Supa Quick, a non-profit organization dedicated to road safety for children in South Africa, has donated R100 000 (equivalent of N2. 313 million) towards the establishment of a Child Car Safety Learning Centre for Wheel Well.
The much needed capital injection represents an advancement in Wheel Well’s efforts to improve the level of child car seat compliance in South Africa, where the law mandates that all children under 3 years-old travelling in any vehicle be safely restrained. It will be located at Wheel Well’s new office, storage and repair shop in Randburg, which has the capacity to process and distribute 200 child car seats a month.
“This donation towards our learning centre will go a long way in enabling us to self-build a dynamic facility that will educate parents more effectively about the importance of child safety in vehicles and the use of car seats,” says Peggy Mars, founder of Wheel Well. “With child car seat use being dismally poor, the centre will be open to individuals and groups, such as early childhood development centres, community forums and corporates. Attending parents will be taken through the various aspects of selecting and installing of car seats, as well as the physiological factors involved in child car safety,”
The learning centre is an extension of the partnership between Wheel Well and Supa Quick, launched in July, to encourage people with unused child car seats to drop them off at any of the Supa Quicks fitment centres nationwide – these are then donated to Wheel Well.
“Supa Quick is proving to be a vital network in our collection effort this year as it resumed operations during lockdown level 3 and offers an extensive national footprint,” Mars says.
The facility will be equipped with detailed and entertaining visual aids, life-sized installations and various other displays to educate parents and caregivers about the importance of using car seats at all times. On-site staff will also provide tutorials on the correct installation method for the various age groups and children’s developmental stages.
A 2020 study done in conjunction with the Red Cross Children’s Hospital in Cape Town revealed that South Africa isn’t the only market with low rates of car seat use, with rates in many countries around the world well below 20%.
The study also showed that even when a comprehensive legislation exists, high rates of use are not possible without complimentary educational programmes, increased enforcement and supportive programmes to distribute car seats.
“This learning centre is the next step in a comprehensive plan to promote the correct use of child car seats, a vital component in improving road safety,” says Supa Quick brand manager Yolandi Grundeling. “With the lockdown having now eased substantially, we expect to see even better collection volumes as well as higher levels of engagement, so we can support Wheel Well in delivering even more car seats to parents in need.”
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