By George! Plunket sells out to royalty

Disclaimer: I’m going to warn you that this a rant! I am no expert, I haven’t talked to all parties involved and quite possibly I don’t know all the facts. But from an outsider, I can see that this situation is not the best…. and worse, I feel what is seen on the outside is misinformation being fed to impressionable people.

Woop, woop! Prince George arrives in the country tomorrow, a whole lot of fuss over a rather chubby and gorgeous 8-month-old baby boy. Its his first overseas trip – I hope he travels ok! I think it is quite special how his trip to NZ shores is so similar to William’s first trip in May of 1983. (I wasn’t even born myself!). I would love to catch a glimpse of Kate and William on their tour but don’t live very close to any of the main centres they are visiting. I always thought William was quite cute – he has a gorgeous smile šŸ˜› I’ll take comfort that I’ve seen him at Buckingham Palace instead!!!!


(c) to author - yup, me!
(c) to author – yup, me!


Of course, the world will be watching as Kate, William and George arrive in New Zealand next week. And car-seat safety buffs like myself, have been eagerly waiting to see what kind of car seat the prince will be belted into. I’ve seen Facebook pages trying to guess what brand of seat, and all the mums commenting have hoped he would be rear-facing! So when this article here at Stuff was released yesterday, there was quite a commotion! Check it out on the Plunket Facebook page yourself! Basically, Plunket has installed a Maxi Cosi Opal Convertible car seat into the limo/car – a $699 (NZD) luxury seat. It has been advertised as:

    • “InĀ rearward facing positionĀ (infant / 0-13 kg)”
    • “Comfortable and longer usage in rearward facing position”
    • “Optimum recline offering more legroom for extra comfort in rearward facing position, the safest position for young infants to travel”
    • “Opal allows real comfort in rearward facing position up to 13kg for optimal safety”
    • “Maxi-Cosi recommends to use the rearward facing position from birth to 13kg”
    • “Extended safer rearward facing travel until the child is approx. 15/18 months old”

Yep, those are direct quotes from the website of Maxi-Cosi, the car seat manufacturer. The same words are used on Babycity’s pageĀ where they sell the seat online here in New Zealand.

So it’s certainly a surprise to see the car seat installed forward facing by Plunket this week, ahead of the visit. Plunket have always reccomended rear-facing until at least 2 years – or until the weight limits of the seat. It is MUCH safer for a child to be rear-facing as long as possible, and some seats comfortably rear-face a child until 20+ kgs.

The car-seat-safety buffs hit out at Plunket in droves, prompting this follow on story from Stuff. But all Plunket can say is, “Whilst it is Plunketā€™s practice to recommend rear-facing seats for an eight month old, there is no legal requirement to do so.
The final decision on the selection and installation of a child restraint rests with the parent or caregiver.”

Ummm. Thats a cop-out to me. Plunket had the opportunity to educate parents in NZ. They could have installed the seat rear-facing, because Kate and William were hardly standing by the car, were they? They might have missed an opportunity to educate these parents too (after all, they got it wrong when George was born!). In addition, I felt that it could have been reported WHY to rear-face for longer, even if the Palace had commanded a forward-facing configuration.

I really enjoyed this little story in the Herald about Prince William’s car seats when he was in NZ. FromĀ Tord Kjellstrom’s account, he had the chance to offer some information and advice for the young royal parents.

And I think that is why I am most upset. The world is watching the little Prince and this was an opportunity to educate.
Hundreds of volunteers and passionate parents tirelessly educate, promote and inform about car seat safety. There are more cars on the road, we travel further, and faster, and safety has no price.

Earlier this year, a baby died just 6km away in a car accident. Less than 10km away is a white cross marking the site where another newborn baby, 6 weeks old, died several years ago. The thought of losing my own babes almost inspires me to never drive again. So when evidence is presented in front of us to MAKE OUR CHILDREN SAFER…. quite simply, why wouldn’t you???

STRICTLY EMBARGOED UNTIL 2200 hrs BST THURSDAY OCTOBER 24TH 2013  HIGHER FEES APPLY. STRICTLY EDITORIAL USE ONLY.  The official portrait for the christening of Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge, photographed in The Morning Room at Clarence House in London on October 23rd 2013. PICTURED: HRH Duke of Cambridge, HRH Duchess of Cambridge with their son HRH Prince George. Prince George is wearing an outfit made of delicate Honiton lace and white satin by Angela Kelly, an exact replica of the one worn before him by every baby born to the British Royal family since 1841. The Duchess is wearing Alexander McQueen dress and a Jane Taylor hat.
Daily Mail

They go to extreme lengths to put in security and other safety measures… I would have thought that car safety might have been important to the royal family too.

And I’m so disappointed in Plunket, who actively promote extended rear facing, that they have gone against their own guidelines. What a shame to lose the opportunity to educate and model to new parents.

And for all the doubters, and all those crying, ‘Goodness, let the parents make their decision! Leave them alone!’ – watch this. Its mild.Ā




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