Technology has made our life more efficient, including the way we drive. At the push of a button, we can open our windows, start the ignition and switch on that cooling air conditioning air. But just because it’s efficient doesn’t mean our cars are safer now than they were before.
The risk is still there, especially for children. Sadly, this point is proven by the fact that just recently, a two-year-old boy died due to injuries caused by a car’s window. The boy’s neck couldn’t handle the force of the window as it tried to close.
Young Logan was napping with his sister in the car. At some point, the boy woke up and started pressing the button which makes the car window slide up. The boy’s neck got stuck as the window kept trying to go up and because he was so young, his neck couldn’t take the force.
This is not the first time tragic accidents of this kind have happened. Three-year-old Everton Isay Romero suffered the same death when a car’s window closed in on his neck. Same as Logan, Romero spent a week in hospital before passing away.
While ostensibly harmless, you must have realized by now how dangerous a power window can be. This is especially so for a young child who still has a fragile neck. “No one really thinks about it until it happens,” says Janette Fennell, founder, and president of KidsAndCars.org.
Fennell explains, “It only takes 22 pounds of force to break the trachea of a small child, but the power windows we have in our cars all have between 30 and 80 pounds of force when they go up very quickly and very powerfully.” That is a significantly larger force than what the neck of a kid can handle. Accordingly, Fennell suggests parents should take safety precautions even when it comes to their cars.
First off, Fennell suggests that parents should check whether they have a “lock out” feature. This is a feature which keeps the rest of the passengers from having control over power locks and windows. If they do, then they should make good use of the feature.
Fennell also suggests checking whether the car windows have “an auto-reverse mechanism.” If it does, the window should roll back down if there’s anything in its way. “Use a roll of paper towels," Fennell explains. "If [the window] squishes your paper towel, you know you don’t have the feature. If it bounces down, you know you do."
If these features are not available, then parents must be extra careful when their children are in the car. “If someone’s fingers or hands or even their head are in the way, it’s not going to stop going up and you could get a serious injury, amputation and sometimes even death,” Fennell explains. Sadly, we’ve already seen the worst-case scenarios.
Fennell also encourages parents to check whether they have a built-in brake, a shift interlock or a transmission. These should keep those who don’t have their foot on the break from changing gears. Fennell explains that these “are little idiosyncrasies you want to be educated on.”
Another potentially harmful feature in cars is carbon monoxide. “Our cars are getting so efficient and they’re getting so quiet... What’s happening is when people get home and pull into their garage, they forget [to turn off the ignition],” Fennell explains.
“They’ve got their key fob and they leave. We’ve been in such a habit [to think] ‘key in hand, vehicle must be turned off, away I go.’ “But the truth of the matter is, if you don’t push that button, that vehicle is going to run and run and run and it’s going to keep running until it runs out of gas,” Fennell adds.
This is worse if the garage is right in your home. “Well, if you’re in a garage, or any enclosed area, what’s going to happen is the carbon monoxide is going to build and build and build, to a point where it can seep into your home.” To avoid a tragedy, Fennell suggests you buy a carbon monoxide detector.
Carbon monoxide can creep up on you very easily. “This is one of those hidden dangers," Fennel concludes. "You can’t smell it, you can’t hear it, and sometimes people don’t learn about it until it’s too late."