Wyndham City and Kidsafe Victoria place busy driveways on child safety agenda
Wyndham City has partnered with Kidsafe Victoria to issue a warning about the dangers of low speed vehicle run over incidents, particularly in home driveways.
On average, seven children aged 0-14 years are killed and 60 are seriously injured due to driveway run over incidents every year in Australia. Most incidents occur in the driveway of the child’s own home, or in a friend or relative’s driveway. The driver is usually a parent, relative or family friend.
Wyndham City’s Family Friendly City portfolio holder, Cr Mia Shaw, said that children’s unpredictability, their inquisitive nature and the fact that they are surprisingly quick and mobile, places them at increased risk around driveways.
“Driveways are dangerous places for children—they are designed to allow vehicles access to and from a property and therefore present the same hazards as roads,” Cr Shaw said.
“All cars have large blind spots, some more than 15 metres. Children’s small size, together with these large blind spots, means that children standing or stepping behind the vehicle often cannot be seen from the driver’s seat.”
Jason Chambers, General Manager of Kidsafe Victoria, highlighted that driveway run over incidents commonly occur at busy times of the day.
“A large number of driveway run over incidents occur in the morning and late afternoon, both of which are busy times for families coming to and from school, kindergarten and work,” Mr Chambers said.
While reversing sensors and cameras can help to reduce the risk of driveway run over incidents, Kidsafe Victoria warns that technology should never be relied upon on its own to keep children safe.
“Even if the vehicle is fitted with parking sensors or a reversing camera, children may not be noticed until it is too late to stop,” Mr Chambers said.
The driveway safety campaign forms part of a wider partnership between Wyndham City and Kidsafe Victoria that will see the implementation of a range of programs and activities across the next 12 months, including community child car restraint checking sessions, child restraint information sessions and quarterly community awareness campaigns focusing on issues such as children left unattended in cars and backyard pool safety.
Wyndham City and Kidsafe Victoria’s Tips to Keep Your Driveway Kidsafe
Never leave young children alone to play, especially near parked or moving vehicles.
When waving goodbye, make sure children are kept well away from the car and are actively supervised by an adult who is holding their hand.
If there is only one adult at home and there is a need to move the vehicle, even for a small distance, ensure young children are placed securely in the vehicle while the vehicle is being moved.
Treat the driveway like a road.
Separate children’s playspaces from garages and driveways. Some design features that can prevent children accessing the driveway include fitting high handles to garage doors, fences separating the house and garden from the driveway and self-closing doors and gates.
Reversing sensors and cameras can assist with reducing blind spots, however they should never be relied upon to keep children safe. Nothing can replace active adult supervision of children around driveways.
Drivers should get into the habit of walking around their vehicle before getting into it when leaving an area where a young child is present.