This is a social good post written on behalf of the the Ad Council and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Car seat safety has always been important to me. There are enough dangers in the world without us intentionally putting our kids at risk. That’s why I’ve always kept my kids safe with the appropriate car seats and then making sure they were buckled up in seat belts when they were older.
Every 33 seconds a child under 13 is involved in a car crash in the United States. For younger children, car seats can dramatically reduce the risk of fatality or injury – but over half of car seats are either installed or used incorrectly. For older children, buckling up is critical. A full 50% of children age 8-14 who were killed in car crashes from 2011-2015 were not restrained.
That’s why we want parents and caregivers to know about the importance of making sure their child is safely restrained—whether that’s selecting the right car seat for their child’s age and size, or making sure that older kids (8-14) always buckle their seat belts and sit in the backseat.
As parents, we all want to do the right thing to keep our children safe and sound. This spring, the Ad Council and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are unveiling new PSAs to address these important issues. First, is the up-to-date car seat safety information like the tips found in the fun new video series “The Wide World of Car Seats.”
The right car seat can make all the difference in a motor vehicle crash. And car crashes are a leading cause of death for children 1 to 13 years old. But despite their best intentions, many parents may not realize their child isn’t in the right seat. For example, many parents move their children to the next restraint type (car seat, booster seat, seat belt) too soon. To make sure you have the right seat for your child, visit SaferCar.gov/TheRightSeat.
And just when you think you’ve got this parenting thing down, your child becomes a “tween” and you enter a whole new world. To help with travel safety, 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.
How do you talk to your children about seat belts? My kids have known since they were young about that car seats and seat belts are not negotiable, 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.
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, but again, this is not negotiable for kids too young for the front seat.
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 conversation on social media using: #KidsBuckleUp.