Child Safety: Power windows
One of the most over-looked automobile safety hazards are power window switches, and, what’s worse, this danger unfortunately tends to target children. By inadvertently pressing down on the automatic window toggle, many children have caught themselves in the automobile window, leaving many injured and some dead. In fact, most power windows exert an unbelievable upward force of 50 to 80 pounds—more than enough to lift a small child—an amount that far exceeds the necessary 8 to 12 pounds it actually takes to lift the window.
Power windows have posed a danger to children ever since their invention nearly 50 years ago. Unfortunately, many children have been hurt or killed since the 1960s due to our country’s delayed reaction to the hazards of automobile power windows. According to the research, there have been a calculated two to five children deaths and as many as 500 injuries per year due to poorly designed power windows.
Luckily, some positive changes have been made, and there are even more possible solutions. The first necessary change was to ensure power windows did not function when the automobile is not running. This slight alteration prevents the many possible injuries that could occur when a child is alone in a non-running vehicle. Also, in 2006, the National Highway Transportation Safety Act (NHTSA) passed an amendment to require pull-up/push-down power window switches in any vehicle that is sold following October 1, 2008. These changes are extremely helpful in protecting children, but by installing window sensors even more children could be saved from getting caught in automobile windows.
Yet, in spite of the overwhelming evidence of power window dangers, some care manufacturers, especially Ford, have continued to ignore the poor design of their automobiles. In order to fully protect children against the dangers of power automobile windows, society should continue to consider how to ensure safety for all.