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Practise the safety you preach


Child safety, particularly in motor vehicles, is a hot topic at the moment, mostly because kids’ precious lives are placed in the hands of those responsible for nurturing and looking after them.

Not enough is being done by parents to ensure their children are safe when taking to the roads. A study in America has shown that children are actually safer when transported by their grandparents.

These findings may come as a surprise to many - but applying rational thinking makes it rather clear why - because according to the research, the older generation drive slower and are generally more cautious out on the road. Add to this the fact that they are now carrying some rather precious cargo and they apparently become even more nervous and pay greater attention to the task at hand, in other words safely getting their grandchildren to their destination.

A lot of our grandparents today are in better shape than generations before due to improved health care, so they hardly fit the mould of impaired older drivers. However, one of the main reasons children seem safer in the car with Granny is because she is less distracted than parents. For instance, grandparents couldn’t be bothered with cell phones or the rush of modern-day living because driving time is considered by many as quality time with their grandchildren.

That said, according to the research, grandparents aren’t as pedantic about safely strapping the youngsters into the car seats or keeping them out of the front seat. So while it’s good to drive with Granny, more needs to be done to ensure they place the children safely in the vehicle when transporting them.

It does seem like the modern-day child is rather safety conscious though, especially when it comes to road safety. A survey commissioned by Santam found that children are just as worried about road safety. Interviews were conducted with over 1 000 children aged between seven and 12 to help understand how they learn about road and personal safety.

The results showed that most parents excel at explaining and teaching their children about the rules, but aren’t very good at following and implementing their own advice. As many as 60% of the youngsters surveyed thought their folks didn’t follow the same rules they tried to teach their children.

Things like “It makes me cross, because it is against the law” were expressed by the children. Sadly, the young are more likely to mimic the actions they see than follow the rules they are taught.

During the survey, the kids were asked about cell phone use while driving, as well as drinking. Many knew it’s against the law, but unfortunately did not know what good driving looks like. Hence it is believed many will default back to the habits they learned from their parents through observation. And so the cycle of bad driving continues.

The findings suggest that if we want to mould our children into moral citizens, we need to practise what we preach and lead by example. Children are our future and through education and proper guidance we can make a change.

We all have a cause that’s close to our hearts, whether it’s drinking and driving or corrupt police officials or even child safety. We want to know, if you could focus on one social challenge and try to make a difference, what would it be? E-mail your cause to

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