As I was driving home this morning from working overnight at the hospital, I passed three small children playing in and out of the backseat of a car in my neighborhood. All three children appeared to be around kindergarten or first grade ages were climbing in and out of the back door of a four-door midsized sedan, completely unsupervised.
What was most frightening about the situation was where the car rested, at the end of the driveway. This left the children playing right next to the street, close to a corner. As people turn the corner, if any of the children stumbled even a few steps he or she would be in the street. This would make them a target for any car, especially if the driver was distracted.
A few years ago, three boys in New Jersey disappeared playing right in their own yard. The families and police searched for days, even searching a nearby river, believing the boys wandered off. Eventually all three children were recovered, in the trunk of a family car that had slammed shut on the boys after they had decided to explore inside.
Parents must keep cars keys out of reach of children. Lock the cars, even when in the garage. Teach children that cars are not toys to play in and on or around, and that cars are dangerous. Make all children understand that cars are not hiding places for games, and are dangerous, even deadly places.
All 2002 car models and newer are suppose to be equip with a trunk release, to prevent entrapment. Show children from an early age about how this works and how to use it in case he or she is trapped inside.
Show children how important it is to walk in front of cars when crossing in parking lots or streets, so the drivers can see them. By crossing behind a car if the car suddenly backs up, they are too small for a driver to be seen.
Kids are in and around cars from birth and become familiar with them. Cars are like an extension of our homes. Parents need to remember that cars are huge metal objects and in essence more deadly than having a loaded gun in the home.
Leaving a child unattended in a car is now illegal in many states. Common sense should dictate this is a stupid act to do yet everyday parents do just that as they “run” into a store for a few minutes or go in and pay for gas while the baby, child, or children stay in the car. Once you lose a child, it is too late to take back the few minutes a parent saved by leaving a child unattended in a car.