Car window safety

Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
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This safety topic is one that may surprise many parents, and although the number of deaths and injuries is low, even one child death is too many. Automatic car windows can be very dangerous for a child. Typical electric-power windows produce 50 to 80 pounds of force when only 8 to 10 pounds are needed to raise the window. Children, who accidentally trigger the window and become trapped, often panic and are unable to free themselves, causing strangulation. Consider the following statistic from Kids and Cars:

There have been 43 reported child deaths because of entrapments and strangulations from automobile power windows.

Follow the check list below to protect your child:

• Be aware of the type of car window switches in your car. Most American-made cars use a toggle button that is pressed down on one side for raising and pressed down on the other side for lowering the window. These make it easier for children to unintentionally (and intentionally) raise and lower the window. Many foreign-manufactured cars use a switch that must be pushed up or pressed down. These are harder for a child to trigger unintentionally, and are harder to raise accidentally trapping a child because if they are pushed down the window goes down. Regardless of the where your car was manufactured, the risk is still there. Check your car for ways to make it safe.

• Use window locks if your vehicle has them. Typically, a window lock is a switch the driver controls. When the switch is on, all the windows are locked in their position unless moved by the driver.

• Do not leave your child unattended in the car. Most of the 43 deaths reported occurred while the child was in the car alone (even if the parent was only a few feet away). If you are far enough away to not hear the window motor move, you are too far away.

Don Keenan, founder of the Keenan's Kids Foundation, has published a book on child safety entitled, "365 Ways to Keep Kids Safe," which is available at www.balloonpress.com or at www.amazon.com. All proceeds benefit the Keenan's Kids Foundation