Arturo Campos, 3, of Los Angeles, died after accidentally wedging himself between a closing power window and a car door frame the evening of Sept. 12. According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, Arturo’s father parked the car at the 2900 block of Broadway near 92nd Street to make a phone call at a nearby pay phone. While the father made his phone call he left his son in the running car with the keys in the ignition.
LAPD officers say the father was watching the boy, but that the accident occurred when the dad had his back turned for just a few moments. Arturo reportedly moved to the passenger seat when his dad wasn’t looking and pressed the power window button. Arturo’s neck was crushed as he became wedged.
My heart goes out to the family of little Arturo Campos. This is a tragic lesson to all parents. You simply cannot take your eyes off young children even for a few seconds. More importantly, a child should NEVER be left alone in a motor vehicle, especially while running.
According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS), most power window injuries occur when these windows are unintentionally closed while someone’s finger, wrist, hand, arm or even head is in the window. In almost all documented power window cases involving child injury or death, children were left inside a vehicle without adult supervision. About 68 percent of power window accidents result in broken bones or crushed body parts. Other injuries include bruises, cuts, strains or sprains. Among children who have died, the head, neck or midsection had been trapped in the window for five minutes or more and they couldn’t be resuscitated.
The most frustrating aspect of this issue is that these injuries did not have to happen. In February 2008, the Gulbransen Act was signed by Congress requesting the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) to consider a regulation mandating automatic reverse windows under the car safety act. These types of power windows would automatically retract when sensors detect an obstruction when closing. These are similar to automatic reverse elevator doors and garage doors, which have become part of our lives now. The technology has been available for many years, but auto manufacturers have refused to make use of this life-saving technology on their power windows. Had they done that, young Arturo would have lived and many other lives could have been saved. But automakers continue to put profits over people and skimp on such important safety measures that cost them very little to install. Ultimately, it’s the consumer who ends up paying a huge price.