Everyone knows the dangers of driving while using a cell phone, but if you thought parents with young children in their cars would refrain from the dangerous practice, you’d be mistaken.
A new University of Michigan study published in Academic Pediatrics found moms and dads are no less likely to engage in driving distractions like cell phone use than other drivers.
According to the study, two-thirds of respondents said they've talked on cell phones while driving their child, and one-third admitted they've texted while driving with their kid. Those percentages are consistent with other studies about the general population.
Drivers in the survey also admitted to other distractions, such as giving food to their child, more frequently than they disclosed talking on a cellular phone, says lead author Michelle L. Macy, M.D., M.S., an emergency medicine physician at the University of Michigan's C.S. Mott Children's Hospital.
"Efforts to improve child passenger safety have often focused on increased and proper use of restraining seats. But this study shows that reducing distractions and discouraging unsafe behaviors could prevent crashes," says Macy.
Each year, more than 130,000 children younger than 13 are treated in U.S. emergency departments after motor-vehicle collision-related injuries.
The study was conducted by faculty from the U-M Medical School, School of Public Health and the U-M Injury Center. The research is based on responses of 570 parents of children between the ages of one and 12 who arrived in the emergency departments of the two Michigan hospitals.