Volvo survey shows parent drivers fear for children's safety

Survey showed 69% of parents feel distracted when driving with their kids

Published: September 20, 2019, 5:30 PM
Updated: November 21, 2021, 2:52 PM

Child in child-seat

A new survey from Volvo has revealed that parents are increasingly worried about road safety, especially when it comes to keeping their children safe.

Conducted by The Harris Poll, the survey showed that parents believed that roads today are the most dangerous they’ve ever been, with 62% of them believing it is harder to keep children safe while driving today, than it was just two years ago, and 92% believing there are too many reckless drivers on the roads.

Among the findings, 69% of parents feel distracted when driving with their children for a variety of reasons, including tantrums (36%), sickness (31%), or throwing toys (22%) or food (18%). The survey revealed that 71% of drivers have admitted to unbuckling their belts while driving, in order to deal with kids — reaching for something (42%), retrieving dropped items (35%), consoling a child (28%) and breaking up arguments (24%) — with that number rising to 87% among new parents.

New parents also admitted to unintentionally running over a curb (24%) getting into fender benders (21%) while driving with their new-borns.

The survey also showed some positive results, with parents reporting they are more likely to drive defensively when their children are in the vehicle than when they aren’t (42% vs. 25%), and 88% reporting they are conscious of the example they are setting when they’re driving their children.

The Harris Poll conducted the survey online between May 21 and 29, 2019, polling 2,000 drivers over the age of 18, including 1,236 licensed new parents.

The resultant report, Volvo Reports: Child Safety in the Back Seat, says parents are seeking new ways to protect their children in order to relieve some of the anxiety surrounding the choices in child-safety products. The company is partnering with child-seat maker Britax during Child Passenger Safety Week (Sept. 15 – 21) to provide practical advice on driving with families.

Volvo not only invented the 3-point belt in 1959, it tested the first child-restraint in 1964 and introduced the first child safety booster cushion in 1978. Britax introduced the first car seat with 5-point harness, built-in lock-offs, energy-managing foam and seat tether, and recently introduced a new easy installation system on the first all-in-one seat.

“Keeping children safe on the road is an attainable goal,” said Sarah Tilton, Child Passenger Safety Advocate at Britax Child Safety. “It starts with you as the care-giver. Pay attention to best practice safety guidelines and always follow your car seat user guides and vehicle owner’s manuals.”

Through the process, Volvo has discovered that parents are looking for solutions to help them keep their children safe without distracting them from the task of driving. Among the things parents would like to see are alerts when belts are unbuckled (63%), ways to help children stay busy in the vehicle, such as entertainment screens (48%), monitors or mirrors to help drivers keep an eye on children (25%) and mood technology such as changes in lighting or music to soothe children (24%).