Dogs and car windows...

bookmom41March 5, 2008

Could have just as easily entitled this "kids & car windows." Be careful to keep the window master lock ON if you have young children or pets riding in the back seat of your car or truck and you have power windows. My 1997 Ford Explorer has rocker switches for the power windows, which remain active for a short time after the vehicle is shut off. While we were parked at a friends's house, my then five year old starting screaming--his head was out the window and the window was pressing on this neck. He had leaned out and pressed the rocker switch, engaging the window. Over the winter(at least five years later), the same thing happened to my dog--I had the window open far enough for him to stick his snout out, he activated the rocker switch and got pinched. In both instances, I was able to immediately reverse the window and no physical harm was done. I always keep the master switch locked with children or pets in the car, but each time someone must have unlocked it and I forgot to check.

Hope this story helps someone else remember to check the window locks in their car every time there are pets or children in the car. Both these incidents still haunt me. I will never again buy a vehicle with rocker switches as they are too easily activated and far too dangerous.

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I've actually had my dog lock me out of the car, when she put her foot on the electronic door lock button. The keys were inside...

    Bookmark   March 5, 2008 at 3:03PM
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Even though I would never leave dogs or children in a car unattended, the same thing could happen while driving, so it's a good warning.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2008 at 6:19PM
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hide a key

    Bookmark   March 5, 2008 at 11:26PM
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Even though I would never leave dogs or children in a car unattended,

I knew someone was going to say that...

But would you take your dog out of the car, (or a child out of the car seat), for the two minutes that it takes you to stop off at your brothers, to leave him his briefcase, that he left in your car? I don't think so. (Which is what happened when my dog locked me out of the car.) I had a hidden key, but I hid it so well, I couldn't find it. I debated between calling a locksmith or calling my spouse, who would had to drive about 30 miles to bring me a key... eventually my dad got the door open with a coat hanger, so I didn't have to call a locksmith or my hubs...

    Bookmark   March 6, 2008 at 2:01AM
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Our dog did the same thing two summers ago-- she shut her neck in the back window while we were parked in a parking lot. Hubby and I were both in the front seats when it happened; it was horrifying. Ever since then, I make a point to put the master lock on as soon as our dog gets in the car.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2008 at 9:24AM
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When it happened to my son, I was still in the car in the front seat but the car was off; with my dog, I was driving but could pull over immediately.

I hate those rocker switches and will never, ever buy another vehicle with them. Power windows should, perhaps, have an auto-reverse safety feature similar to garage doors but those rocker switches should be banned--or maybe they are banned by now.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2008 at 12:41PM
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My brand new vehicle has rocker switches for the locks and windows, so I don't think they are banned yet.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2008 at 1:16PM
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OK, Joe, you piqued my curiosity and I did something I should have tried initially. According to this article, US auto manufacturers cannot use rocker or toggle switches after October 2008. As noted, some manufactures don't use them anyway, but apparently Ford (what I have) still is.

Here is a link that might be useful: Rocker switches for power windows

    Bookmark   March 6, 2008 at 1:55PM
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Intersting. I'm glad you looked that up. My vehicle is a 2007 Dodge Ram... that I got last August. It has the toggle switches. I guess next year's model won't have those.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2008 at 2:04PM
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i know the mechanism remains active for a few minutes after turning the engine off but, at least on any vehicle i've ever had, after you turn the ignition off and open the door to exit, it is no longer active. it seems to me this can only happen if you (a) leave the vehicle running when you walk away from it or (b) a child or pet activates the window when you are still sitting in the driver's seat in which case, unless you are asleep, you would know immediately when a head/hand/paw are stuck in the window.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2008 at 8:05AM
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I think on my vehicle you have to pull up on the switch to close the window. I've only had it a little over a month, and frankly, I haven't paid attention to what I do to close the window. I'm pretty sure you have to pull up on it, though.

I've heard that there have been deaths associated with those rocker switches. It amazes me they weren't banned long ago.


    Bookmark   March 9, 2008 at 11:49AM
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Nina, as I'm sure you read, I was in the stopped car in the front seat when this happened with my son and driving when it happened with my dog. It was incredibly frightening both times and at first, I didn't know if my son or my dog still had a hand or paw on the rocker switch, causing the window to continue to exert pressure. If so, in my truck the front master switches will stop the window from continuing to close but not reverse the action till the rear rocker switch is not being activated (I think.) Further, when it happened with my son, it took a second or two for me to realize what was going on. I am still incredibly grateful that injury did not occur in either instance and I despise those rocker switches.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2008 at 11:08PM
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ok, yes bookmom...sorry, i do see where you said you were right there both times.

i'm not even sure exactly what a rocker switch is although i can probably visualize by the description and the name. on my van, you do have to pull "up" to shut the window. on my truck, you gotta put some elbow grease into rollin' that baby up. ;)

    Bookmark   March 13, 2008 at 12:25PM
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I don't think my vehicle has a lock out for the rear windows, yikes.

There is a picture of the switches on the link that bookmom posted. I thought I had rocker switches, but according to the picture I have toggles. I think the toggles are easier to accidentally operate than the rockers.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2008 at 12:44PM
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