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A new survey by Safe Kids Worldwide and the General Motors Foundation finds that more than one-fifth of parents – 21% — think it’s acceptable to drive with their child unrestrained if they are not driving far.  Yet more than 60% of crashes involving children occur within 10 minutes of home, according to The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Center for Injury Research and Prevention.

The June national online survey was taken of 1,002 parents and caregivers of children ages 10 and under.  Study uncovered more affluent parents, more educated parents, fathers and younger parents were more likely to allow children to ride unrestrained. For example, 34% of parents with an annual household income of $100,000 or more said it was sometimes acceptable to skip restraints compared with just 15% of parents making less than $35,000. Parents with graduate degrees were twice as likely as parents with a high school education – 20% to 10% — to allow their children to ride unrestrained.

The Safe Kids organization (www.safekids.org) offers parents of young children three key pieces of advice:

  •  Buckle up children on every ride, every time.
  •  Talk to other parents who are driving your kids about the importance of buckling up.
  •  Check that the right child safety seat is being used and that it’s installed properly.

 In addition, parents should never treat buckling up as a punishment, that good behavior should not be rewarded by allowing unrestrained travel.  Proper restraints should be automatic for everyone in a vehicle.

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