Keeping Kids Safe In & Around Cars

Aside for moving motor vehicle accidents and crashes, cars pose many threats to children.  In fact, there are many other ways that children can get hurt by automobiles and related products. Here are some of these dangers, adapted from

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: Carbon monoxide (CO) is an invisible and odorless gas emitted by running vehicles that can quickly cause disorientation, sudden illness or even death. CO can accumulate to dangerous levels very rapidly when a car is running in a garage or if the tailpipe is blocked by snow during the winter.

Front-Overs: Every year, thousands of children are hurt or die because a driver moving forward very slowly didn’t see them. These accidents tend to occur in residential driveways or parking lots.

Heat Stroke: In the US, each year 38 children die in hot cars after being trapped inside. Because the vehicle is a closed area with glass windows (that act as magnifiers), the temperature inside (including the trunk) with all doors and windows are closed is actually amplified resulting in even hotter conditions than outside.

Power Windows: Although one would not automatically think of this type of potential danger, power windows have killed or injured thousands of children.  According to it takes 22 pounds of force to suffocate or injure an infant. Yet power windows can exert an upward force of 30-80 pounds of force.

Trunk Entrapment: The trunk of a vehicle may seem like the perfect hiding spot for kids’ games. Children have been trapped in the trunk and succumbed to the heat that can rise very quickly. Now it is the law that all trunks must have an internal trunk-release mechanism. But even so, younger children may not be able to find or activate this mechanism.

Under Age Drivers: Children see their parents driving the car on every trip and this, many times. So some children actually think they know how to drive because they have seen others do it.

Vehicles Set in Motion: Each year hundreds of children are hospitalized or even killed after accidentally setting a car into motion. These incidents usually occur when a child is left alone inside a vehicle or when a child gets into a vehicle on their own.

Other dangers include falls from motor vehicles, seatbelt strangulations, car theft with the child inside the vehicle, kidnapping or abductions and car fire accidents.

So the message to all parents, caregivers and drivers: Be aware of all the possible dangers cars pose to children and do your best to prevent them.

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Pediatrician DR.PAUL Roumeliotis is certified by the American Board of Pediatrics and Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. The information provided above is designed to be an educational aid only. It is not intended to replace the advice and care of your child’s physician, nor is it intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. If you suspect that your child has a medical condition always consult a physician.