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Safety around cars: 5 tips to protect your children
Updated 9 Oct 2019
There’s nothing more tragic than an accident involving a child which could have been prevented. The impact and devastation are felt by the families of hundreds of Australian children who are injured or lose their lives in tragedies around the family car every year.
As adults, we’re all aware of how dangerous cars and moving traffic can be. But young children haven’t yet learned those lessons fully.
Even when a car is moving slowly around the home (like in a driveway), it can cause major injuries and/or fatalities to small children.
Here are 5 tips to help keep your kids safe around cars.
In and Out Safely
Teach your kids that car doors are not toys. Closing doors are a pinch point that can permanently damage little fingers.
Opening the door at the wrong time could mean falling out of a moving car
Children should be taught a safe procedure for getting in and get out of the car, and until you think they can be trusted to do so, use the child locks on your rear doors to ensure their safety.
Crossing the Street
Safely crossing the street is an everyday occurrence to an adult and shouldn’t be too daunting a task.
However, it’s important that children have a healthy respect for moving traffic on our roads.
Whether crossing a busy main road or a quiet back street, your kids should be trained from an early age to understand the crosswalk rules:
- Only step off the kerb and onto a zebra crossing once you have checked both directions for oncoming traffic and it is safe to do so;
- At traffic lights, only cross the street when the little green man is showing or lit up and after you have checked both directions for oncoming traffic;
To reinforce the rules you teach your children, adults crossing the street with kids should only proceed to cross when the lights indicate it’s safe to do so.
Hold hands when crossing the street until around the age of 10. The kids mightn’t think it’s cool, but your primary job as a parent is to keep them safe.
Don’t Play in the Driveway
Whether throwing a ball or jumping rope, allowing play and sports activities in the driveway can mislead kids to think it’s a safe place.
To avoid driveway injuries, encourage your kids to play on the grass or paved areas away from the driveway as it’s a place that cars can start moving without warning.
Rearview mirror blind spots prevent small children from being seen behind a vehicle, even if they’re on a bicycle. To reduce the incidence of driveway accidents, walk around your car before you start the engine and keep your children in sight as you leave.
Stay Safe in the Carpark
Treat a carpark as if it’s an open road. Cars can pull out of parking spaces at any time and don’t necessarily think to look for children behind their cars. When you’re walking through a carpark, hold hands and pay close attention for reverse lights.
Use this time to educate your children. Without alarming them or putting too much fear into them, help your kids to anticipate danger as you walk through the carpark.
It helps you identify when they’ve matured enough to walk alone and can even help YOU stay safe.
Don’t Keep the Kids in the CarEvery year, more than 5000 kids are saved from hot cars. Even on a cool summer day, your car’s interior can jump 15 degrees in just 10 minutes when sitting in the sun. If it’s 20C in the open air, your car’s interior can be 35C
or even hotter.
The answer isn’t to keep the engine running or crack the windows – both those options aren’t safe either. Instead, take your kids with you wherever you go, no matter how much they’re annoying you or each other! NEVER leave them in the car alone.
Inevitably, your two-minute errand will stretch to twenty and can irreversibly damage your child’s health.
Vehicle safety is about more than just staying alerted when in your car. Make sure your car is regularly serviced and safety tested.
AutoGuru.com.au lets you search, compare and book from over 1600 qualified mechanics across Australia. Boom!
Jason is a Canadian automotive content writer with a background in the auto service industry, but he’s been hooked on cars and mechanics since childhood.
One of his first cars was an ’80 Mazda RX-7 that’s sorely missed to this day. A ’68 Ford Torino GT, a ’66 Ford Country Squire Woodie station wagon, and a ’96 Suzuki GSX-R 750 have spent time in his fleet of cars, bikes, and trucks over the past two decades.
Jason’s pride and joy is under construction – a turbocharged ’88 Mazda RX-7 convertible. Also on his resume is CASCAR official certification.