Be vigilant in driveways to prevent deaths
Five children are killed each year and many more are seriously injured after being run over in driveways.
About 50 per cent of the drivers involved are visitors, relatives or neighbours – 41 per cent are parents.
Many of the accidents take place in shared driveways or culde-sacs, so Safekids Aotearoa is calling on the wider community to be hyperconscious of the issue.
‘‘The whole community has a shared responsibility of keeping children safe,’’ Safekids Aotearoa director Ann Weaver says.
‘‘This month we are celebrating Children’s Day (March 6) and Neighbour’s Day (March 19-20), and we’re asking all drivers to help us prevent runovers by being extra vigilant when moving cars in their home and shared driveways.’’
‘‘Our main message is ‘Check for me before you turn the key’. This means walking around the car to check for children, before getting in and moving the vehicle.’’
Here’s a few top tips from Safekids Aotearoa to avoid driveway run-overs:
Slow down and always check. Even if you don’t have children, be careful around driveways. It’s about always taking care, regardless of how familiar you are with your driveway. Children are small yet fast and often out of our line of vision.
Be vigilant, especially around meal times. Most run-overs happen late in the morning and early evening when families are preparing meals, arriving home or leaving the property. It can be a challenge to keep a close eye on toddlers and young children during these busy times so ensure a responsible person is assigned to watch over them.
Use safety gates. In warm weather doors are often left open, making it easier for toddlers to sneak out unnoticed. Consider using safety gates if you have doors that lead to a driveway.
Have a fenced play area. Toddlers are more at risk of being run over in driveways because they move much faster than we think. Having a play area separated from a driveway in addition to supervision can help.
Identify the signs of a risky driveway and be extra aware of: A driveway shared with other houses; a driveway in a quiet road or cul-de-sac; a driveway that also provides pedestrian access to a house; a driveway with no physical barrier (i.e. fence) between cars and outdoor play.
Don’t rely on cameras and mirrors. Both are useful tools for parking, but do not give you a 360 degree view from the driver’s seat. Don’t only rely on these tools: walk around the car and make sure children are supervised by a responsible adult.
Discuss the issue. If you’re concerned about the way people are driving in your community use Neighbourly to raise awareness. Share a post reminding everyone that kids are about and reminding them to check their speed.
Everyone is urged to be extra vigilant around driveways.