Monday, December 18

Child Driveway Safety Tips

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During the summer, it seems that there is at least one news story a week about a parent running over their child.  Every parent thinks that it can never happen to them, and that is usually when it does happen.  The heartache that comes from such a horrible accident is something that can only be described by someone who has been through it.

Kids ‘N Cars; a non-profit group that provides information and resources to parents wanting to maximize child safety, maintains a national database that tracks injuries and deaths to children that have been left unattended around cars.  According to them, in 2002 there were 349 accidents involving rear-driving vehicles.  Of those 349 accidents, 469 children were involved and there were more than 125 deaths.  More than 30% of deaths involving a motor vehicle and a child are caused by a vehicle backing over a child while they were playing or were simply in the driveway.  75% of those deaths happened while the parent of the child was driving the vehicle. 

One way to keep your children safe is to not allow them to play in the driveway.  If a child grows up knowing that they aren’t supposed to play in the driveway, they will usually stay away from them when they are allowed to play on their own.  If your children are old enough to play on their own, let them play in the backyard, especially if it is fenced in.  Of course, it is always safest to supervise your children at all times.

If you must have your children play in the driveway, set up a barrier in your driveway either behind the vehicle or at the end of the driveway.  This will prevent the driver from leaving without first moving the barrier, they will be more likely to check for children, and they will be more likely to let the children know that someone is leaving.  If you place the barrier at the end of your driveway, it will also prevent people from backing into it from the street.

Keep your driveway as light as possible.  If a person backing out of your driveway can not see an adult, there is no way they are going to see a child.

Create “safe zones’ in your yard where your children are to be at whenever someone is coming or going.  To prevent your children from darting across the driveway as people are coming or going, you may want to make more than one.  If your children are playing far away from the driveway, you may just want them to stay there.

The best way to keep your children safe in the driveway is to always make sure you know where they are at all times.  If you are leaving, make sure to check around your car before you leave and always make sure you know where your child is when someone else is leaving.  While accidents always happen, using some common sense when it comes to children and driveways will help reduce the risk of your child getting hurt.

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