Children safer riding with grandparents, statistics say

You can rest easy the next time Grandma gives your child a ride. Children are possibly much safer riding in cars driven by their grandparents, a new study suggests.

A doctor at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia looked at the data of car accidentsinvolving children which was collected by State Farm insurance between 2003 and 2007. The data was reportedly compiled from information in 15 states and of about 12,000 children up to age 15. The average age of grandparents studied was 58.

The study, the doctor says, was an idea after he shuttled his first grandchild and found himself nervous at the wheel.

He says children’s injury rate was significantly lower when grandparents drove rather than parents, which was a surprising fact considering previous statistics that show older people are more at risk for accidents, according to reports.

Elderly drivers above the age of 65 are generally more likely to have car accidents than younger drivers, but the study reveals children’s risk of injury was 50 percent lower while riding with those drivers.

Researchers theorize grandparents are more nervous while driving with grandchildren, so they become more cautious and take fewer risks. Yet such statistics find grandparents are also less likely to follow some safety recommendations including those relating to car seats or seatbelts. However, this finding did not affect the rate of injuries found in the study.

According to study data, 1.05 percent of children were injured when riding with parents. When riding with grandparents, there was a 33 percent lower risk of injury and a 50 percent lower risk when other factors were considered.

Source: Pensacola News Journal, “Car ride with grandpa could prove safer than with parents,” Lindsey Tanner, 18 July 2011