Kidsafe Victoria launches campaign to keep kids safe in driveways

Watch out: Driveway accidents claim an average of seven young lives each year. Picture: Kidsafe Victoria
Watch out: Driveway accidents claim an average of seven young lives each year. Picture: Kidsafe Victoria

With children going back to school this week, parents are being urged to take a moment during the morning and afternoon rush to make sure their children are safe before backing out of the driveway.

With an average of seven children aged 0 to 14 killed in driveway accidents in Australia each year and a further 60 seriously injured, Kidsafe Victoria has launched a new campaign calling for extra caution.

Kidsafe Victoria general manager Jason Chambers said driveways posed considerable danger for children.

"Children are unpredictable. They are naturally inquisitive, as well as being surprisingly quick and mobile. This, combined with the large blind spot that exists behind all vehicles, can make it difficult to see a child behind a reversing vehicle," Mr Chambers said.

"Even if a car has parking sensors or a reversing camera fitted, children may not be noticed until it is too late to stop."

Kidsafe Victoria is also highlighting the dangers children face in and around car parks and roads, particularly during the busy back-to-school period.

"[Children] don't have as much traffic experience or knowledge, and are physically and cognitively less developed than adults, which places them at greater risk of injury," he said.

"During school hours there will be lots of excited children around roads, car parks and driveways, especially during the often chaotic pick-up and drop-off times, which is why it is important that all road users take care."

Kidsafe Victoria said the top tip to keep children safe on and around roads was to treat the driveway like a road and always Supervise, Separate and See. This means:

Actively supervise children when near driveways and ensure they are kept well away from moving vehicles.

Separate children's playspaces from garages and driveways where possible. This can include fitting high handles to garage doors, installing fences to separate the house and garden from the driveway, and installing self-closing doors and gates.

All vehicles have blind spots which can make it difficult to see a child when reversing. Reversing sensors and cameras can help reduce blind spots, however they should never be relied upon on their own to keep children safe.

Other tips for a safe journey to and from school include:

  • Slow down and be extra vigilant around school zones - school speed limits will be back in action so it's important to look out for road signs advising speed reductions during school hours.
  • Children should be seated in a child car restraint or booster seat that is correct for their size/height, correctly installed into the vehicle and adjusted to fit them properly on every trip, no matter how long or short.
  • Set a good example by always using a designated school or pedestrian crossing to cross the road. Teach children to "Stop, Look, Listen and Think" before crossing the road and explain what this means.
  • If your child is using a wheeled device like a scooter or bike to get to school, ensure that they are using appropriate protection equipment such as helmets and wrist, elbow and knee guards, and know how to safely cross the road.

Details: Visit Kidsafe Victoria or click here.

This story Stay safe in driveways first appeared on St George & Sutherland Shire Leader.