Guest piece from Jenny Holt, Freelance Parenting and Health Writer
How to Keep Our Kids Safe on the Roads
Sometimes parenthood can feel like a rollercoaster of anxiety – after all, there are so many things that can go wrong in the course of a day, especially when our kids are away at school or out with friends. Danger from our highways is one of these risks, and in this case, our fears are well-grounded: car accidents are the number one cause of death of both children and adults in the US today. Fortunately, there are measures we can take to help our children behave more safely, whether in the car as passengers, as pedestrians, or when driving or cycling on the road themselves.
Road safety starts with caring for our babies and toddlers when they’re strapped into our cars, by purchasing a safe infant seat that protects them harm. Always ensure that the seat you buy is appropriate for the age of your child – the fact that these seemingly simple devices save the lives of over 260 children every year is testament to how important buying the right one is. Make sure it’s fitted correctly in your car and that your baby is fastened securely inside.
The key to safe road habits for kids later in life is instilling respect and automatically safe behavior in children from a very young age. From as early as two years old, you can start explaining how to look both ways when you cross the street, never run around cars or into the roads, and always to wear a seatbelt: when you realize that 35% of children killed in traffic accidents weren’t wearing seatbelts at the time of the crash, this last point becomes particularly important. Make these consistent habits, and always model good safe behavior around kids by not jaywalking, driving recklessly, giving in to road rage, or being careless around moving cars.
Once our teenagers start to claim their independence and learn to drive themselves, the risks of the road only multiply, making this stage particularly crucial in terms of parent involvement. If you’ve laid a solid foundation by setting a good example with your own behavior in and around vehicles, you’re doing well. But you still need to directly address the fact that drink driving, as well as loss of concentration and showing off to friends in the car, are leading causes of teenage fatality in the US. Create a culture of respect around driving to keep your teenagers safe.
More About Jenny
Jenny Holt is a freelance writer and mother of two. She loves nothing more than getting away from it and taking her pet Labrador Bruce for long walks, something she can do a lot more now she’s left the corporate world behind.
For more information, go to http://www.bellpollockinjury. com/child-driving-safety- guide/.