As a mom of 4 and all of them now in the preteen/teen years I can tell you I struggle every day with the typical teenage issues. One of those issues is being buckled up and wear they sit in the car. (Oh My GOSH every day is a fight over the front seat. Moms you know LOL) My hard and fast rule though is being bucked up and they have to be 14 to sit in the front seat. I won’t even leave the drive way unless they are even if it is just to drive down the road to the bus stop which is less then a 10th of a mile.
Did you know that from 2011 to 2015, an estimated 343,000 children age 8-14 were injured while traveling in passenger vehicles, and an additional 1,692 children died? A full 50% of those who died were unrestrained at the time of the crash. Those are sobering statistics and as a parent of children that fall into that age bracket, I can only imagine asking the question, “What if they had been buckled up?”
This spring, the Ad Council and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are unveiling new PSAs featuring characters from Fox’s upcoming summer road trip adventure Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul. The PSAs remind parents and caregivers that even if kids argue and plead, parents should stand firm and always insist that their kids buckle up and sit in the back seat (the safest place for kids under the age of 13).
I’ve been training my kids since they were young about the importance of seat belt and travel safety, so luckily I don’t have to work very hard to convince them to be safe. It’s just expected. That expectation doesn’t mean I assume my kids are buckled up, I always check in the mirror and listen for the familiar click. I’ve also noticed that buckling up is not always automatic when we have friends in the car. I’m not afraid to require everyone in my car to buckle up and find that most kids are willing to do it when asked.
My kids have also observed their friends being allowed to ride in the front seat inside the neighborhood which has led to begging and pleading for front seat privileges. When my oldest daughter was just an infant, a 12 year old boy was killed in a low impact collision in a local grocery store parking lot. He was sitting in the front seat, which is more dangerous for kids. This experience has stuck with me and reminds me that my children’s safety is far more important than my popularity for the day or week. So it’s easy for me to know that this is a battle I’m willing to fight every day
Per data from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), an estimated 69,000 tweens are injured every year in car crashes and 61% of 14-year-old children killed in 2015 car crashes were unrestrained at the time of the crash. Even though life as a parent is full of compromises, seat belt safety should never be up for negotiation. That’s why the new PSAs encourage us to: “Never give up until they buckle up!”
For more information or if you need more tips to convince your tween to buckle up, visit If you have a great tip, join the conversion on social media using: #KidsBuckleUp.