What used to be pretty easy isn’t any longer with pre-teens in the car. They call “shotgun” and want to ride in the front contrary to the age or height limits. They get busy looking at their phones and forget to put their seat belts on. When they were little I did the work, buckling them up tight. Now there are reminders before I pull out of the driveway as well as complaints that the seat belts aren’t comfortable. Let’s face it they have a mind of their own now which is why it is even more important to get them buckled up.
Every 33 seconds a child under 13 is involved in a car crash in the United States. For younger children, car seats can dramatically reduce the risk of fatality or injury – but over half of car seats are either installed or used incorrectly. For older children, buckling up is critical. A full 50% of children age 8-14 who were killed in car crashes from 2011-2015 were not restrained.
That’s why we want parents and caregivers to 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, or making sure that older kids (8-14) always buckle their seat belts and sit in the backseat.
As parents, we all want to do the right thing to keep our children safe and sound. This spring, 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 the up to date car seat safety information like the tips found in the fun new video series “The Wide World of Car Seats.”
I remember the first time we had to install a car seat. I was so confused by all the belts and buckles. When it was accomplished I was so thrilled. I waited with baited breath while the nurse at the hospital inspected it before allowing me to put my precious cargo into the seat to take them home the first time. I was crestfallen to learn that no matter how much I tried I still didn’t have it quite right but I was more relieved to learn that after a minor adjustment we would know we had the right seat for an infant installed the right way.
The right car seat can make all the difference in a motor vehicle crash. And car crashes are a leading cause of death for children 1 to 13 years old. But despite their best intentions, many parents may not realize their child isn’t in the right seat. For example, many parents move their children to the next restraint type (car seat, booster seat, seat belt) too soon. To make sure you have the right seat for your child, visit SaferCar.gov/TheRightSeat.
And just when you think you’ve got this parenting thing down, your child becomes a “tween” and you enter a whole new world. To help with travel safety, 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).
The best part about the new PSAs featuring characters from Fox’s upcoming summer road trip adventure Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul is that we have enjoyed the books and movie series together. When I say, “Hey let’s watch Diary of a Wimpy Kid video on YouTube I can actually get them to enjoy it with me. Sure they roll their eyes but I’m pretty sure they recover from that condition about the age of 19.
The girls have known the importance of a seat belt since they were very young. We had just moved to Houston and were hit by a car in a hit and run. They hit the side of the van one of the girls was sitting in – in her car seat. It could have been much worse if the girls weren’t buckled in. I don’t stop reminding them about the safety of a seat belt just because they are older but do a click check as well as verbal reminder, “Every one buckled up?” My 22 year old thinks it is a bit much, but sometimes you are just busy and don’t think of it. Especially the back seat because there is no “beep beep” to remind you.
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 conversation on social media using: #KidsBuckleUp.