Family movies give bad safety messages

Young children can get a false sense of security watching family films, claims new report

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Many movies aimed at children are showing unsafe practices, going against the accident prevention advice given to children, claim American researchers.

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Of the movie scenes studied, half showed unsafe actions, such as not wearing seat belts or not using zebra crossing, reports the Telegraph.

This could give children a “false sense of safety”, and encourage dangerous behaviour or bad habits, the researchers have said.

The study looked at 67 movies from 2003 to 2007, rated G or PG. Amongst other things, the researchers found that of the 22 scenes involving a crash or fall, only three ended in an injury.

To illustrate, Dr Tongren mentioned the Christmas movie Elf. The main character, played by actor Will Ferrell, is knocked down by a taxi while crossing the street in New York. However, Will’s character gets back up without any injury. Dr Tongren said this gave a false view of what occurs.

The study also showed:

    * 44% people in cars didn’t wear seat belts (recently even Peppa Pig’s been told off for not wearing one)
    * 65% of people didn’t use zebra crossings
    * 75% cyclists didn’t wear a helmet
    * 25% in boats didn’t wear a life jacket

It’s not a trivial matter though, according to Dr Jon Eric Tongren, the lead researcher at America’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention. For children aged 12 months to 14 years, unintentional injuries make up nearly a third of all deaths.

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Do you think movies should be taken literally, or is it easy enough to explain it’s all just make-believe to your children, without Hollywood films including safety messages? Let us know below…

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