Weatherford Democrat


January 11, 2010

Buckle up! Kid films getting better at safety

CHICAGO (AP) — Characters in children's movies are wising up about personal safety, increasingly using seat belts, bike helmets and crosswalks, but many still aren't ideal role models, a government study found.

The trend may reflect efforts by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other groups to get Hollywood to convey positive public health messages. But the study also shows these efforts haven't been universally endorsed.

For example, actor Will Ferrell in the 2003 Christmas movie "Elf" gets knocked down by a New York City taxi while crossing the street. He bounces back up without a scratch — but at least he was walking in a crosswalk.

Still, the study's lead author, CDC researcher Jon Eric Tongren, said the scene minimizes the accident's dangers and may give young children a false sense of safety.

And in the 2005 comedy "Yours, Mine and Ours," about a family with 18 kids, the children are wearing life jackets during a boat trip — but not the parents.

The two films were among 67 popular movies from 2003 to 2007 examined in the study. The movies were rated G for general audiences or PG — parental guidance suggested. Results were compared with two previous CDC studies, and were published Monday in Pediatrics.

Among the findings, compared with the studies from 1998-2002 and 1995-97:

—56 percent of car passengers wore seat belts, versus 35 percent and 27 percent

—35 percent of characters used crosswalks, versus 15 percent and 16 percent

—25 percent of bicyclists wore helmets, versus 15 percent and 6 percent

—75 percent of boaters wore life jackets, versus none and 17 percent

Some unsafe behavior increased, including riding motorcycles without a helmet.

Joan Graves, ratings chief at the Motion Picture Association of America, said movies tend to reflect what's going in real life. She cited widespread seat belt laws, helmet use, and awareness about dangers of drunken driving as cultural trends that have affected movie plot lines.

Text Only
Must Read
Top News
House Ads
AP Video
Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase Obama Seeks Limits on US Company Mergers Abroad Large Family to Share NJ Lottery Winnings U.S. Flights to Israel Resume After Ban Lifted Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans Raw: National Guard Helps Battle WA Wildfires Raw: Ukraine's Donetsk Residents Flee Senators Push to End Hamas Threat in Cease-Fire A Young Victim's Premonition, Hug Before MH17 Raw: Deadly Storm Hits Virginia Campground Death Penalty Expert: 'This is a Turning Point' Raw: MH17 Victim's Bodies Arrive in Netherlands