This summer season (November-February) alone, there have been four (4) reported driveway deaths in New Zealand—and unless parents and caregivers of at risk children heed safety messages— more will follow.
“Five (5) children are killed each year on average after being run over by a vehicle driving on a private driveway in New Zealand, and every two weeks a child is hospitalised after suffering serious injuries in the same way. Children at risk are aged between 1 and 3 years old. Sadly parents and close relatives are most often at the wheel,” said Ann Weaver, Director of Safekids Aotearoa.
Child driveway run overs are however preventable. Safekids reminds parents and caregivers to be aware of the risks and to identify improvements you can make to prevent driveway run overs from happening at your home. “If you have small children in the family, specifically 1 to 3 year olds, or live in an area with children, it is important for you to know the ‘DANGER SIGNS’ and follow the important safety messages-- CHECK, SUPERVISE and SEPARATE,” Ms Weaver said.
The Danger Signs:
- A long driveway
- A driveway in a quiet road or cul-de-sac
- A driveway that also provides pedestrian access to house (no separate pedestrian pathway)
- A driveway leading to lots of parking– cars need to be moved around to make room or allow vehicles to leave
- No physical barrier (i.e. fence) between driveway and outdoor play area.
What you can do: CHECK, SUPERVISE and SEPARATE.
- Count the kids before you manoeuvre. Make sure they are belted safely in the car or in a safe place with an adult.
- Understand how big the blind zones are around your car. Driveway run overs can happen driving forward and reversing.
- Keep cars locked and don’t let children use driveways as play areas.
- Ensure a responsible person (not a group of kids) is actively supervising toddlers and young children.
- Late afternoon and early evening are particularly risky times. Special efforts are needed then to make sure children are safe.
- Consider how to separate children from areas used for driving. You might need to install a childproof gate at doors or exits that lead to driveways.
- Infants and toddlers should have safe, fenced play spaces.
- If you’re visiting someone’s house, park on the road instead of the driveway.
- If you’re expecting visitors, ask them to park on the road or put up a barrier to stop them parking in the drive.
09 631 0717