Always have an adult watching the children
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.