A recent survey shines a light on a particularly disconcerting issue: the tendency among parents to engage in distracting activities even while transporting children in a motor vehicle.
600 parents were queried as part of the survey, which hails from doctors at the University of Michigan. Those parents were asked how often they engaged with technology while behind the wheel when carrying a child between one and 12. Just under 90% of the parents admitted that they had interacted with technology at least once in the last 30 days. More often than not, a phone call is to blame for the distraction, with 70% admitting to such a distraction.
But it wasn’t just phone calls that threatened to take a parent’s focus away from the road. Many parents reported drinking or eating while at the wheel, and some even admitted to smoking while a child was present, something that poses health hazards which go beyond the threat of distraction. Still other distractions involved a parent seeing to the child, i.e. reaching down for toys or attempting to give the kid food.
How the child was strapped in also played a role in distraction. The chance of distraction jumped by two and a half times when a child wasn’t placed properly into a child restraint mechanism.
The research was unveiled in Washington D.C. over the weekend at a Pediatric Academic Societies meeting.