The Ultimate Evil

A Child Abuse Awareness Blog

Warning About Children And Car Trunks

I just saw a news story about two small children – a 5 year old boy and his 4 year old sister – found dead in the trunk of their grandmother’s car. They were only missing for 45 minutes:

This problem seems to be a continuing one, even with the newer features to keep kids (and abduction victims) safer. The primary reason is because parents and those watching our children do not keep a close enough eye on the kids and because children haven’t been taught safety measures regarding vehicle dangers.

I don’t allow my child outside without me or her dad, or leave her in the car alone. Of course, this story and those like it remind me that she could at some point find herself in a situation with another child who hasn’t been taught the dangers and could get her into danger. I’ll be having this discussion with her TODAY!

Here is SafeKids.org’s information on trunk entrapment and vehicle safety:

Heat/Entrapment

Parents running quick errands may think their cars will remain cool, but even on mild days temperatures inside vehicles can rise to dangerous levels in minutes. A young child’s core body temperature can increase three to five times faster than that of an adult, causing permanent injury or death.

The family car parked in the driveway can also be dangerous. Unlocked cars pose serious risks to children who are naturally curious and often lack fear. Once they crawl in, young children don’t have the developmental capability to get out. One-third of the heat-related deaths in 2000 occurred when children crawled into unlocked cars while playing and became trapped.

Protecting Your Family

Heat

  • Never leave your child in an unattended car, even with the windows down.

  • Check to make sure all children leave the vehicle when you reach your destination, particularly when loading and unloading. Don’t overlook sleeping infants.
  • Make sure you check the temperature of the child safety seat surface and safety belt buckles before restraining your children in the car.
  • Use a light covering to shade the seat of your parked car. Consider using windshield shades in front and back windows.

Trunk Entrapment

  • Teach children not to play in or around cars.
  • Keep car keys out of reach and sight.
  • Always lock car doors and trunks, especially when parked in the driveway or near the home.
  • Keep the rear fold-down seats closed to help prevent kids from getting into the trunk from inside the car.
  • Be wary of child-resistant locks. Teach older children how to disable the driver’s door locks if they unintentionally become entrapped in a motor vehicle.
  • Contact your automobile dealership about getting your vehicle retrofitted with a trunk release mechanism.
  • If your child gets locked inside a car, get him out and dial 9-1-1 or your local emergency number immediately.

Protecting Communities

Safe Kids Worldwide and General Motors have a national public awareness campaign to inform parents and caregivers about the dangers of leaving children unattended in vehicles, particularly on warm days. Never Leave Your Child Alone is a brochure (in English and Spanish) that includes sobering facts about heat-related deaths to children trapped in cars and safety tips on how to protect your family. This brochure will be distributed to the public by more than 300 state and local Safe Kids coalitions and thousands of General Motors dealerships.

Several states have enacted laws designed to protect children from being left unattended in motor vehicles. Legislative solutions include establishing penalties for leaving a child alone in a car. Please note that even if a state does not have a specific law prohibiting adults from leaving children unattended, state and local prosecutors have the discretion to charge adults criminally under existing child endangerment laws.

Related Links

GM Trunk Safety Page

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Final Rule Making on Trunk Releases

Trunc Releases Urgently Needed Coalition T.R.U.N.C.

Motor Vehicle Trunk Entrapment Report to Congress

Kids & Cargo Beds

Car Safety

June 18, 2009 - Posted by | Other Safety issues

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