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Grandparents Have Better Driving Record Than Parents When Driving Children

Study shows children may be safer driving with their grandparents than their own parents.

Study shows children may be safer driving with their grandparents than their own parents.

Research published this week in the journal Pediatrics comes to the conclusion that children may in fact be safer when driving with their grandparents than with their own parents, results that come as a great surprise to many. The study found that children had half the risk of being injured in car crashes with grandparents as the drivers, as compared to crashes involving their own parents.

The Partners for Child Passenger Safety Study looked at the data for crashes involving children between the years 2003 and 2007 who were under 16 years old, with vehicles which were insured by State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company. This involved analyzing data involving almost 12,000 children involved in crashes with injuries reported to 1,302 children. The study noted who was driving at the time of the accident.

Results showed that the type of injuries were similar with head injuries being the most common, followed by injuries to limbs, chest and abdomen. Spinal column injuries were less frequent.

The researches then compared the number of children involved in crashes when parents were driving as compared to when grandparents were the drivers, and found to their surprise that the overall risk of injury was about one third lower when grandparents were the drivers.

The lead study researcher Dr. Fred M. Henretig, is a pediatrician and emergency room physician at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and also a grandfather himself. His hypothesis at the start of the study was that grandchildren were at greater risk when driving with their grandparents than with their parents. This was based on factors such as the age of the vehicle used, the installation of the seat belts, and the decline of driving ability for older drivers.

However, the results showed that only about 0.7 per cent of children were hurt when riding with grandparents, compared to 1-05 per cent of children driving with their parents, which gives a risk reduction of about 33 per cent. When other factors such as age, the use of a child restraint and crash characteristics were taken into account, this percentage rose to 50 per cent.

There may be a variety of reasons for this, but more research is necessary says Henretig, but it may be that grandparents are so much more aware of the precious nature of their cargo, or they may drive during less busy times of the day. The researchers also note that child seats were not always installed correctly for grandparents’ vehicles.

This study only used data from one insurance company, but the data is the largest used in a study of this kind.

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Pat has a lifelong passion for home and garden, cultivating her own extensive lawns and gardens and providing interior decorating advice.

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