Caregivers often leave children in cars unattended when they run into a store. The adult may roll down the power windows to “keep the car cool” or “give the child some air.” This situation could turn tragic in a matter of minutes. The child may become excited about something outside and stand or lean on the rocker window control, causing it to move upward, and strangle the child (if the key is left in the ignition and is turned to the “on” or “accessory” position).
In April 2006, NHTSA published a new final rule that enhances the safety of power window switches to prevent child deaths and injuries caused by inadvertent closing of car windows based, in part, on a study that indicated power-window associated deaths had occurred.40 The measure requires “that all passenger vehicles manufactured for sale in the United States, on or after October 1, 2008, be equipped with a safer switch.” The rule prohibits “rocker” or “toggle” switches in favor of pull up-push down switches.
Non-Traffic Death and Injury Data Collection Study, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (May 2004)