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New moms take risks while driving

| Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013, 6:58 p.m.

New mothers talk on the phone, text or check email at an alarming rate while driving with their babies in the car, a newly released survey finds.

Although they're otherwise protective of their young children, the survey finds, 78 percent of mothers with children under age 2 acknowledge talking on the phone while driving with their babies. Twenty-six percent say they text or check their email.

The survey from the child-protection advocacy group Safe Kids Worldwide and American Baby magazine finds that the new mothers' behavior rivals that of teenage drivers.

Cellphones weren't the only distractions for the new moms. Nearly two-thirds said that they've turned around to deal with their baby while driving.

The survey of 2,396 mothers finds an attitude among new moms that is reflected in the general population: They tend to think they're safe drivers but actually engage in risky habits.

Among the mothers, 63 percent say they're more cautious behind the wheel since giving birth, but that's not reflected in their behavior.

“Everyone wants to think they're a good driver, especially when they're a mom,” says Laura Kalehoff, executive editor of American Baby. “You pick out the safest car seat, the safest crib, and you want to feel like you're making the right choices. They thought they were being better drivers, while their behavior showed otherwise.”

Nearly 10 percent of the surveyed mothers had been in a crash while driving with their babies — a crash rate nearly three times higher than that of the general public and one that closes in on the crash rate of teen drivers.

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