The July issue of The Official Journal of American Pediatrics introduces an interesting discovery about kids and auto accidents. And what started out as a study of child restraint use by grandparents vs. parents has instead turned up an overall crash injury statistic that may surprise parents.
So, what did they find? Children riding in cars driven by their grandparents have a 50% lower risk of being injured in an auto accident than when riding in cars driven by their parents.
Yes, we reacted with the same thoughts! “But grandma and grandpa have bad eyesight! And they don’t keep up with the flow of traffic. They don’t know how to drive!” We know some of you parents even try to reduce the amount of time your kids spend in a car alone with their grandparents, because you think they drive so poorly.
Or do they? As it turns out, grandma and grandpa are in fact doing something right when it comes to chauffeuring the grand kids around town. But what is it?
The types of accident injuries sustained by the kids reviewed in the study were essentially the same regardless of who was driving at the time of the auto accident. Head injuries, limb injuries, chest and abdominal injuries, and spinal injuries were incurred by the same percentages of subjects whether they were driven by their parents or their grandparents. Additionally, the types of accidents studied were similar. Even the types of vehicles studied were similar.
There is one anomaly, though, and it comes from a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report called 2005 Traffic Safety Facts Research Note: Misuse of Child Restraints. This particular study found that 73% of grandparents improperly used child restraints, used older and less effective restraints or didn’t restrain their grandchildren at all when driving.
The reason fewer kids are injured in accidents when a grandparent is driving remains a mystery! Statistical data are in opposition to what we believe should be the outcome of this study and researchers already know there need to be future studies on this subject. Perhaps grandparents drive with immeasurable extra caution or work harder at paying attention to traffic and road signs when the grand kids are in the car. Maybe grandparents have special access to guardian angels.
The study “Grandparents Driving Grandchildren: An Evaluation of Child Passenger Safety and Injuries” was conducted as part of The Partners for Child Passenger Safety Study that began in 1998 and concluded in 2007. Data from almost 12,000 children age 15 or younger were analyzed. Accidents that occurred between Jan. 15, 2003, and Nov. 30, 2007, were revisited by researchers via insurance reports and follow up calls.
If your parents and minor child have been in a crash, it doesn’t matter how minor their injuries are, contact your auto accident attorney in Colorado Springs for a review of the case.