Children in Vehicles
A vehicle can bring us many benefits, but it’s also a false sense of security. It won’t take long for a child to be put at risk. If not careful, they can become a victim of crime or suffer medical distress. According to the Canada Safety Council:
On a warm day, even vehicles parked in the shade with windows down can reach a staggering 49 degrees Celsius in minutes.
Extreme heat affects infants and small children more quickly and dramatically than adults because of their size. Their core body temperature can increase three to five times faster than that of an adult.
If you’re not with your children, you can’t protect them. Don’t let a moment of convenience become a lifetime of regret – never leave children alone in a vehicle.
Heatstroke is one of the most common cases of non-crash-related fatalities among children. Children can easily suffer from heatstroke when left alone in a vehicle under the sun. It can be a surprise how fast the inner car temperature caught up and become hazardous.
Heatstroke begins when the core body temperature reaches about 104 degrees and the thermoregulatory system is overwhelmed. A core body temperature of about 107 degrees is lethal.
Sadly, no matter how careful you are, sometimes accident does happen and parents can forget a child in the back seat. So, here is some prevention method as advised by NHTSA:
Look before you lock. Make it a habit to look before you lock and try these tips to avoid putting children at risk of heatstroke.
Keep your vehicle locked and keep your keys out of reach; nearly 3 in 10 heatstroke deaths happen when an unattended child gains access to a vehicle.
TAKE ACTION if you notice a child alone in a car! Protecting children is everyone’s business—learn what to do if you see a child alone in a car.
Vehicle Safety for Children
While heatstroke can be a major concern for kids in the car but what causes more concern is the safety of children when the car is mobile. According to Stanford Children:
For children between the ages of 3 and 14, unintentional injury-related deaths occur most often when riding in a car. Children are more likely to be injured, suffer more severe injuries, or die in motor vehicle crashes when they are not properly restrained. According to the National SAFE KIDS Campaign, children under age 4 who ride in motor vehicles unrestrained are twice as likely to die or suffer injuries in a car crash.
Use of Child Safety Seats
The best safety tool that you can use to keep a child safe while in a car is the child seat. Making sure they are strap-in properly will increase the chance to survive in case of a fatal accident. However, inevitably that sometimes parents might install a children car seat incorrectly. As mentioned by Rochester Medical Center, here are some of the most common mistakes:
- Safety belt not holding the seat in tightly or not in locked mode
- Harness straps not snug or positioned correctly
- Harness retainer clip not at armpit level
- Locking clip not used correctly
- Car seat recalled and not repaired (includes booster seats)
- Infants placed rear-facing in front of an active air bag
- Children turned forward-facing before reaching 2 years of age and 20 pounds
As tempting as it may be to run a quick errand, leaving children unattended inside a vehicle, "even for a minute," can be dangerous. Or whenever your child refused to sit in the car seat, you let them sit on the normal seat which is safely secure. Either of these scenarios should be wholly avoided and never let it happen.
Also, keeping your vehicles in tip-top conditions is also essential as a properly maintained car will keep all the passenger safety on the road. For example, making sure the tire pressure, car interior and exterior (i.e., protective coating for cars) and the engine should always be adequately checked to make sure the car is running smooth. For more info about car maintenance and detailing, Full Gleam is a blog that has a lot of guides to help with car maintenance.