Brave Mums Front Driveway Safety Campaign

TWO Kiwi mums whose children were tragically run over on a driveway are fronting a new campaign with child safety organisation Safekids Aotearoa to help prevent more deaths and serious injuries.

On average five children are killed in New Zealand driveways each year – most are toddlers under the age of two. And every fortnight, a child is admitted to hospital with serious injuries after being run over by a vehicle in their home driveway.

Valeria Tokoar and Emma Renata are the faces of Safekids Aotearoa’s new awareness initiative Check For Me Before You Turn The Key.
Tokoar’s son Tyreese, (18 months), was fatally hit by a car in a driveway in Onekawa, Napier, in 2009. She said people need to be aware that children may be behind, beside or in front of cars unseen.

“We want to help educate drivers on the need to always look for children in driveways,” Tokoar said. 

She recalls the moment of the run over as unbearable. “I would never wish for any parent to go through what we have suffered.” 

Renata’s son Te Manawa Whetuki, (1 year old), was fatally run over in a driveway in Papatoetoe in 2014. She wants to remind parents how quick and easy a run over can happen, and that it can happen to anyone. 

“Being a parent of very young children is a challenge—they are fast, and sometimes it may seem impossible to keep an eye on them all the time. However knowing this risk is more reason to be vigilant about the supervision of children around cars,” Renata said.  

Director of Safekids Aotearoa, Ann Weaver, says central to the campaign is the distribution of Check for Me Before Your Turn the Key keyrings across the country. 
“Parents can place their child’s photo in the keyring. We hope they remind drivers to walk around the car before getting in the car, and to make sure children are in a safe place and supervised by an adult,” Weaver said.

Aside from being a timely reminder, the keyrings also carry a deeper message. “Let us change the opinion on driveway injuries-- from a sense of inevitability to putting prevention and responsibility into the hands of parents, caregivers and all drivers in a positive and empowering way.”
Safekids Aotearoa invites community groups to order the free Check For Me Before You Turn the Key keyrings, and use them as a tool to promote driveway safety with families.

To get hold of a Check For Me Before You Turn the Key keyring, visit www.safekids.nz or follow www.Facebook.com/SafekidsAotearoa and https://twitter.com/safekidsnz. 

This driveway safety campaign is made possible by our partners ACC, Starship Foundation, Evan Christian, Auckland Council, Housing New Zealand, NZ Post and the Early Childhood Council.

-ENDS-

NOTES TO EDITORS
Below are safety messages that can reduce the risk of a driveway run over:

  • Use safety gates: Driveway incidents happen a lot during spring and summer because the warm weather means doors are often left open - and children can sneak out unnoticed. Consider having safety gates at doorways. 
  • Actively supervise children, especially before meal times: Most incidents happen during busy times of the day such as late mornings and early evenings when parents are preparing meals, arriving home or leaving the property. During these times ensure an adult (not a group of children) is watching young kids. 
  • Build a fenced-off play area: Most victims are toddlers because they move faster than we think. Having a play area separated from a driveway can help when supervision fails. 
  • Know your blind zones: Having a reversing camera is useful but it doesn’t help see children hidden in front of, behind, and along the sides of a vehicle. All cars, including small ones, have blind zones of up to 10 metres. 
  • Be aware of the risks: Do you live in a long or shared driveway, or have a driveway along a quiet road or cul‐de‐sac? Does your driveway serve as the only pedestrian pathway to the house? Do you live in a busy home with multiple cars? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, you have a risky driveway. 

For more information or images, email Anthony Rola (AnthonyR@adhb.govt.nz).