Al­ways have an adult watch­ing the chil­dren

Matamata Chronicle - - News -

As New Zealand fam­i­lies pre­pare for an­other busy Kiwi sum­mer, Plun­ket is ask­ing par­ents and care­givers to take time to think of the un­der fives.

Plun­ket na­tional child safety ad­viser Sue Camp­bell said in sum­mer there are of­ten more peo­ple around with friends and fam­ily vis­it­ing and there­fore more ve­hi­cles.

‘‘Of­ten amid all the ex­cite­ment of cel­e­brat­ing and spend­ing time to­gether there will be more cars coming and go­ing, and more chil­dren and adults around. This all in­creases the risk of a drive­way run-over tragedy or a child wan­der­ing off,’’ said Ms Camp­bell.

‘‘Ev­ery two weeks a child is hos­pi­talised with se­ri­ous in­juries re­ceived from a ve­hi­cle driv­ing on a pri­vate drive­way in New Zealand and not just as a re­sult of a ve­hi­cle re­vers­ing. In at least 32 per cent of cases the car was mov­ing for­ward.’’

In the ma­jor­ity of cases the driver was known to the child, of­ten a par­ent or rela- tive, and the in­ci­dent usu­ally oc­curred on the drive­way of the prop­erty where the child lived.

‘‘Most of th­ese chil­dren are tod­dlers, aged one to two years of age, and when death does not oc­cur, the in­juries they re­ceive are of­ten se­vere, some­times re­sult­ing in per­ma­nent dis­abil­ity.

‘‘It’s ter­ri­bly sad and there is so much we can do to bring this num­ber down,’’ she said.

‘‘It would be great to see fam­i­lies or groups tak­ing time to en­sure an adult is watch­ing out for chil­dren at all times. Maybe the adults in the house can take turns watch­ing the chil­dren while the oth­ers re­lax.’’

Ms Camp­bell urges drivers, where pos­si­ble, to drive for­wards out of the drive­way, al­ways check be­hind the ve­hi­cle be­fore re­vers­ing, and to know where chil­dren are be­fore start­ing a ve­hi­cle.

Count the kids be­fore you ma­noeu­vre. Make sure they are belted safely in the car or in a safe place with an adult.

Un­der­stand how big the blind area is around your car – your line of sight may be less than you think.

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 child-proof 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.

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