How often have you driven down the road and witnessed a mother or father driving a minivan while half of their body is turned in their seat in the opposite direction of where their eyes should be focused? A few weeks ago, I sat at a stoplight and watched as a middle-aged woman almost drove her van full of bouncy children right through a stop sign simply because her attention was just a little too focused on what the children were doing in the back seat.
Naturally, when you are a parent (especially a new parent), you want to make sure that your children are always kept safe. Ironically, however, many parents go against this train of thought when they are overprotective of their children by checking in on them every two seconds while driving. These types of parents have failed to realize that by constantly taking their attention off of the road and refocusing it on their kids, they are putting not only themselves but their children as well into harms way. When you are behind the wheel of a car and you are chauffeuring children around, the kids have to come second. If there is something serious happening with one of your children while you are driving, or if you really need to discipline your children, wait until it is safe to do so and then pull your vehicle over to the side of the road or off of the roadway completely before addressing the issue.
If your children are old enough, make sure that they understand the rules and regulations for riding around in your vehicle. For example, before we would leave to go anywhere, my mother would always make sure that everyone in the car had their seat belts on. If we were in her car and were still parked in the driveway, this would be our first clue that someone didn’t have their seat belt on. My mother would sit there without saying a word; she would just give us a look that meant business as we scrambled to match the belt buckles of our safety belts.
A telling example of driving with children was when my brother was younger. He must’ve been five or six years old at the time and we were just coming back from a friend’s house during the summer. As my mom was driving us back to our house, I was sitting in the front seat and could recall seeing my brother fiddling around in the back seat of the car. The next thing I heard was the door opening up. I turned around to see my brother, with his seat belt still on, leaning half way out of the back door. I was going to say something to my mother, but she had already seen it before I did and stopped the car, jumping out to shut my brother’s door. Thankfully, we were driving relatively slowly through our own neighborhood, and additionally, my brother was buckled into his seat- another good reason to wear your seat belt!
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