With road accidents accounting for half of deaths for 5 – 14 year-olds, it’s clear to see that far too many of our kids are victims of often-preventable road accidents. With this shocking statistic in mind, many car manufacturers have re-vamped their entire safety system, and have specifically designed their cars to be ‘safer’ for both adults and children.
However, it’s these safety features that can actually pose a threat to our kids if they’re not careful and don’t know how to use them properly. Young children are often naturally curious and carefree so, when it comes to a vehicle, many kids won’t think twice about jumping in the auto-locking trunk when playing ‘hide and seek’, or sticking their arm out the window without checking the power-locking mechanism hasn’t been switched on.
As a parent, it’s your responsibility to keep your kids safe when in the car and ensure you have as many solutions as possible in place if one of your car’s safety mechanisms has the opposite effect. To learn more, here’s some potential scenarios to look out for and some of today’s most common solutions to these problems.
As mentioned, ‘hide and seek’ is a popular game among young children, with many keen to find the most original hiding place possible to avoid being found. This, in some cases, may lead to kids opting to hide in the trunk of your car without realizing there’s an auto-lock mechanism present. This will cause them to become trapped without a method of escape, which could have catastrophic effects if they’re not found quickly.
Auto-lock mechanisms on trunks have been introduced with good intentions, as they ensure your trunk will always lock even if you forget to manually do it yourself, keeping anything you have stored in there safe and secure.
However, for curious kids who want to use it as a hiding place or simply explore, the auto-lock mechanism could come as a shock and leave them stuck. So, make sure your kids are aware of the dangers of getting in the trunk or simply check your vehicle has the following feature.
All vehicles manufactured after 2002, such as those here at www.wcvolvo.com/new-inventory/index.htm, will have a glow-in-the-dark release mechanism inside the trunk. This will enable your kids to easily see what they need to press to escape instead of fumbling around in the dark for a mechanism that may not even exist. If your car is older than the year 2002, you can purchase one of these glow-in-the-dark kits online for less than $10.
A quick and easy way to open and close your car windows without having to exert effort yourself, power windows are present in almost every modern vehicle around today.
But whilst they’re super convenient and easy to use, they have in fact injured and killed thousands of unsuspecting children. It’s estimated to take just 22 pounds of force to injure a young child, and power windows can produce up to a huge 80 pounds of force. So, if a little arm is hanging out of a window and the closing mechanism is switched on without the child realizing, their arm could be crushed in a matter of seconds.
Ensure your kids never mindlessly hang out of open windows in the vehicle, and make sure they’re aware of where the power switch is so they can avoid accidentally turning it on. Better still, get yourself a car that has auto-reverse mechanisms in place that will instantly stop the closing of windows if necessary. Plenty of today’s vehicles have this feature, you just need to do a little research before buying!
Look before you lock
Whilst this may seem obvious, ensuring to look before locking your car will ensure you never accidentally lock your child inside.
Tragic cases have come to light in which parents simply forget their babies are still in the vehicle before locking, get distracted or have their mind racing on other things, and return to find their children have suffered the consequences of heat stroke after being left whilst asleep in a hot car for too long.
Parenthood is often a very stressful time, and it’s natural to simply forget things. But by implementing the ‘look before you lock’ mindset every time you leave your car, you’re taking an essential step to keeping your children safe.
Whilst today’s new cars seem great with all their modern tricks and mechanisms, they can be risky if not used properly. But by educating your kids and being vigilant yourself, you’ll be in a much better position to avoid car-related catastrophe.
Isabel Kelly works as a safety advocate. An avid writer, she enjoys posting about the latest safety news and tools on a variety of family websites.