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Monday, 15 October 2012

Driveway Safety- Making a safer world for kids

I regularly sit at our dining room table to work on my laptop, from here I can see my kids playing outside and they like to know I am close by.  I can also see the road and a few houses in the neighbourhood from my table.  Whilst staring out into dream land the other afternoon, I was shocked at what I witnessed.  A 4wd in the driveway, a small child (no older than 2) in the driveway and no other adult present.  Smiled at the little girl dancing and prancing about, reminding me of my 4 year old.  Then I heard the 4wd start and then the reverse lights came on!  Surely the other parent would come out, surely the driver just started the car.  Nope, it began to reverse, meanwhile the dancing toddler was directly behind and as the driveway went downhill I new the driver would never see the child!  I am not sure where my heart went or how long my whole world stood still, I jumped from my chair and proceeded toward sthe back gate!  Just as I got to the gate I heard a mother yelling "STOP STOP! Oh my god stop she's behind you" and waving her hands frantically!  Luckily the driver saw her and stopped.  By this stage the dancing toddler had stopped and ran to the mother wondering what the fuss was about!  I was still in shock that night and retelling the incident to my husband made us bother shiver!

This is how quickly a child can be run over in their own driveway!  According to the Kidsafe website 'in 85% of cases, the driver does not know that a child is close to the vehicle; they think they are being looked after elsewhere.'  Driveway accidents have always scared me, we haven't had any close calls but it has always been my fear!  Our rule with our kids is this: before starting any car the driver makes sure they can see both our children and not only see them but see them being held/restrained/contained by an adult then making sure the kids and this adult are not standing behind the vehicle, this way the driver can maintain contact the whole time.  I would rather take out the fence or letterbox than our child.  This may seem simple but many times I see it where people 'think' the child is with the other person yet they aren't. It is also important to tell other people about driveway safety, for example grandparents and other family/friends.  This way if you are not present, your child is still safe knowing everyone is following the safe guidelines you put into practice.  For more tips on keeping the driveway safe here is the KidSafe fact sheet on driveway safety, some very alarming statistics and also some great tips to keep in mind!

Here are some things to always remember when in a driveway to help prevent accidents taken from the KidSafe QLD fact sheet which can be found here:
  • Supervise: When moving vehicles. know where your kids are at all times. Physically hold them close to you or put them in the car with you. Teach kids to wave bye-bye from  a safe place – never the driveway. Never leave children unattended in cars. 
  • Separate: Use fences and self-closing gates to keep garages and driveways separate from play areas. Always keep car doors locked. Prevent toddlers gaining access to garages by Installing doors that open inward to the house, self-close and have highset handles. Treat the diveway like  a road – never a play area.
  • See: Walk around your car and keep children in mind when using your reversing mirrors, sensors or cameras. Cameras are designed to prevent damage to cars not children – and sometimes a child may not be visible until it’s too late. Understand how little you can see behind your car – vehicle size is not always a good indicator. Some  family sedans have a blind spot of more than 15 metres, and it is possible to fit more than 60 pre-schoolers behind a vehicle and not see them from the driver’s seat.

Please treat the driveway the same way you do the road, in most cases it can be more dangerous than the road!  It is better to be over cautious and demand people know your rules about driveways than having to deal with injuries or death of your child from a driveway accident.

'I am participating in the National Kidsafe Day Bloggers Competition to support and promote child safety, along with the added bonus of chances to win prizes. All opinions are my own and not those of Kidsafe. To find out more or to enter the competition, please visit'

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