If you have a preteen, chances are that that they are are getting closer to driving on their own. So, at this stage, it is a great time to have your preteens learn how to protect themselves in vehicles before they get behind the wheel. As parents , encouraging seat belt use should have been introduced way before children are old enough to drive. Fact of the matter is, by modeling safe behavior and teaching kids the reasons they need to use their seat belts is how habits are formed.
Unfortunately, this is more easily said than done—especially at this age (teenagers tend to be in their own little worlds). However, with some persistence, you can make sure they understand. This is just as important as having them drive a safe car.
The best and most crucial place to start is by making sure they understand the importance of buckling up each and every time they hop into a car whether they are the driver OR passenger. To help them get the picture, here are a few tips that will make sure they’re doing it right.
- Be a good example. Make sure your child witnesses you buckling up every time you get into a car and when the opportunity arises, point out when others do not. Your consistency will reinforce the action and your child will pick up on this behavior and internalize the importance of the action.
- Reinforce good behavior. Before leaving out of the driveway, always make sure your child is buckled properly. And it doesn’t matter what their age. Whether eight years old or 18 years old; he needs to know that he must be buckled before a vehicle begins to move.
- Denounce bad behavior. Take disciplinary action immediately if you catch your child failing to use his seat belt. Suggested actions include taking away his car privileges or making him run errands with you to prove that he can buckle up every time he gets into a car (even if that means buckling up 20 different times).
- Emphasize consequences. Talk to your teen about the serious injuries and the potential death that can result from failing to use proper restraints. Although he may hear it at school or in driver’s education class, hearing it from you may make the difference.
For some teens, changing their behavior can be difficult and there is no sure way to ensure that your teen will buckle up each and every time he or she gets into a car. But, as long as you do your part, pass on the knowledge, you can empower your teen and help him realize the importance of always using his seat belt.
Help spread the word and raise awareness of this issue by helping other parents get the information they need to prepare their teens for safe driving. Feel free to share this with your friends and family. A simple click could make the difference in a teen’s future.
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