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Why injury? It's this simple: more children die from injuries every year than from the next three leading causes of death combined. Nobody knows this because no one is talking about it. In the U.S., one child dies every hour from an injury that could have been prevented. Around the world, a child dies every 30 seconds as the result of an injury. You don’t need to have a child to know that we can do better.

 

Teen Driver Safety: It Starts With Parents

Guest Blogger

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You are your child’s best role model. From the moment he is born, your child is watching you interact with the world and make choices. Each year, National Teen Driver Safety Week reminds parents and guardians that they are important sources for creating safe teenage drivers.

Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers ages 15-19 years. For worried parents, it’s often hard to compete with the freedom and excitement young drivers feel when they get their licenses. Graduated driver licensing laws now exist in every state to help teens ease into the responsibility of driving. These laws often limit the hours at night a teen may drive, the number of people allowed in a teen’s car, and the number of practice hours required to earn a full license, but parents can also take simple steps to help their teens make safe driving choices.

Start by talking to your kids about the decisions you are making while you drive. Many of the silent actions we take may not be noticed by teens learning to drive. Explain how you look for hazards, check rear view mirrors, and adjust speed for road conditions and other factors. Other tips include:

  • Set a good example when you drive.  Always follow traffic and safety laws. Use a seat belt every time you are in the car.  Drive the speed limit. Do not drive while drowsy, impaired, or distracted. 
  • Check your state’s laws that apply to your teen, such as limits on the number of people a teen may have in the car and the hours teens may drive.
  • Practice with your teen in difficult situations, such as driving in heavy traffic, during different weather patterns, and at night. Stay calm and patient and give helpful feedback. Offer praise when your teen makes good decisions.
  • A parent-teen driving contract, available here, will set clear rules and consequences if rules are broken. Make sure the contract requires seat belt use for each person in the car at all times, no cell phones or electronic devices, and checking in with parents. 
  • Ask your teen’s doctor if any of the medicine he is taking might affect how he drives.
  • Remember that age alone is not a sign your teen is ready to drive. You know your child best. If she takes too many risks or does not pay attention to details, she may not be ready to drive.

 

This post is courtesy of Prevent Child Injury, a national group of organizations and individuals, including researchers, health professionals, educators, and child advocates, who work together to prevent injuries to children and adolescents in the U.S. In collaboration with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Prevent Child Injury promotes coordinated communication to the public about prevention of child injury, which is the leading cause of death of our nation’s youth. To become a member of Prevent Child Injury or for more information and resources on this and other injury topics, please visit www.preventchildinjury.org.

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