It’s easy to get small children to buckle their seat belts as they are often too small to do it themselves anyway. Even when they get old enough to do it themselves, they may still be at the age where they listen to most instructions given to them by their parents. However, for those who have “tweens”, or children aged approximately 8 to 12 years old, this may be more difficult.

Getting tweens in New Jersey to understand why buckling up is important may be challenging, but it is also vitally important. Seat belts save lives and prevent serious injuries in the case of motor vehicle accidents more often than not. If your tween is challenging you with ideas like “Sometimes seat belts actually kill people.” or “But we’re not driving that far,” there are ways to effectively counter those ideas without alienating your child.

Why tweens may resist wearing a seat belt

Experts agree that convincing tweens to buckle up now will set the stage for them to engage in these safety habits for the rest of their lives. This is the time that children in this age group begin to develop their identity and assert their independence. Fortunately, they also develop problem-solving skills and start to see the impact of how others around them act. One of the best ways you can encourage your tween to use a seat belt is by always using one yourself.

Even so, children are individuals and what will convince one tween won’t work for another. Determine the types of messages that your child responds to, which could be praise, specific rules or talking to them about specific fears. Some kids may need to hear specific, concrete examples of times that seat belts saved a life to convince them to use one.

What should I say to convince my tween to buckle up?

You may need to approach this conversation differently depending on your child’s exact age. Younger tweens may need clear consequences for failing to use a seat belt. For kids who enjoy using a cell phone or another electronic device, you may want to tie the use of that device to using a seat belt, saying they can only have it if they buckle up. Some kids may respond to logic, such as gently informing them that fatal crashes often happen close to home and at reduced speeds.

Tweens that are a bit older, or who may be entering their teenage years, may require a different approach. Kids at this age may respond to appeals that deal with traffic laws. Telling a tween that he or she will have to pay for a ticket for not wearing a seatbelt may be effective. This age group may also relate to crash statistics the same way younger tweens do. Whatever method you use, it is important to consider to what your child will specifically respond.

What to do if you or your tween is hurt in a crash

Unfortunately, serious injuries can still result even when individuals buckle up. If you or your loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident because of a careless driver, you may want to file a civil lawsuit. An attorney can help you determine an effective course of action to hold a negligent driver responsible. You and your kids deserve the best possible life, and a personal injury claim may be part of that.