Written by Dr. Chetan Ginigeri
We all love to go on a drive with our kids. If your car has a sunroof, it can be very tempting to let your kid stand through it and feel the wind on their face. But, is it safe? Can you encourage your kid to stand exposed in a moving car? There are a few things that you may need to keep in mind regarding the safety of children while using cars with sunroofs.
It is common for kids to be overjoyed looking at the sunroof, they would love to peak out and enjoy the view. As a parent, you must understand that it is not safe for them to do so. Helping them understand the hazards of peeking out through the sunroof may or may not work sometimes. So it is better to follow a few tips that might help you keep your child from being fussy and mischievous through the journey.
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Yes, they are safe as long as the kids are seated and preferably buckled in their respective seats. You can open the sunroof and let your kids see the sky through them and enjoy some fresh air when you are on a drive. If you are planning to let your child stand up in the moving car and peek out through the sunroof, then no, it is not safe for them!
If you are tempted to let your kids stand up and look through the sunroof in a moving car, here are a few reasons why it is a very bad and dangerous idea:
Let’s say your child is standing up looking through the sunroof and you are driving at a reasonable speed for them to feel the wind in their face. If another vehicle, a stray dog on the road comes in front of your vehicle suddenly, or you miss an unmarked speed breaker, you will have to hit the brakes. This sudden movement will cause the car to jerk and come to a sudden halt.
Now, your child is standing up with the upper part of their body sticking out. The sudden jerk will cause them to lose balance and tip forward. This can throw your kids forward, out of the sunroof, which can be very dangerous or even fatal. Safety of children while using cars with sunroofs is at most important. So standing up through sunroof while driving should be totally be avoided.
The roads are filled with odd objects and debris which we tend to miss while driving at a good speed. The traction of the wheels on the debris can throw it up in the air with great force, toward your child who is completely exposed through the sunroof. It can hit them in the face and cause serious injury.
Similarly, something from the top – a branch, some odd particle dropped by birds, etc. can also fall on your child’s head.
Here are some general tips for safe travel in the car with kids:
It is never a good idea to let your child sit in the front seat, even with the seat belt on. Car manufacturers agree the force of an airbag can injure them, and the size can smother them.
This will not only discourage your kids from trying to stand through it, but it also removes the risk of something falling on them through the sunroof. So for the safety of children it is better to close the sunroofs while using the cars.
Shouting at kids in a moving car, when they have no other distraction or nowhere else to go, will make them restless and more difficult to handle.
Seat your kids in the back seat with the seat belt on. This will prevent them from crashing forward in case of an accident.
The sunroof as the name suggests is for the sunlight to come in. It is not designed to let children stand through it. Misusing your car’s features can be very dangerous.
There is no explicit law prohibiting standing through the sunroof of a moving car. But there was an increase in accidents resulting from such acts. Further, the Kolkata police have started treating this as an offense. Now, the police are charging a fine under section 184(F) of the Motor Vehicle Act. They classify this behavior as reckless and dangerous.
Dr Chetan Ginigeri is an experienced Pediatric Intensivist with national and international training. With 15 years of experience, he is one among very few Intensivists in India trained to take care of children who need/had organ transplants. He has been responsible for coordinating the Pediatric Organ Transplant program.Read more.