Keeping Tweens Buckled in the Back

They are our future safe drivers: children ages 8 to 12 who have been dubbed “tweens” and are at an age of learning to make their own decisions and developing the habits they will carry for a lifetime. Always staying buckled up and sitting in the back seat are the two best ways for tweens to ride safely in the car. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, tweens die in car crashes at a rate of more than one each day, and many more tweens are injured every year. About half of those who died were not wearing a seat belt, and a third of them were sitting in the front seat.

The Automotive Coalition for Traffic safety has funded two projects aimed at tween passenger safety. Following are some of their findings and what parents can do to keep tweens buckled safely in the back:

WHAT TWEENS WANT

WHAT’S A PARENT TO DO?

Tweens sit in the front because they want comfort and control – especially over the in-car entertainment. Let them make the musical selection. Make a deal with your child: If the child sits buckled in back, he or she can pick the entertainment. Otherwise, it’s the all-news network or hits from the 70′s. Also, give tweens something to do. Store electronic games in the back seat and make games in the front seat off limits.
Tweens want to be like their peers. Point out to your tween how common it is for someone their age to ride in the backseat. Share your philosophy about seating buckled in the back with other parents in your community. Help make it the norm.
Tweens report being influenced a great deal by their parents. Tweens do what you do – if you buckle up, they are more likely to do the same.