Your Kids Are Safer in the Car When You're NOT in It

grandparents and toddlerGrandparents are great for so many wonderful reasons, but when it comes to your kids getting in the car with them, do you hesitate? They're older, their reflexes may not be so quick, seniors are notoriously not the best drivers ... Put those misconceptions aside, and put your kids in the car with their grandparents with no fear, as a new study says they're actually safer driving in a car with their grandparents than they are with you.

After looking at car crashes involving children in 15 states over a four-year period, Dr. Fred Henretig, emergency medicine attending physician at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, found that children were twice as safe driving with grandparents than with their parents. Hand over the wheel, mom.


Henretig explained to Time the likely reason behind the surprising disparity.

We were very surprised by the finding that most people's intuition turned out to be wrong. What we learned was that grandparents drive very, very cautiously when their grandchildren are on board, making a special effort to drive safely.

It makes sense I suppose. So often we get into the routine of daily life, trying to hand this kid water and stop that kid from kicking the other one as we roll down the road, that driving safely may not always be in the forefront of our minds. We go into autopilot in a sense. But grandparents, who likely don't drive children as often, would understandably be thinking safety first. Researchers also noted that grandparents typically drive slower than parents, and that they're also not often driving on long trips on the highway when many accidents happen.

One area in which grandparents didn't perform so well was in following car seat guidelines -- 25 percent failed to strap kids in properly, while 19 percent of parents did. Researchers say if grandparents can improve on that aspect of car safety, children will be even safer with them.

Of course, you know your child's grandparents better than one study, so if you have seen them drive unsafely, you obviously don't want to put your child in the car with them. But if you've always hesitated before based on what you think you know about grandparents and driving, this study may give you some comfort ... and relief from driving once in awhile.

Do you worry about your children's grandparents driving them? Does this study make you feel differently?

Image via madgerly/Flickr

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