Oh my word. There are not enough hours in the day. Between my 8 to 5, blogging, cooking, cleaning, (trying my best at) being an attentive wife and a devoted mother, I struggle to keep all the balls in the air. I tend to drop one now and then.

3. We all know there are challenging moments – moments which call for chocolate, or wine (or both), to soothe those mommy nerves… Forgetting all that though, what is your absolute favourite thing about being a mom?

That’s easy. When Cara puts her hands on my cheeks, looks me straight in the eye and says ‘I love you to the moon and back’. Then I know I’m doing something right.

4. From the experience you’ve gained since becoming a parent, what is a pretty cool piece of advice you would give to other moms?

Listen to all the advice, but, in the end, do what your gut tells you. And be kind to yourself! You are a better mom than you think. Oh, and white Dove bar soap does wonders for cradle cap. 😉

5. Share with us one of the funniest moments you’ve had since becoming a mom.

The first one that comes to mind, is when Cara decided that the best time to have a wee was while we were posing for a newborn shoot. She was wearing her ‘birthday suit’ and I was drenched. It made for a funny photo though.

6. Please tell us where we can find you online

Blog: Pretty Please Charlie
Twitter: MsCharlieW
Instagram: pretty_please_charlie
Facebook: Pretty Please Charlie

Thank you Charlene for giving us a glimpse into your life as a mom. 🙂