People often become much more committed to safe driving practices once they have children. It is easy for drivers to take their own safety for granted, but people will slow down, consider built-in safety systems when purchasing a vehicle and otherwise adjust their driving habits for the safety of their children once they have a family of their own.
Most parents have heard that car crashes are a major safety concern for their children and would like to reduce those risks. They buy the safest vehicle they can and redouble their efforts to follow traffic laws. Unfortunately, parents frequently overlook one of the biggest safety issues they will face, which is specifically the distraction caused by having their children in their vehicle.
How are children a source of distraction?
Parents often adjust to the constant demand for attention posed by their children by multi-tasking. They can tune out arguments between siblings and quickly evaluate the sounds a child makes when they cry to determine if it is an injury-related cry or an attempt to get attention.
Children in vehicles are often unhappy to be there. They may find riding in the car boring or may dislike the destination, such as school or a childcare facility. Children can distract their parents by screaming and kicking, picking fights with their siblings, making loud noises or asking intense questions.
Parents who try to divide their attention between the children in the backseat and the road in front of them might have a delay in their response to changing traffic situations that endangers them and their passengers. They might reach back to offer a snack or pick up a toy. They may look in the mirror to make eye contact with an older child. All of these actions are potentially dangerous distractions that could cause a wreck.
How can parents minimize the distractions that children create?
There are multiple ways for parents to reduce their risk of distraction while driving with children in their vehicle.
Taking the time to set the children up with entertainment during the drive could be a very smart move. Having and enforcing clear rules about how the children behave in the vehicle is also important. Children won’t be as likely to kick the seat in front of them or scream for a parent’s attention if they know they will face a consequence for doing so.
Ultimately, keeping safety your top priority whenever you are in the vehicle with your children will help protect you and them from a distraction-related motor vehicle collision.