The sports world was rocked over the weekend when former NFL player Todd Heap accidentally ran over and killed his 3-year-old daughter while backing up his truck in the family’s driveway.
Unfortunately, this is a very common tragedy in the U.S. According to KidsAndCars.org, at least 50 children are backed over by vehicles every week, causing 13,000 injuries and more than 200 deaths a year. More than half of these incidents involve a larger size vehicle (truck, van, SUV) and nearly two-thirds of all cases involve a parent or close relative behind the wheel.
“Larger vehicles have become increasingly popular, but they also have larger blind zones than cars,” said Sharon Rengers, R.N., Norton Children’s Prevention & Wellness. “Depending on the size of the vehicle and the height of the child, the driver’s blind zone can be up to 25 feet. A small child in the blind zone stands little or no chance until it’s too late.”
Rengers offers some tips to help prevent back overs
- Always walk around and behind a vehicle prior to moving it.
- Know where your children are. Make sure they move away from your vehicle to a place where they are in full view before putting the vehicle in motion. Verify that another adult is directly supervising children.
- Install a rearview camera, back-up sensors and/or additional mirrors on your vehicles.
- Teach your children to never play in, around or behind a vehicle. The driveway is not a safe place to play.
- Be aware that steep inclines and large SUVs, vans and trucks can add to the difficulty of seeing behind a vehicle.
- Keep toys, bikes and other sports equipment out of the driveway.