Are you aware of just how invisible children are around a vehicle? The driver of a standard-sized SUV cannot see a small child until the child is 25 feet or more behind the vehicle. To give you an idea how far that is, the image below (courtesy of KidsAndCars.org.) shows 25 children sitting/standing behind a car, and all are invisible to the driver.
Despite newer safety features such as back up sensors and cameras, thousands of children are injured or killed every year in non-traffic accidents because the driver couldn’t see them. Forward drive-over rates have quadrupled in the past five years. Most cases involve a child under five years old and it usually happens in the child’s own driveway. Over 70% of the time it’s a family member behind the wheel.
Children use driveways and streets as play areas (chalk, bikes, basketball, etc). They get used to playing around parked cars and don’t realize the danger. Another problem can occur when parents leave the house. Toddlers may run out the door after their parents, either wanting to go with them or for one last hug goodbye. They may also dart behind a vehicle to grab a toy that is in danger of being run over.
Make these safety checks a routine:
- If there are children around, tell them you are leaving, and then wait until they have moved into sight, away from the car.
- Don’t depend entirely on your cameras and sensors.
- Pull in and out of your driveway slowly.
- Teach your children to NEVER go anywhere near a moving vehicle.
- Make sure toys are put away when playtime ends.
- Keep foliage trimmed back to eliminate blind spots.
A small amount of time, awareness, and planning could prevent a devastating family tragedy.