Signs of a risky driveway
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.
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.