Shock study: Moms make the same risky driving choices as teens

(January 23, 2013) NEW YORK — American Baby and Safe Kids Worldwide today announced the exclusive results from their new survey exposing the very dangerous driving habits of moms with children under age two. 

The findings from the survey, which polled nearly 2,400 mothers, are featured in a special report titled, "Is Your Baby Safe on the Road?"

A majority of new moms surveyed (63%) claim they're more cautious behind the wheel since giving birth, but their responses to other survey questions suggest otherwise. Their unsafe habits: driving while fatigued, fiddling with their phones, turning around in their seat to tend to the baby, and ignoring the speed limit, are akin to those of teenage drivers, one safety expert observed.

Alarmingly, nearly 10% of moms in the survey have been in a crash while driving with their baby. That rate is nearly three times higher than the rate among the general population.

"While we expect new moms to feel exhausted, we were shocked by their lack of focus while driving, especially when their baby or toddler is in the car," said Dana Points, editor-in-chief of American Baby. "The combination of fatigue and distraction is a perfect storm where safety is concerned. We hope that this report helps moms recognize and change their behavior behind the wheel."

Highlights from the American Baby & Safe Kids Worldwide survey:

   • 78% of moms talk on the phone while driving with their kids, a habit that is as dangerous as driving drunk.

   • 26% text or check email, which is twice as risky as drunk driving.

    • 75% of new moms say that they're more flustered in their daily lives since having kids.

    • Moms log an average of 5 hours and 20 minutes of consecutive sleep nightly, slowing their reaction time.

    • Two thirds of moms find it tough to concentrate on a single task, like driving.

    • 55% of moms admit to driving above the speed limit with their baby in the car when they're in a rush.

    • Moms drive an average of 150 miles a week.

    • Nearly 10% of new moms have been in a crash while driving with their baby.

    • 64% of moms have turned around to tend to their child's needs while driving.

    • 77% of moms are more afraid of getting in an accident since having a baby.

"It's become part of our culture to not just drive, but to drive and do 20 other things," said Kate Carr, president and CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide. "The problem is multi-tasking in the car can lead to tragedies. As a mother of three, I know there is nothing a mom wouldn't do to protect her child. This survey shows moms the little things they can change in their behavior to make a big difference in the safety of their children."

See the full study online.

Safe Kids Worldwide is a global network of organizations dedicated to providing parents and caregivers with practical and proven resources to protect kids from unintentional injuries, the number one cause of death to children in the United States.