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Does Your Tween Always Buckle Up?

As many San Diego parents are likely well aware, the preadolescent or “tween” years can be challenging. While it is often essential to pick your battles, not wearing a seat belt should never be an option. Seat belts are essential to safe driving — one in three children who died in motor vehicle crashes in 2011 were not buckled up.

To highlight this message, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently launched its first national advertising campaign aimed at parents of children ages 8-14. The goal is to highlight the importance of consistently and properly wearing their seat belt every time the car is moving.

“Buckling up is an important habit to instill in children at a young age. As parents, we need to lead by example and reinforce the message to make sure it sticks,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “This campaign urges parents to never give up until their kids buckle up.”

As we have previously discussed on this Blog, motor vehicle injuries are a leading cause of death among children in the United States. Over the past five years, 1,552 kids between the ages of 8 and 14 died in traffic collisions. Of those who died, almost half were not buckled up. While seat belts are proven to save lives, children are less likely to buckle up as they age.

More specifically, NHTSA focus group research confirms that seat belt use can become lax when transporting children to and from school and activities, when making short trips to the store, or when parents become worn down by the daily grind. However, the agency also found that it’s critically important that tweens appreciate the importance of wearing a seatbelt early, so buckling up will ultimately be second nature.

The NHTSA campaign includes television, radio, outdoor, print and digital advertisements, many of which are directed towards parents. “You’re the driver. The one in control. Stand firm. Just wait. And move only when you hear the click that says they’re buckled in for the drive,” one advertisement states.

If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a car accident, don’t hesitate to contact a San Diego personal injury attorney at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free consultation.