Saturday, March 1, 2014

Keeping Kids Alive Around Cars

We focus a lot on the rearfacing discussion and safe carseat usage.

But, did you know? The NHTSA reports that 19 percent of children ages 5-9 who are killed in traffic incidents were pedestrians (such as a person walking in a parking lot). And the majority of these deaths were caused by the driver backing over or driving forward over the children. You can read the report here for more information.

Vehicle to vehicle collisions (car crashes) are a big focal point, but children are injured or die in many other ways related to vehicles. This pamphlet here shares a list of other vehicle risks that injure and kill children. Take a look at the graph for a simple break down:

Back in November, I shared the photo and story of Bram, a toddler who was tragically struck and killed in a parking lot. A friend asked me how I handle moving my children in and out of vehicles safely. Here's a quick walk through. I hope it provides some ideas on how to keep your kiddos safe in parking lots!

1. Park strategically. Park close to your destination. Park in a well-lit area at night. Try to reduce the number of areas exposed to drivers, such as by parking along a cart corral as pictured:

2. Designate a dedicated exit and entry point. For my kids, I remove all of them from the right side. This means children will not have to walk around to another side or be expected to stand still on their own while removing other children. (Or packages, groceries, etc).

3. Practice the car-to-cart standard. Remove the children and place them directly into the cart. (Or stroller, carrier or arms depending on your set-up). If using an infant seat, place the seat all the way into the cart, never on the seat area or straddling the cart as this leaves your baby vulnerable to being struck and/or knocked over easily.

Mr. Runner goes straight into the carrier first.
Then the baby goes all the way into the cart.
And the two older ones are placed into the seat last.
4. Discuss. Discuss. Practice. Practice. Be direct and honest in a way that is age and personality appropriate for your children. Be open about the risks in a parking lot. As your children grow, give careful opportunities to practice new skills, such as staying next to you, looking both ways and learning to identify cars that might move.


  1. Another suggestion. When coming home, back into your parking spot so that when you use the car next you are driving forward instead of backing up.