Keeping kids safe around vehicles
By Georgina Josephine Foundation
Keeping kids safe around vehicles is easy…isn’t it?
We had thought so, until our world changed forever, after our youngest daughter Georgina crawled through the door from the house, leading into the garage, and was in the path of her daddy’s trailer and ute as he reversed into the garage.
After our own personal tragedy we researched ‘low-speed run-over accidents’ and discovered how often they happen.
These types of accidents can happen to anyone at anytime, and they happen quite often. Whether a fatality, near-misses or injuries occur, 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.
In order to reduce the number of accidents we need to:
- Change the physical environment, housing, garage and driveway design
- Change vehicle design, increase rear visibility and use of automatic braking technology in vehicles
Educate people about the issue and the possible prevention measures, including
Georgina Josephine Foundation’s key messages are simple:
Supervise, separate, see
Supervise: active supervision – when someone is moving a vehicle on your property are you holding their hands or are they in a secure spot, or are children strapped in the car with you when you move it?
Separate: have a look around your home and ask these 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:
– a heavier, inward-swinging door so that it will swing shut properly, and children cannot push the door open into the garage?
– a door handle at a minimum height of 1500mm (so toddlers cannot reach)?
– a self-closer?
See: does your car have a rear-vision camera or reverse braking system installed? Take the long way around to the driver’s door, or do a ‘Circle of Safety’ to check no one is around or behind the car, before you get in and drive away. When coming home, is the driveway or garage area clear before you drive into them?
Don’t forget children are unpredictable, older children, even though understanding 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.
We encourage everyone to find out why it is important to ‘supervise, separate and see!’
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.