With the advent of a new school year, parents are reminded to be especially mindful of dangers of children who are in and around vehicles.
“A Parent's Guide to Playing it Safe,” a brochure created by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and available through www.safercar.gov, points out common dangers that drivers and passengers need to be aware of:
• Backover – “Backing over a child can cause serious injury or even death,” occurring when a driver who is backing up the vehicle doesn't realize a child is in the path of the vehicle. The best prevention? Teach children to not play around vehicles and to check around and behind a vehicle to ensure no children are present, the brochure states.
• Heatstroke. This is the leading cause of vehicle-related deaths for children 14 and younger that are not caused by accident, according to the brochure, which pointed out that “vehicles can heat up very quickly in almost all weather conditions.” Never leave a child unattended in a car, even if the stop is a short one or the weather is agreeable, or the windows are cracked to allow circulation.
• Rollaway. Leaving a vehicle running or the keys in the ignition with a child inside the vehicle “is never safe (because) unattended children can accidentally cause the vehicle to roll or even drive away, especially if the car is running.”
•Seat belt entanglement. “Children can get board during car trips and may play with the seat belt,” sometimes even wrapping the strap around their head and neck without realizing what they've done, the brochure states. “Any seat belts you don't use should be buckled and locked to prevent entanglement. You can also prevent entaglement by making sure your child is properly restrained and teaching (them) that seat belts are not toys.”
For other safety tips, visit www.safercars.gov/parents.