By now, parents would have read about the news where a child was found dead after being accidentally left in the car for four hours. This incident also brought up the question how the parents could forget their child.
What puzzled parents more was a statement made by the Minister of Women, Family and Community Development Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim. She suggested placing the child’s car seat at the front of the car which certainly went against every safety warning!
Her reasoning was by placing the seat in front, parents can see and remember their child is there in the car with them. We know how busy parents can be and sometimes it leads to forgetfulness although they didn’t mean to. For Datuk Seri Rohani, putting the children at the back isn’t recommended because it’s a blind spot.
So, where should parents put the child car seats?
Many experts agree the safest spot to install the child’s car seat is in the middle seat at the back (centre-rear/ middle-rear).
According to AA, this is because the centre-rear is the ‘furthest away from any impact and less likely to hit or be hit by deforming, intruding structures.’
While placing the child’s car seat in the rear left allows drivers to easily see them, centre-rear is still safest in the event of a side collision.
Placing a child’s seat in front, whether it’s rear facing or not, is just not safe for children especially when you think of front collisions. When the airbags deploy upon collision, it will hit and injure the child greatly!
According to paultan.org, the one and only time parents can place the child’s car seat in front is if the car has the function to turn off the front passenger airbag. Even then, this option is a last resort.
Other methods to remember the child is in the car with you is to:
1. Use a label or tag on the vehicle door as a reminder that the children are in the car. An alternative is to place a sticker on the steering wheel.
2. Keep important items such as your purse, handphone or shoe in the back seat with your child. The item must be something you cannot do without at a meeting, work or shopping.
3. Keep an object that will remind you of your child in the front passenger seat such as a stuffed toy.
4. Create a backup plan and safety net by getting your own partner, child carers or teachers to send messages or call you if your child isn’t with them at the correct time.
5. Check out and consider technologies that support parents such as GPS trackers, built-in sensors or alarms, or apps with an alert system.
Last but not least, as a community, we should be alert if we see a child being left alone in the car. Find out why the child is left in the car and call the cops if you cannot find the parents.
Remember to keep each other safe!
Feature image from Sassy Mama SG