What would you think if you heard that another parent refused to let their teenage child borrow the car after catching them driving without a seat belt? Would you think it was a bit of an overreaction or a perfectly rational decision?
As parents, you sometimes need to make tough and unpopular calls to protect your child. Car journeys are one of the times when your kids are most at risk, and if they refuse to keep themselves safe, you need to consider all options to ensure they do.
Spinal fractures are a major risk in car crashes
A recent study found that two out of every three spinal fractures among those under 18 years of age occurred in car crashes. Two out of three of the kids who suffered these were not wearing a seat belt.
The study also discovered that 63% of spinal fractures in children occurred among kids 15 to 17 years of age. Why that age group? Because that is when they and their friends start driving. Their inexperience and lack of maturity make crashing more likely than when they are a few years older or still being driven around by their parents.
Preventing spinal fractures is not the only reason to insist on a seat belt
- Here are some other statistics that show the role seat belts play in protecting kids:
- The risk of severe injuries or death rises from 29% with one on to 71% without one
- The risk of dying drops 20% when kids belt up
Your child may feel confident in their driving ability. However, you can never account for other drivers’ actions. Far better your child is upset with you for a few days than they are seriously injured, and you need to spend months fighting for the massive compensation a severe car crash injury will require.