As parents ourselves, we have focused a lot of our energies on child safety. Nothing breaks our hearts more than learning of a serious injury or death to a child that could and should have been avoided. So it warms our heart to see progress made by other organizations working hard to prevent avoidable child injuries. One of these is “Kids and Cars.” Check out their website, www.kidsandcars.org. They are bringing public attention to issues that have long endangered children such as:
- Child Back Over Deaths. Many SUVs and Vans have horrendous visibility limitations that prevent drivers from seeing children behind them. This problem can be solved with a combination of diligence on the part of drivers and better designs that minimize blind areas.
- Trunk Locks. Recent model vehicles are designed with inside trunk releases to prevent kids from staying trapped in a closed trunk, similar to how children used to become trapped in abandoned refrigerators. Many older model vehicles do not have this safety feature.
- Brake shift interlock. It is very common for a small child to try to copy mom and dad and get in the seat of the car and drive. A well-designed vehicle will prevent placing the car in gear unless the operator’s foot is on the brake, effectively “childproofing” the car just as we childproof pill bottles. Amazingly and unnecessarily, many cars on the road lack this simple, common-sense safety design.
- Child strangulation in power windows. The fixes are simple and cheap—including use of a window button that needs to be pulled up to move the window up, keeping children from accidentally injuring themselves by standing on the window button and looking out the window, or use of an “auto-reverse” feature like those on electric garage doors.
Since child safety knows no political boundaries, Kids and Cars has powerful
bipartisan support in its child protection efforts. Let’s hope that
this coming year brings passage of the “Cameron Gulbransen Kids
and Cars Safety Act,” co-sponsored by Republican Senator John Sununu
and Democratic Senator Hillary Rodham-Clinton. Protecting our children
is an issue upon which folks of different political stripes can certainly agree!
- Stuart Ollanik