Why create the NZ Car Seat Safety – National Communications Initiative?
In June 2020, we launched the NZ Car Safety National Communications Initiative. Why? Because there are 14 road-related deaths of children in New Zealand each year, and many many more injuries. Sadly, the number of unsafely installed child restraints in New Zealand is high but there is no national campaign focused on promoting car seat safety. Messages around safe car seat use, encouraging families to keep children in boosters longer or education on this subject are left to individual organisations and independent operators to create and communicate.
We wanted to create a cohesive campaign that would bring together the expertise of everyone in the industry – the child restraint technicians, independent operators, public and private organisations, retailers and associated industries – to share the same message, giving us a more powerful reach and result. After all, we’re all aiming for the same goal:
“To promote safe and correct car seat use and in turn reduce the statistics of road-related injuries and deaths of babies and children.”
It is our intention to create an initiative that allows our industry to work together in order to gain and maintain momentum with these important car safety messages.
Having worked in the child passenger safety space for 6 years and after working as an educator for communities and organisations for the past 2 years, Danielle Beh, founder of SitTight, realised that developing this much-needed initiative was something she could use her experience and expertise to help with. She developed the Car Seat Safety National Communications Initiative, a 12-month plan designed to be easily executed by those in the car seat industry, making the most of their strength and reach, on limited funds and resources.
The reaction from operators nationwide was enthusiastic and immediate.
The 12-month schedule highlights a specific topic to be promoted each month. It’s been designed to tie in with various events throughout the year, such as Road Safety Week, as well as focusing on seasonal content. The first topic for the June 2020 launch was “NZ Car Seat Law In Simple Terms”.
Not all participants have the knowledge, time or resources to write their own content so Danielle, an experienced child restraint technician and trainer/assessor of CRTs, writes the content for each topic which is then peer-reviewed before being made available to participants who want to use it. Those who have the skill and knowledge to write their own do so, focused on the same topic.
Participants use their existing channels of communication to share the monthly message with their audience. Those who use the provided content apply their own branding to the supplied messages; this allows each operator to continue to promote their own brand while maintaining the consistency of the message.
All posts and messages use the hashtag #nzcarseatsafetycomms
There is no cost to being involved in the initiative. The written content is provided for free, along with a folder of approved images showing safe, correct and best practice child restraint use.
When it comes to sharing the message about child safety, it’s a case of the more the merrier! So far, we have participants from all areas of the industry, from right around the country, including:
- AA New Zealand (who have generously added a new page to their website dedicated to this initiative, which is updated monthly: www.aa.co.nz/about/safety-on-the-roads/safer-vehicles/vehicle-safety-for-children)
- Safekids Aotearoa
- District councils
- A range of retailers of child restraints
- Independent child restraint technicians
- Distributors of child restraints
The ultimate goal is to use the strength of our network to get a strong and consistent message out about car seat safety, with a much wider reach than most of us can do on our own.
If you’d like to be involved, and receive the monthly content to promote, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Examples of various months’ messages are provided below.
NZ Car Seat Safety National Communications Initiative – Examples of Monthly Messages
June 2020 – NZ Car Seat Law in Simple Terms
July 2020 – The Importance of a Secure Installation
August 2020 – Back Seat is Best
September 2020 – The Importance of Rear-Facing
October 2020 – Bent Legs in a Rear-Facing Seat
November 2020 – Road Safety Week – Child Restraint Technicians
December 2020 – Check Seats for Summer Road Trips
Danielle Beh co-chairs the Waka Kotahi (NZTA)’s child restraint expert advisory group. Her business, SitTight, provides online educational and training programmes on the topic of car seat safety to individuals and organisations requiring education on this subject.