Study: Distracted parents putting kids at risk in the car

Study: Distracted parents putting kids at risk in the car

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OAK PARK, Mich. (WJBK) -

Teen drivers aren't the only ones distracted behind the wheel.

A new survey from the University of Michigan finds many parents are putting their precious cargo at risk while driving.

"Our results indicate parents are frequently distracted while driving their 1- to 12-year-old children, and these distracted drivers were more likely to have been in a crash," said lead author Michelle L. Macy, MD, MS, FAAP, clinical lecturer in the Departments of Emergency Medicine and Pediatrics at University of Michigan and C.S. Mott Children's Hospital.

Parents were surveyed while their children were being treated at one of two Michigan emergency rooms for any reason. Participants were asked how often they engaged in distracting behaviors while driving with their child over the last month. These behaviors included talking on the phone (hands-free or handheld), texting/surfing the Internet, self-care (grooming, eating) child care (picking up a toy, feeding their child), getting directions (navigation system, map) and changing a CD or DVD.

Parents also were asked whether they use a seatbelt, what type of restraint their child uses and their motivation to use the recommended restraint for their child's size. Demographic information, including race, education and income, also was collected.

Responses to questions on distracted driving showed the following:


- Almost 90 percent of drivers reported engaging in at least one technology-based distraction while driving their child in the past month, and most drivers reported engaging in four of the 10 distractions asked about in the study.

- Drivers who reported engaging in distracting behaviors were more likely to report having ever been in a crash.

- Drivers of children who were not restrained in an age-appropriate restraint based on Michigan law (car seat for children ages 1-3, car seat or booster seat for those 4-7 years old, booster seat or seat belt for 8- to 12-year-olds) had 2.5 times higher odds of reporting a child-related distraction than drivers of children who were restrained in accordance with Michigan law.

To read more on 'Distracted Drivers, at Risk Child Passengers,' click here.

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