Jessy Kamake is a businesswoman who works from home as she raises her toddler daughter.
She makes candles, greeting cards and cushion covers, which she distributes to her clients around Nairobi. Sometimes she has to make her deliveries with her daughter, three and a half.
She never leaves the parking lot without first strapping her daughter in the car seat. Recently she noticed her daughter became jittery in her car seat.
“A visit to a baby shop it was suggested that I needed to upgrade from a toddlers’ seat to a car booster which caters for older children,” says Ms Kamake.
Protecting children when travelling with them is of paramount importance, which is why car seats are prepared to withstand a storm rather than a trip to the supermarket.
Gone are the days when babies and toddlers travelled on someone’s laps or sat unstrapped in the back seat. The awareness in the country has been low.
Two out of every five people involved in road accidents in Kenya are children below the age of 10, according to data from the Kenya traffic police. At least 3,000 people are killed annually on the Kenyan roads.
This has prompted the government to come up with tougher rules to curb the loss of lives. However, the rules still do not address the measures of protecting children when travelling.
“Though measures are being taken to curb road accidents on our roads, children’s’ safety has always been compromised with some parents travelling with kids on their laps while others play in cars or even stick their heads out of moving car windows,” says Deacons chief executive Muchiri Wahome.
In a bid to create awareness on travelling with children and the safety measures required Deacons has unveiled its second Child Safety First campaign.
The campaign focuses on parents, guardians, caregivers and drivers, sensitising them on different baby safety products, both indoors and outdoors.
One of the first safety measures, while on the road, is to acquire car seats for children, depending on their age, weight and height.
However, many parents are either buying the wrong seats for their cars, child or wrongly fitting them.
Baby shop is offering five different types of car seats and will be able to guide parents on what seats are suitable for their children, at a discount of up to 30 per cent on selected safety items throughout the campaign period while stocks last.
The seats are readily available in the Baby Shop, one of Deacons outlet, for a discount during the campaign. They can also be bought in baby shops, especially on Biashara Street, supermarkets and second hand stores including Toi Market.
There are seats for newly born children up to 9 kilograms, many of which can be carried comfortable outdoors. There is the convertible car seat from birth to about 18 kilogrammes and the toddler car seat for older children.
Once the child has outgrown the car seat there is the booster seat, which comes in different sizes depending on the child’s weight and height.
“It is shocking that some parents also use adult seat belts as a means to restrain kids’ movements as they drive, without knowing such measures are futile as children have small bodies to correctly fit in them,” explained Muchiri.
A booster helps the belts fit better.
The costs of car seats vary depending on the brand and its features.
High end car seats range between Sh15,000 to Sh30,000, though one can get affordable ones for Sh9,000 to Sh12,000.
Second hand stores offer a cheaper option from Sh4,000 and Sh6,000.
Mr Wahome says when Deacons launched the first campaign the uptake was positive with over 80 seats sold and sales going up by 75 per cent.
A study done by a UK car seat fitting clinic revealed that if children’s travel and the necessity of a baby car seat were taken seriously, it would help stem increased loss of innocent lives in road accidents by up to 60 per cent.
Other than car seats the Baby shop has also discounted other safety items including car seats and house safety gadgets such as socket plugs and door fasteners.
This story first appeared in the Business Daily