Today we have a guest post by Kellie Briggs. Kellie, who is the founder of Women Friendly Services, has been moved by the recent tragedies reported in the media to create a fact sheet on Keeping Kids Safe in the Driveway.
Tragically in Australia one child is run over in their own driveway every week. Usually the victim is a toddler aged between 1-2 years old (but any child under the age of 6 is a danger) and hit at slow speed by a vehicle driven by a parent. A slow moving vehicle can trap a child and cause fatal crush injuries. In many cases of those children who do survive many are left with very severe long term injuries.
In 85% of cases the driver did not know that a child was close to the vehicle, thinking that they were being cared for by someone else. The danger times with the most accidents appearing to occur in the morning between 8am – 10am as well as late afternoon between 4pm-6pm.
“These time frames tend to coincide with when we as parents are at our busiest – the morning rush to drop off kids at school, day care, head to work or say goodbye to someone heading to work, and the afternoon rush when we are at our most tired and possibly less vigilant.” comments Kellie Briggs.
Just Days ago Victorian Coroner John Olle handed down his finding into 3 toddler driveway deaths that occurred early last year stating that “he did not lay blame on the parents”, whilst Kidsafe Victoria President reported that it’s a tragedy that is “100% avoidable”.
How do we keep our kids safe in the driveway?
Children are very unpredictable, as well as naturally inquisitive and they are fast on their feet. It doesn’t take them long to get in the path of a moving vehicle when you thought they were standing beside you. Also cars can have very large blind spots – some up to 15m behind them, so it becomes very difficult to see a child sitting or playing on the driveway.
Most child safety bodies such as the Kidsafe Organisation advocate three simple steps to preventing a driveway accident:
Always supervise your children when they are out the front of your house. Never leave them alone to play on the driveway or footpath.
When near cars or saying goodbye to friends etc. always hold the child’s hand or have toddlers in your arms – even if they struggle. I have three children under 5 and I hold my 2yo in my arms while my 4 and 5 year olds hold my other hand.
If you need to move the car and you are by yourself you have two options – buckle them in their car seats in the car or leave them in a room in your house where you know they are completely safe and cannot get out the front door.
Provide a physical barrier between the child and the driveway – so you know that it is impossible for your child to get to the driveway. Security doors, fencing, gates and childproof locks on doors
Don’t let your child use your driveway as a play area. They need to know that the driveway is a dangerous place – out of bounds for play.
Create a safe place for children to play by fencing off the driveway and ensuring that kids cannot get from the play area to the driveway.
Drivers should always do a lap around their car before moving it.
Do not rely solely on reversing sensors or cameras as you still may not see a small child or you may not notice a child running past until it’s too late. There is no substitution for active supervision.
When saying goodbye to people do it from a safe place like the front porch or steps. This is often handy when you have more than one child to supervise.
Most importantly be present in the moment no matter how tired, busy or rushed you are and know where your kids are at all times!
Kellie Briggs is the founder of Women Friendly Services. Her roles as Mum, Physiotherapist and in the Defence Force, made it clear to her that not everyone is who they appear. Kellie founded Women Friendly Services to be a resource of police checked and accredited businesses. Kellie and her team personally check and accredit each business at www.womenfriendlyservices.com.au