Around 700,000 new babies will make their first journey home from hospital this year, but alarmingly more than one in four may travel on illegal or dangerous tyres.
This is a shocking statistic and one which TyreSafe, the UK’s leading tyre safety group, is using to encourage all new mums-to-be to add ‘check tyres’ to their pre-birth checklist, so that their trip too and from the maternity ward will be as safe as possible.
The ‘Home safely on safe tyres’ campaign has the backing of pregnant Janine McCarthy, 25, has first hand experience of the threat a damaged or illegal tyre can pose.
Janine had a miraculous escape after a defective tyre on her car rapidly deflated, causing her vehicle to spin out of control and crash into the central reservation on a busy motorway near her home. The car flipped six times before coming to a standstill.
She said: “I remember the back wheels of the car skidding so I applied the brake gently, but as I did this, the car skidded right round out of control.
“I could see on-coming traffic and I panicked, braking harder. It caused the car to tip and start to roll and smash into the central metal fencing. It was terrifying. Witnesses told me afterwards that the car smashed into the barrier, flew to the opposite barrier, and then rolled down into the middle of a field.
“I recall my arms being crossed in front of my face and the airbag going off. I felt dizzy and remember thinking ‘this is it’.
“When the car came to a standstill I laughed out of shock that I was ok. I was petrified that something had happened to my baby; I was nearly three months pregnant at the time and had been waiting for my first scan.
“The emergency services told me they couldn’t believe I had walked away from the crash alive.”
Mercifully, Janine escaped the ordeal with just minor cuts and bruises and an emergency scan revealed her unborn baby was fine too.
She added: “I feel so lucky to be alive and the relief of seeing my first baby on screen wriggling around was simply amazing. TyreSafe’s campaign is so important and I want everyone to act on the message ‘Home safely on safe tyres’.
“I was lucky, but defective and illegal tyres can ruin lives. As new mums-to-be, we pack our hospital bags with everything we need and check our baby car seats – but we need to add ‘check tyres’ to our birthing checklist.
“There is nothing more important than getting our new-born babies home safely.”
Tyre safety checks simply entail ensuring the tyres are properly inflated and that the condition and tread depth are safe and legal.
Denna Bowman, Head Office