Never Give Up Until They Buckle Up: Tween Car Safety
As my children are getting older, I have noticed that they seem to lose a sense of heightened safety in the car. They seem to think that since they are out of car seats that it’s OK to unbuckle themselves when they want to and we have already started having arguments about when they are old enough to sit in the front seat. They are far from old enough.
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).
My 8 year old son just finished reading the entire Diary of a Wimpy Kid series and his 6 year old sister is eager to start the series too. We’re so excited about the movie! Since the kids love the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, we watch the PSAs together—and I can remind them to buckle up safely, just like some of their favorite characters!
How do you talk to your children about seat belts?
I’ve been training my kids since they were young about the importance of seat belt and travel safety, so luckily I don’t have to work very hard to convince them to be safe. It’s just expected. That expectation doesn’t mean I assume my kids are buckled up, I always check in the mirror and listen for the familiar click. I’ve also noticed that buckling up is not always automatic when we have friends in the car. I’m not afraid to require everyone in my car to buckle up and find that most kids are willing to do it when asked.
I actually take the time to still buckle up both of my kids in the backseat, this way I know it is done properly. The kids know that they can unbuckle themselves when I pull into a parking spot and the car is no longer moving.
My kids have also observed their friends being allowed to ride in the front seat inside the neighborhood which has led to begging and pleading for front seat privileges. The front seat is more dangerous for kids.
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.