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Tips for keeping your children safe – Part 1 – Motor Vehicle Accidents

As a father of two young children, it not only feels right to share with other parents, what I have learnt and experienced in the security field, but also absolutely pertinent, so as to ensure that our community raises its awareness levels and in turn, keeps our kids safe. 

The information I am going to be sharing in my coming blogs, is based on my 30 years of incidence response. In many cases children were involved – strangely and sadly, nobody seems to want to discuss this. I encourage you to keep reading – not all of these incidents were crime based.

This week, I am covering motor vehicle accidents.

If you’ve ever been in a car accident, or experienced a loss as a result of one, you’ll more than likely be one of those parents who does not turn the car on until your kids are strapped in. 

Sadly, that is not the case for all parents. Just look around you. On a daily basis, I see children who are not strapped into either a baby chair, a booster seat or for bigger kids, a seatbelt. What I am about to share next may seem horrific for some people but it is true, and if one child is saved by this, I have won. 

Picture this: Your child is standing on the front passenger seat. You glance over, lose focus for a split second and land up crashing into another vehicle or a tree. Your child flies through the windscreen at 30 km per hour and there’s nothing you can do about it. 

Or, your kids are having a bit of innocent fun, sticking their heads out of the back windows. You look back for a second – a second too long. On impact they either break their necks or are decapitated. I have not painted these two scenarios to use as a shock tactic – unfortunately, these sorts of events take place, daily, to countless families – a devastating reality. 

So, it’s up to us, as parents to educate others and our kids, about safety in a vehicle.

It’s useless following all seatbelt procedures, only to find that at the shopping centre or straight after an accident, your child climbs out of the car and gets run over.

Child locks are unnecessary – your child should be strapped in at all times. In fact, in an emergency, I want to be able to get in and out of any door I choose and if a child lock is in place, this may prevent a fast exit. The oldest child, age permitting, should be taught to take control of his or her siblings in the event that you are not able to. This means making that child the designated safety officer and the one who ensures all kids/passengers get out of the same door of the vehicle. This helps them, for example, to avoid the dangers of other vehicles on the road, or gets them away from a burning car quickly. 

These are such simple steps to take to safeguard your family. Please, I implore you – take 10 minutes a week to practise even just one safety procedure with your kids or grandchildren. 

Here’s a quick recap:

  • Never let your child travel in a vehicle, unless they are strapped in.
  • Never let your child put their head out the window of a moving car.
  • Remind your children to try and keep calm after experiencing a car accident and to assess the environment outside, before just hopping out of the car and running into a road, street or car park.
  • Avoid child locks as they prevent a quick exit.
  • Assign one of your responsible/older children as the family’s safety officer and teach them what to do in the event of an emergency.
  • Talk about the risks of travelling in a vehicle, without using scare tactics, and make your kids aware of their surroundings, no matter whether they are inside or outside a vehicle.

One life saved is worth the world.

Until next time, stay safe.