Just last week as I was driving down a highway I looked over into the left lane to see a young child probably about age 10-12 or so, riding in the front seat. What struck me was how small the kid was, and how the seat belt was basically under his neck. I recently read a story of a child killed in an accident- not because he wasn’t wearing safety restraints, but because he was wearing the WRONG ones for his size.
I get it, I know how much easier it is to pop your baby into a front facing carseat and how much of a struggle it is to have your school aged chid buckle into a booster seat, but it’s IMPORTANT. ESPECIALLY the school aged kids.
Did you know that from 2011 to 2015, an estimated 343,000 children age 8-14 were injured while traveling in passenger vehicles, and an additional 1,692 children died? A full 50% of those who died were unrestrained at the time of the crash. Those are sobering statistics and as a parent of children that fall into that age bracket, I can only imagine asking the question, “What if they had been buckled up?”
This spring, the Ad Council and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (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).
Listen, I GET IT. The under 13 set certainly doesn’t want to sit in the back seat, much less in a (gasp) booster seat. The truth is, its the safest place for them. Getting them to sit there, willfully is another story. How about you let Greg Heffley help?
Honestly, I know that many 12 year olds balk at sitting in the back, I know my 5’9″ 12 year old daughter did, but it really is the safest place for them. The important thing to remember is that YOU are in charge, and just make the rule that in order for the car to move, anyone under 13 needs to be in the backseat, and EVERYONE needs to be buckled up. That’s the rule in my house- no click, no go. Also, remember to check on other kids who might ride in the car with you. I was once horrified to see a friend of my child hadn’t put her seat belt on and I have been driving for over an HOUR. I now just take a quick look in the mirror to see that everyone is buckled up. I talk to my kids about the importance of it, and honestly, they check ME now too. If I dare to back out of the garage without my seat belt, I hear it! Also, I think that their commitment to making sure everyone is buckled up will hopefully follow them into adulthood. Let’s face it. mothering your children doesn’t stop once they leave your house! And with a new driver coming up, and another one next year in our family, I need that peace of mind!
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.