How to keep kids safe from driveway accidents

Children under age 5 are at the greatest risk for driveway accidents, including backover and frontover incidents. This is because small children are likely to be in a driver’s blind zone, especially for larger vehicles.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, backover crashes cause approximately 210 deaths and 15,000 injuries each year. Driveway accidents, including backover and frontover incidents, are more common in warm weather, when children begin playing outside.

Children under 5 are at the greatest risk, due to their small size, of likely being in a driver’s blind zone, especially with larger vehicles. Sadly, the drivers involved with the majority of these types of accidents are family members or friends of the injured child. These accidents can be prevented by families taking some steps to make sure children are safe –– inside and outside of cars.

“Accidents are the leading cause of death in children, and we certainly see an increase in injuries during the summer months,” said April R. Mattingly, M.D., pediatrician with Norton Children’s Medical Group – Crestwood.

Norton Children’s Medical Group

Want to keep kids safe and active this summer? Parents can pick up a bike helmet at a Norton Children’s Medical Group location near you.

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How to prevent driveway accidents

Families and drivers can work together to keep children safe from driveway accidents such as backovers and frontovers. They can:

  • Check for children before pulling in or backing out of a driveway or parking spot. No matter if you’re in a rush to get home or to work, take the time to check your surroundings for children.
    • Secure your home’s door as you leave so children cannot quickly run out after you.
    • Take the time to walk around (and take a look under) your car to check for children or anything that could attract a child to run out, including pets, bikes, toys, etc. Move those items and put them in a safe spot before getting in your car and starting the engine.
    • If you’re moving your car by yourself, having the child or children ride with you is safest.
  • Separate play areas from driveways, garages and anywhere cars are present.
    • Create safe play areas for children away from parked or moving cars –– and encourage kids to play there instead of in, around or behind a car.
    • Encourage children to place toys or bikes away from the driveway, or consider making your driveway completely toy- and bike-free.
    • Consider fencing your driveway if it borders an area where children play.
  • Supervisechildren around cars — at all times.
    • Make sure children are watched by an adult anywhere cars are present –– driveways, garages, parking lots, alleys or in the street.
    • Hold your child or his or her hand firmly whenever a vehicle is being moved and the family is outside together.

What all drivers can do to prevent vehicle accidents with children

There are things all drivers can do to help children stay safe from being hit by a car, no matter the location or whether children live with you. These include:

  • Check your surroundings and take your time before pulling out or turning in to your driveway.
    • Take your time to make sure your path and driveway are clear at a safe speed –– children can ride bikes or play on sidewalks. Accidents can happen in the blink of an eye –– take your time.
  • Follow the rules of the road and don’t speed — especially in parking lots, residential streets and alleys. Driving at lower speeds enables drivers to stop within a shorter distance. Stopping distance is a combination of the distance traveled during a driver’s reaction time and the distance it takes for the car to stop after pressing the brake. A car travels further during reaction time, and stopping distance is greater, when a car is speeding. This affects how fast the car is going when it comes in contact with a pedestrian, and can affect survival rate.
    • Following the speed limit is important, but even more so where there is pedestrian traffic. Driving and parking at appropriate speeds can help prevent accidents.
    • If you’re driving in a neighborhood with street parking, take the time to have situational awareness of your surroundings. Are there kids on the sidewalk? Do you see feet in front of a parked car, but don’t see the person? Driving the speed limit and having awareness of your surroundings can help prevent accidents.