Parking Lot Safety and Your Child
How can you keep your child safe in parking lots?
Make sure your child remains with you at all times. This sounds simple, but as parents, we all know how easy it is to become distracted, and within seconds, our child is out of reach. Therefore, whenever you enter a parking lot, it is imperative to put away your cell phone, shopping list, or whatever it is that may take your eyes off of your child, even for a minute.
Use a Stroller
According to preventinjury.org, toddlers (one and two years of age) sustain the highest number of pedestrian injuries. This is due to their small size and limited experience. It is unrealistic to assume that your toddler will perfectly comply with your rules all of the time. Even the most well behaved youngster may forget himself and suddenly sprint off. If you cannot keep a firm grip on your child's hand while in a parking lot, play it safe and buckle him into the stroller.
Teach Your Children
Do not assume your child understands the dangers lurking in a parking lot. Because it seems so clear to you, it is easy to overestimate your child's knowledge. KidsandCars.org suggests teaching your child that parked vehicles may move. They also recommend reminding children that even though they can see a vehicle, the driver may not see them. Thousands of children are seriously injured or die yearly because a driver simply didn’t see them while backing up. You also need to teach your child the dangers of running off, due to the unlikely event that they will be abducted or, more likely, get lost. While we do not want to frighten our kids unnecessarily, we also do not want them to be unaware. Talk to your child in an age-appropriate way about the importance of sticking close to you.
Watch for Other People's Children
Although you may always keep a close eye on your youngster in parking lots, don't assume everyone else does the same. Before getting into your vehicle, KidsandCars.org recommends walking around and behind the vehicle, prior to moving. Also, keep a careful eye out for children as you back out and maneuver through the parking lot.
Some Additional Reminders
There are several devices and gadgets available that are designed to help keep little ones safe in parking areas. Many cars now come equipped with rear-view cameras and sensors, which let you know when you are close to an object (or person). These devices are good, but there is no substitute for vigilance. Keep a close eye and hand on your child, so you can get to and from your car with your child’s safety intact.