Researchers at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) found that children are half as likely to be injured in a crash when driven by their grandparents versus their parents. The study, funded by the Center for Child Injury Prevention Studies (CChIPS) at CHOP and published in the August 2011 issue of Pediatrics, examined crash data on over 11,000 children from 2003 to 2007. Although the researchers found children are less frequently injured in crashes with their grandparents behind the wheel, their parents are more likely to use child restraints correctly.

While further research needs to be conducted to better clarify the protective effect of grandparents as drivers, study authors suggest grandparents may drive more cautiously with their grandchildren on board. Subsequent studies of grandparent driving practices when carrying grandchildren may inform future child-occupant driving education guidelines for all drivers. In the meantime, grandparents should be encouraged to practice optimal restraint use.

To view the most recent child passenger safety recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics, visit http://www.chop.edu/carseat.