According to www.kidsandcars.org, as of December 2007, 942 children in the U.S. were involved in accidents because they were left unattended in or around a car. Of that total, 231 resulted in fatalities.
Tragedies like these can be prevented if parents exercise some extra caution. Here are a few tips to help keep your child safe:
- Teach your children that they should never play in the car without adult supervision.
- Lock your car and put the keys in a place where your children can’t find them.
- Place something you need like your cell phone, handbag, or briefcase on the floor in front of the back seat when you get into the car. This forces you to retrieve the item when you arrive at your destination and you will be reminded of your child, quietly sleeping in the back seat.
- Keep rear fold-down seats closed to help prevent children from getting into the trunk from inside the car and open the trunk whenever you reach your destination. A child can easily slip inside an open trunk and hide. Install a trunk release mechanism and teach your older children how to use it.
- Keep a large teddy bear in the child’s car seat when it’s not occupied. When the child is placed in the seat, put the teddy bear in the front passenger seat. The teddy bear on the front seat will serve as a reminder that the child is in the car seat.
- Don’t ever leave a child in a car since it can quickly heat up, especially on a hot, sunny day. Children can easily become dehydrated and suffer from heat exposure, even if the windows are partially open. No matter how short a time you plan to be out of the car, take your child with you.
- Teach older children how to disable the driver’s door locks if they become trapped inside the car.
- Take your children out of the car before getting the groceries, dry cleaning, etc., when you get home.
- Be sure that child care providers check to make sure that children aren’t left in their car or van.
- Call 911 immediately if you see a child alone in a vehicle.