Kids are safer traveling with grandparents: study

July 20, 2011

Elk Grove Village, IL – Children are less likely to suffer an injury in a motor vehicle crash when a grandparent is behind the wheel, suggests a study released July 18 by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Researchers based their claims on crash data involving nearly 218,000 children during a five-year period. Although grandparents were the drivers in 9.5 percent of crashes, those crashes were responsible for only 6.6 percent of injuries overall. However, children were less likely to be “optimally restrained” when a grandparent was driving, even though nearly all children were reported to be placed in child restraints, according to an AAP press release.

The study showed the adjusted risk of injury was half as high when the vehicle was driven by a grandparent, as compared to a parent. Researchers hypothesized that grandparents are more likely to drive carefully when children are in the car, but point out that the injury rate could be even lower if grandparents properly adhered to current child-restraint guidelines.

The study is scheduled to be published in the August issue of Pediatrics.