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.

The Tribune (NZ) - - BACKYARD BANTER - For an ex­tra re­minder to check for chil­dren, or­der a free ‘Check for me be­fore you turn the key’ key ring at www.safekids.nz.

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.

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