In 2011, 33% of the kids who died in a car crash were unrestrained, which is staggering considering that those deaths could have been prevented. As adults, we abide by the “Click it, or Ticket” laws, so why then don’t we adhere to the “buckle up, every time, on every ride” rule for our kids? The study’s findings are astounding: – 1 in 3 affluent parents with a household income of $100,000 or greater believe it is acceptable to leave their children unrestrained for short distances. This poses great danger to kids, since 60% of accidents involving kids occur 10 minutes or less from home. – Nearly 23% of parents between 18 and 29 are okay with letting their kids travel unrestrained when traveling overnight. Yet, traveling unrestrained at night makes them more vulnerable to being injured in a crash. Night time accidents easily occur due to the obvious: tired drivers or poor sight due to the dark. – Parents with graduate degrees are twice as likely to let kids go unrestrained because they are in a hurry. When drivers are preoccupied by schedules or rushing to get somewhere on time, they are less likely to be fully attentive while driving, putting them at risk for an accident. Parents’ attitudes on buckling up send powerful messages to their kids. Parents need to draw a hard line when it comes to buckling up, just like they would for any other dangerous activity. Parents would never let their kids play
with fire or go jumping off of bridges. As our world becomes more populated, and our streets and highways become more congested with traffic, it is vital that we require kids to be buckled up in age-appropriate safety seats when traveling. The best piece of advice for ensuring it’s no argument territory? Parents should be sure to lead by example, meaning mom and dad must buckle up every single time. Remember that you as a parent are a role model and kids will model their behavior according to what they see, not just what they hear. Reinforce the idea that buckling up is a family commitment by adding in a fun little activity every time the family gets in the car. Take turns saying “1,2, 3, click” and on “3,” everyone clicks. It will quickly become a tradition! Buckling up starts with the trip home from the hospital and there are no exceptions from that point forward. Kids learn and will accept that sitting buckled up in a car seat is a way of life. Just like with many things, if they can do it on their own, they’re more likely to buy into the concept. From the time kids are 2 – 3 years old, they can be taught to buckle themselves. Of course, parents should check the buckles to ensure they are secure. You might want to consider offering a small reward when kids are initially trying to learn. However, once kids grow into a booster seat, strapping into the adult safety belt can be
challenging. Investing in a buckle stabilizer can make latching seat belts easier. Encourage kids to have a contest to see who can buckle up the quickest. Put a quarter in a jar at home each time they buckle up without making a fuss and at the end of the month let them spend their “safety money” on a favorite treat. Something most parents don’t know is that kids are normally between 8 and 12 before standard seat belts fit them correctly. At this age, they may start to balk at sitting in a child restraint, so assure them it is to protect them from injury in an accident. Conduct a standard seatbelt test to determine if they are ready to give up their booster seat. A few things to check include: – Their knees should bend at the edge of the seat when their back and bottom are snug against the back of the seat. – The lap strap should fit across their thighs and the shoulder belt should fit across their shoulder and chest. – Kids are VIPs, so they should ride in the back until they are 13 Creating an attitude of safety will protect everyone in the family. As kids grow into teenagers and start to drive, we as parents want them to be safe. Buckling up is the best way to protect them should a crash occur. Adopting a rule that the car doesn’t move until everyone is buckled will ensure full family participation. Ready? Set. Click!
Meghan Khaitan is a family travel expert and the founder of MyBuckleMate. A must-have for carpools and road trips, the stabilizer keeps back seat buckles propped up and easy to reach so buckling up is always a snap! It is the perfect seat belt solution for kids in booster seats, those with special needs or motor planning difficulties, and adults with limited mobility and Arthritis. multiplicity
the must-have magazine for all parents of multiples
Published on Apr 11, 2016
Multiplicity's spring issue is loaded with tips on keeping your family safe! From things to consider for sleepovers and summer camps, tips f...