To the delight of grandparents everywhere, it turns out that their claim that their grandchildren are safer when THEY drive the car might just be correct. It turns out that grandchildren are less likely to be injured in an auto accident when Grandma or Grandpa are the ones driving.
A study to be published August 1 in the journal Pediatrics reviewed insurance data on motor vehicle accidents from January 2003 to November of 2007 where at least one person under the age of 16 was in the car. The data revealed surprising results: children appeared to be 50% less likely to be injured in an accident when the grandparents were driving than when the parents were driving. This held true even despite the fact that older adults (especially those over 65) are more likely overall to be involved in car crashes — and also despite the fact that grandparents appear to be less savvy at appropriate child automobile safety. Grandparents appeared more likely to misuse child restraint systems or even ignore safety rules overall (ie. putting a child in the front seat before they’ve reached appropriate height or weight or even seating a grandchild on their lap while driving.)
The study does point out various factors as to why kids are less likely to be injured when riding with grandparents. It’s possible that older people are more cautious drivers overall. It’s also possible that the reality of carrying “precious cargo” may cause them to purposely drive more cautiously.
What to take away from this? Feel relieved and reassured that your kids are in safe hands with Grandma and Grandpa driving the car — once you give them a brush-up on the appropriate use of child restraint systems while driving, of course.
Photo Credit: Joe Shlabotnik on Flickr