Not every parent would walk to the end of the earth to keep their kids safe. A recent SafeKids.org survey of over 1,000 parents finds that parents who are affluent, who have graduate degrees or who fall into the 18 to 29 year old age bracket say they would drive without buckling their child into a seat belt. Not wearing a seal belt is a one-way ticket to a grave.
Sobering Safety Statistics
Two years ago, one-third of children age 10 and under who died in vehicle crashes were not buckled up. Securing your child in a car seat or booster seat takes a few seconds. Yet, one of every three affluent parents making over $100,000 per year said it’s OK to skip that simple buckle-up routine for short trips – despite 52 percent of crashes taking place within just five miles of home, according to DrivingToday.com.
Just as grim, almost one in four (23 percent) of younger parents said it’s alright to let the child sleep unrestrained on overnight trips. Perhaps most surprising, having a graduate degree doesn’t seem to improve the odds of keeping children safe. Twenty percent of parents with graduate degrees say buckling up the kids isn’t important, especially when they’re in a hurry.
If you’re a young parent with a graduate degree making good money, you may just be a triple threat to your children.
Your kids learn from their most important role models — parents and caregivers. When you fail to take the simplest and most proven measures to keep them safe, that negligence can follow them right into their teen years. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) shows an astounding 58 percent of teen drivers killed in crashes had failed to buckle up. A staggering 68 percent of teen passengers fatally injured by teen drivers chose to ignore their seat belts. Are our teens learning dangerous habits from parents?
Follow and enforce these three simple rules:
1. Buckle up on every ride, every time
2. Talk to the adults who will be driving your kids about using seat belts
3. Check that the right seat belt is used and it’s installed properly
Finding the Safest Vehicle
Complement safe riding habits with a safe vehicle for your family. The IIHS performs elaborate crash tests on cars and light trucks each model year to determine their “Top Safety Picks” in 12 categories. Whether you’re shopping brand new cars or used trucks, keep the following makes and models in mind.
The IIHS gives the 2011 Ford 150 crew cab model a top safety pick rating. This popular truck provides airbags for front and rear seat passengers, plenty of room for a car seat, rollover sensors, anti-lock brakes, and electronic stability control.
Smaller vehicles are at a disadvantage while crashing with a more massive vehicle, yet IIHS still awards top safety honors to a long list of smaller cars. The 2012 Toyota Prius rates “good” in every category tested. This model delivers all around safety because of its front and rear side airbags, front seat airbags and a new driver knee airbag to lessen knee injuries. Anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control and daytime running lights all come standard.