A recent study of 241 new fathers in Australia found that the new dads’ sleep schedules put them at risk of accidents on and off the road.
The fathers, who came from office work, construction and trade backgrounds, were rounded up by Dr. Gary Mellor, of Southern Cross University. Mellor said that he came up with the idea for the survey at a barbeque after having his second child. He mentioned that he was so tired one day that he almost swerved off the road. Other fathers at the barbeque had similar experiences, and it got Mellor’s wheels turning.
“I checked the research,” said Mellor, “and not much had been done about sleep deprivation in fathers and how that affected their safety at work or to and from work.”
Mellor tested the fathers at six weeks, then at 12 weeks. While fatigue increased, what was actually not to be expected was that the fathers’ attitudes toward safety at work changed. As well, Mellor found these statistics: 36% of new fathers were more likely to have an accident at work, and 26% were more likely to have an accident on the road, on the way to or from work.
The accidents can be attributed to new fathers trying to find a family and work balance, as well as availability of paid paternity leave at work.
The study can be found in the American Journal of Men’s Health.