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  1. #1
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    Reducing time in the car?

    I'm interested in promoting reduction of time spent in the car as another way to help prevent the injuries and deaths of kids in autos. What do you all think?

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  3. #2
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  4. #3
    Admin - CPS Technician Emeritus UlrikeDG's Avatar
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    It's an interesting premise. I'm not sure how effective something like that would be. I don't think that most parents take their kids in the car any more than absolutely necessary. My 3 year old occasionally asks to accompany me on errands when I'd otherwise leave her at home with DH, but that's maybe once a month.

    Also, the 2 year old in the picture from that article appears to be improperly restrained. Her coat is very bulky, the straps don't appear to be tightened snugly, and it looks like the seat isn't tightly installed either.
    Ulrike, mom to:
    Roman (3/98), Evalina (3/00), Nadia (3/03), and Kira (11/07)


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  5. #4
    Senior Community Member scatterbunny's Avatar
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    It is a nice idea, but honestly, I feel that as long as my daughter is properly restrained in a 5 point harness, she is safer in the car than I am. If she enjoys running errands with me, I see no reason to refuse. I may feel differently once she's in a belt positioning booster, or even when she's older and using just the vehicle seat belts. Knowing what I know now, I wish all vehicle seats were equipped with 5 point harnesses, lol.

    And I just have to say OH MY GOSH! at the lack of responsible journalism, if they are going to put an article out there about child passenger safety, they should at the VERY least make sure they are portraying it correctly. Both of those children have on totally inappropriate attire for carseats. In the event of an accident, all that puffy material will compress, leaving dangerous slack in the harness, which can cause serious injury or even ejection from the carseat. Not only that, the strap looks twisted, and the chest clip is positioned too low.
    ~Jenny

    "When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people." ~Abraham Joshua Hesche

  6. #5
    Mommy2Cias
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    Well, not being in the car isn't an option for my son. Unless I don't leave the house Mon-thurs. Which isn't possible..... We live in the middle of no-where and everything is at least 45 minutes away.. Plus once a week trips to MOPS groups (a 50 minute drive) or bible study (a 1 hour drive in the opposite direction of MOPS)... My kid has no choice but to be in the car.. I don't know anyone here and refuse to leave him with someone I don't know really well.... It's a nice concept-hiring someone to watch your kid while you do errands and stuff-but it's not always feasible.. Besides, for some kids it is the only way they get to spend time w/thier parents....

    Janice

  7. #6
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    Thanks to both of you who mentioned that the photo had an inappropriate photograph. It is nice to be reminded to check that kind of thing because I have sent that article to CPSafety in an effort to encourage them to print a similar article on their web-site.

    I disagree that “most” parents have limited car time down to the bare necessities. I admire those parents immensely but I know many, many parents who seem to not even consider it. I do, however, think that an awareness campaign, which includes all the additional benefits of limiting time in the car would add to parents considering altering their lifestyle to limit time in the car.

    One of these added benefits may be that parents, too, spend less time in the car because as you all know, parents are also not safe in the car, statistically speaking.

    The article I posted focuses around the DC area where I was just recently vacationing and I saw, first hand, who many children spend hours in the car. The article suggests that children in that area may spend two to three hours per DAY in the car! I the DC area this means on heavily used commuter highways, not country roads.

    The biggest incentive for encouraging parents from spending time in the car with their kids is the safety issue. From my perspective (correct me if I’m wrong) car seats are getting safer and are being used more effectively and consistently by more and more kids and yet the statistics of childhood deaths and injuries continues to rise. This is because kids are spending more and more time in the car.

  8. #7
    CPSDarren - Admin SafeDad's Avatar
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    In general, I don't think child deaths from motor vehicle crashes have been increasing. I believe there is a slight overall downward trend (http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/wisqars/).

    A properly installed and used child seat in the back is likely to make the child a lot safer than the parent in the front seat. Unfortunately, misuse rates continue to be around the 90% mark and don't seem to be improving much.

    I think this is a great idea, but changing lifestyles is a very difficult task. Bicycling lobbies have spent great amounts of money and effort to advocate bicycle use, yet I doubt they have put a dent into daily commuter traffic:-(

  9. #8
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    Hi,

    I think this is an interesting article. But, I have to add that an accident can happen anytime, anywhere, and when you least expect it. This is why it is so important to make sure everyone in the vehicle is properly restrained each and every trip. Limiting a child's time in the car would lower the probablilty of a crash, I suppose. However, a child who is limited to travel in a car, let's use once per week, is just as likely to be involved in a crash that one day then they are any other day. Sadly, while there are factors that cause a crash, there is no real rhymn or reason as to WHEN they happen. I can see the point of this article, but wanted to add that they only way to be 100% safe on the road is to never step tire out of the driveway. That just isn't practicle.

    Thanks for passing along this article. It's always good to get a new perspective on CPS safety.

    Sara

  10. #9
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    Thanks CPSDarren,

    I went to the site you posted and it does show a slight down turn! Wonderful news. It does conflict with some things that I've read but the sorce seems like one of the best.

    I would like to add that when I speak of changing lifestyle habits I don’t necessarily mean moving to a big city or biking all over town. I’m talking about small changes like reducing or maximizing errands, driving on safer roads and limiting driving during poor conditions, choosing activates, schools and shopping that are closer to home and living more simply in general. I’ve been doing some poking around and I see very little (if any) encouragement for parents to limit driving for any type of motivation, let alone the safety of their kids.

  11. #10
    CPSDarren - Admin SafeDad's Avatar
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    This is the problem we face every day. Many parents will wait hours in line to get their kids a flu shot. They will cut them off hamburger because of a mad cow scare. No evenings outside because of mosquitos and Lyme disease. The odds of a child dying from all these things combined are near zero. They will also do the more obvious things like putting poisons out of reach, making sure kids are supervised near a pool, etc.

    Even so, many of these same well meaning parents hardly give a though to correct carseat installation or booster use for kids over 40 pounds. Yet, motor vehicle crashes are still the #1 killer of kids ages 1-14. So why is it that this epidemic gets no publicity and doesn't generate more interest among parents? This is especially sad when there is a cure that is very effective- proper use of seatbelts and carseats...

    Cars do strange things to people. Look at reckless driving and road rage. Common sense goes out the door because there is a feeling of invincibility, even for those who are regularly calm and rational people:-(

  12. #11
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    I would like to reply to this quote buy MyLittleTyke:

    “However, a child who is limited to travel in a car, let's use once per week, is just as likely to be involved in a crash that one day then they are any other day. Sadly, while there are factors that cause a crash, there is no real rhymn or reason as to WHEN they happen.”

    I understand what you are saying and I would agree on some levels but I disagree with some other assumptions that I think your quote makes. First, I think there IS some amount of “reason” as to why deadly crashes happen. They happen much more frequently on high speed roads and under poor weather conditions. Both of these things a driver can avoid in many (not all!) circumstances.

    Because of this, I do not believe that all divers are statistically as susceptible to a deadly crash as others. Drivers going to the neighborhood supermarket are not as likely to die in an accident as drivers on the highway, for instance. And, divers who choose to go out in the late afternoon after the ice has melted are less likely to get in an accident as those who go out in the early morning when the ice is still hard.

    I bring up ice and snow especially because I have seen first hand how much has changed concerning driving in snow in just 10 years. When I was a kid back in the Baltimore/Washington area we were all snowed in for DAYS and it was FUN, by the way! I was just there for the first big winter snow and everybody was out driving. The snow didn’t stop anyone from giving it a try. All the stores were open (not just the essential ones). I mean you could go shopping in a specialty boutique during a 12 inch snowstorm…strange, no?

    Another example was my stepmother going to Target for milk. Target was about 20 minutes away from the house and there were about 5,000 places inbetween including one walking distance from the house.

    And, CPSDarren, I agree (obviously) that cars do strange things to people. They seem to encourage abuse because I think many people take them completely for granted (especially in the US where they are so inexpensive to operate!).

    I know that I’m on a rant but I just feel strongly that or modern car culture has surpassed contributing the quality of our lives and is now entering into the realm of having serious negative impact on many, many aspects of our lives including our safety.

    They've even taken snow days!

  13. #12
    Senior Community Member scatterbunny's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Unregistered
    I would like to add that when I speak of changing lifestyle habits I don’t necessarily mean moving to a big city or biking all over town. I’m talking about small changes like reducing or maximizing errands, driving on safer roads and limiting driving during poor conditions, choosing activates, schools and shopping that are closer to home and living more simply in general. I’ve been doing some poking around and I see very little (if any) encouragement for parents to limit driving for any type of motivation, let alone the safety of their kids.
    Those are all wonderful suggestions, most of which our family already does; the only ones we don't practice are 'driving on safer roads', and 'choosing...schools and shopping that are closer to home'. We live in a very rural coastal community. There are two grocery stores in town, and limited routes to get to them. To get to any cities east of us, there's ONE route to take. To get to any of the cities south of us, there's ONE route to take. Both of these routes are fairly busy state highways, so of course we don't travel them unless we have to--but our entire COUNTY is rural. The twon I live in is the largest town in this county, with a population of only 4,000. There isn't a choice in schools, either. There's two K-3 elementary schools, one 4-6 elementary school, one 7-8 junior high school, and one 9-12 high school.

    I suppose I am one of the "lucky ones" since I am a SAHM; I don't have to take my dd to and from daycare every day, we go out to places like the beach and local parks when weather permits, and she runs errands with me. Usually I combine all my errands into one day, so I can stay home and relax the rest of the week. I know I must sound naive, but it just seems like common sense for parents to do the things you have listed, when possible. It seems hard to believe that parents would cart their children around in the car all day for no good reason. Driving, especially in gridlocked freeway traffic, is not fun. For those parents that work long hours, commute long distances, live in rural communities where they must drive an hour just to reach a shopping center, it's near impossible to limit their time in the car, or their children's. Of the families with children that I know, not many of them have the money to hire a babysitter so they can run their errands.

    I really believe the increasing attention that child passenger safety is receiving is due in part to the increasing amount of time our children spend on the road. Parents are becoming more aware of the need for properly installed/used child restraints, and manufacturers are coming up with new and innovative designs to meet the consumers' needs. This is why I feel so safe with my dd in the car with me. I fully trust myself with the installation and usage of the carseat, and I also trust the many organizations that make sure there are safe products available and safe practices being adhered to.
    ~Jenny

    "When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people." ~Abraham Joshua Hesche

  14. #13
    Senior Community Member scatterbunny's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Unregistered
    I bring up ice and snow especially because I have seen first hand how much has changed concerning driving in snow in just 10 years. When I was a kid back in the Baltimore/Washington area we were all snowed in for DAYS and it was FUN, by the way! I was just there for the first big winter snow and everybody was out driving. The snow didn’t stop anyone from giving it a try. All the stores were open (not just the essential ones). I mean you could go shopping in a specialty boutique during a 12 inch snowstorm…strange, no?

    Another example was my stepmother going to Target for milk. Target was about 20 minutes away from the house and there were about 5,000 places inbetween including one walking distance from the house.

    And, CPSDarren, I agree (obviously) that cars do strange things to people. They seem to encourage abuse because I think many people take them completely for granted (especially in the US where they are so inexpensive to operate!).

    I know that I’m on a rant but I just feel strongly that or modern car culture has surpassed contributing the quality of our lives and is now entering into the realm of having serious negative impact on many, many aspects of our lives including our safety.

    They've even taken snow days!
    We had a snowstorm/icestorm last week, and for the most part, our town stayed indoors. There wasn't a lot of traffic at all, but we didn't get the brunt of the storm. The biggest city east of us is Portland, Oregon, and they had over 200 motor vehicle accidents every single day of last week; on Wednesday it was over 300! So I do get your point about people thinking they are invincible and making poor choices. I would hope these people were simply out trying to get to work though, and that they were smart enough to not take their children with them. OT, but Portland's mayor was on the news every day except for one of this storm, telling people they should go out in the storm and try to get to work! She said if she could get to work, so could everyone else. I sort of had a problem with that--the accident statistics prove that people shouldn't have been driving.

    About your stepmother going 20 minutes away to get milk--was it cheaper there than at the other stores that were closer? We live on $1,250 a month (which, sadly, is more than most in our community; dh makes $11/hour as a certified welder, but if we were to move to a large city, he'd make at least $16/hour, but that's one of the trade offs for getting to live in a small town). After paying bills, we're lucky to have $150-$200 leftover for groceries, so I do travel a greater distance for better deals. I'll buy one or two items now and then from local stores, but for my major grocery shopping, I drive an hour one way into the city. I save about $50 by doing this, and that makes a big difference in our lives.
    ~Jenny

    "When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people." ~Abraham Joshua Hesche

  15. #14
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    QUOTE: "... I think there IS some amount of ?reason? as to why deadly crashes happen. They happen much more frequently on high speed roads and under poor weather conditions. Both of these things a driver can avoid in many (not all!) circumstances. " END QUOTE



    You are absolutely correct. We personally do not venture on the roads in poor weather. When bad weather is nearing, we make sure and stock up on what we need before the weather hits. While you can avoid high traffic roads some of the time, this isn't always practical or unavoidable. This is why is is important to make sure you buckle up properly each and every trip. Bad/fatal accidents can happen anytime. Sadly, my husband was witness to a serious accident this past weeked, and the driving conditions were perfect.

    I would have to also agree 100% that vehicles do crazy things to people. In my area, the traffic lights are frequent and long. I have never seen more people go through a red light in any other area in my life!

    Sara

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