Whether you’re driving your grandchildren around town or taking them on a road trip, using a seat belt or car seat is crucial.

A study in the August 2011 issue of Pediatrics Digest reports that children were 50% less likely to suffer injuries in an auto accident when their grandparents were driving compared to when their parents were behind the wheel. However, they were less likely to be properly restrained when a grandparent is driving.

Not only is it a requirement by law for children to be properly restrained by a car seat (age requirements vary by state) but it also significantly reduces the chance of death or injury to one of the most important people in your life, your grandchild.

Keep Your Grandchildren Safe When On The Road

Every grandparent should invest in a good car seat and learn how to properly install it. Often your local fire station is happy to help you learn how to install the seat properly, you can find a local car seat inspection location at this web site. Every car in the family should have a car seat. Even if you only occasionally drive your grandchildren somewhere, don’t risk being unprepared.

There are three main types of car seats:

1. Infant seats – for children 22-35 pounds
2. Convertible seats – can be used rear or forward facing. These types of seats will support toddlers up to 40 pounds.
3. Booster seats – These may be used for children who weigh more than 40 pounds and are less than 4 feet 9 inches tall.

If you have older grandchildren, set a positive example when they are learning to drive.
Some states allow teenage drivers who posses a learner’s permit to drive with adults, including grandparents. If your grandchild asks to take the wheel, act as a responsible grandparent by enforcing seatbelt rules, setting safety guidelines, and explaining the rules of the road with a positive and encouraging attitude.

About the Author

Dr. Katalenas

Dr. Katalenas is a pediatrician and owner of The Pediatric Center of Round Rock and the author of the book "The Step Up Diet: From Scratch… The Quality, Quantity, and Timing Solution to Childhood Obesity", a guide to healthy cooking and eating for busy families.