5 Ways to Get Your Preteen Buckled Up

Your kid stopped wearing belts? Know this: It’s a stage. Preteens talk back. They argue and test limits. But don’t give up. They’re still listening – even when it doesn’t show. Preteens everywhere say the people who influence them most are their parents. Not their friends. Not celebrities. You.

Here are five tips from parents who make sure their preteen is buckled up before they put a vehicle in gear.

1. Remind them.
Multitasking preteens can forget to buckle up. Make it a habit to check that everyone has a seat belt on before you put the car in gear.

2. Make it a rule.
Studies show most parents decide where their preteen sits in the car. Make buckling up in the back, in every car, a rule for your preteen. Then stick to it. They will test you – but not forever.

3. Make it fun.
Reward them for doing the right thing – not just wearing a belt, but getting others to do it. Or for sitting in a back seat, which is safer. One prized reward: They can pick the radio station. You can also stash electronic games, books, and drawing supplies that can only be used in a back seat.

4. Mention the cops.
Wearing a seat belt isn’t an option – it’s the law. Let your preteen know you can get a ticket if they don’t buckle up.

5. Be a role model.
Your preteen is watching you. They are more likely to buckle up if the driver does.


Does Your Preteen's Seat Belt Fit Right?

Seat belts are designed to spread the impact of a crash across the sturdiest parts of the body. A bad fit could make the seat belt less effective and boosts the risk of injury.

Make sure your preteen knows:
• The shoulder strap is for shoulders only. Never put the shoulder belt under the arm or behind the back.
• Never share a seat belt. Tell your preteen you will always come get them if there aren’t enough seat belts in a car.

How a seat belt should be worn:

Carpool Safety

Preteens’ busy schedules often put parents on the road for hours every week. One of the best ways to cope is to share the driving with other parents.

Before you load up the neighborhood preteens, set these ground rules for safe carpooling:

• Plan your route so children can enter and exit the car on the curbside.

• At each stop, check that everyone is buckled up before putting the car back in gear.

• When dropping off children, wait till they are safely supervised before driving off.

• Never leave children alone in the car, even for a few minutes.

• Make it a rule that everyone under 13 rides in a back seat. This is the safest place for preteens and younger children to sit.

• If a child under 13 must sit in a front seat, disable the airbag if the child does not meet the manufacturer’s height and weight requirements.

• Every child must have a safety belt. Sharing seat belts is not safe.

• Don’t allow children to wear shoulder belts under their arm or behind their back.

• If high spirits get out of control, let your riders know you can’t drive safely when you are distracted. Pull the car over until they have calmed down.