For years parents have heard warnings about car seats, seat belts, child safety locks, and other features of vehicles that are intended to keep children safe. Though vehicle safety has come a long way from children bouncing up and down in the back seat of a Station Wagon, recent events have raised a new concern
You roll them down on sunny days and roll them up at the first sign of thunder. You don’t think of them much, but your car windows could pose a very serious threat to young children.
When car windows were originally made with cranks, the person sitting next to it was in control. They would turn the handle a few times to open or close the window, and it would roll at their chosen speed.
Nothing too dangerous about a window, except when technology advances and adds an automatic feature. Power windows are convenient, but in some cases, they can be deadly.
In August, a 2-year-old was asleep in the backseat when he leaned against the power window, causing the glass to roll down and then back up, putting pressure on his neck.
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Logan Vanderkleed was without oxygen for 40 minutes before his parents realized what was happening. He was taken to the hospital immediately and was on life support for a week.
Unfortunately, it was too late for young Logan. Something similar happened to another toddler, Everton Isay Romero, when a power window closed around his neck.
Young children are often unable to verbalize what is happening or lose the ability to speak in scary situations such as this. Parents in the front seat may be unaware of what is going on until crucial moments have already flown by.
Janette Fennell, founder and president of KidsAndCars.org, addressed the risk power windows pose to children and how parents can keep their kids safe. One of the main ways to keep kids safe is to check the window features on your car.
Some cars have a window lock feature that allows only the driver to control the movement of power windows. Even if a child in the backseat were to bump a button, the window would not budge.
Another feature is an auto-reverse mechanism. Some power windows sense when an object is in the way, and immediately open to avoid crushing the object.
To find out if your vehicle has this feature, Fennell recommends using a roll of paper towels to test the windows. If the paper towel is squished, your car does not have this function, but if the window bounces back from the paper towels, it does.
If your vehicle does not have either of these features, take extra caution when allowing children to have control over power windows. It only takes 22 pounds of force to break the trachea of a small child, and power windows have even more force than that.
Aside from the serious threat posed by children’s necks being caught, hands, fingers, and other body parts can be seriously injured by the force of closing power windows.
When you talk to your children about vehicle safety, include a reminder about power windows. Keep an eye on them when you can, and never underestimate the power of even a small button when it comes to keeping your children safe.