I usually park my car in such a way that I have to back the car into the spot. Every time I do so, I worry that someone from my family will be behind the car and I may hit them by mistake. This fear has grown ever since my son started walking a couple of months ago.
I saw this on the net: Miracle Baby Pinned Under SUV Survives Unharmed. I proceed to freak out even more. The story referenced a website called: http://kidsandcars.org/ which seems to be a site collecting and maintaining statistics of children injured/killed in accidents involving automobiles. Their statistics reveal that of all fatalities involving children from 2002 – 2007 the top 3 reasons were:
- 44% were due to “back overs” (backing up over a child)
- 17% was due to “front overs” (opposite of back over)
- 16% due to Hyperthermia.
Having freaked myself out enough – I started to worry that since this is not tracked well in the US which usually has statistics of everything, the statistics in India would be very different. I do not even want to think of it since it will be more gruesome than the US statistics. Rather than think about that I thought maybe I should put together some tips for parents / drivers.
Tips for vehicle drivers with little children around:
- Check for small children hiding/playing immediately in front of , behind or under the car before starting. Always!
- Secure children inside the car in child seats or have adults who are secured with a seat-belt hold the child (India specific – since the usage of car seats is minimal). Child car seats are best kept in the rear seat away from airbags if present in the car. When held by an adult make sure their heads are away from window panes since bumps on the roads could cause their heads to hit the glass. If asleep they should either be held by an adult -not left on the seat alone.
- Children should never be allowed to stand inside(in the middle of the seats etc.) a moving vehicle since sudden stops could cause them to fall.
- Children should not be allowed to sit/lie down in the luggage area of hatchbacks or SUVs where there are no proper seats.
- Never leave children in vehicles alone. Parental supervision is a must. Doesn’t matter if it is hot or cold or whatever in between. (Recently a car was stolen from near the Chennai airport with 2 children in it – thief lead police on a chase until he was finally stopped.)
- Enable the power window locks and child locks on the doors to ensure that children cannot open the doors/windows unless under adult supervision. If the windows are to be kept open (no A/c or non-working a/c) make sure the children’s hands and feet are always in the car and never outside.
- Keep enough toys/food/water in the car and always have an adult to keep them entertained and busy to prevent them from crying/distracting the driver thereby causing an accident.
- Check for little hands and feet when opening/closing doors/windows/trunks/bonnets/tailgates etc. Applies when sliding/folding seats/gloveboxes/cigarette lighters as well.
- Do notallow children who are not old enough to drive a vehicle.
- Drive carefully, within speed limits, follow all rules, be courteous to other motorists and set a good example to the young impressionable minds in the car.
Request: Dear readers – have I missed any key tips ? Please doadd more tips through the comments – I need your help to build this list up. Please do share these tips with parents of small children who may find it useful as well.