Children and driveways: how to prevent accidents
Yet, according to new research, 7 out of 10 parents continue to let their children play on or near the driveway unsupervised
The Queensland University of Technology (QUT) interviewed nearly 140 caregivers in Queensland and found that 77 per cent of them considered the driveway a safe space and more than half said they sometimes used the driveway as a play area for children.
Dr Kerry Armstrong, from the Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety - Queensland (CARRS-Q), conducted the research and said an awareness campaign was needed to stop kids being accidentally run-over in driveways.
"Parents in Australia are aware of pool safety. They need to have the same sort of educational process around the driveway to prevent low-speed vehicle run-overs," she said.
"It only takes a second for these horrible and tragic incidents to happen."
Dr Armstrong has produced an educational brochure called Prevent Driveway Runovers: It only takes a SEC, which will help caregivers think about Supervision, Environment and Child competency (SEC).
The brochure contains the following tips:
Before taking off
- Make sure you know where your child is and that he or she is supervised.
- If you are by yourself, get your child to ride in the car with you or in a designated spot where you can see them.
- Identify and always check your vehicle's blind spots.
- Always reverse slowly.
- Separate your child's play area from the driveway.
- Reinforce the fact the driveway is not a play area.
- Fence off the driveway (if possible).
- Secure doors, fences and gates leading to the driveway.
- Teach your child about the dangers of the driveway.
- Create a routine around the arrival and departure of vehicles to your home.
- Be aware of changes in your child's abilities and curiosity about their environment.
She said larger vehicles were more likely to be involved in driveway run-overs.
"It's very difficult to see the small stature of a child behind a large vehicle," she said.
"A change in routine, such as visitors to the home or being in a rush, can cause a lapse in safety and judgement. It's important to get the right information out."
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