about Safety is not Enough:
Parents Must Role-Model Safe Behavior for their Children
SAFE KIDS Campaign
raise safe children, parents themselves must proactively role model
safe behavior -- something they're not consistently doing, according
to new research released today by the National SAFE KIDS Campaign
and Johnson & Johnson.
The research found that while 98% of parents agree it is important
they are role models for safe behavior for their children, the percentage
of parents who report actually practicing safe behaviors is often
lower. In addition, children with parents whose actions reinforce
their words appear more likely to practice safe behaviors.
can't expect much from their children, when their message is 'do
as I say, not as I do,'" says Martin Eichelberger, M.D., president
and CEO of the National SAFE KIDS Campaign and director of Emergency
Trauma Services at Children's National Medical Center in Washington,
D.C. "Children learn best when messages are reinforced by role
models. If parents aren't willing to follow their own rules, children
are more likely to break the rules as well. Parents need to provide
consistency between their words and actions."
SAFE KIDS / Johnson & Johnson research revealed parents cannot
expect their children to adopt safe behaviors if they do not follow
their own rules. For example, while 78% of parents say it is extremely
or very important their child always wear a bike helmet, only 25%
of parents always wear one themselves. This may be why only 40%
of children say they wear a helmet.
addition, while 86% of parents say it is extremely or very important
their child always wear life jackets, only 39% of parents say they
always do so themselves. The result? Only 57% of children say they
always wear a life jacket which may be due to this "do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do
research was released today by U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Richard
Carmona and Dr. Eichelberger, a pediatric trauma surgeon, to launch
National SAFE KIDS Week -- April 30 to May 7, 2005 -- a weeklong,
nationwide, public education campaign. This year's theme is Follow
The Leader: Safety Starts With You.
report, "Follow The Leader: A National Study of Safety Role
Modeling Among Parents and Children," includes nationally representative
surveys of parents (of children 8 to 14 years) and a child (within
the same age bracket from each parent's household) to determine
knowledge, attitudes and behaviors concerning helmet, life jacket,
pedestrian and safety belt safety. An observational study also was
conducted to gather more information on pedestrian safety. Unintentional
injury is the number one killer of children ages 14 and under.
research found that telling children what to do is not enough. Parents
must also practice good safety behaviors to effectively teach kids
how to be safe.
example, parents do a good job of both stressing the importance
of safety belt use with their children and also of being good examples
(86%) by wearing safety belts themselves. This may explain near-universal
safety belt use among children -- 91% of children say they always
wear a safety belt.
while parents do a good job with respect to safety belt use, the
research shows that parents are much less successful at being good
role models for their children in other key safety areas such as
wearing a bike helmet, wearing a life jacket, and safely crossing
busy streets. It is important for parents to understand the risks
related to these activities as well because:
is the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related death
among children ages 1 to 14; *Bicycles are associated with more
childhood injuries than any other consumer product except the automobile;
and, *Pedestrian injury remains the second leading cause of unintentional
injury-related death among children ages 5 to 14.
93% of parents say it is extremely or very important their child
always use a crosswalk to cross a busy street, only 68% say they
always cross a busy street at an intersection. Accordingly, only
74% of children say they always cross a busy street at an intersection.
also is important to note that children notice when their parents
are not following their own rules. Seventeen percent of children
say they have had to remind their parents to wear a bicycle helmet
and 24% of children say they are more likely to cross a busy street
in the middle of a block if they are with their mother or father.
more information or for a copy of the SAFE KIDS/Johnson & Johnson
Follow the Leader: A National Study of Safety Role Modeling Among
Parents and Children, contact the National SAFE KIDS Campaign at
(202) 662-0600 or visit www.safekids.org.
omnibus polls were conducted by Harris Interactive Inc. online from
December 21, 2004 to January 3, 2005 with a confidence level of
+/- 5 percent, 5 times out of 100. The sample was drawn from the
Harris Poll Online database. 1,221 U.S. parents of children ages
8-14 years as well as randomly selected children completed the survey.
Data were weighted to represent U.S. parents of 8-14 year-olds on
key demographic variables such as age, gender, household income,
race/ethnicity, education and region.
National SAFE KIDS Campaign is the first and only national nonprofit
organization dedicated solely to the prevention of unintentional
childhood injury the number one killer of children ages 14 and under.
More than 300 state and local SAFE KIDS coalitions in all 50 states,
the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico comprise the Campaign.
& Johnson, with approximately 110,600 employees, is the world's
most comprehensive and broadly based manufacturer of health care
products, as well as a provider of related services, for the consumer,
pharmaceutical and medical devices and diagnostics markets. Johnson
& Johnson has more than 200 operating companies in 57 countries
around the world, selling products in more than 175 countries.