Every week one child is run-over in a driveway in Australia
Kidsafe Victoria launches new driveway safety community awareness campaign
Kidsafe Victoria has launched an impactful new safety campaign in a bid to reduce the number of horrific driveway run-over incidents.
Tragically, 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 – equating to more than one child every week.
In the past 18 months alone, at least two children have been killed in driveway run-over incidents in Victoria.
A large number of run-over incidents occur in the morning and late afternoon – times when families are leaving for or returning from school, kindergarten and work.
The launch of the campaign, which is supported by the Transport Accident Commission, coincides with the busy back-to-school period, providing a call for motorists to be extra vigilant in and around driveways, car parks and roads.
Melanie Courtney, Kidsafe Victoria CEO, highlighted the dangers that driveways pose for children, saying their unpredictability, and the large blind spots in vehicles, placed them at increased risk.
“Children under 5 years of age are most at risk – they are unpredictable, surprisingly quick and may follow you to the driveway to see what you are doing or say goodbye.”
“All vehicles have a large blind spot – some extending back as far as 15 metres – which can make it difficult for the driver to see a child. Even with reversing sensors or cameras, a child may not be noticed until it is too late”, said Ms Courtney.
Driveway run-over incidents have devastating long-term effects on families – particularly when the driver is a family member or friend.
Eve is a mother who understands the impact that these incidents can have – she tragically lost her beautiful 14-month-old daughter, Pippa, to a driveway run-over incident.
“I always thought that losing a child wouldn’t be something that could happen to us. We would make sure our kids would be safe and protected.”
“I remember I held Pippa’s hand until the truck came to a stop, then she ran over to her Dad with her 3-year-old sister Sophie. I watched Pippa like a hawk to make sure she was safe. I had no feeling that anything was wrong until I saw the brake lights come on the back of the truck again and I knew in that second that he could not see her. We lost Pippa instantly,” said Eve.
Eve is sharing her story to help make sure no other family has to experience what she has. Her message to other parents is that you can never be too safe when it comes to children and vehicles.
“Don’t assume – know. Make it a habit to take that small amount of time, every time you move a vehicle, to know where all children are. The blind spots are too big, you can never be too safe. We can’t change anything now, but hopefully we can help others from suffering a loss like ours.”
Kidsafe Victoria’s campaign focuses on three measures that can be put in place to keep children safe around driveways:
● Supervise – always supervise children in and around the driveway. Hold their hand or hold them close to keep them safe.
● Separate – separate play areas from driveways and garages where possible. This can include fitting high handles to garage doors, installing fences to separate the house and garden from the driveway, and installing self-closing doors and gates.
● See – all vehicles have a large blind spot behind them, some extending back as far as 15 metres. Reversing sensors and cameras can assist with reducing blind spots, however, they should never be relied upon to keep kids safe. It’s a good idea for drivers to get into the habit of walking around their vehicle before getting into it when leaving an area where a young child is present.
As part of the campaign, driveway safety messages will be delivered via a new video, a range of educational materials, a social media campaign, public advertising and radio community service announcements.
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