When you are driving with loved ones, especially with children in the car, the cargo load seems a lot more precious. Most of the time … but a newly released study has shown that the little squeals, screams and demands coming for your toddler or child may be endangering you and the rest of your family more than you think.
We know that distracted driving is dangerous; claiming over 3,400 lives in 2015 and the statistics continue to climb. An article published by ABC News states that the texting, calling and emailing may not be the most dangerous distraction after all – it may be your very own child. An Australian research team found that children are 12 times more distracting than talking on a cell phone.
Common Causes of Distracted Driving
The most common distractions parents deal with:
- Crying babies
- Screaming toddlers
- Toddlers unbuckling themselves
- Fighting siblings
- Children demanding snacks
- Children spilling drinks in the vehicle
- Children dropping toys and asking for them
- Children throwing objects into the front seat
- Teenagers who are rowdy in the backseat
While we can’t necessarily avoid traveling with our children, there are ways to avoid or counteract these behaviors while operating a vehicle. This is important not only for parents, but also babysitters, nannies and grandparents, who are transporting children.
Avoid an Accident Because of Distracted Driving
The best thing parents and caregivers can do is to set boundaries immediately before and during the car ride in order to prevent car wrecks. Here are a few examples to help your family and loved ones stay safe:
- Schedule trips during naptime so your child sleeps in the car.
- Eliminate solids. Children are more likely to choke on solids.
- Make a rule that you do not pick-up dropped items while behind the wheel.
- Feed your children before you leave the house.
- If you have children in diapers, make sure they’re changed and dry before heading out the door.
- Invest in a portable DVD player or provide tablets to help keep children occupied.
- Do not text while driving; especially when children are in the vehicle. They notice!!
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We know that you can’t “control” the behavior of your baby, child or young adult, but setting up boundaries and expectations during a car ride is important for the safety of everyone in the vehicle. Please take these suggestions into consideration and stay focused on the road – no matter how cute he or she looks in their car seat.