The physical safety of her children weighs heavily on Mom’s mind, rating as one of her most important priorities. Mom knows, both instinctually and intellectually, that her first priority is to keep her child safe and healthy. In State of the American Mom research, only quality of communication with her child, her relationship with her child and the quality of her child’s education are considered more important to Mom.
As Irma’s comments illustrate, physical safety of her child is considered “very important” by 86% of moms:
“Health and safety are the most important because if you don’t have them, you have nothing and can’t enjoy life. I place the top priority on their being safe.” – Irma, mom of a middle-schooler, teenager and young adult
In addition to physical safety, several other health and safety-related topics are also very important to Mom. These include concerns about online safety, healthy habits, avoiding drug/alcohol use, and safe/responsible driving for teens and young adults.
Moms are highly involved with their child’s safety and health at all age ranges, with the emphasis shifting as her child ages. Mom’s “safety” focus starts before the child is born, and is highlighted immediately after birth, when, for example, Mom is instructed to make sure the infant car seat is properly installed before leaving the hospital. Moms of teens are highly concerned with teen driver safety. And, moms of young adults in their twenties report that they are frequently asked for advice on “health” by their adult children, but are less concerned about their young adult’s physical safety. “Dr. Mom” is a resource for young adult questions about health. And this continues after young adults become parents themselves, with family/mom as one of the top three advice sources for health questions.
“Daniel, who is twenty-one years old, always asks for my advice. If he is sick, he asks me what to take or what he should do.” – Irma
There are several resources that Mom relies upon for her health and safety information, which include:
- 59% - Family
- 44% - Pediatrician/health professional
- 47% - Friends
- 29% - Materials from her doctor’s office
- 22% - Internet searches
More specifically, while the family is the top information source for parenting, the pediatrician’s/doctor’s office material is the top information source for health and medical information. Mom’s use of these information sources has clear implications for marketing strategies.
While it’s more authoritative, pediatrician advice can also seem less accessible to moms than Internet searches and online research, which has become an initial, highly-accessible source across many subjects. While the pediatrician is the leading source for health/medical advice, some moms also admitted to feeling uncomfortable “bothering” the pediatrician about every concern the encounter. Many moms are online daily, and if a health or safety question arises, it is easy to do a little online research. Tammy’s approach is typical:
“Being a new mom, when my son was an infant, I was pretty neurotic. Overall, I used the Internet quite a bit for sources of parenting information. Everything from official websites like the Mayo Clinic to mom’s message boards. I started using this website because when I had my son, I didn’t have a lot of friends with kids to turn to, and my own mom doesn’t remember all this information. One of the most frustrating things is the different points of view, but I like to see them.” – Tammy, mom of a preschooler
While moms of younger children have more confidence around the quality of information sources that are readily available to them, this is not necessarily the case for moms of teenagers and young adults. Moms of these older children told us they are not able to rely as much on doctors and pediatricians or online research to effectively address some of their greatest issues around safety and health. Their pressing concerns include safe driving, safe alcohol consumption, avoiding pregnancy or sexual diseases and having health insurance coverage. Moms of teens and young adults welcome a brand who partners with them in encouraging safe practices and healthy habits for their children, as we’ve seen with the State Farm case study. For a brand to be most supportive in this area, it needs to help Mom communicate in an age-relevant way with her child.