Today, I would like to talk about something that is dear to my heart; the safety of children in a vehicle. If you have young children, I am certain you make sure that they are in their safety seats. You wouldn't dream of letting them jump around on the seats (although some adults do) while you drive. But, were you aware that there is one safety factor that is overlooked by the majority of drivers that is a frequent cause of death for children. That factor? Your parking (emergency) brake. It should always be activated when your vehicle is parked. Why? Let me tell you of a story that was in the news this week.
A couple of small children where left in the family car while the parent ran back into the house to get something. The car was running. One of the children moved the gear selector and the car started rolling and ran over a little girl that was nearby. This tragic situation could have been prevented if the parking brake had been on. When children are left alone in a vehicle, it is natural for them to pretend they are driving. They jerk the steering wheel and tug on the gear selector. If the parking brake is set, (and working properly) the car will just stall if it is put in gear.
I have been told by adults that the reason they don't use their brake is they forget to release it before they move the car. Most cars have a light or noise that warns you if something is wrong. You should, of course, be in the habit of checking all the guages and lights before moving. And, as mentioned above, if the brake is working properly, the car will not roll on its own and if you apply gas, it will still be very difficult to get it moving.
Another complaint is that the brake freezes on in the winter. I have lived in an area where the temperatures were at minus 40 celcius for days on end. My brake never froze. The key is to always use it.
By the way, I am talking about vehicles which have automatic transmissions as well as those that are manual (standard shift).
I get so angry when I hear of a child that has died when a simple action would have saved them. If you have found this information helpful, you have my permission to print it and give it to anyone with little children. Perhaps together we can help a few more of these precious little ones reach adulthood.