I own a 2011 Smart Car and it has no child safety locks, the problem is that for my job I take care of children and adults with Autism, This requires me to transport them in my own vehicle and one of my kids likes to swing the door open while going down the highway. Is there a way to install Child Safety Locks or to prevent him from opening the door?
Remove the interior door handles.
This situation concerns me. Someone who would open a door when traveling needs to be in a rear seat where he or she can’t reach the gearshift and other important controls. That’s obviously not possible in your car.
Also, if any of these children are ever injured in a crash, I suspect questions will be asked about why he or she was in such a tiny car. It wouldn’t surprise me if a lawsuit followed.
Unfortunately, Child safety Locks are only required on the rear doors…of which the A Smart has none. And installing them would be expensive. The car isn’t built for them and it would basically be a custom job.
Did your dealership have any ideas?
I wonder about the safety of having an autistic person in the front seat where they could easily grab the steering wheel. I realize that there is a spectrum of autism among the population, but you did just say that one of your charges likes to open the passenger door at inopportune times. For your safety as well as your autistic passengers, you might consider a 4 door sedan. Several hybrids and even the Nissan Versa with the 1.6L get similar or better mileage.
Do you only transport 1 person at a time or are you transporting multiple people?
You might consider looking at a different vehicle for your job while keeping your Smart for other times. I’d almost recommend a minivan, but that gives them room to stand up and move around, and if they can get that sliding door open, then a disaster is bound to happen.
I wonder if there’s a place to attach a bungee or ratchet strap at the rear-most edge of the door.
That strap would reach behind their seat allowing you to fasten it where you can reach as you get into your seat ( like maybe your seat track ).
This would allow you to fasten the door closed as you begin your trip AND allow you to release the door to be opened before you exit.
A bracket could be mounted at that location if there’s no good fastening point now.
Smart Car ?
This Is Not A Smart Car To Own/Use For What You Are Doing.
Get A Real Car, A Not So Smart Car.
I would not tamper with improvised devices, straps, bungees, etcetera. If anything happened as a result, you’d own it. Use only factory installed safety features that this car does not provide.
This car may be smart for somebody, somehow, someplace, but not in this instance.
Wow is that a tough call. For you’re safety and the autistic passengers you can’t be driving with even the slightest chance of them doing anything disruptive to safe driving. Sounds cruel but since modifying the vehicle seems darn near impossible, is there a safe humane way to prevent the passenger from using their hands during the trip? They make those plastic cuffs you see security guards carrying.
That is surprising, duct tape is my best alternative, That would be duct tape on the door handles and locks.
If you’re entrusted with the saftey of other people and you drive on the highway mainly, you really couldn’t do much worse than a Smart car. You might want to seea bout picking up a used P71 Crown vic.
This is really a question for the car dealership selling the Smart Car. Until you have a solution it would be irresponsible to transport this child in this car.
The OP is open to a major lawsuit and their insurance company might not pay the claim since the OP was making money by transporting the child. The OP should check with the insurance company to see if a special rider or different kind of policy (such as a commercial policy) is required if she is transporting people as part of her job.
When I worked as a social work intern, back in the mid-late '60s, our policy regarding the transport of kids was that we always took one of our two-door sedans (Studebaker Larks, Ford Customs, Chevy Biscaynes). That way, if one of these kids decided to “elope”, they would have a hard time doing so from the back seat of a full-size car. Most of our cars were 4-door sedans (without child-proof locks, obviously) and these were fine for general use, but we always used the 2 door models when transporting kids who were not accompanied by a parent, and those kids were always placed in the back.
Thus, I can’t understand an agency allowing autistic children–who may not be in full control of their actions–to be transported in the front seat of a tiny car. This just does not seem “Smart”, in my estimation. Even if the OP is allowed to transport his charges in that vehicle, it is just not a good idea, and rather than trying to “reinvent the wheel” with this car, I really think that the OP needs a different vehicle.
If your job is paying you to ferry people around…
Is that pay enough to RENT a vehicle suitable for that purpose ?
I’m quite certain that the OP can’t just race right out and buy a different car…right now today.
But given the potential seriousness of anyone opening the door while driving…perhaps renting when needed is in order.
I cant get another car right now and i cant quit my job my employer will not pay for me to rent one so if i could get some constructive advice rather than everyone telling me im irresponsible for taking care of the handicapped i would appreciate it.
Then the simple answer is there is no simple way to do this. Only by mechanically disabling the interior door latch (as has already been mentioned) might you do this. But there’s no such thing as a ‘child safety lock’ on the front passenger door of any car made today.
“if i could get some constructive advice rather than everyone telling me im irresponsible for taking care of the handicapped i would appreciate it.”
I don’t believe anyone stated that you were being “irresponsible for taking care of the handicapped”. Most of the comments resulted from concern over the obvious legal problems that you will encounter if there is an accident while you are transporting these people. Certainly a more appropriate vehicle would be the best solution, but now that we know for sure that this is not an option, you have to think of other solutions.
The most constructive advice that I can give is twofold:
Call your insurance agent, and verify that you are covered in terms of liability and medical coverage while transporting passengers who you are being paid to transport. Don’t be surprised if you have no coverage in a situation like that. It is better to determine this information ahead of time, rather than after a tragic accident.
If you are covered for the transport of these passengers, then the only inexpensive ways that I can think of to resolve your problem include removing the inside door handle on that side of the car or taping the handle with duct tape, so that it can’t be opened readily. Another possibility is opening the sunroof and the window on that door slightly, and wrapping a bungee cord around the outside of the door frame. However, be aware that, in some jurisdictions, it may be a MV code violation to make it impossible to open a front car door from the inside. This is something that you might want to check out with the state police.
@eamus87 , the only thing “constructive” that I can add is that you need to trade-in this car and buy one that meets your needs.
When did you buy this car, was it before or after you got this job? If you got the job and then bought the car, you made a pretty big mistake. If you got the car before you got hired, you need to tell your employer your car isn’t appropriate for this kind of use and let your employer decide how to resolve the problem.
DISCLAIMER: I think it’s truly wonderful that you’re taking responsibility for taking care of a handicapped child, but that fact does not absolve you from responsibility for your decisions.
Just a couple comments but if the OP would tell his/her insurance agent what is being transported by what vehicle, that might end the discussion right there. Anyone would have a field day in a liability suit. Second, the agency is also less than exemplary if they do not provide an adequate vehicle for transport. Mainstreaming has really opened the door for a lot of people to be in business that maybe shouldn’t be.
The responses here are pointing out that you might lose everything you own in a lawsuit. If that’s not constructive, I don’t know what is.