17 July 2012

Prevent Accidents Involving your Car and Toddler

Don, Julia and I went to the mall to buy a few items for Julia.  We were on our way to the parking area when Julia pooped.  We decided to clean her and changer her diaper inside the car instead of going to SM's changing station (not very child-friendly).

Inside the car, while I was cleaning Julia, Don was busy loading our grocery bags in the trunk.  He opened the windows open so the poop smell won't linger inside the car.  After loading, Don went back inside and asked me if we were ready leave.  I said yes.  I just finished cleaning and changing Julia's diaper.  I was putting on her her leggings when Julia started to cry.  I thought she was just getting impatient so I continued with what I was doing.  When she didn't stop crying, I looked up and saw her four tiny fingers stuck in the window!!!  I screamed, panicked and could not say anything.  I was just banging the car window.

Don was quick to realize that something was wrong.  After what happened, Don gave me a lecture on how staying calm can make us think and prevent further harm.  In hindsight, pushing the window control button was easier (and absolutely more effective) than what I did.  Julia?  She was sobbing, but managed to give us a little smile when we kissed her hand.

We often hear in the news or we have seen countless videos about car accidents involving kids.  I don't know about you, but I don't like watching them.  They are heart breaking!  So, ever  since our minor car mishap two months ago, I have been reading articles online about car safety involving toddlers.  Here are some information from different online articles that I compiled:

(WARNING:  This may be long and boring but you HAVE to read this!)

  • When a child is intentionally left in a hot car or accidentally locks himself in the car or trunk, this condition can set in quickly as 10 minutes. (1)
  • If your kids are old enough to understand, warn them about the dangers of getting into the trunk of a car. (1)
  • Never leave infants or children unattended in a vehicle - even if the windows are partly open or the engine is running and the airconditioning is on. (7)
  • Always lock vehicle doors and trunks and keep keys out of children's reach. (7) 
What tha?

    • People are carrying a lot of items in the car, especially those using SUVs and vans.
    • In an impact, even small items such as a cell phone sitting on your dashboard can hit your child in the head with massive impact. (1)
    • Heavy items such as suitcases and toolboxes resting in your open cargo area can propel forward and cause individual seats top collapse, pushing even a restrained child into the back of your seat or through the window. (1)
    • The best prevention is to invest in a carrier barrier or net, or at the very least, strap down large items using the anchors in the cargo area.  Even when your children are not in the car, secure the seat belt around their booster seat so it does not fly off and hit you in your head. (1) 
    • Teach children to move away from a vehicle when the driver gets in it or if the car is started or running (3)
    • Teach children never to play in and around cars and trucks and supervise children carefully when in and around vehicles. (3)
    • Just because a car is parked doesn't mean it's safe.  Drivers may not notice a child, say, drawing with chalk in the driveway or running up to say hello.  So don't let your toddler play in the driveway (and keep his toys in a safer, less-tempting place. (8)
    • When reversing:
      • Have children stand to the side of the driveway or sidewalk so you can see them as you are backing out. (3)
      • Make sure you know where all your children are. (4)
      • Check around the vehicle by using the mirrors and looking over your shoulder.  Be aware that you may have blind spots around your vehicle, especially directly behind the vehicle, where small children can be hidden from view. (4)
      • Make sure you perform the manoeuvre slowly, which gives you time to keep checking all around you.  The rear window gives you the best view out of the rear of the car. (4)
    • Be sure, before any journey, that the child seat is properly fitted with a belt. (2)
    • Making windows go up and down with a push of a button is oh-so-tempting for busy little fingers but oh-so-dangerous if that window closes on them.  To keep curious toddler safe, control windows from the driver's seat, keeping them locked, if possible.  When you need to raise them, always check to make sure hands (or arms or heads) aren't anywhere near.  You can also nip the temptation to touch the buttons by giving him something to keep his hands busy -- like a just-for-the-car book or toy.  Want to be sure that no fingers will get caught in the car door?  Before you shut the door (and after you've strapped him in his seat) ask your toddler to show you how tightly he can hug himself. (8)
    • Never place anything underneath a child in the child seat, otherwise the child won't be protected by the belt in an accident. (5)
    • A child must never be left unattended in a child seat.  They may hurt themselves or accidentally put the seat belt around their neck and be suffocated. (2)
    • Tether the toys.  Those carefully selected, just-for-the-car playthings won't do a bit of good if they wind up on the floor.  And you won't do anyone any good if you try to reach behind you or look back to retrieve an AWOL toy.  One safe-driving solution:  Keep items within reach of your child by attaching them to the car seat.  Plastic links are great, because you can adjust the length by adding or subtracting links.  Just don't use string or ribbon - that could be a strangulation hazard. (9)
    • Do not entertain anything that will distract you from driving.  This is not limited to the use of mobile phones and other gadgets.  Anything can be:  applying make-up, trying to find your lipstick that fell from your lap, eating, etc.
    • Follow traffic rules.
    • The driver should not set off until everyone is securely fastened. (2)
    • Set a good example.  By modeling safer driving tips, not only will you protect your child now, you'll also protect him down the road by teaching her the smart habits he'll need when he climbs behind the wheel himself. (9)
    What other car safety tips can you add to this compilation?


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