One of the best things you can do for your teen’s safety when she starts driving – and when she is the passenger in any vehicle – is to require that she wears her seatbelt. Many states require that all passengers wear seatbelts or face fines, but that’s not always enough to convince teens that seatbelts are necessary. While the rule in your house should be that no one goes anywhere without donning a seatbelt, you may find that you need to employ a more creative or constructive approach when it comes to your teen’s seatbelt usage.
Set the appropriate example by always buckling up when you get into the car, whether you are the driver, passenger or you are making the trip in the back seat. Your teen is more likely to wear his own seatbelt if he sees you wearing yours every single time you get into the vehicle. Additionally, he cannot view you as a hypocrite if you require that he wears his seatbelt and he knows you do not always wear your own. According to the National Safety Council, more than 80 percent of teens admit that buckling up is an automatic habit thanks to watching their parents do it their entire lives.
Take away your teen’s privilege of driving or riding with friends if she does not wear her seatbelt. Removing privileges from your teen’s life is one way to help her learn that she has to follow the rules, according to the Massachusetts Children’s Trust Fund, a program designed to educate and support families. When you catch her not wearing her seatbelt, take away her driving privileges for the weekend and do not allow her in the car with anyone but you or her other parent. Chances are good that she will quickly learn that riding without her seatbelt is not worth the repercussions.
Talk to school officials to see if they are willing to host a school campaign in which law enforcement officials and/or doctors come into the school and talk to teens about the importance of wearing their seatbelt, advises the National Safety Council. Some teens are more willing to listen to people they view as official or professional, and law enforcement officers and doctors can speak from personal experience responding to accidents or patients who were involved in automobile accidents not wearing their seatbelts. Sometimes these stories hit close to home and will have your teens buckling up as soon as they get in the car from that point forward.
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