The danger of careless reversing
JOHANNESBURG — Paramedics have sent out an important message to drivers: be alert when reversing your vehicle.
This comes after several incidents in which paramedics have had to attend to motorists reversing into children.
In one incident, the paramedics attended to a one-year-old who was fatally injured when a vehicle knocked him over while reversing.
ER24 spokeswoman Chitra Bodasing said the incidents were attended to both at people’s homes and in public areas such as parking lots.
Paramedic Cameron Horner attended to three incidents that involved toddlers being run over in recent weeks.
He said it was important to make sure children were out of harm’s way at all times.
“Put them in the vehicle first or make sure somebody is holding them a safe distance away from a moving vehicle.
“If you are in an area where you know there are children, make sure you look around before reversing,” he said.
Life-threatening injuries Dr Vernon Wessels said injuries to an infant or toddler could vary from slight bruising to severe soft tissue injuries, fractures and internal organ injuries.
Liver ruptures, pelvis fractures and head injuries were some of the life-threatening injuries children can sustain.
“Injuries can lead to loss of blood, inability to breathe effectively and loss of life,” he warned.
“Non-life-threatening injuries can lead to loss of function of the affected part, often permanently, amputation of injured limbs and potential infection after the injury which could, in turn lead to various complications including threat to life.”
Netcare spokeswoman Santi Steinmann said it was hard to get statistics on how often the incidents happened.
“They’re reported as pedestrian accidents,” she said.
“There have been a couple in parking lots, but there are no statistics.”
Red Cross Children’s Hospital’s Professor Sebastian van As said they received at least 10 cases annually of children being reversed over.
“It’s a big problem internationally as well, especially in the UK,” he said. “It has increased over seven times there.”
Van As said the problem was worse now with people driving 4x4s.
“People look into their mirrors but can’t see and the cars have big spaces underneath making it even harder.
“The bottom-line main message is people who have small children must never reverse if they do not know where their children are,” he said.
Loss of trust Psychologist and Counsellor Sarah Cohen-schwarz said children lost their trust for their parents in incidents where their parents were the cause of the accident.
“Children often feel like it is their fault. The adults will have to rework their trust and apologise to their children.
“They have to set safety rules with the children so they feel safe,” she said. — The Star
IT is important to make sure children are out of harm’s way at all times.