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Older adults take a lot of heat for their driving abilities, but a new study suggests that driving like a “grandma” is a good thing when children are involved. The study, conducted by researchers at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, found that kids are likely safer when riding in a car driven by their grandparents than their parents.
It was discovered that children were half as likely to be injured in a car accident when a grandparent was behind the wheel compared to when a mother or father was behind the wheel.
The results from examining data from State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. on accidents involving children throughout 15 states and the District of Columbia from 2003 to 2007.
Overall, parents were driving in about 90 percent of the accidents involving children and grandparents were driving about 10 percent of the time. However, the researchers found that the accidents involving grandparents only accounted for 6.6 percent of the total injuries in the study, with 93.4 percent of the injuries resulting from accidents with parents driving.
This means that while the injury rate with grandparents driving was 0.7 percent, the injury rate with parents driving was 1.05 percent.
Researchers said they were somewhat surprised by the outcome of the study because older drivers have a higher accident rate on average than younger drivers, and the research showed that grandparents were slightly less likely than parents to properly use child safety seats.
“There’s something about the grandparents that they are driving more cautiously,” one of the researchers told the media. It likely means that grandparents use heightened caution while driving their grandchildren, whom they consider to be “precious cargo.”
The study, which was the first of its kind comparing the diving of grandparents and parents, was published online this month in the journal of Pediatrics.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that children should only drive around with their grandparents instead of their parents. But it does suggest to parents that they should also consider their kids “precious cargo” and drive with heightened caution.
Source: Fox News, “Study Finds Children Safer in Car Driven By Grandparents, Not Parents,”7/19/2011.