Signs of a risky drive­way

Matamata Chronicle - - News -

Spring and sum­mer is an ex­cit­ing time for Kiwi fam­i­lies. With the cold win­ter months a fad­ing mem­ory, par­ents are ea­ger to get the kids out of the house to en­joy the warmer days.

How­ever, sum­mer is also known as the ‘‘trauma sea­son’’ be­cause of the sharp rise in hospi­tal ad­mis­sions due to un­in­ten­tional in­juries or ac­ci­dents.

The sea­son brings with it a num­ber of in­jury risks, and one of the most se­ri­ous is chil­dren run over in drive­ways.

‘‘Ev­ery two weeks a child is hos­pi­talised with se­ri­ous in­juries re­ceived from a ve­hi­cle driv­ing on a pri­vate drive­way in New Zealand,’’ said di­rec­tor of Safekids New Zealand Ann Weaver.

‘‘A fur­ther five chil­dren are killed an­nu­ally, on av­er­age. Chil­dren at risk are aged be­tween 1 and 3 years old. Sadly, par­ents and close rel­a­tives are most of­ten at the wheel.’’

Child drive­way run-overs are how­ever, pre­ventable.

This trauma sea­son, Safekids and Star­ship Foun­da­tion asks par­ents and care­givers to be aware of the risks by iden­ti­fy­ing the signs of a risky drive­way, and know what home im­prove­ments can be made to pre­vent run-overs from hap­pen­ing.

If you have small chil­dren in the fam­ily, or live in an area with chil­dren, it is also im­por­tant for you to know the im­por­tant safety mes­sages: ‘‘Check, su­per­vise and sep­a­rate.’’

Count the ma­noeu­vre.

Make sure they are belted safely in the car or in a safe place with an adult.

Un­der­stand how big the blind zones are around your car.

Drive­way run-overs can hap­pen driv­ing for­ward and re­vers­ing.

Keep cars locked and don’t let chil­dren use drive­ways as play ar­eas.

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En­sure a re­spon­si­ble per­son – not a group of kids – is ac­tively su­per­vis­ing toddlers and young chil­dren.

Late af­ter­noon and early evening are par­tic­u­larly risky times. Spe­cial ef­forts are needed then to make sure chil­dren are safe.

Con­sider how to sep­a­rate chil­dren from all ar­eas used for driv­ing. You might need to in­stall a child­proof gate at doors or ex­its that lead to drive­ways.

In­fants and toddlers should have safe, fenced play spa­ces.

If you’re vis­it­ing some­one’s house, park on the road in­stead of the drive­way.

If you’re ex­pect­ing vis­i­tors, ask them to park on the road or put up a bar­rier to stop them park­ing in the drive. A long drive­way. A drive­way in a quiet road or cul-de-sac.

A drive­way that also pro­vides pedes­trian ac­cess to house – no sep­a­rate pedes­trian path­way.

A drive­way lead­ing to lots of park­ing – cars need to be moved around to make room or al­low ve­hi­cles to leave.

No phys­i­cal bar­rier – like a fence – be­tween drive­way and out­door play area.

For more in­for­ma­tion about drive­way run- over in­juries, watch our preven­tion videos at mysafekids. org. nz/ drive­way runover.

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