The Danger of Projectiles

Car seat safety is a huge deal to me. It's something I'm passionate about, and I'm a huge advocate for extended rear facing and extended harnessing. But that talk will be saved for another time. There is another huge little-known danger when infants and children are in the car. They're projectiles.

What are projectiles?
Anything that is loose and able to move through the car in the event of a crash. This includes but is not limited to: sippy cups and/or bottles, toys, non-cling window shades, unrestrained booster seats, purses and diaper bags, and water bottles.

Why they're so dangerous...
Items flying through a vehicle are moving extremely fast. Think about how much a full cup weighs, or your purse, or that plastic toy your child plays with every time they get in the car. Weigh them, then put them in different scenarios using this formula:

[weigh of object] x [traveling speed before the crash] = [pounds of force]
For example:

B's full sippy cup weighs [1 pound]* and am driving at [45 mph] when a crash occurs. 
[1] x [45] = [45 pounds of force].

That's heavy. It's the equivalent of throwing a 45lb dumbbell through the vehicle. 

Keep personal items in the trunk and if you must keep it with you, put it in the glove box or an enclosed center console. Don't let children have toys or cups while the vehicle is in motion. I, too, am guilty of this. In the mornings when I'm running late, I tend to throw my things on the front seat which is a huge no-no. 

Don't use ANY after market items, at all. Suction cup window shades like this can become loose and be thrown about in the event of a crash, as can accessories such as: activity bars, and view mirrors. These items aren't crash tested with any child restraints. 

Don't think it can happen to you? Read Christina Hish's story here. I believe that when people know better, they do better. And I hope that now that you know better, you will do better too.



Ashley said...

They told us the same thing when we stopped at a Car Seat Safety checkpoint once. But they could never answer my question -- what happens when you have to bring the kids with you to the grocery store? Bags full of cans and a 10lb bag of potatoes can do a lot of damage, too.

Elise Michele said...

Absolutely! I say put everything in the trunk. I know most people keep a stroller in the trunk (I don't), but seeing as how it's not going to be used while the parent is shopping, I would plan ahead and take it out to make room. This is wear babywearing comes in handy especially if you have an infant and a toddler.

I get freaked out even about putiing things in my "trunk" because I drive an SUV with the trunk open to the rest of the car. I really need to bite the bullet and get one of those cover thingys from the dealer.

Kate said...

Don't hate me but I am guilty of letting H have snacks or a small toy. I know how dangerous it is and I really try to limit it but it's so tough when you get stuck in traffic. Now that he's older I don't need anything to distract him unless we are really stuck. This is something I am working on!