Michele and Terrill Struttmann know all too well the dangers of leaving children unattended in a vehicle. In 1998, an afternoon in the park turned tragic when two toddlers, left unattended in a running vehicle, set the car in motion, hitting and killing their 2-year-old son, Harrison. They founded Kids In Cars in 1999 and have since devoted their lives to preventing similar accidents.
Kids In Cars offers parents the following tips to help keep their children safe in and around motor vehicles:
• Plan ahead to use drive-through services where available, such as pharmacies and banks.
• Call dry cleaners and other businesses ahead to schedule pick-up and drop-off services at your vehicle. Most businesses will bring service curbside if you call ahead.
• Make advance arrangements for your child-care provider to meet you at your vehicle.
• Use your debit or credit card at the gas pump.
• Ask grocery store clerks to load your bags into your vehicle and return the grocery cart.
• If possible, leave your children with a responsible adult. Arrange a baby-sitting co-op with your neighbor to give you an hour to run errands.
• Keep vehicles locked at all times-even in the garage or driveway.
• Never leave keys within the reach of children.
• Teach children to never play in or around vehicles.
• Consider installing cross-view mirrors and/or a backup detection device on your vehicle.
• Make sure all young passengers have left your car after it is parked.
• When a child is missing, check vehicles and trunks immediately.
• If a child is locked inside a vehicle, get him or her out as quickly as possible. If the child is hot or appears sick, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.
To learn more, visit www.kidsincars.org