When I was pregnant I researched car seats. And as my babies grew, I was committed to making sure they were safe while they were riding in any vehicles. I kept an eye on the laws and the height and weight limits for their car seats. Now with my children being older, I’m still very vigilant, even though my oldest is going to be 12 in September, my middle child is 9 and in a booster seat, and my youngest child is going to be 7 in August and is also now in a booster seat. 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 kids love the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series so we can even watch the PSAs together—and I can remind them to buckle up safely, just like some of their favorite characters. Are your kids’ fans of the series?
How do you talk to your kids about seat belts? My kids know that they must buckle up before I will even start our minivan. I do a visual check before I even start my engine. It was easier when I put them in car seats myself and buckled them up, but they are pretty independent now. I still have to buckle in my youngest child, who can’t really buckle himself in yet.
While my almost 14-year-old niece is allowed to ride in the front seat of her parents’ cars, we haven’t allowed that yet. I’m okay with saying no to that for my kids — my 11-year-old is still way too young. Even though my son has asked to sit in the front seat, I’m going to keep saying no for at least 3 more years. This is a battle he’s not going to win.
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.
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