This memorial website was created in the memory of our beautiful daughter, Isabelle Broadhead who was born in Wollongong, Australia on July 7, 2002 and passed away on April 13, 2006 at the age of 3 years and 9 months.
She was our Angel and we loved her more than we can express. She was pure delight and we told her so. We mourn our Isabelle with every breath we take.
We love you Miss Honey!
*** Please visit Isabelle's Legacy page to read her story, and please light a candle for her before you leave.***
Belle died because of outdated child restraint laws and we began the battle to right this injustice shortly after her passing. We celebrate with Belle the fact that children will be safer because of her...
New car seat rules 'to save children'
November 4, 2009 - 4:26PM
Car crash victim Isabelle Broadhead's legacy will live on, with the introduction of new car seat regulations aimed at saving children's lives.
Isabelle Broadhead, 3, died after an accident in April 2006 that occurred while she was using a booster seat and an adult seatbelt in a car travelling just 40km/h.
Since then, her parents, Danielle and Noel Broadhead, have been campaigning for better regulations to keep children safe.
On Wednesday, the NSW government announced new safety rules - dubbed Isabelle's regulations - that mean children aged up to seven will have to be strapped into car restraints.
An emotional Mrs Broadhead thanked Isabelle and said her daughter had given her many gifts.
"And for me the greatest gift is that she lives on longer than she was actually here, that she's close to us and that she gives back ... that she will help keep children safer," Mrs Broadhead told reporters.
The couple have long been researching safe ways for children to travel and hope the new rules will be easy for parents to understand.
"Sometimes ... they just don't know that in an accident it can be catastrophic at such a low speed," she said.
"It was a minute in time and then she was gone."
The regulations, which are part of national reforms, mean children younger than six months must be placed in a rearward-facing restraint.
Those aged six months to four years must be secured in a rear or forward-facing restraint, while children between four and seven must use a forward-facing restraint or a booster seat.
Until now it has only been compulsory for children up to the age of one to travel in baby capsules or seats that contain their own restraints.
NSW Premier Nathan Rees said the changes were about saving children's lives.
"We can always do more to reduce the road toll, to reduce the tragedy and the impact on loved ones that comes from those deaths on the roads," Mr Rees said.
The new rules come into effect on March 1 and there will be a four-month amnesty on enforcement so parents can get used to the changes.
Information about restraints can be found on the Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) website.
Mr Broadhead hopes parents won't be reluctant to buy a new seat because of the cost.
"We would give any amount of money to get our daughter back and we're sure if they had even an inkling of what it's like to lose your child, they wouldn't think twice about spending the money to buy one of those seats," he said.
Stronger laws for the safe restraint of children
Article Date: 29 Feb 2008
Australia’s Transport Ministers today announced their unanimous support for new national child restraint laws, which provide a safe pathway from capsules to seat belts.
In response to calls from road safety experts and the community for tougher minimum standards, children up to 6 months old must be restrained in a rearward facing infant capsule; then a forward facing child seat until the age of 4; and a booster seat from 4 to 7 years old.
The new road rules will reduce the risk of injury caused by seat restraints which are unsuitable for the child’s weight and height.
While most parents and carers strive to do the right thing using guidance material already available, the research shows some children are moving to bigger seats too early.
A child’s age is an easily understood guide, which will help parents and carers choose the safest seat restraint for their children.
The reform package also recognises the increased safety protection offered by rear car seats.
Children up to four years old must be restrained in the rear of a vehicle. A child aged 4 to 7 years old must be seated at the back, unless all the rear seat positions are occupied by other young children (under 7 years old).
A further review of the laws will follow if ‘large’ booster seats – suitable for older children between 7 and 12 years old – are approved and become available.
Currently, 500 children up to the age of 10 are killed or seriously injured every year in car accidents, with 2,300 sustaining minor injuries.
The National Transport Commission (NTC) facilitated extensive national public consultation on the proposals before making their recommendation to Transport Ministers. The amended laws will be progressed by States and Territories for implementation.
The NTC report also includes amendments clarifying give-way provisions at roundabouts and pedestrian safety at level crossings.
Documents available for download:
Australian Road Rules 7th Amendment Package - Regulatory Impact Statement
Australian Road Rules 7th Amendment Package - Amending Rules
Safer restraint of children - Information Bulletin
Thank you beautiful Belle for holding our hands and making sure we didn't stop. Thank you also to our wonderful supporters, you all know who you are.
belletoni.org.au is now live...We've formed the BelleToni Association for Child Passenger Safety, which exists to educate people about the importance of using the right child restraints for every child, every time you drive.
We've put a video on the importance of using a five point harness with young children on YouTube. Please watch our video, then send the link to your friends and family.
The leading cause of external death in Australian children is Motor Vehicle Accidents (in 0-16 age group); this is as passengers. This means that too many Australian children are dying in the same way as Isabelle. We hope that in speaking out, as hard as that is, people can learn from our tragedy. Had we have known - and hindsight doesn't bring her back - we would have had Isabelle using a harness. We simply didn't know. We live with that every second of every day.
Information on 'H' Harnesses
If your child is small enough to fit into a Child Restraint that has a five point harness (like a 0-4 seat) then use that. An 'H' harness is not as safe as a five point harness child restraint for small children under 5's. It can perform worse in an accident than an adult Belt.
We'd like to stress the importance of using a crotch strap/clip when using an "H" harness with a booster seat. Standards Australia allows for these harnesses to be used without a crotch strap, but it is far safer with the strap fitted. Always get your seat checked by an acredited fitter. Ring the RTA to find a fitter near you. If it isn't fitted correctly it could be deadly.
We began this awareness campaign to get children into safer seats and back into baby seats where possible. If your child has outgrown their 0-4 seat, then take them to be fitted by an accredited fitter.
Isabelle died as a result of an injury sustained by her adult belt in a low impact car accident. She was seated in the rear left middle seat of our people mover. She was seated in a high backed booster seat and it utilised the three point lap and sash belt. It was fitted as directed. This injury was Isabelle's only injury and had she not sustained this injury she would be here today. Her gift to you (amongst others) is the knowledge that children under five or 18kg should always remain in a five point harness. Isabelle outgrew her 0-4 seat- weighing 20.5kg and being 105cm tall. We knew she wasn't safe in her baby seat and wrongly assumed Isabelle had to move to a booster. The label on her booster stated it was safe for 14-26kg. We believed that the Australian Standards were the toughest in the world and that this was what was safe for her.
There is not a single seat on the Australian market that has an in-built five point harness for a child of Isabelle's size. Had she been using a seat such as the Maxi Rider she would have used a harness in conjunction with an adult belt. We were unaware that the Maxi Rider even existed when we bought her booster. We believe these seats need to be better advertised and parents also need an education program in the use of child restraints. We believe that parents are generally not well educated on the use of a harness and booster. We believe that much more needs to be done to stop this happening to our children. We are hoping that only specialty baby shops will be able to sell Child Seats in the near future as major department stores don't have trained fitters.
Safe'n'Sound (Britax) sells a booster in the USA that holds a child up to 36kg and it has the in-built harness (as seen in Maxirider and 0-4 seats). This is the kind of seat we need on the Australian market so that children aged 3-5 that are too big for their 0-4 seats can stay in a five point harness.
Please email Safe'n'Sound Australia demanding they invest in developing seats that can hold larger children in inbuilt harnesses and ask them to only produce boosters that anchor to the car and have anti sub features. email@example.com
Isabelle's sister Madeleine was seated in a booster on that awful day and she was seven years old. We have no doubt that the reason she walked away without a single injury was because she was in a booster. Research in Australia has shown that by age 6 most children are only using an adult belt with no booster, which increases the risk of serious injury or death by up to 350%. People will hear us say that we were equally lucky and unlucky on that day. This is because we had Madeleine in the most appropriate restraint for her size.
We have now bought her a booster that is anchored to the car (to stop it sliding in an accident) and a 'H' harness (always use a crotch or gate clip to pull the belt away from the child's abdomen) to offer her extra protection. We hope this encourages parents to place their older children back into boosters, because older children require a booster to have good fit of an adult belt. We believe the confusion is that boosters (with adult belts) are being used for children who are too young, but not for those who should be using them - the 5 to 11 years age group.
No child under five or 18kg should ever use an adult seat belt as a stand alone.
We didn't know that using a booster seat with an adult belt could be deadly. We urge anyone who uses a booster seat and has children under the age of five to make the change. I would do anything to change what happened to us and I would have paid anything.
The Illawarra Mercury (our local paper) has run several stories on Belle, her legacy and our campaign to change the laws in Australia and keep children safer in cars. We thank them for helping us to launch our campaign and to be brave enough to stand up and say: It's not ok for the government to do nothing to protect our beautiful babies and to help parents learn through our tragedy. The baby shops in our local area have been inundated with people trying to get seats that are safer. We hope that soon, Australia will have a five point harness carseat for children 3-8years.
We, as a family, thank you.
Bella's gift will be (amongst others) the improved safety for children in cars.
You can shed tears that she is gone,
or you can smile because she has lived.
You can close your eyes and pray that she'll come back,
or you can open your eyes and see all she's left.
Your heart can be empty because you can't see her,
or you can be full of the love you shared.
You can turn your back on tomorrow and relive yesterday,
or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.
You can remember her only that she is gone,
or you can cherish the memory and let it live on.
You can close your mind,
be empty and turn your back.
Or you can do what she'd want,
smile, open your eyes, love and go on.
Thank you to the Perry family who have come forward and told the story of their beautiful angel Toni who died from injuries sustained by her adult belt. Thank you to Toni's mum who watches over us and has exteneded her love and support, as well as fighting with us to make this right.
Her site is http://toni-perry.memory-of.com
We're united in our efforts to educate parents and help children all over the world be safer when travelling in cars.