Home safety: protecting our little ones

By Emma Cockburn, Georgina Josephine Foundation

Our world changed forever on April 16th 2011, when Peter came home from work, went to reverse his tool trailer and ute into the garage, and ran over our baby girl Georgina. Somehow she had gotten into the garage through the door leading into the hallway of the house, and crawled into the path of the trailer. We still do not know how that door came to be open. Home safety had always been in our minds.

Since then we have researched Low-Speed Run-Over accidents, discovered how often they happen, and found that in order to reduce the number of accidents we need to :

  • Change the physical environment (look at housing, garage and driveway design);
  • Change vehicles (increase the rear visibility of vehicles); and
  • Educate people about the issue and the possible prevention measures, including supervision

Safety tips to improve home safety for kids

Look around your home and ask yourself these important home safety questions:

  • Is the play area separate from where vehicles are?
  • Can the driveway be fenced, with pool-style fencing, and self-closing, latching gates?
  • When reversing (or moving forward) out of the driveway, can the footpath and pedestrian area between your property and the road be easily seen (eg no bushes or plants blocking the view)?
  • Is the garage easily accessible to toddlers and infants?
  • Does the door between the house and garage have:

1) A heavier, inward-swinging door (so that it will swing shut properly, and children cannot push the door open into the garage)?
2) A door handle at a minimum height of 1500mm (so toddlers cannot reach)
3) A self-closer?

  • Does your car have a rear-vision camera and reverse braking system installed?
  • Are children strapped in the car with you when you move it, or are you holding their hands or are they in a secure spot when someone else is moving a vehicle on your property?

Don’t forget children are unpredictable, even older children, who have an understanding of the danger of cars, may suddenly dash out to grab the ball they dropped, or the puppy that ran behind the car, without the driver knowing.

Georgina Josephine Foundation

At the start of 2012, a small group of dedicated volunteers came together to form the Georgina Josephine Foundation – it is an umbrella for the work we have been doing regarding home safety for kids and in particular driveway safety. Our aim is to focus on creating awareness amongst the public that these types of accidents can happen to anyone at anytime, that they happen quite often, whether it’s a fatality, serious injury , or near-miss, and that there are a variety of measures people can put in place in and around their homes and in their vehicles to help prevent their children (and others) from being hurt in such an accident.

If you know of someone who has been affected by such an accident, who may need support, or if you would like more information on improving home safety for kids please contact us through our website. And remember always ‘supervise, separate and see!’

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Note: The views and advice expressed on this blog post are those of the author and are not representative of the Pregnancy Babies & Children's Expo.

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