One in 4 parents said that they have driven without their children buckled in a car seat or booster seat, according to a new car-safety study.
The Buckle Up: Every Ride, Every Time study, conducted by Safe Kids Worldwide as part of a $2 million grant from the General Motors Foundation, was released earlier this week as part of National Child Passenger Safety Week.
While the number of kids dying in car crashes has dropped by 58 percent since 1987, it is still the leading cause of death to children. One-third of the children killed in 2011 -- the most recent data available -- were riding without a child safety seat or a seat belt that could have prevented their deaths, and this latest research indicates the trend may be headed in the wrong direction. Even car accidents that don't result in fatalities can wreak havoc with car insurance rates, not to mention medical needs, unnecessarily complicating a family's life.
The online survey of 1,002 parents and caregivers of children 10 and younger also asked if it was acceptable to a child to ride unrestrained in a car in certain situations. About 21 percent of respondents said it was acceptable to drive with an unrestrained child if they were not driving far, and 16 percent felt it was acceptable to ride unrestrained on an overnight trip.
These findings were particularly disturbing in that 60 percent of crashes involving kids occur on trips that were 10 minutes or less from home, and overnight drives are the time period when children are most likely to be injured in a car crash, says Safe Kids Worldwide.
Do you allow your kids to travel in the car without a seat belt?
Tara Baukus Mello writes the cars blog as well as the weekly Driving for Dollars column, providing both practical financial advice for consumers as well as insight into the latest developments in the automotive world. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter @SheDrives.