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10 Jalan Kilang Timor

#03-04A LTH Building

Singapore 159306

Temporarily closed due to Coronavirus

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Taxi Baby Co. introduces Road Safety Ambassadors

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In honour of Singapore Road Safety Month, we ask our Taxi Baby Co. Road Safety Ambassadors about their road safety journey and their views on road safety in Singapore. We’re announcing a new ambassador each week, so keep your eyes peeled!

We're really proud to launch the Road Safety Ambassador program for Singapore Road Safety Month 2020. You'll get to know (and love) real parents across Singapore who are passionately working to improve our national attitude toward—and awareness of—child passenger safety, from the ground up. This has been a passion project of ours for some time and we're so happy to introduce you to each of our ambassadors throughout this month. The program is very intentionally brand-agnostic and will help spread awareness of using any car seat and using it correctly. So, in honour of the eighth Singapore Road Safety Month, which runs through the entire month of June, we spoke with four parents with young children in Singapore, who shared with us their road safety journey and their opinions regarding road safety in Singapore.

1. Liang May — "My daughter cried in her car seat for two years. It was a battle of the strongest, and I'm glad I won."

Liang May and familyLiang May and her lovely family. 

May is a stay-at-home mum with two young children, aged 6 and 8, and she blogs at A Million Little Echoes.

What was your road safety journey like?

When I was a child, car seats weren’t in fashion. I didn’t even buckle up in the back seat. In fact, my parents allowed me to ride with them in the front passenger seat whenever I requested for the “adult seat”. The education on road safety and child restraint was very little back then—almost non-existent. However, when it came to my turn playing parent, a lot of road safety advertisements were slapped on our faces; we know it is only right to have our newborns placed in a car seat whenever we travelled. And yes, we bring our car seat along overseas too.

Britax

Our firstborn, Ewan, was buckled up in a Britax car seat with a snug cushion (image above). We had him rear-facing for more than a year, until his legs grew too long to stretch out into the back seat*. He loved his car seat and has slept three hours in it during a road trip to Malaysia. However, our second born, Faye, has had a bad relationship with her car seat. She’d cry, scream, kick and struggle in her seat. She did that for two whole years! Initially, I would break the rule once in a while to cradle her in the back seat and allowed her to suckle for milk. One day, we decided that the risk we are putting on both parent and child is too high. If she were to scream and cry for an hour in her car seat, then we should just let it be. At least, she is safe. It’s a battle of the strongest.

What make/model car seats have you used and what are your thoughts on them?
hifold and britaxCatchin' some Zzz's on the go. 

We started with Britax, then Combi Cradling 360, followed by mifold and now hifold! Love them all! We are still using the Britax for Faye right now and Ewan’s using the hifold.

What do you believe is the biggest hurdle in getting more parents in Singapore to use car seats?

I reckon the biggest hurdle is it being troublesome. It can sometimes take a village to get the kids out of the house to the car. By the time they get there, parents just want a quiet comfortable ride. If the kids can’t buckle themselves, they may find it too cumbersome to buckle for them especially when they struggle. I believe education is most important.

If you could wave a magic wand and change one thing about road safety in Singapore, what would it be?
combi 360Faye in her Combi Cradling 360 car seat.

Hmmm… I hope that all kids love their car seats and won’t throw a tantrum when being restrainted! 

What do you hope to achieve this year as a road safety ambassador?

Definitely to inspire parents and grandparents to take road safety seriously. Our children’s lives shouldn’t be taken lightly. Or, I should say—allow me to correct myself—I believe none of us would take our children’s lives lightly, but many do not know that traffic accidents are the eight leading cause of death globally. Not buckling them up in your own personal car, hired car or taxis is already putting their lives at risk. Ditch the mentality of “laziness” and “troublesome”. I finally did so can everyone else.

*Editor’s note: Car seat awareness understanding and behaviour among parents is a journey—May now knows that children don’t outgrow a car seat because their legs are too long, nor is it uncomfortable if the children have to fold their legs at the back seat. May made this decision with the information she had available to her at that time.

2. Su-Ann — "It is still better to have a cast than a casket."

Su is a fit mama of a soon-to-be five-year-old. She posts regularly about her motherhood/fitness journey on her Instagram!

What was your road safety journey like?

Su's daughter in her Graco4ever car seat. How cute! 

My mum says we used car seats and she distinctly remember getting us a Chicco. We were probably in it until about two years old (my guess), perhaps due to lack of awareness. My daughter was in a capsule as a newborn, part of the Concord NEO travel system, and then upgraded to a Graco4ever till now. For travels we’ve used the Cosco Scenera NEXT—excellent for air travel too as it is flight approved. She has outgrown that and now we use the hifold. We have a RideSafer travel vest for when we need something really tiny to put in backpacks, and great for an extra car restraint when cousin comes visiting.

What make/model car seats have you used and what are your thoughts on them?


As mentioned, I’ve used five different child restraints, and here's my two cents on them:

  1. Concord NEO capsule: lightweight, travel friendly, comfortable but a little warm (better for colder climates)

  2. Graco4ever: great investment lasts forever as long not in accidents (potential hairline fractures making it unsafe). Extremely sturdy, comfortably padded but heavy

  3. Cosco Scenera NEXT: travel friendly, approved for use in flights. Need to educate ground/cabin staff a lot to assure them it is okay to bring on board.

  4. RideSafer: tiny, foldable, most convenient but for older toddlers. Needs proper education on straps not crossing neck/ lap strap is flat.

  5. Hifold: easy to use, lightweight and our replacement for CSN when child outgrew it. Excellent for travels!
What do you believe is the biggest hurdle in getting more parents in Singapore to use car seats?

Graco4ever car seatSu's daughter, still in her Graco4ever car seat, now forward-facing.

To me, I believe the biggest hurdle is the fact that most parents don’t see it as a necessity but a cumbersome and extra baggage to bring out. Some of the most commonly cited reasons were that their children will “cry or throw a tantrum”; most of them rather risk it instead of being firm and putting safety first. This may have stemmed from the lack of consistency in enforcing laws on car seat—cars and private-hire vehicles require a child restraint for a passenger under 1.35m in height, but taxis are exempt from this regulation.

If you could wave a magic wand and change one thing about road safety in Singapore, what would it be?

Parents—in particular new parents—must go through road safety awareness and education to be thoroughly briefed on all aspects regarding car restraints and statistics. There should be an enforcer/ ambassador/trained traffic police officer with every hospital, just like US, to conduct thorough checks on vehicles that are ferrying newborns home to ensure that parents bring their car seats/capsules along to bring newborn home. I’m really strict about child passenger safety and so I think that parents, similar to hospital policies in US, should only be allowed bring their baby homes when they have a car seat/capsule with them. Also, fines should be meted out immediately by traffic police officers to caregivers who flout the law and allow kids unbuckled or not in car restraints.

What do you hope to achieve this year as a road safety ambassador?

hifoldSafe child, happy mama!

Education is very important and this is something to start now rather than later. Statistics and gruesome details of death and disabilities can probably get parents to engage in better car seat safety due to the perceived seriousness of the issue. All in all, it is still better to have a cast than a casket. 

3. Jodie Jones — "I’m all for helping others and empowering/educating people on how to keep our little people safe when we venture out into that big wide world."

Jodie and family—Josh is five, Olivia is three-and-a-half and Terry, the little terrier is eight!

Jodie—who hails from beautiful New Zealand—has been in Singapore for about eight years. She’s a full time working mum in a busy global property role at an international bank. Jodie has two lovely children, aged 3.5 and 5, and a cute little terrier.

What was your road safety journey like? 

cosco-scenera-next
Cute little Olivia rear-facing in the Cosco Scenera NEXT.

I grew up in New Zealand and my family did a 2 year stint in Barbados in the rolling 80’s (showing my age here) and we didn’t have any car seats. I’ve always been a staunch car seat advocate; the rules in NZ are very strict around child car safety and it’s been instilled in us since a young age. My eldest, Josh, was in a Maxi Cosi Pebble when he was a newborn—which he LOVED—and then we moved him to the Cosco Scenera NEXT, the best car seat out there! We passed down the Pebble to Olivia, but she didn’t like the Pebble as much as we’d loved her to.

At that point, with two kids twenty months apart, I started walking everywhere with them in the buggy. It was way easier. When the kids are both big enough for me to cope with the outside world, we got a car; Olivia was rear facing in the Cosco and Josh moved to a Cybex 3 in one seat. Olivia has since upgraded to the Cybex but we still have our Cosco! 

What make/model car seats have you used and what are your thoughts on them?
cosco-and-bugaboo
Josh in his Cosco Scenera NEXT, hacked onto Jodie's Bugaboo stroller.

I’ve used the Maxi Cosi Pebble (awesome), Cosco Scenera NEXT (amazing and can hack onto prams for brilliant taxi usage) and Cybex IsoFix.

What do you believe is the biggest hurdle in getting more parents in Singapore to use car seats?

maxicosi-pebble-cosco-on-stroller
Olivia in the Maxi Cosi Pebble as a newborn, Josh's Cosco is underneath the stroller.

It’s about behaviour and consequence. In New Zealand, you aren’t allowed to leave the hospital without a professionally fitted car seat in your car. I was horrified to see people getting into taxis holding their newborns here. Our job as parents is to keep our kids safe, no matter where they are and cars, taxis, buses all count. It’s a challenge in a place where taxi use is so high for the population and there are no mandated ‘rules’ around car seats and carriers seem to be an acceptable way to transport kids. Perhaps it’s education, and if I can help Elise educate a few more people as part of her amazing platform then that makes me truly excited.

If you could wave a magic wand and change one thing about road safety in Singapore, what would it be?

newborn-on-maxi-cosi-pebble
Josh, when he was six days old, in the Maxi Cosi Pebble. Note: do not swaddle your baby before you buckle them in, there should be no cloths/blankets under the harness straps.

I would make it mandatory for anyone with a car checking out of hospital to show the hospital that they have a professionally fitted car seat. I would have a fleet of child friendly specific taxis (yes it exists but minimally) with seat options for a couple of ages and... get the cops involved—in New Zealand, cops go to schools, nurseries and talk about road safety! They should also go to community centres, expat groups and everyone in between to educate and to highlight the importance of keeping our kids safe... and kids love policemen and police women right? Easy peasy.

What do you hope to achieve this year as a road safety ambassador?
Josh, now forward-facing, alongside his little buddy.
Note: the shoulder strap should be on a child's collar bone not arm.

I’m all for helping others and empowering/educating people on stuff that I am passionate about—in this case, it’s on how to keep our little people safe when we venture out into that big wide world. I am a huge fan of what Elise and the team at Taxibaby have achieved; they’ve moved mountains in car safety education in Singapore and if I can help them on their mission to help others in the community in Singapore be empowered to make the best choices for keeping their little ones safe then I’ll be a very happy camper.

4. Kai Hui — "My children’s safety is my top priority; we don’t have a car and we take taxis every now and then, and I make sure they are safely buckled in their car seats each time."

Kai Hui wears multiple hats—she’s mum to a six-year-old and an almost four-year-old, a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician and a babywearing consultant at Warabee!

What was your road safety journey like? 

I don’t recall being in any car seat when I was a kid, and I don’t think my parents’ car had seat belts at the back until I was about ten or twelve.

Kai Hui doesn't have a car and her family occasionally takes a taxi. She makes sure that her kids are safely buckled up during each and every ride. 

We didn’t have a car seat when we had our firstborn. Initially, we didn’t think it was needed since we don’t have a car. Car seats were also not commonly emphasized as an essential for a newborn! In the first month, we often had to bring my son to the polyclinic and hospital for jaundice checks and my dad would give us a ride. I’d sit at the back and carry my son in my arms, but it didn’t feel right and we went on to purchase a travel system. As new parents, handling a newborn in car seat, stroller, and all other baby items in a taxi was not easy. Plus, my firstborn had the “traffic light syndrome”, he’d cry whenever the taxi stopped at the red light. We’ve tried many different methods to comfort him but to no avail. Frustrated and defeated—but not wanting to compromise our son’s safety—we gradually switched to buses/trains as our main form of commute and we’d put him in a carrier instead. Our friends would sometimes offer us a ride home but I’d turn them down—even though I was tired—because I didn’t have a car seat with me. My friends find it unusual that I’d rather take the bus/train alone with a young child! After my daughter was born, we continued babywearing and taking buses/trains most of the time. We still take taxis every now and then with the kids and we’d bring their car seats along as well. I’m so glad that we’ve GrabFamily now, it’s been useful for times when it was a tad more tricky to bring our own car seats along.

What make/model car seats have you used and what are your thoughts on them?

Here's Kai Hui's son in the RideSafer vest! Cheeky boy!

Joie Gemm in travel system: it’s inexpensive, easy to install in taxi and convenient to carry around at the destination on the stroller. On days when we didn’t want to bring our stroller, the car seat has a handle that that makes it convenient to carry just the car seat around. It’s fits a child until thirteen kilos, so you’ll need to search for another car seat before the child is old enough for a booster seat.

Cosco Scenera NEXT: it’s surprisingly very lightweight for a rear-facing car seat that goes up to 18kg—I can hold it by my side with one hand even with my daughter in the baby carrier on my front. It’s also relatively easy to handle by myself in the taxi.

RideSafer Delight travel vest: it’s portable and easy to use. The option of top tether helps better secure a wriggly child.

BubbleBum inflatable booster: it’s inexpensive, compact and easy to use. You’ll need to blow into a valve to inflate.

Joie Tilt: We bought this in Malaysia for our annual trips back to my husband's hometown. We kept in the storeroom there when not in use. It’s an affordable rear-facing option that’s suitable from newborn to 18kg. 

What do you believe is the biggest hurdle in getting more parents in Singapore to use car seats?
Kai Hui's lovely daughter, in the Joie Tilt, when she was a year old.

Many parents, especially those who don’t have cars, may not be convinced that they need a car seat for the occasional trip. It is not common here because car seats are often deemed cumbersome and unnecessary. Also, the difficulty level increases for families with more than one child under three.

If you could wave a magic wand and change one thing about road safety in Singapore, what would it be?

Hmm… I’d have all taxis to provide a compact and user-friendly car seat that can fit newborn to preschooler—even better if there can be at least two car seats per vehicle! This would make it a lot easier for young families who don’t have cars. 

What do you hope to achieve this year as a road safety ambassador?
I’d like to help more young families without cars understand the importance of car seats and to know about the different portable options available so their children can travel safe on every journey.