Becoming a parent is a wonderful thing, but driving while parenting can be a challenge. There is a lot that could go wrong, and a parent should be aware of those dangers. A good personal injury accident lawyer, with offices in Austin, can help all parents understand the danger that children can pose to a driver. Parents should also learn some preventive measures to help keep their child and family safe.
Children Can Distract a Driver
A family can be severely injured in a car accident due to the actions of a child. One of the biggest reasons drivers are in a car accident is because they were distracted. Distractions come in many forms like smartphones, advertisements, or a GPS system. But, by far, the most distracting source is a child.
A study showed that a child can be 12 times more distracting than a smartphone (and smartphones account for a large portion of car-related accidents). The study also showed that 76 percent of those parents were forced to look back while driving. Most parents understand what it means to be forced to look back at a child. This does include looking at the child through the rear-view mirror.
Another staggering and scary fact is that parents–while looking at a child–may have their eyes off the road a total of 21 percent of time while driving. A lot can happen when a driver is not paying attention to the road. And these statistics show how children can be dangerous cargo. This is why you should be aware of certain distractions while driving.
What Kinds of Distractions Should a Parent Be Cautious Of?
Most parents can give several examples of how their children distract them while driving. But according to some of the parents in the study mentioned earlier, there are a few common distractions. Perhaps knowing the distractions beforehand might make it easier to prepare for them; this might help avoid a possible accident.
One common reason that a parent is distracted is because they need to sing a song or play specific music to calm a child down. This does not mean that a parent should just let the child continue to cry. Crying could be distracting as well as stressful. Another reason that parents get distracted by their child deals with an item the child might have dropped. The parent tries to appease the child by looking for the item as they drive.
A child could be distracting simply because he or she is hungry as well. A parent might try to give the child a bottle or a snack; both acts are distracting. Of course, parents could also be distracted simply because they needed to discipline a child. Children don’t understand the danger and will act out regardless of the time or situation, including while the parent is driving. A parent cannot let the act go without instilling some kind of discipline so that the child knows that his or her actions are not okay. These are just some of the reasons that might cause a parent to be distracted.
Tips To Prevent Common Child-Related Distractions
There are a few things that a parent can do to prevent these types of distractions, and most of them deal with careful planning.
For one, giving a child a toy that he or she can drop is probably a bad idea. A parent can simply ensure that the toy is attached to the child’s safety seat with a secured string. Or a parent could secure the toy on the child’s wrist. The parent will no longer have to worry about the child dropping his or her toy while driving.
The second suggestion–though not the most convenient–is the most useful one to a parent. A parent should always plan delays before he or she gets to the final destination while taking care of a child. The planned delays should occur when the child is rowdy or when the child is hungry.
Parents should stop the car whenever they need to reprehend or feed child. This is the safest and smartest thing that a parent could do to avoid child-related accidents.
A parent should always drive away from traffic as much as possible. This will give the parent a better opportunity to move out of the highway any time a child becomes distracting. The parent should also try to stay in the lane that is closest to the shoulder or an exit, just in case.
One might have a hard time dealing with an unruly infant. But there are a few things that a parent can do to try to keep the infant calm as long as possible.
But singing directly to the child while driving might be too distracting. One thing that a parent can attempt–thought it might sound silly–is to record him or herself singing. Upload some of these recording onto a MP3 player, and let it soothe the child during the drive. The parent could ensure that the recording stays private if he or she is a little shy about his or her singing voice.
Another suggestion that might make it easier to keep the atmosphere relaxed while driving is considering aromatherapy. Yes, apparently natural lavender contains several active ingredients like linaliol that have a specific effect on the brain.
One of the results from smelling lavender is stabilized blood pressure, which should make the child feel relaxed. Mood is also altered towards a more pleasant one with the simple inhalation of lavender oil. Any parent with an exceptionally moody child will definitely appreciate the effects that lavender can have on a child.
Pure lavender oil can be purchased online or from a local health food store. Opt for organic to receive the best results. Remember that dousing an entire vehicle with the oil is not necessary, which could leave unwanted stains. There are essential oil car diffusers that will emit the scent and are usually affordable. Just fill up the diffuser with lavender oil; then the diffuser can simply be plugged into the vehicle through the lighter socket. This should give the child and parent a relaxing ride to their final destination.
There are other scents–though not as powerful–that a parent can experiment with like vanilla, pumpkin, sandalwood, and frankincense to name a few.
Besides the aforementioned suggestions, the safest suggestion is that parents should try to avoid driving with a child if possible. For example, a parent can walk or use a bike (with an attachment) to get to his or her destination if the location is close enough.
Or perhaps it may be a good idea to allow someone like a spouse, friend, sibling, or other family member to watch the child or children if one must drive.
Some of these suggestions may seem extreme or inconvenient, but a car accident lawyer understands the kinds of dangers that a parent and child are exposed to on the highway. And these dangers should be avoided. In comparison, there really is nothing inconvenient about taking precautions for the safety of a child. Some of these extreme or inconvenient suggestions could be the difference between life and death.