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Deadly Power Windows

It's been a year since Consumer Reports first alerted you to the dangers of power windows.

Since then at least seven more youngsters have died. In every case, the vehicle had dangerous window switches.

Three-year-old Rian Brandt, Four-year-old Davin Knoll, and 21-month-old Mandi Lynn Michael each were strangled by a power window in the past year.

Consumer Reports' David Piddle says these deaths could've been prevented if the power window switches had a better design.

The problem is that a child that wants to look out the window can put their foot or their knee on the switch and the window goes up and closes on their neck and strangles them.

Another type of switch called a toggle switch can also be pushed by accident.

In seconds, a child can become trapped and unable to cry for help. But Consumer Reports has tested vehicles with a much safer type of window switch. It's a lever switch.

You have to pull back on the switch in order to raise the window. Virtually impossible for a child to either stand on it or kneel on it and have the window close on their neck.

Also safer are windows that automatically reverse if they hit something. But on some cars, including the 2004 Cadillac CTS-V, Consumer Reports has found serious flaws in the design of the auto-reverse feature.

When the window comes up in auto express and it meets an object it will reverse and go back down. The problem that if a child is leaning or standing on the switch. and the window comes up, It keeps on going.

The publisher of Consumer Reports has called for all vehicles to have child-proof windows. But of the forty-two 2004 models Consumer Reports tested, nine still have unsafe switches.

The problem with children strangling in windows has been known for years. We can't understand why any manufacturer would design new vehicles in this day and age without using the safer type switch.

The problem switches are mostly found in American vehicles. American automakers say they're working on redesigning their switches, but it takes time.


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