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Keeping your car clutter-free could save your child’s life

by respaced on March 21, 2011

I have never blogged about organizing the inside of a car before, because as a professional organizer, I have always thought organizing a home was more important. That was until I learned how deadly a cluttered car can be to you and your children in a car accident.

In a car accident, whatever is sitting in the seats, on the dashboard or back of the car is sent flying. This stuff — your diaper bag, groceries, extra bottle of antifreeze or car oil — moves through the car at whatever speed the car was traveling at, which means at a high-speed accident, it can slam into you or your child with all the force of a baseball bat. People have gotten killed from their groceries becoming projectiles during an accident. There have also been instances of people being killed by their paint cans, golf umbrellas and pets.

Surprised? Alarmed? Boy, I was. Immediately after the meeting where I learned about this danger, I returned to my car and put nearly everything in the trunk. I tucked my purse under the passenger seat, because items secured under the seats will mostly just slide around on the ground during an accident. From now on, I will always make sure to drive with no unsecured objects in the car’s interior.

I have also made a change in my business practices. I used to advise my organizing clients to put the stuff they are intending to donate to charity in the front seat of the car as a visual reminder to get rid of it. I also used to encourage them to put items that needed to be returned to the store or library in the front seat for the same reason. Not anymore. Now I will tell clients to lock those items securely in the trunk. If they need a reminder (because it’s easy to forget what is in your trunk), they can write themselves a Post-It note and leave it over the car’s clock or radio.

The danger of stuff becoming projectiles in an accident is an important reason to keep your car clutter-free. The clutter in your house will probably not kill you, but in a high-speed accident, the clutter in your car could.

Information courtesy of Misty Menashe and The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Image courtesy of Danny Sullivan at Flickr

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous March 22, 2011 at 12:26 pm

Wow, I never thought of car clutter being a danger before. Great blog! Thanks Kathy R


Anonymous March 24, 2011 at 9:34 pm

Great advice. We reposted your blog on our Facebook page:
Fix Auto


MaryJo March 25, 2011 at 4:19 am

@ Anon #1: I know, I never knew either. I was enlightened and frightened all at the same time!

@Anon #2: Thanks for the repost! Here's a link to Fix Auto


Lee April 16, 2011 at 8:36 pm

Today I read about a boy who was killed in a car accident while riding with friends. He was in the back, wearing his seatbelt, which seems pretty safe. He was killed by a "flying" backpack of one of the other kids in the car.

Our kids need to hear the message of keeping their things in the trunk, too.


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