Safety is the top concern for many drivers, especially if they are zipping around with some precious cargo in the backseat. However, even parents who are transporting their children don't always take every possible measure to ensure their safety. A new study from the General Motors Foundation and the organization Safe Kids Worldwide took a look at the safety habits of parents regarding their children, and not all of the results were positive.
Parents not buckling up children
According to the results of the study, about 21 percent of parents think it is acceptable to drive without their child using a seatbelt in certain circumstances. Another 16 percent believe that leaving children unrestrained during overnight trips is acceptable, and this number jumps to 23 percent when looking at just younger parents ages 18 to 29.
Despite the fact that more than one-fifth of motorists don't think seat belts are a priority, they are one of the more important tools parents have at their disposal.
"As kids grow up, it can be easy to forget the importance of taking time to buckle up, especially on a quick or overnight trip," said Mike Robinson, vice president of sustainability and global regulatory affairs for GM. "Unfortunately, exceptions can lead to tragedies. The research findings underscore the importance of remaining vigilant about buckling up throughout a child's lifetime. There is no reason important enough to take the risk."
Although some may think driving with unrestrained passengers over short distances or in unique situations is permissible, these can actually be the most dangerous times to drive. Approximately 60 percent of car accidents involving children occur less than 10 minutes from home, while young passengers are also more likely to be injured in crashes happening at night, when some adults think it is acceptable to be unrestrained.
While buckling up is important, there are other steps drivers can take to ensure their cars are safe for children. Sticking to scheduled maintenance can work to prevent accidents and keep all safety equipment functioning at a high level.
National Child Passenger Safety Week, which runs from Sept. 15-21, highlights the importance of buckling up each and every time children get into a vehicle. Parents who are concerned for the safety of their children should not only pay attention to the efforts of this week and make buckling up an automatic habit, but they should ensure all auto repair is complete and their vehicle is ready to handle anything on the roads.