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Many Parents Texting, Phoning While Driving Their Kids: Survey
Date:5/6/2013

By Alan Mozes
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, May 6 (HealthDay News) -- The vast majority of parents admit to being distracted in some way while driving their young child around, a new survey reveals.

Among roughly 600 parents surveyed, nearly 90 percent said that in the past month they had engaged in at least one type of technological interaction that distracted them while transporting a child between the ages of 1 and 12 years old.

The No. 1 such distraction: phone calls.

"A lot of the attention on the distracted-driving issue has focused on teens and new drivers," said lead author Dr. Michelle Macy, a clinical lecturer in the departments of emergency medicine and pediatrics at the University of Michigan. "But our study is showing that most parents say they were distracted an average of four times when driving their child in the last month, which is more frequent than I had expected.

"Nine in 10 admitted to being distracted by technology, but we also asked about other distractions, such as feeding a child and picking up a toy for a child," she said. "Those were pretty common as well. As were parents eating, drinking or smoking while driving, all of which were also up there in frequency."

Macy, also with the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital in Ann Arbor, Mich., discussed the findings Sunday and Monday at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies in Washington, D.C.

Survey participants were all parents or caretakers who were questioned when their children were brought to one of two hospital emergency rooms in Michigan for any reason, not necessarily involving a car crash.

Parents were asked to indicate how often they had been distracted while driving with a child over the previous month. Possible distractions included: phone calls (both hands-free and not), texting, surfing the Web, grooming, eating, attending to their child, using a navigation system or map, and engaging with their
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