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Every ride, every time

It’s Child Passenger Safety Week once again and Safe Kids Worldwide recently released a really interesting report titled “Buckle Up: Every Ride, Every Time,” that finds an alarming percentage of parents are not always taking the time to ensure their children are safely secured in vehicles.

The report, funded as part of a $2 million grant from the General Motors Foundation, is based on a national online survey of 1,002 parents and caregivers of children ages 10 and under. It reveals that one in four parents admit to having driven without their child buckled up in a car seat or booster seat.  In fact, according to the report, more affluent parents, parents with higher levels of education, and young parents are more likely to make exceptions when it comes to buckling up their kids on every ride. Men were also more willing than women to bend the rules.

The report also highlights that when parents make exceptions it sends a powerful message to kids that it’s not important to buckle up on every ride. As these kids get older, they could be more likely to find exceptions for buckling up as well. Teenagers have the lowest rate of seat belt use of all age groups.

The survey asked parents if it was acceptable for a child to ride unrestrained in a vehicle in certain circumstances, including driving a short distance, if the car or booster seat was missing, during overnight travel, as a reward for the child, or if they chose to hold the child in their lap. The results were staggering.

  • Twenty-one percent of parents said it was acceptable to drive with their child unrestrained if they are not driving far. However, 60 percent of crashes involving children occur 10 minutes or less from home.
  • One in three of more affluent parents (34 percent), those with a household income of $100,000 or higher, said it was acceptable to leave their child unrestrained if they are not driving a far distance, compared to 15 percent of parents making less than $35,000.
  • Parents with graduate degrees are twice as likely to say it is acceptable to drive without buckling up their children, compared to parents with a high school education, particularly when they are in a rush (20 percent compared to 10 percent).

I find this research to be interesting and really disheartening. The number of children dying in car crashes has declined by 58 percent since 1987 but this research shows that the trend toward buckling up kids on every ride could be heading in the wrong direction.

It only takes one time to be riding in a vehicle without buckling up for a life to be changed forever. During Child Passenger Safety week, and all year round, we want to remind all parents that it’s important to buckle up their kids every time, on every ride!

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We have created this blog as a way to communicate key childrens' health and safety issues to parents and other child advocates. It is managed by Dayton Children's department of marketing communications. Comments can be sent to rodneyg@childrensdayton.org.

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