Parenting Tips: Steering Our Babysitting Teens to Drive Safely


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As our teens grow older and learn to drive, we find ourselves constantly fretting. We worry that “they’re too young to drive,” or, “can they make their own decisions? How can I trust the other drivers on the road?”

These are all legitimate worries that will lessen as we realize our kids really are capable of making important decisions. The best we can do is to teach them, and hope they take our advice to heart. So, we rattle off safety rules, encourage them, scold them, and learn to trust them, because we’ve trusted them to babysit, to take themselves to school, or to care for their siblings.

With a driver’s license comes more babysitting opportunities; carpooling, driving small children to nursery or playdates. Even without driving, teens in charge of small children constantly must navigate the dangers in the road.

Image via The Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Image via The Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Everyone is taught to look before crossing, wait at the signs, and other road safety. However, many don’t realize that even a car moving slowly poses a real danger to young children.

Non-traffic car accidents are unfortunate, but they can be curbed if we make our teens aware of how to avoid them. Share this statistic with your budding babysitter/driver: Safe Kids Worldwide claims that 92,000 kids are admitted every year to the emergency room for injuries relating to non-traffic car accidents. This knowledge is crucial for teen babysitters to understand that their focus behind the wheel is paramount to the safety of the children they’re being paid to watch.

Two of the foremost non-traffic hazards are frontovers and backovers. MySafetySign recently compiled a list of frontover and backover safety tips on their blog. I’ve included them below:

  1. Always hold children’s hands when around vehicles and if you need help, ask your teen to make sure everyone is accounted for.
  2. Limit landscaping around your driveway. This increases visibility around your blind zone.
  3. Beware that steep inclines can dramatically increase the blind zone. The combination of a steep driveway and an SUV can be even more dangerous. Over 80% of “frontover” incidents involved a truck, van, or SUV.
  4. Teach your children to never enter the driveway without permission, even to greet a relative.
  5. Measure the “blind zone” of every car you drive and always be conscious and aware when driving.  You can find your car’s blind zone here.

Have you taught your teenager similar points? If not, this car safety quiz is an essential educational tool to drive the message home. We’re accountable, as parents, for teaching our teens the relevance of safety, and our teens have a duty to put those lessons to practice when babysitting.

Source: MySafetySign

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