September 2013

When Teen Crash Research and Reality Collide

Two Monday evenings ago work and life collided in an eerie way. My daughter, Gabby, was driving me home when all of a sudden a car surged on our left. She slammed on the brakes, but we both understood in that split second we could not avoid the crash. We hit that car with force, and for that one instant, everything was in God's hands. Once panic settled, we were relieved to see that everyone, including the other driver, had survived the crash with no serious injury.

English Channel Swim Benefits Violence Prevention Research

21 miles in 11 hours 28 minutes! That’s how long it took Ika Kovacikova to swim the English Channel in Mid-August to benefit CHOP’s Violence Intervention Program (VIP). As a 2012 alumna of CIRP’s Injury Science Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program supported by the National Science Foundation, Ika knew VIP was a cause that would inspire her to complete the crossing. Ika raised $600 (and still counting!) as her way of giving back to CIRP@CHOP and VIP.

Truth on Concussions: Infographics Explain Youth Concussions and Concussion Treatment

New series of infographics and posters provide best-practice state-of-the-science tips on recognizing symptoms and managing youth concussions in terms that youth can understand.

Understanding Teens' Driving Skill Deficits

After six hours of behind-the-wheel driver’s ed training and a full year of parent-supervised driving instruction, my daughter, Amanda, earned her probationary license in late August--just in time for school and her senior year. Like many parents, my husband and I tried our best to be supportive throughout her driving journey, but sometimes it wasn’t easy. Too many times we would press down on the imaginary brake when she almost hit a parked car or sped up for no apparent reason in a residential neighborhood and say, “C’mon, pay attention to your driving!” What we didn’t know is that her perceived inattention wasn’t from daydreaming or looking at boys, it was from a lack of knowledge. For Amanda to get it right, we needed to actually teach her how to moderate her speed for various conditions and then practice this skill over and over.

Setting the International Agenda for Child Passenger Safety Advancement

While culture may be different and the specifics of restraint best practices may vary, at the core, optimizing protection of children in motor vehicle crashes is an international priority. To this end I, along with colleagues at SAFER, the Vehicle and Traffic Safety Research Center at Chalmers University in Göteborg, Sweden, organized an international strategy session titled “Child Occupant Protection: Latest Knowledge and Future Opportunities.” The planning group brought together international leaders in the fields of child occupant protection, biomechanics and auto safety from the US, Sweden, Australia, Canada, Spain and France for an intense two-day brainstorming September 6-7 in Sweden.

Raise Awareness of Four Risky Teen Driving Behaviors

Research shows that while a teen is learning to drive and during the first year of independent driving, it takes a parent and teen working together to develop a skilled safe driver. This year’s theme for National Teen Driver Safety Week (October 20-26), ‘It Takes Two: Shared Expectations for Teens and Parents for Driving,' drives home this all important connection. As a traffic injury researcher and parent of three teens, I encourage you to use the ‘It Takes Two’ theme to raise awareness of four risky driving behaviors during NTDSW.

Trends in Child Injury: An Article Review

I recently came across a new review article on child injury prevention by Drs. Brian Johnston and Beth Ebel at University of Washington. In it, they describe that although overall unintentional injury death among US children aged 0-19 years in 2000-2009 fell by 30%, there is still much work to be done.

Minimizing ‘Permissive Sub-optimal Restraint’

This month, Safe Kids released an interesting report based on a recent survey of more than 1,000 parents and caregivers with children 10 years and younger. Nearly one in four respondents stated that they have driven without their child in a car seat or booster seat. Even more concerning was that some parents are comfortable with keeping their children inappropriately restrained under certain conditions, including: during shorter trips, when driving at night, if in a rush, or if trying to ‘reward’ the child. This ‘permissive sub-optimal restraint’ was seen more frequently in certain subgroups of parents including those who were younger or with higher education and household income.

Make the Most of GDL's Learner Phase

As a developmental psychologist, I am thrilled that this year’s theme for National Teen Driver Safety Week (October 20-26) is It Takes Two: Shared Expectations for Teens and Parents for Driving. This theme emphasizes that research and practice efforts should consider the family unit as opposed to focusing on parents and teens in isolation.