A back over is one of the common dangers that can occur outside of the vehicle. This typically occurs when a car backs out of a drive way or parking spot and unknowingly backs over a person. As a driver, you should always look in mirrors and check the area around your car before backing out. You should also never leave keys in the vehicle once you have exited, this could lead to a rollaway which is when your car begins to move, without a driver, endangering those around. It is also important to teach children to be aware of their surroundings and to not play around vehicles.

Heatstroke is another risk for children inside vehicles. Although it is illegal in many states, some people believe running out of the car for a minute, while leaving children unattended, cannot cause any harm; however, temperatures can rise in your car on an average of 20 degrees within 10 minutes when the vehicle is turned off. Also, children may find their way into your vehicle when you are not aware. Always keep the doors locked and make sure your children are aware of the dangers of entering a car alone.

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Power windows have always been a potential accident waiting to happen to children. Children can close windows on their fingers, wrists or hands. There is also the potential risk for strangling as well. Parents should keep power windows locked if possible and teach their children the dangers of touching the buttons for power windows and to also keep hands and feet inside of the car at all times. Also when closing windows, parents should look to see that their children’s arms and hands are far away from windows.

Child safety locks should always be turned on in your vehicle. Most cars are equipped with this feature that makes sure the doors cannot be opened from the inside while the lock is turned on. This ensures that children are not able to open the doors of a moving vehicle. If your car is not equipped with this feature, you should try and teach your children the dangers of opening a car door while the vehicle is on or moving.

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One of the many things we use to keep ourselves safe can also be an endangerment to children. Seatbelts can be dangerous if a child entangles themselves by wrapping it around their neck or head. Make sure your child is the proper age for a seatbelt and also that the seatbelt is a safe fit. Never allow children to put their arm over the shoulder belt. This can cause serious harm in the event of an accident.

And lastly, trunk entrapment is another endangerment for children around vehicles. Teach children that trunks are for cargo space and not a play area. Keep supervision of your children when the trunk is open and always make sure your car is locked and your keys are out of children’s reach.

We hope you found these tips helpful when trying to keep children safe in and around your vehicle. Mistakes can happen, but with the proper knowledge and advanced planning, we can begin to eliminate the common dangers children and drivers face on a daily basis.

Source: Parents Central: “Safe for Life.” http://www.safercar.gov/parents/inandaroundthecar.htm

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