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Disturbing pictures of an injured kindergartner from Pascagoula have made a mother's call for action go viral online.More >>
Disturbing pictures of an injured kindergartner from Pascagoula have made a mother's call for action go viral online. Friends and family of a Pascagoula kindergarten student have created a Facebook page and GoFundMe.com account claiming the girl was attacked on the playground this week by another student.More >>
A recent survey of new moms showed women overwhelmingly see themselves as cautious with their babies and as better, safer drivers than they were before becoming mothers.
A little digging, however, casts some doubt on the latter claim.
In fact, new mothers rival teen drivers for dangerous mistakes made behind the wheel.
Here's a look at some of the worst mistakes.
Adoring moms may be head-over-heels in love with their babies, but parents know it's not all giggles and hugs.
"You go into it thinking, oh, it'll be easy. I have a puppy, a baby, hubby. Then it's difficult. But you work it out because you're a mom," said new mom Andrea Silberstein. "One day I think everything is great and we've got it under control. The next day, I feel I'm doing absolutely everything wrong."
Silberstein sees herself on a learning curve when it comes to parenthood, with a pop quiz at every turn. The most important test may come when she takes her little guy out of the home and onto the road. While she realizes the choices she makes behind the wheel are critically important, she did admit to occasionally glancing at her cell phone.
"I'm much better about not texting and driving. I hate to admit I was bad about it before. Now, as soon as I think of how bad the consequences may be, there's no excuse for it anymore," she said.
Bad habits are hard to break, but this mommy mistake has an easy fix. Just remember to put your cell phone in the back seat.
"The no. 1 killer of kids is motor vehicle crashes," said Jeanne Marsala with Safe Kids Worldwide.
That scary statistic gets scarier when you realize one out of every 10 moms will get into a crash while driving with a baby. That means moms are crashing at a significantly higher rate than other drivers on the road, despite having the best intentions.
American Baby magazine and Safe Kids Worldwide partnered to investigate unsafe driving habits by surveying nearly 2,400 mothers with children under the age of 2.
"The purpose of this survey was to open moms' eyes, and for us at Safe Kids to be able to see what the problems are," Marsala said.
The survey revealed plenty of confusion over car seats and the recommendations about how long to keep kids rear-facing. Getting the correct messages out is an uphill battle. Currently, it's recommended kids ride rear-facing for at least two years, possibly longer.
Another high-risk scenario is distracted driving due to a crying baby. As long as moms have driven, they've coped with this. New mom Cherisse Osnesse is no exception.
"It's very stressful. It can constantly raise your stress level. You want to drive faster. You want to get there sooner," she said.
Sixty-four percent of moms surveyed admitted to turning around at times like this rather than pulling over.
"You have to just get out and check on them if it's been awhile, and sometimes if they're clean and dry and fed, sometimes you have to just keep driving," Osnesse said.
Another danger revealed in the survey is the fact that 200 moms admitted to leaving their babies in their vehicles alone.
"We can't leave baby in a car in a driveway when we run in because we forgot something. We must never leave baby unattended," Marsala said.
"Also, put your belongings in the back seat of your car as a reminder the baby's back there – purse, briefcase, cell – in the back seat with the baby," Marsala added.
Tragic mistakes like forgetting precious cargo can occur due to fatigue and forgetfulness.
"I feel like we get three hours (of sleep) at a time, if we're lucky. So our nighttime is like a series of naps," Silberstein said.
Chronic sleep deprivation day after day can slow reaction times and impair judgment. In fact, moms are driving on less sleep than commercial truck drivers. Experts suggest skipping the trek when you feel too tired to drive. If you must power through and drive, start by taking a few breaths and don't rush.
"I think people know when you have a baby that you're not going to be on time as much as before. If people get mad, that's too bad," Silberstein said.
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, fatigue causes about 100,000 crashes nationwide each year. That's as many as those caused by drunk driving, something new moms say they'd never do.
If you have no choice but to drive drowsy, experts recommend catching a 20-minute nap first or consuming the equivalent caffeine of two cups of coffee.
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