Cars are effective and efficient machines. But, like it or not, cars can also be dangerous. As parents, we want to keep our kids safe and secure, which is why we buy expensive car accessories for them. As is the case for many illness and accidents, prevention is always better than cure.
Here are some of the car dangers that parents need to avoid:
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
It sounds extreme. It might even sound ridiculous. But 31% of people hospitalized for Carbon Monoxide poisoning in 2016 were under the age of 14. It is a big deal – especially for young children and babies.
Carbon Monoxide gets expelled through a car’s exhaust system. The best way to avoid any incidents always ensured your children have access to fresh air. Don’t let your vehicle run idle in an enclosed space, and by extension don’t leave your child in or around the vehicle while you’re doing it.
If you have to let the car run to warm up, like in the winter months, do it outside the house and garage. Keep an eye on your car’s maintenance schedule too – don’t risk any faults or leaks.
If it’s hot outside, it’s hotter inside the car! Heatstroke is a child killer when it comes to cars – in 2017; there were over 40 fatalities. It usually comes by way of leaving your child in a hot car for an extended period.
The simple way to avoid this is, of course, not to do it – take the child with you or leave them with a caregiver at home. Even a sleeping baby you spent ages trying to get to sleep should not be left. Don’t be tempted by the mindset of “I’ll only be gone 5 minutes”.
Don’t ever leave your child in your car. Click this link to read tips so you never forget your kids when you step out of your car.
They have the power to kill. Like the other examples above, it sounds extreme but not when you read the numbers. The comparison is that it takes 22 pounds’ force – that’s 98N – to injure a baby severely. The minimum pound’s force from a vehicle’s power windows is 30 pounds’ force or 133N. You do the math.
Better safe than sorry.
Vehicles Accidentally Set into Motion
It can only take a second. Leave a child alone in the car. Maybe they get bored, or maybe the parking brake is not quite securely pulled. They touch, press, knock something, or accidentally trip on your gear and before you know it, the car starts moving.
Kids cannot and do not know what to do to stop a moving car if it rolls down the driveway into the road. God forbid, into the path of an oncoming vehicle. It happens more often than you would at first suppose, but it is responsible for some serious injuries and even fatalities in the US.
Be careful where they play. Avoid the fronts and backs of cars. Ask them to stay in the yard with some distance away from the roads.
The smaller the child, the greater the danger when they are in and around vehicles. Kids play in the street – it’s a natural part of growing up. That is why we educate them in road safety early on. Crossing the street safely to avoid ending up on the windshield is one thing.
But awareness that a car may start backing out of the driveway and the driver hasn’t seen the child playing behind them – that’s a different story. And yet both situations happen.
Getting Stuck in the Trunk
Some kids, especially the younger ones, may think nothing of hiding inside the car’s trunk. They may think “No one will think to look for me here,” as they play hide-and-seek. Getting in isn’t the problem. Getting out is!
Once they are in the trunk, parents may not know where to look for the kids and rescue them. They may suffocate and die there and it may take days before they are discovered.
Parents, be mindful of safety inside and around cars.