Close calls on the road can be a scary thing, especially when they involve children. This morning, while dropping my children off at school, I had one of the most terrifying experiences of my life. After my youngest son got out of the car, he turned to wave, and ran off towards the building at full speed, anxious to meet up with his friends. He wasn’t paying attention, and ran quickly around the back of another car dropping off their own children. He ran right through their blind spot right as they began to back out, coming very close to getting hit by the rear end of the car. I could only look on in horror, and thankfully, he was fine. While I know my son is very aware of the danger of vehicles, and how to act around them, there are still many uncontrollable factors that lead to terrible accidents involving children. However, there are also many factors which are controllable, which if addressed, can prevent thousand of accidents each year. Below is a list of safety ideas to help keep your young children safe in and around vehicles.
Please follow the following recommendations to keep children safe:
1. Walk around and behind a vehicle prior to moving it.
2. Know where your kids are. 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.
3. 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.
4. Consider installing cross view mirrors, audible collision detectors, rear view video camera and/or some type of back up detection device.
5. Measure the size of your blind zone (area) behind the vehicle(s) you drive. A 5-foot-1-inch driver in a pickup truck can have a rear blind zone of approximately 8 feet wide by 50 feet long.
6. Be aware that steep inclines and large SUV’s, vans and trucks add to the difficulty of seeing behind a vehicle.
7. Hold the child’s hand firmly when leaving the vehicle.
8. Teach your children to never play in, around or behind a vehicle and always set the emergency brake.
9. Keep toys and other sports equipment off the driveway.
10. Homeowners should trim landscaping around the driveway to ensure they can see the sidewalk, street and pedestrians clearly when backing out of their driveway. Pedestrians also need to be able to see a vehicle pulling out of the driveway.
11. Never leave children alone in or around cars; not even for a minute.
12. Keep vehicles locked at all times; even in the garage or driveway and always set your parking brake.
13. Keys and/or remote openers should never be left within reach of children.
14. Make sure all child passengers have left the car after it is parked.
15. Be especially careful about keeping children safe in and around cars during busy times, schedule changes and periods of crisis or holidays.
These precautions can save lives.