From the time your child is an infant, you do everything in your power to keep them safe in your vehicle. You buy a rear-facing car seat when they’re a newborn, you upgrade to a forward-facing seat when they outgrow the previous one, and you make sure they use a booster seat throughout their early childhood years. But crashes aren’t the only danger that your vehicle poses to your child.
Children can be injured by vehicles in several scary ways, even when the child is not in the vehicle, or the vehicle is parked or not turned on! Some of the most common injuries and deaths are caused by:
- Backover accidents—It took nearly 10 years after the legislation was initially passed, but as of May 2018, all U.S. automakers are required to include backup cameras and displays in their vehicles. That requirement is in response to the tragic deaths and severe injuries of young children who are run over by vehicles backing up—often in their own driveways and by vehicles driven by their relatives.
- Frontover accidents—Backup cameras can help drivers reduce their risk of hitting children when backing up, but kids are small and often like to play in front of or even underneath vehicles. That can put them at extreme risk of being run over by drivers who are unaware of their presence.
- High interior temperatures—The interior of a vehicle can reach fatal temperatures in as little as 10 minutes, even when the temperature outside isn’t hot and the windows are rolled down. Thirty-seven children die in hot cars every year in the U.S., making them an extremely dangerous place for kids to be.
- Power windows—Raising and lowering windows with the bush of a button is easy and convenient, but it can put your child at risk. Power windows can exert up to 80 pounds of force, which is more than enough to seriously injure or even fatally suffocate an infant or baby.
- Trunk entrapment—Trunks can be enticing areas for kids to play in, especially during games like hide and seek. But many kids don’t know that trunks can lock from the inside, and with no light, they may be unable to see to open them. That can put children at risk of heatstroke, heat death, and suffocation.
- Underage driving—Whether they’re trying to emulate their parents, or they’re acting out, it’s not uncommon for children to get behind the wheel of vehicles they’re far too small and young to drive. Doing so not only puts them at extreme risk of crashing, it can also put other motorists at risk of crashes as well.
- Rolling vehicles—Even very young children are capable of starting vehicles and putting them into neutral, drive, or reverse. When they do so, they’re at extreme risk of injuries and even death, as the vehicle may roll into coming traffic, down a hill, or into an object such as a pole, tree, or even a building.
- Airbag deployment—Even long after kids outgrow car seats and booster seats, they should continue to ride in the backseat. That’s because airbags can deploy with such force that they can cause serious and even fatal injuries in children, especially those under the age of 12.
How You Can Keep Your Kid Safe in and Around Your Vehicle
The best way to keep your child safe from accidental injury around vehicles is to keep your vehicle locked and your keys hidden or out of their reach. Check the front and rear of your vehicle before you drive, use your backup camera when reversing, and never leave your child alone in your vehicle, even for short errands. Finally, use child safety locks for your windows, and never allow children under the age of 12 to ride in the front seat.
Need Help After an Auto-Related Injury? We’re Here to Help.
Whether you, your child, or someone else you love was injured in a vehicle-related accident that wasn’t your fault, the Oklahoma City car accident attorneys at Parrish DeVaughn Injury Lawyers are here to help. Contact us today for a free consultation. There’s no obligation when you call, and we never charge for our services unless we get money for our clients.