Additional Vehicle Dangers

Every day, children are left alone in or near cars, and most people have no idea how dangerous this is. In just minutes, a child can be seriously hurt or killed. It’s a tragedy that can happen to anyone, even to the most cautious parents.

Our friends at Kids and Cars have outlined a few more vehicle dangers that children can face.

Frontovers and Backovers

The terms frontover and backover refer to when an infant or child is accidentally run over by a moving vehicle in a driveway or parking lot. Frontovers are responsible for 366 deaths and 15,000 injuries per year, according to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, while thousands of children are seriously injured or killed every year due to backovers.

Preventing Frontovers and Backovers

  • Always walk around your vehicle and check the area for kids and pets before moving from a parked position.
  • Roll your windows down while leaving your driveway or parking space so that you can hear what is happening outside your vehicle.
  • Never allow children to walk through parking lots alone. Young children should always be carried or placed in a stroller or shopping car. Even holding hands cannot prevent a child from darting away.
  • Do not allow children to play in driveways, cul-de-sacs, or parking lots unsupervised.
  • Because kids can move unpredictably, you should actively check your mirrors while backing up.

Many newer cars are equipped with safety detection devices such as backup cameras with warning sounds and automatic emergency braking technology. If your car does not have these safety features, you can have them installed. Remember, these devices cannot completely take the place of actively walking around your car to make sure children are safely out of the way.

Cars Stolen With Children Inside

Despite common misconceptions, it’s not unusual for cars to be stolen with kids inside. Car thieves target vehicles that are easy targets – those left unattended with keys inside or the engine running. In most cases, the thief is unaware that a child is in the car until after the theft. The child is often then abandoned either in the vehicle or the side of the road, leaving them vulnerable to numerous dangers. The good news is that these incidents are completely preventable by never leaving a child alone in a car. Kids and Car Safety is the only organization in the U.S. documenting cases where cars are stolen with a children left inside. Visit their website to learn more about this issue.

The Hidden Dangers of Unattended Vehicles

It’s important for parents and caregivers to always supervise children near vehicles. However, even with watchful eyers, kids can sometimes slip away unnoticed. They may see a vehicle as a tempting place to play hide-and-seek or try to imitate their parents by trying to drive. If left alone inside a vehicle, children face numerous hazards:

  • Power windows in vehicles have killed or injured thousands of children. It only takes 22 pounds of force to suffocate or injure an infant – power windows exert 30-80 pounds of force. All new vehicles manufactured after October 1, 2010 are required to have the safer ‘pull up to close/push down to open’ switches. Read more about the regulation here.
  • Every year, hundreds of children are hospitalized or killed after accidentally setting a car into motion. Most drivers think their vehicle can’t be shifted into gear unless the vehicle is running and the driver has their foot on the break, however, this is not always the case. Check your vehicle to see if it can be shifted into gear without your foot on the brake.
  • Kids can easily become entangled in the seatbelts, with the potential for strangulation. While seatbelts are crucial for safety while driving, they can be dangerous for children playing unattended in a vehicle.
  • Vehicles are full of small parts and loose items that can be a choking hazard for young children, from coins and batteries to buttons and other small objects.

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