Each year, more than 9,000 children seek emergency room treatment for injuries that occur while they are unattended in or around motor vehicles. Many of these preventable injuries happen when drivers are unaware of children near vehicles.
Kids love cars, and when they see a parked car, they do not even think about the possibility of getting hurt or seriously injured. That is why adults have to be aware that dangers lurk in and around vehicles in their driveway, parking lots and while on the road. Many preventable injuries and deaths occur in driveways or parking lots when drivers are unaware that children are near vehicles. Tragically, these drivers are often family members or friends of the injured child.
Driveway Safety Tips
- We know you are often in a hurry, but before you drive away, take a few seconds to walk all the way around your parked car to check for children.
- Designate a safe spot for children to wait when nearby vehicles are about to move and make sure the drivers can see them.
- Accompany little kids when they get in and out of a vehicle. Hold their hands while walking near moving vehicles, in driveways, across parking lots or on sidewalks.
- Be aware of child-resistant locks. Teach older children how to disable the driver’s door locks should they become unintentionally entrapped in a motor vehicle. A toddler will not know to climb into the front seat to climb out of the vehicle.
A combination of poor ventilation and high temperatures make trunk space a dangerous place for children. From 2005 to 2009, trunk entrapment resulted in the death of 16 children in the United States.
- Make sure to lock your vehicle, including doors and trunk, when you are not using it. Keep keys and remote entry fobs out of children’s sight and reach.
- Teach kids that trunks are for transporting cargo and are not safe places to play.
- Show older children how to locate and use the emergency trunk release found in cars manufactured after Sept. 1, 2001. Very young children may not have the strength or ability to open the release bar.
- Keep rear fold-down seats closed to help prevent kids from climbing into the trunk from inside your car.
- If your child is missing, get help and check swimming pools, vehicles and trunks. If your child is locked in a car, get him or her out as quickly as possible and dial 911 immediately. Emergency personnel are trained to evaluate and check for signs of heatstroke.
Spot the Tot: Preventing Back- and Front-Over Tragedies
- When checking for children around your vehicle, see if anything that could attract a child, such as a pet, bike or toy, is under or behind your vehicle before getting in and starting the engine.
- Identify and use safe play areas for children, away from parked or moving vehicles. Teach children to play in these areas instead of in, around or behind a car.
- Do not allow children to play unattended in parking lots when cars are present.