Road Injury Prevention Litigation Journal
Road Injury Prevention & Litigation Journal
March, 2001
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Grandparents! Buckle Those Kids!

(This article is reproduced, with permission, from the September/October 1999 (Volume 6, Number 5) issue of Progress Report, a publication of the American Automobile Association (AAA) Foundation for Traffic Safety. AAA publications can also be found at their website:

Are your children safe when they ride with their grandparents? An independent nationwide poll on child passenger safety reveals that 21 percent of grandparents--one in five--say they "never" use a child safety seat when they have their grandchildren as passengers. The poll, commissioned by automaker Nissan North American, Inc., was released in early September.

The poll brings to light the fact that child safety awareness is more than just a parent issue. Studies indicate more than 5 million grandparents in the United States serve as primary child care providers, usually for their working children. In fact, 40 percent of grandparents reported that their grandchildren rode with them an average of three or more times per month.

This makes the lack of safety seats particularly troubling. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, properly installed child safety seats can reduce the risk of crash death by 69 percent for infants and 47 percent for toddlers.

An earlier child safety seat survey conducted by Nissan asked parents of children aged six and under about their safety seat use. Just 12 percent of parents said they never used a safety seat--still too many, but better than their elders.

"Many advances have been made in the car seat safety arena since grandparents, and even their own children, were little," says Stephanie Tombrello, executive director of SafetyBelt-SafeUSA. "That's why it's more important than ever for grandparents to be properly informed on child seat safety, in order to help safeguard today's children in the car."

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