In our previous blog, we looked at the danger a hot car poses to kids. But there are other hazards we all need to be aware of to be sure our children stay safe in and around cars.
The first and most important thing we can do to protect our children when they are riding in the car is to make sure that if there is an accident they are properly restrained. The American Academy of Pediatrics has set clear guidelines for appropriate restraint. Be aware that some states have car seat guidelines that do not yet keep up with the APA’s standards, so always follow the APA’s latest guidelines to ensure your child’s safety.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants and toddlers ride in the back seat of the car in rear-facing car seats until they are two years old or have reached the weight and height limits of the car seat. Toddlers and preschoolers should also ride in the back seat but in forward-facing car seats with harness straps. Once children reach the weight and height harness strap limits of their car seats, they should move to belt-positioning booster seats. Regular seat belts are not safe for children until they reach the height of at least 4 feet 9 inches and the age of between 9 and 12 years. In addition, they should sit in the back seat until they are at least 13 years old. Children should never be allowed to ride unrestrained in a car or in the flatbed of a truck.
We always want to protect our children from injury, but many people don’t know of a very unusual way they can be seriously hurt—and even die—while in the car. Kids and Cars reports that a number of children died while sticking their heads out the car window when they accidentally leaned on the power switch and the glass moved up forcefully and choked them. Because of this risk, in 2006 the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) banned power window rocker and toggle switches from U.S.-manufactured vehicles, but there are still cars on the road that don’t fall into this category. When looking to buy a used car, make sure the power windows are controlled by lever switches and/or mounted vertically or on an upswept armrest.
We should never leave our children alone in the car or leave our keys in the car when kids are nearby. But there is another danger to our children that we need to be highly conscious of when they aren’t even in the car at all—the risk of being run over when a car is backing up. The NHTSA now requires that all cars manufactured in the US have back-up cameras, but not all of us are driving American cars made since May of 2016. If your car does not have a back-up camera, make sure you know where your kids are at all times when you’re backing out of your driveway, be prepared for them to dart behind you at any moment, and take into account blind spots when deciding whether or not you have a clear path to back out.
Here at Accident and Injury Chiropractic, we want you and your family to be safe in and around motor vehicles. But if you do happen to be in an accident and suffer any kind of injury, come immediately to one of our offices conveniently located near you. We will take excellent care of you, and before you know it, you’ll be back out on the road again.