It’s common knowledge that young drivers can be dangerous due to their lack of experience. Less known is that those too young to drive also increase the risk of a crash just by being in the car as passengers.
A 2019 study from Finland found drivers who are the only adult in a car containing kids are more likely to be at fault in a crash than those who either have no kids with them or have other adults to attend to the kids.
Typically this is because the kids were distracting them. The study found that adults were less likely to be reckless when transporting kids, but the mere presence of the kids made them more dangerous drivers. Children under four were of particular concern.
How can a child make a driver dangerous?
Children do not always understand (or think about) what is appropriate for a time and place:
Babies do not understand that crying for food or a nappy change when their parent is trying to navigate a complex intersection is dangerous. They just want feeding or their nappy changing.
Children do not understand that asking a question requires the adult to think about the response, taking their brain power away from thinking about how to drive safely.
Children do not understand that telling their parents they are bored or that their little sister is annoying them can wind their parents up. Even if they do, they fail to understand that stressing their parent out will affect their driving.
No child intentionally does things to make their parents crash. No adult intentionally forgets about driving safely to attend to the child. However, they both still do it. If a vehicle containing kids crashes into you, you cannot legally blame the children, but you can claim compensation from the adult driving.