Every 33 seconds a child under 13 is
involved in a car crash in the United States.
Anytime I read this I immediately want to stop driving my kids and walk everywhere. That’s a scary number. Just think about those second for a minute. That’s one child for every red light you sit through, or every stop sign you stop at. 33 seconds is how long it took you to say goodbye to your spouse this morning. To think that in the amount of time it takes to complete each of these actions, there’s a child somewhere in the United State who is involved in a car crash, is very frightening. I tell you this because I want you to know that car crashes are real. They happen. And you need to make sure when they do, your child is protected.
Are you ready for another scary number? 50% of children age 8-14 who were killed in car crashes from 2011-2015 were not restrained? Do you restrain your child in the car? What about your tweens and teens? Restraining children in the car properly isn’t just for babies and toddlers; many parents don’t know this. For them, parenting is 100% on the job training and they haven’t made it to that yet. That’s why we want to spread the word to parents and caregivers, so they will know about the importance of making sure their child is safely restrained—whether that’s selecting the right car seat for their child’s age and size, installing/using their seats correctly, or making sure that older kids (8-14) always buckle their seat belts and sit in the backseat.
The Ad Council and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are unveiling new PSAs to address these important issues. First, is a fun new social video series entitled “The Wide World of Car Seats” for parents of younger children. This series blends entertainment and education to share vital information about choosing the right car seat. The videos direct to SaferCar.gov/TheRightSeat, where parents and caregivers can learn more about how to determine if their children are in the right car seat.
Next, for parents of children 8-14, the Ad Council and NHTSA are unveiling new PSAs featuring characters from Fox’s upcoming summer road trip adventure Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul. The PSAs remind parents and caregivers that even if kids argue and plead, parents should stand firm and always insist that their kids buckle up and sit in the back seat (the safest place for kids under the age of 13).
What Parents Need to Know
Car crashes are a leading cause of death for children 1 to 13 years old. That means the right carseat can be a true lifesaver for your child. Are you sure your child is being restrained in the car properly? Despite parent’s best intentions, many parents have no idea their child isn’t in the right seat. It could be that they moved their children to the next seat style too soon, or they thought they didn’t need one anymore! To make sure you have the right seat for your child, visit SaferCar.gov/TheRightSeat — just to be sure!
There’s more! I have two more points to chat about before you go. Are your kids riding in the right place? I know. I KNOW it is hard to keep them in the back, but studies also show kids are safer in the back seat. My kids have always viewed riding “up front” as a right of passage, but that right of passage is going to have to be pushed back some. Keep them in the back for as long as you can. It may feel a little like being a chauffeur, but it’s what’s necessary and important.
And hey, talk about seat belts with your children too! Per data from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), an estimated 69,000 tweens are injured every year in car crashes and 61% of 14-year-old children killed in 2015 car crashes were unrestrained at the time of the crash. Even though life as a parent is full of compromises, seat belt safety should never be up for negotiation. That’s why the new PSAs encourage us to: “Never give up until they buckle up!”
For more information or if you need more tips to convince your tween to buckle up, visit SaferCar.gov/KidsBuckleUp. If you have a great tip, join the conversion on social media using: #KidsBuckleUp.