Pointers to protect toddlers and young children around cars — and we do not just mean road accidents.
Children can get hurt when they are not properly restrained and guided around and in a car, especially when the driver or caregiver ignores the dangers associated with certain situations. Being aware of and taking appropriate precautionary measures can help prevent most unintentional injuries among these young people.
Know your child’s whereabouts
Before you reverse your car, always check to see where your child is. You should make it a point to walk around your car before getting in to make sure there is no one in your way. Many newer-model cars come with a rear-view camera or an alarm that sounds when there is an obstruction behind the car. These are excellent supplementary features, but nothing beats actually walking around the car. Always lock your car and keep the keys away from your children. Carefully watch over them when they are around vehicles. Keep rear fold-down seats closed inside the vehicle.
Educate your child
Teach your child not to play in and around car parks or other locations where cars could be reversing in and out. They should also not play around parked cars.
If your child enjoys playing pranks, be sure he or she understands the dangers of hiding in the car boot. They could lock themselves in, which could result in suffocation or asphyxiation.
Take them with you
Leaving children alone inside a vehicle — even for a brief spell — can have disastrous consequences — up to and including death. For example, heat build-up inside a car can quickly become fatal to children. So, even if you are dashing to the supermarket for a quick purchase, you are well advised to bring your children along with you.
Seat them in the back
Children under the age of 13 should not ride in the front seat. Having them sit in the back seat protects them from possible injury when a passenger-side air bag deploys. Air bags could seriously hurt a small child because they are designed to protect a person with a much bigger body.
Use proper safety restraints
Studies show that the use of child car restraints — such as child car seats, booster seats, and seat belts — can reduce the incidence of death in road traffic accidents by 50–70%. In Singapore, anyone below 1.35m in height is required to be secured with a child restraint appropriate for a person of that height and weight. Children who have outgrown their child safety seat should be placed in a booster seat. A booster seat is required if the shoulder strap of the seat belt crosses your child’s neck rather than chest, and the lap belt crosses the stomach rather than the hips or upper thighs.