All new parents at Walkers will now receive a child safety seat from the firm to welcome their new arrival.
Walkers has partnered with children’s retailer Noah’s Ark for the initiative, which it hopes will prove the ideal gift for employees and help raise general awareness of the dangers of unrestrained children in vehicles.
‘We decided to break with tradition and provide new parents at Walkers with something more practical than flowers,’ Director of Human Resources for Walkers Victoria Hew said in a press release. ‘While researching alternative gift options, we noted the general lack of use of child safety seats and the absence of specific child safety restraint legislation in the Cayman Islands.
‘We wanted to help provide a safe start in life for the children of our employees and at the same time raise community awareness about the dangers of driving without correctly securing children.’
As well as providing employees with the child safety seats, Walkers will host a series of instructional sessions for staff with Noah’s Ark. During the sessions, Paul Blount, managing director of Noah’s Ark, will demonstrate how to install child safety seats in vehicles.
‘As a parent myself, I am passionate about child safety in vehicles,’ said Mr. Blount. ‘Noah’s Ark is very supportive of Walkers child safety seat programme and the efforts the firm is making to elevate this issue in the mind of the general public.’
Walkers will also donate a number of Britax child safety seats to the Department of Children and Family Services Young Parents’ Programme as a way of sharing the initiative with the community.
The law in the Cayman Islands states that passengers wear a seatbelt when travelling in a vehicle, but no provision is made for the mandatory use of child safety seats.
‘One of the main objectives of this programme is to promote the importance of using age and size appropriate restraint systems to keep children safe while transporting them in vehicles,’ said Walkers’ Deputy Global Managing Partner, Wayne Panton.
‘We all see children being transported every day… without safety seats and we all appreciate the dangers. We will be writing to the Cayman Islands Government shortly to propose the introduction of child safety seat legislation in Cayman and look forward to the legislation becoming a reality for the safety of our children on the roads.’
The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service has no official data on injuries sustained by unrestrained children in car accidents. However, the statistics in the UK and US are quite alarming.
The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that of the children aged 0- to 14-years-old killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2005, nearly half were unrestrained.
Child safety seats reduce the risk of death in passenger car accidents by 71 per cent for infants and 54 per cent for toddlers aged one to four years, it said.
In the UK, the RAC Foundation for Motoring found that children aged under four-years-old are 10 times more likely to be killed in a car accident if unrestrained. Its findings also showed that a 15mph accident can kill an unrestrained child.
The RCIPS’s Public Relations Officer Deborah Denis congratulated Walkers for its proactive stance.
‘We are delighted that Walkers and Noah’s Ark have taken such an interest in road safety for children in Cayman. All drivers have a responsibility to make sure that all of their passengers, including children, are strapped in safely,’ she said.
‘This… initiative… ties in very nicely with our StreetSkill campaign which will see the RCIPS, National Roads Authority and the Cayman Islands Road Safety Advisory Council join forces to target child safety throughout the month of November.’