The Dangerous Mistakes Moms Make While Driving

A great many moms are sailing down streets and highways when we’re desperately sleep deprived, distracted and futzing with our phones (a habit that’s twice as dangerous as drunk driving). All the while, the lights of our lives—our babies!—are in the backseat (often in a carseat that’s installed wrong). And it’s happening all the time—moms log an average of 150 miles a week.

These are just a few of the alarming habits revealed in a study of more than 2,000 mothers with children under age 2 that American Baby conducted with Safe Kids Worldwide, an organization aimed at preventing childhood injuries. In fact, nearly 10 percent of new moms have been in a crash while driving with their baby. That’s almost three times higher than the rate among the general population, and rivals the crash rate of teens. One of several possible culprits: 64 percent of moms turn around in their seat to tend to their child instead of looking at the road ahead. For more eye-openers, check out this infographic.

Driving Safety Infographic

To post the infographic above on your own blog or website, cut and paste this code:

<a href="http://bit.ly/SCei8x" target="_blank"><img src="http://images.meredith.com/parents/images/blogs/Infographic.png" alt="Infographic from Parents.com" /></a>

I’ve been guilty of careless driving myself. When my firstborn, Julian, was nine months old, I missed a stop sign while heading to Costco. I was newly transplanted in the suburbs, rusty at driving after a decade in the city, and beyond delirious. I realized my mistake and screeched to a halt a few feet later, causing another car to rear-end us. No one was hurt—massive sigh of relief—but the accident shook me. I signed up for refresher driving lessons and vowed to be more aware on the road, especially while chaffeuring my most precious passenger.

It’s time to STOP, think and hit reverse on these risky habits. This year, let’s all resolve to be more mindful and focused each time we leave our driveway. We owe it to the little people strapped in behind us, and to every other driver on the road.

To learn more about slip-ups moms make behind the wheel, and simple ways to protect your family when you head out, read the feature about our exclusive survey in the January issue of American Baby, and watch our video below on the driving rules every mom should follow. The keys to a safer year are in your hand.

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  1. by Lindsay

    On January 25, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    I will be posting this on my site. This is great. Car crashes are the number 1 cause of death to our kids. It is time we moms stopped accepting this. Blows my mind that this issue does not receive more media. Frustrating as most crashes are preventable.

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  3. by Jeisyn

    On January 31, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    Anyone know where I can get a file of the infographic in order to print out nice copies?

  4. by Julie

    On February 9, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    When the mom first snaps her child in, she puts the carseat handle in a correct, safe position – all the way down. For the rest of the video, it is in an incorrect position for driving. Way to go safety video! I guess it’s true that 8/10 use carseats incorrectly – even those making safety videos.

  5. by Demetria

    On February 9, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    Actually the position of the handle depends on the model of the carseat. My carseat handle can be all the way down, even with the back of the carseat, or all the way up. Check your owners manual for your carseat.

  6. by Carrie

    On February 9, 2013 at 6:47 pm

    While I agree with too much use on phones and I admit I text and drive… I know, very bad, I will say one thing. Who are the other 4 in 10 moms getting a technician (who has that job anyway?) to check their carseats? People are losing common sense BIG TIME because they think they have to have a technician check every move they make! Sick!

  7. by jj

    On February 10, 2013 at 8:48 am

    Child safety technician…. wtf is that…

  8. by genevieve

    On February 10, 2013 at 9:10 am

    Ladies, local police and fire departments put on these safety car seat checks. Check it out in your area. I have lived in small towns and big cities and all do this. Please check locally and get this done.

  9. by becky

    On February 10, 2013 at 11:46 am

    you can actually usually go to your local police department or fire department and have them check…. they promote that at my local farmers market… i dont know about a child safety tech… ive never heard of that.. i actually had my husband sit in the seat while i strapped it in so i will not budge.. they say if you can wiggle it, its not installed right… so mine will not budge lol

  10. by becky

    On February 10, 2013 at 11:56 am

    and another thing, why cant we get to bed a little earlier, invest in an option to record your tv shows if they come on late, or pull over to dial a phone number, or even pull over to text a friend back to say im driving… text you in a bit?? i have 2 kids, with my 1st, i am grateful i never got in an accident w her (back then it was flip phone texting only).. looking back i cant believe how dumb & dangerous i was! with my son, he is 2… i have made a decision to not be childish and foolish while i drive.. i do admit i do talk (not text) and drive, but only use my speed dialing at a light or stop sign.. and i pull over to text.. if i am in a hurry…. whoever is on the other end needs to wait. just sayin :)

  11. by Katrina

    On February 19, 2013 at 3:11 am

    I had my carseat checked at the hospital before I could take baby home. It was required. The fire departments and hospitals here have regular inspections available, or by making an appointment. There’s absolutely nothing funny about it. How would you feel if your baby was seriously injured, or God forbid, killed in a car accident, and you later found it that it was because you were too busy with your own life to get it checked? I’m not perfect, by any means, but seriously, get your car seat checked, make sure you know how to correctly buckle your child in to their car seat, that they stay in rear facing until 2, and please DON’T TEXT AND DRIVE!

  12. by Cheap Small Freezers

    On February 25, 2013 at 5:16 am

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  13. by Ruth

    On March 22, 2013 at 6:32 am

    Cell phone have been recording significant number of car crash worldwide, and yet significant numbers of mums and motorists are still deliberately texting or calling while driving, teens does it too, even seniors. There’s too many distraction in the road and inside the vehicle that many individuals failed to recognize. Kids are so precious that moms should have second thought of putting them at risk because of some irresponsible ways behind the wheel. One more thing, most mums for sure are unaware that seatbelts comes with expiration date, so it may be a snug fit for your child today but time wears out its component/materials, thus rendering it non-100% safe for you and your kids. Be safe everyone.

  14. [...] in 10 new moms have been in a crash with their baby, according to this article from Parents magazine. 3 out of 4 moms talk on the phone while driving with their baby which makes [...]

  15. by Moxi

    On April 10, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    I do agree with no phone while driving. I did have a roll over accident this past winter and no I was not on my phone! I was so lucky that day. I usually put my phone in the open center compartment of the car so that I can pick it up and answer my messages when I reach my destination. That day however I forgot and left it in my pocket of my jacket. when my car rolled over I was on a back road with little to no traffic. I was able to call 911 because my phone was in my pocket. If my phone had been in the usual spot it would have went flying like everything else did. 911 was able to track my phone to find me otherwise I don’t know if I would be here today. They could not see my car from the road but thanks to my phone I am still alive. I hung upside-down by my seatbelt for over an hour but escaped with few injuries.

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