Awareness campaigns have been launched to prevent children's deaths during accidents. However, the crucial role of child safety inside the car has never been highlighted - and that's what the JM Road Safety team planned to do.
We kicked off this year's project with a brainstorming session with Mrs. Lena Gebran, founder of Kunhadi. During this session, we discussed several problems plaguing road safety in the country. From there, we decided that child safety in cars is the most urgent one needing to be tackled. We then researched the topic in depth to know the necessary steps to keep children safe while in cars.
Our research enabled us to discover what we hadn't known and what we should know. There are three types of car seats: rear-facing seats, front-facing seats, and booster seats, and they are used in this order depending on age, height and weight.
Rear-facing seats are for newborns less than one year old with a greater head mass than body mass. A Front-facing seat is used up until age 4 or 5, or until the child outgrows it. Booster seats are used for children under 135 cm.
Moreover, we learned about the correct placement of a car seat (in the middle of the backseat).
To start our campaign, we divided ourselves into several teams:
1- Research team: responsible for getting from a variety of sources any infographics, data, images or articles focusing on child safety in cars
2- Social media team: responsible for the creation of an Instagram account and Facebook page and for posting the information the research team presented
3- IT team: After Kunhadi gave us a set of questions regarding the topic, the team met with Mr. Ramzi Abou Rahal, an IT manager, to create an online survey through which we would discover how much people actually knew about child safety.
In order to properly launch our campaign, we designed a logo that conveyed our mission and that was easily recognisable.
The survey we created had 7 questions, and was made to address:
•The misconceptions people have on the topic.
•The little light shed on the risks when seating a child in a car.
•Lebanese law that, unfortunately, speaks about this issue in a broad and undetailed manner.
As soon as we devised the survey, an SMS was sent out to staff and parents telling them to take the survey, and the link was also posted on the school website in an attempt to gain a wide range of responses.
7% of people had 7/7 correct; 15% had 6/7 correct; 30% had 5/7 correct; 28% had 4/7 correct; 12% had 3/7 correct; 5% had 2/7 correct; 1% had 1/7 correct and 2% had 0/7 correct.
These results mainly showed incomplete knowledge regarding child safety in cars and, therefore, presented a high incentive to tackle the issue and fully inform people about the breadth of the topic.
To do so, we set out posting daily on our social media pages, which we had shared with our friends, family and our school staff. These posts would encompass several aspects of child safety, be it which seat to use or the proper way of securing children in their seats. We were capable of reaching over 450 people through our pages, and we received great feedback regarding our content and our purpose.
Another way we raised awareness was through music. We were inspired by the Singing Dentist, who parodies popular songs to make them about dental care. And so, we changed and created new lyrics for Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” to push parents to look into safety measures for their kids. We then created a video to go along with it, which we posted on our YouTube channel.
And to further reach a bigger audience, we were able to appear on a TV talk show alongside Kunhadi, during which we briefly discussed our project and our cooperation with Kunhadi.
Children are suffering at the hands of adults driving recklessly or not paying attention on the road. In fact, one of the leading causes of death among children is car accidents. The proper use of car seats for infants reduces this risk of death by 71% and by 54% for toddlers.
It is our job to prevent any unnecessary deaths, especially since these children have no hand in causing these accidents - they are at the mercy of the drivers.
The future depends on how well we are able to take the initiative and protect the innocent lives that can be saved through the simple use of a proper car seat.