Many parents multi-task while driving kids, U-M study finds

Survey shows child passengers often in cars with distracted drivers; many youngsters also not in the right size safety seat

Many parents are putting their precious cargo at risk while driving, according to survey results that will be presented May 5 and 6 at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Washington, DC.

Researchers from the University of Michigan surveyed more than 600 parents to find out what distractions they face while driving with their children, whether they use age-appropriate child restraints and if they had ever been in a motor vehicle accident.

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.

“Lots of attention has been given to distracted teen drivers. However, 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.

Read more here.

Web Address: http://uofmhealth.org/news/archive/201305/many-parents-multi-task-while-driving-kids

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