KidsAndCars.org is probably the most depressing website I’ve ever featured, but it’s an important one since it helps saves lives and lifetimes’ worth of misery. I was inspired by a recent and very sad ABC 7 New York news story on hot car deaths.
“Hot car deaths reached a record level last year,” it read, “with at least 52 children killed, from California to Tennessee to Mississippi, according to KidsAndCars.org national nonprofit.” After reading that, I looked up KidsAndCars.org and found the non-profit’s disturbing website that is not aesthetically pleasing but is full of tips to help keep kids safe. There are stories of real children that have been lost to not just hot cars but carbon monoxide, winter dangers, and more—all heartbreaking—and the tips are there to limit similar tragedies going forward. For example, under “Heatstroke” (under “How Kids Get Hurt”) there’s a PDF (available in English, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, and Arabic) with valuable info including tips to help make sure children cannot get into a parked car. For example:
- Keep vehicles locked at all times, especially in the garage or driveway. Ask neighbors and visitors to do the same.
- Never leave car keys within reach of children.
- Teach children to honk the horn if they become stuck inside a car.
- If a child is missing, immediately check the inside, floorboards and trunk of all vehicles in the area very carefully.
There are also pages filled with facts and helpful info dedicated to:
- Power Windows
- Trunk Entrapment
- Underage Drivers
- Vehicles Set In Motion
- Other Dangers
Reading it I learned to:
- Walk completely around and behind a vehicle prior to moving it.
- Make children move away from your vehicle to a place where they are in full view before moving the car and know that another adult is properly supervising children before moving your vehicle.
- Teach children that “parked” vehicles might move.
- Let them know that they can see the vehicle; but the driver might not be able to see them.
- Consider installing cross view mirrors, audible collision detectors, rear view video camera and/or some type of front sensor detection device.
- Measure the size of your blind zone (area) in front of the vehicle(s) you drive.
- Many drivers cannot see a young child 6-8 feet in front of larger vehicles.
- Be aware that steep inclines and large SUVs, vans and trucks add to the difficulty of seeing around a vehicle.
- Hold children’s hand when leaving the vehicle.
- Teach your children to never play in or around a vehicle.
- Keep toys and other sports equipment off the driveway.
- Homeowners should trim landscaping around the driveway to ensure they can see the sidewalk, street and pedestrians clearly when backing out or entering their driveway. Pedestrians also need to be able to see a vehicle pulling out of the driveway.
- Make sure all child passengers have left the car after it is parked.
- Be especially careful about keeping children safe in and around cars during busy times, schedule changes and periods of crisis or holidays.