Summertime often brings a break from our normal routines. But this doesn’t mean that families slowdown. In fact, the nice weather and time off usually means we are on the go more than ever. Whether, we are headed toward vacation spots, day trips, or site seeing, it’s important to consider safety on the go. The first three tips are taken from Primary Children’s Hold on to Dear Life Campaign.
Spot the Tot – Preventing Backovers
On average, every seven days a Utah child is run over in a driveway or parking lot. Children under the age of 5 are at the greatest risk for being backed over by a motor vehicle. Because of this, Primary Children’s has developed a campaign to bring more awareness to this growing problem. The campaign is called Spot the Tot. This program provides a few simple steps to prevent back overs.
- Before driving, check the street, driveway and area around your vehicle. (Drivers of SUV’s and trucks should be extra careful.)
- Children should be taught at an early age not to play in, under or around vehicles.
- Supervise children when a driver is leaving the home.
- Whenever possible, use current technology such a back-up cameras and sensor devices.
- Adjust your seat to see clearly out of the rear window.
- Roll down windows to hear any children.
- Adjust side and rear mirrors to reduce the blind zone.
We are all at risk when we get behind the wheel of a car, but we can minimize that risk by simply buckling up! Car crashes remain the number one killer of children ages 3-14 in the United States. Along with adults buckling up, children must ride in car seats and booster seats that are right for his or her weight and height. Seat belts must also be properly adjusted for height and weight.
Most people don’t know that children usually reach the age of 12 before they are big enough for a regular safety belt. A child needs to be a minimum of 4 foot 9 inches and between 80 to 100 pounds. Car seats can be confusing and sometimes a challenge to install. For a free car seat inspection, call 801-662-CARS (2277) where a certified Car Seat Technician from Primary Children’s can help answer any questions and assist you in properly restraining your family while in the car.
Never Leave Your Child Alone
Another emphasis of the Hold on to Dear Life Campaign is to never leave your child alone. As the temperature warms up, so does the inside of your vehicle. To illustrate the risks, children can die from heat stroke on a 72 degree day. Between 1998 and 2012, nearly 529 children in the United States died as a result of being left alone in a car. Already this year, there have been 2 deaths caused by heat stroke after a child has been left unattended in a hot vehicle. A child’s body heats up much faster than an adult. The temperature in a motor vehicle can rise 20 degrees in 10 minutes. Even just running into a store to pick up one item is too long for a child to be left in the car alone.
Power Windows & Trunk Safety:
Power windows are another source of injury and possible death. The convenience of power windows makes it easy to hit the window button by accident, causing it to close on a hand, finger, or even a neck. The first preventative measure is to have children properly buckled in seat belts or car seats. Older model cars have window switches that are easier to accidentally hit because they are not placed higher on the door where they are harder to trigger. The newer vehicles also have switches that must be pulled up which is also less likely to cause an accident. Nevertheless, cautions must be exercised in all vehicles to prevent accidental injury.
Finally, children are at a significant risk for being locked in the trunk of a car by accident. Once again, the best way to keep children safe is to make sure they are not left unsupervised in or near vehicles. Teach them to not play in or around cars. In addition, keep your car locked and don’t leave car keys within reach.
Remember, with a bit of caution and supervision we can make this a safe kids summer!