Research Shows That When Caregivers Buckle Up, Children Do, Too

seat belt safety

September 15-21 is Child Passenger Safety (CPS) Week. One way to protect your child now and in the future is for you to make sure you and everyone who rides with you is buckled up on every trip. Why is this?

Research shows that when caregivers buckle up, kids do, too.

Remember, children learn by example. They see whether we adults buckle up. If using a seat belt is not a priority for the parent, it’s likely won’t be a priority for the child. In 2017, when drivers involved in fatal crashes were unrestrained, 7 of 10 children in those crashes were also unrestrained.

Think about it this way: you are already teaching your child how to drive. They will notice if you don’t buckle up, if you’re distracted, if you drive aggressively. Be a good role model and you will raise a safer driver!

What about car seats?

It’s important to choose the right seat for your child’s age, height, and weight, and to install and use it properly.

Most kids start out life buckled up, when they leave the hospital as a newborn in a car seat. Unfortunately, research shows that with each passing year, parents and caregivers become less diligent about making sure their child is in the right seat, buckled safely, for every ride. As the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states, “Being consistent with car seat use is good parenting, reduces fussing and complaints, and is safest for your child.”

Remember that children in car seats, booster seats, or seat belts are safest in the back seat at least through age 12.

Need help?

A car seat fitting station is a free and convenient way to have your child’s safety seat inspected by a Nationally Certified CPS Technician like me. We give parents and caregivers personal instructions on the proper selection, harnessing, installation and use of their car seats and answer other questions about child passenger safety. Check the website www.beseatsmart.comto find a car seat fitting station or event near you.

Other resources about keeping your kids safe in the car (and on the road) include:

Maureen Johnson, CSP, CPST-I, is a Child Passenger Safety Specialist at the University of Vermont Medical Center.

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