VanNess & VanNess, P.A.

Grandparents: Protecting your grandchildren on the road

Many grandparents play an active role in their grandchildren's lives. Some may take care of the grandkids every day while their parents are at work; others may step in to babysit whenever they can. Whether you see your grandchildren frequently or not, you want to be sure they are safe.

This can be especially important if you drive with your grandchildren in the car. To keep your grandkids safe when you are on the road, you should take the following precautions.

Invest in safe equipment

Because grandparents may not drive grandchildren frequently, it might seem okay to cut corners on a car seat. Parents or grandparents might purchase a used car seat from a third party or even a knock-off because it's "just a backup". However, these car seats may provide little or no protection in a crash.

Even if you don't drive your grandchildren often, you should have a safety-tested car seat for them. You should also be sure that you install a car set properly and that it is the appropriate size for the child.

Set a good example

Many grandparents are less strict with grandchildren than they were with their children. Though that may be fine when it comes to eating cookies before dinner, grandparents should always set a good example behind the wheel.

When you are driving your grandchildren, put your cell phone away. Wear your seat belt. Follow traffic laws. Never drive while impaired. Not only do these actions set a good example, they keep you and your passengers safe.

Limit driving, if necessary

As people age, they can experience cognitive decline and increased mobility restrictions. They may become confused or start taking medication that could affect their vision or judgment. Under these circumstances, it is crucial for a senior driver and his or her family to assess whether there needs to be limitations placed on driving.

Perhaps they no longer drive at night or for long distances. Maybe they should not drive with others or at all. This can be an uncomfortable situation but addressing it is crucial in ensuring grandparents and anyone who rides with them stays safe.

Unfortunately, we cannot control the actions of others on the road. However, we can take steps while driving our own vehicle to prevent serious car accidents and keep our passengers safe. 

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