With the start of a new school year signifying increased activity around home driveways, Kidsafe Victoria have issued a warning to parents and carers about the dangers of low speed run overs.
On average, 7 children aged 0-14 years are killed and 60 are seriously injured due to driveway run over incidents every year in Australia. Children under 5 years are most at risk.
Erica Edmands, President of Kidsafe Victoria, said that driveways were one of the most dangerous areas around the home for children, especially when activity is increased like at back to school time.
“A large number of driveway run over incidents occur in the morning and late afternoon, both which are hectic times for parents with school and kindergarten drop offs and pick-ups”, said Ms Edmands.
The Minister for Families and Children, the Hon Jenny Mikakos, said “With summer now over and everyone’s life getting busy again, it’s vital we pay extra attention and keep our children safe in our driveways.”
“Just being aware of the dangers is the first step towards protecting young children, which is why this Kidsafe campaign is so important”, said Minister Mikakos.
Ms Edmands said that it was important to realise that children are unpredictable and surprisingly quick, which places them at high risk around moving vehicles.
“All cars have large blind spots, some more than 15 metres. Children’s small size, together with these large blind spots, means that children standing or stepping behind the vehicle often cannot be seen from the driver’s seat.”
While reversing sensors and cameras can help to reduce the risk of driveway run over incidents, Kidsafe Victoria warns that technology should never be relied upon on its own to keep children safe.
“Even if a vehicle is fitted with parking sensors or a reversing camera, children move quickly and may not be noticed until it is too late to stop”, said Ms Edmands.
KIDSAFE TIPS TO AVOID DRIVEWAY RUN OVERS
- Never leave young children alone to play, especially near parked or moving vehicles.
- When waving goodbye, make sure children are kept well away from the car and are actively supervised by an adult who is holding their hand.
- If there is only one adult at home and there is a need to move the vehicle, even for a small distance, ensure young children are placed securely in the vehicle while the vehicle is being moved.
- Treat the driveway like a road.
- Separate children’s playspaces from garages and driveways. Some design features that can prevent children accessing the driveway include fitting high handles to garage doors, fences separating the house and garden from the driveway and self closing doors and gates.
- Reversing sensors and cameras can assist with reducing blind spots, however they should never be relied upon to keep children safe. Nothing can replace active adult supervision of children around driveways.
- Drivers should get into the habit of walking around their vehicle before getting into it when leaving an area where a young child is present.
Kidsafe Victoria has released a free driveway safety factsheet on its website, providing tips for parents and carers on how to make their driveways Kidsafe: www.kidsafevic.com.au/road-safety/driveway-safety
Ron Smith, Media Communications, Kidsafe Victoria – Mobile: 0417 329 201