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Preventing Child Entrapment
Teach children not to play in and around cars. Cars are not toys. Adults should lock cars once exiting the vehicle and make sure keys are stored out of reach of children. Show a child how to find the emergency trunk release inside newer model cars. Trunk release kits are available for installing on older model cars. Every year hundreds of children die inside hot car trunks after becoming trapped and unable to get out by themselves.
Older model toy boxes and trunks were lid heavy and many children have slowly suffocated inside these boxes after climbing inside to play a deadly game of hide and seek. Newer versions of toy trunks and hope chests can either be opened from the inside or have a space between the lid and box that allows air to flow through even when the lid is closed. Again, children need to know the dangers of playing inside these death traps. If there is an older model toy box or trunk in your home be sure to keep it locked or remove the outside latch to prevent child entrapment.
When new refrigerators and freezers arrive, the older versions end up curbside waiting for trash day. These are essentially coffins waiting for a body. When the door closes, it usually has an airtight seal, any children inside will soon suffocate if not released quickly. Before placing one of these items at the curb, please remove the door from its hinges. If you are unable to remove the door, wrap duct tape around the full width of the refrigerator or freezer multiple times completely seal off the inside from curious children or hide and go seekers. Check your trash company’s calendar for bulky item removal dates and place the item at the curb the morning of the pickup if possible.
In the summer, kids are home from school and play outside longer. Do not spend more than a few minutes looking for a missing child. If after checking the car, home and surrounding yard, you have not found your child, stop, call 911 and report them missing. The more eyes and ears looking for a missing child, increases the child’s chance of a safe recovery. The police would rather come out to your home and have it be a false alarm than to have a tragedy happen where implementing EMS earlier might have made a difference in the outcome.
Please never leave a child or animal alone inside a car for any length of time. Children quickly overheat inside a hot car. Cracking the windows is not sufficient. Parents have left a child in a warming car for only a minute as they returned to lock front doors only to see their car stolen with their child strapped inside a car seat. There is more information available regarding the dangers discussed here and how to install a trunk release in an older model car at www.kidsandcars.org.
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