Mother of the Child in the Green Wellies…


I saw you in the car park, Mother of the Child in the Green Wellies.  Looking frustrated and anxious and a bit overwhelmed.  Your Mother (or Mother In Law) was with you pushing the shopping trolley.  And your son was with you too.  He was wearing dark-green wellies.  He had blonde hair and he was fussing.  He looked about three years old.  You wanted to cross the car park, he decided to sit down on the path.  You indicated to your mother to keep moving with the trolley towards where your car was parked.  The boy in the green wellies squirmed and you picked him up by the arms and you both did a half crawl, funny walk, puppet on a string, manoeuver.  All the time you managed that wonderful, check for traffic, check my child, check where I am walking, head sweep as you guided, frog marched, cajoled your son to cross the car park.

I was walking with my teenage son and I so remembered this – first with him and quite recently with my daughter.  It had been a hot day and it was early evening and I could remember this being my children’s ‘cranky hour’.  I felt a wave of empathy for the Mother of the Child in the Green Wellies.  I could tell you were frustrated and embarrassed.   But no-one had really noticed you.  Or if they did they glanced and moved on.  I noticed we were heading in the same direction.  I gave you room, walking slowly, so you wouldn’t feel pressurized into trying to be quicker.   My boy and me strolled along in the evening sunshine, with our supper slowing de-frosting in the bags.  I got distracted by my own son and we lost sight of you all until we got nearer our own car.

As it turned out my car and your car were parked virtually facing each other.  As my son and I settled into the front seats, put our seatbelts on and switched on the car radio, I glanced over and there you were.  Mother of the Child in the Green Wellies, you were sitting in the passenger seat. You had your eyes closed and with your hand over your brow, just trying to block it all out.  Your own mother was talking to – or at – you.  It looked like you had given up, just for a moment.  I glanced away.  I didn’t want to intrude.  I didn’t want you to think I was staring.  I didn’t want to make it worse.  I started my car and moved forward as your mother reversed out of your parking space and we followed you out of the car park.

I was concentrating on driving, as the car park was quite busy, when my son noticed your Child in the Green Wellies.  He had not been strapped into his car seat and now he was moving around on the back seat.  At first I thought you were going to pull into an empty car space and strap him back in.  

But you just kept on driving.

‘They haven’t noticed’ I thought.  But your mother, his Grandma, his Nanna, his Granny, was driving SO SLOWLY that it was obvious that you both knew he wasn’t strapped in.  I was shocked.  I didn’t know what to do so I kept my distance.  Really kept my distance as I saw his blonde head bobbing about in the back window.  Kept my distance as he  leaned forward through the gap between the two front seats.

If someone was to hit you from the back at that moment, he would have gone straight through the windscreen.  Your cheeky, lovely, blonde haired boy in his dark green wellies, would have smashed into or through the glass.  You drove off in the opposite direction and got lost in the traffic and I was left upset and a bit bewildered by it all.

So here is my plea to the Mother of the Child in the Green Wellies…. next time please strap your boy into his car seat.

Most car accidents occur within 5 miles of home (Which? News 2009)

  • If he does that rigid starfish stance where you cannot get him to even bend in the middle – JUST WAIT.
  • If he refuses to let you do up the straps – JUST WAIT.
  • If he screams, or hits, or pulls your hair – JUST WAIT.
  • If other people are pressurizing you to hurry up, take a deep breath and LET THEM WAIT.


Eventually he will get bored, he will relax, he will sit in his seat and you can strap him in.  It may take 5 minutes.  It may take 20 minutes.  You may have to take him out of the car and go for a little walk, take some time out to distract him, sing a silly song, tell him a joke or a story.

Whatever you do please, please do not drive off, or let someone else drive off, with him not being securely strapped in.  It is s easy to think it will not happen to you, that it is only a two minute drive home, that everything will be OK.  Don’t become one of those mothers that have to live with the sadness and guilt of being distracted for a moment from what is really important……

Helen xx

Mother of the Child

Always interested in writing, reading and learning in general. I love the quirky and unusual! All thoughts are my own!

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16 Responses
  1. Dan

    It would be horrible to see something like this happen, as you don’t know what to do. You don’t want to intrude, but at the same time know a child’s life is at risk – from now on I think I’ll try and get their attention if this happens, at the end of the day, lives are at risk and that comes before your own embarrassment or seeming rude.

  2. The post was so tenderly written with such empathy, that from the outset I had tears in my eyes, and a lump in my throat. Then when you said “your mother was talking AT you” the tears fell (too long a story to explain here).

    But then boom, I didn’t see the car seat bit coming (you are SUCH a good writer).

    We refuse to drive off until Aaron’s trapped in. No negotiating, so he does not do any of those behaviours you have listed as he’s long since known that they do not work.

    It’s one of those non-negotiable things or which there are few.

    Liska xxx

  3. I can’t believe they drove off without strapping the child in. It actually made me angry to think that not one of those adults in the car cared enough not to drive off untill he was strapped in! Surely as the driver, the Grandparent/older adult should have insisted the child was in his car seat properly before setting off. If they were irrespossible enough not to do this, then I dread to think what else they can’t be bothered to do properly/safely.

  4. You Baby Me Mummy

    Fabulous post! I would never consider driving without Baby strapped in properly. I am gobsmacked anyone would x

  5. Julie

    wow. You have such a wonderful way of writing. I’ll be honest I was expecting for bad news as the story was unfolding, so I’m pleased there wasn’t. x

  6. What a fantastic post and what a wonderful way to put it. I never drove off anywhere without the boys bing strapped in and trust me, mini can arch his back like no one else can! Even now I am a stickler for car safety and the boys at 9 and 8 are in high backed boosters

  7. This is so beautifully written, I loved reading it. I really feel for the boy’s mum, she was obviously at the end of her tether, but I do hope she strapped him in after you lost sight of them.

  8. I have seen this far to often and it never fails to appall me. There is no excuse in this day and age – we know what can happen and we have purpose built car seats. My son used to scream from the time he was put in till the time he got out of his car seat and I just turned the music up. Better safe and cross than happy and through the windscreen 🙁
    Love Vicky
    Around and Upside Down

  9. when i was younger for a while my dad had a van with only two front seats, and no car. if we all wanted/needed to go out, my dad would drive and my mum would sit next to him. she was too big for us to squeeze in too. so we had to sit in the back, on loads of cushions and just hold on to a little bar. so that was not too fun. but when we were younger i always remember being seat-belted. so, that’s something. luckily we never got into any accidents.

    saying that, once with my grandparents we did get into one. not bad, luckily. we were all very secure and my grandad was a super safe driver. i hit the window by my head and got concussion but no other injury. basically you never know what’s going to happen, but you should always be as safe as you can, just in case!

  10. I always make sure my kids are strapped in, although Eliza is a master magician and can escape the confines of her straps within minutes so I have to pull over and strap her back in.
    It is amazing to think that when I was a child I used to sit in the boot lol

  11. Globalmouse

    Such a well written, beautiful post. But it makes me feel a little sick to my stomach. I have seen a child not strapped in before. I tried to pointedly stare at the parents and then wondered if I should even call the police. If there had been an accident and the worst had happened I wanted to know I had done everything. But then their car turned…and I didn’t know if it was even a calling the police situation. It’s so hard to know but such a terrible thing to see…however bad a day you’re having to leave your child not strapped in is just so dangerous….

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