Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Car Seats Soon to be the Law

Back before I mellowed into the calmer, more accepting, less judgmental expat-me, one of my favourite sources of outrage was the fact that no one in Turkey seems to use children's car seats. And though I still, without exception, see children on a parent's lap in the front seat of a car, or otherwise bouncing around the vehicle, my blood no longer boils every time.

Not because it no longer bothers me; but because I've gained perspective. Fifty years ago, Canadians didn't use car seats either; and Turkey has had other things to worry about -- military coups and the collapse of the economy, for example.

But over the past four years I've seen change; more and more adults are wearing seat belts, for example.

More recently, Toyota, who has a huge presence in Turkey, ran a television commercial for its brand in general, with the slogan ''çıkarım senle her yola,'' which translates roughly as ''wherever you go, I'll go with you.'' The ad features nothing but children of different ages in car seats, which I immediately went bonkers over. I saw the entire ad campaign as a public service announcement -- instead of featuring its cars on scenic highways and taking hairpin turns, or navigating bad weather conditions with ease, Toyota chose to pull on viewers' heart strings. ''Life is a long road,'' goes the jingle, and Toyota will be with these children through adulthood.

And then, just a week or two ago, my friend and our school nurse called me on a Saturday, and asked me, all excitedly, whether I'd seen the news! She went on to tell me that it had just been announced that car seats for children were about to become the law! Since Baby's birth, she'd been helping me navigate the complicated Turkish health care system, taking me to his various appointments at the doctor's, the local health centre, and the hospital. And she'd observed with interest my conversations with the nurses, doctors and technicians we met, often commenting on how much she liked my ''different'' way of doing things -- not overdressing Baby in the heat; questioning his vaccines; and insisting on using a car seat for even the shortest trips!

I wonder if the traffic police will also start cracking down on the families of five on motorbikes, none of them wearing helmets?

No comments:

Post a Comment