Five Australian families each year are shattered by the death of their child in a driveway. Going about their daily lives, one moment changes everything. When you’re teaching your children road safety, take the time to include these rules.
Despite their mischievous natures, kids love rules and routine. It helps them feel secure and safe – and the five simple rules below are designed to do just that. In fact, they are aimed at keeping your child from being killed in a driveway – a place that claims on average five Australian children each year. A lapse in concentration, hurrying to get somewhere, certainty their child is inside, or playing elsewhere – the car reverses and then a sickening thud, and a tragic fatality. Or, for almost 50 Aussie families, their child is seriously injured in the driveway, with months of painful rehabilitation to follow.
Take the time to go through these rules with your child, and share them with friends, family and anyone who looks after your children. They could save a life.
1. Never play in a driveway
Make a firm rule that driveways are not play areas. Teach your child that a driveway is just like a road, and children should never play on roads. While you may think your driveway is a safe place to play, a small child crouching down is almost invisible to someone in a large car pulling in. Younger children will need added safety measures to ensure they don’t wander onto the driveway – like higher handles on internal garage doors and fences.
2. No playing near parked cars
While a car may look stationary to a child, it could be about to reverse. As a hard and fast rule, teach your children that playing around cars is dangerous, and it’s best to be well clear when playing.
3. Beware of reversing cars
Kids walking on footpaths are often engrossed in their own world, and aren’t watching for cars reversing out of driveways. Younger children should hold the hand of an adult as they walk. Teach your child early to listen and look for cars backing out of driveways. On weekdays, there’s a dangerous mix of children walking home from school and parents reversing out of driveways for the school pick-up. Make your children aware that this time in the afternoon can be particularly hazardous.
4. Moving cars mean kids keep still
Implement a rule that whenever a car is being moved – even just a short distance – kids are to be somewhere safe, supervised and kept still. This may mean younger children will need to be placed securely in the car while it’s being moved, if there isn’t another adult home to supervise. Carers in the house must communicate – there have been dozens of tragedies where one adult thought the other was watching the child. If you can’t see your child, always double check where they are, before moving the car.
5. The car walk around
Make it a ritual, whether with your children or not, to walk around your car before getting in. Cars have many blind spots, and you may not notice a small child until it’s too late. Don’t rely on reversing sensors or cameras. A quick car walk around will take seconds, but could save a life.
While it may seem you can’t possibly squeeze anything else into your morning routine, it takes just a split second for your life to change. Take a look.
Make sure any other children who visit your home also know these rules, and make them part of your family’s routine. Go over them often, particularly with small children – who will no doubt remind you if you happen to forget any of the rules! For more information about the simple steps you can take to avoid a driveway tragedy, head to Driveway Safety.
(This is a sponsored post for Transport for NSW)